I have been obsessed with my weight my entire life.
For as long as I can remember, I felt fat.
I didn’t take care of my teeth, because all I cared about was my weight.
I didn’t take care of my health, because all I cared about was my weight.
I am 24 now. While I am still young, I still feel like I am so much farther than I was when I was a fat eight year old.
I have yo-yoed in my weight all of my life. I have struggled with eating disorders, exercise addiction, and hating myself so much my life wasn’t worth living. Or so I thought.
I have learned a lot in my years. I have been creating “dos and don’ts” my entire life. They have changed as I’ve learned, and my list is so very different than when I sat down to create my first “weight loss plan” before I was 10 years old.
I am not happy with how I let myself go, and I’m not proud of how I was back then, or even how I am now.
But if I can use my struggles to save someone else from making the same mistakes, or even just helping you to take a step back, then it’ll all be worth it.
DON’T put your self-worth on a number on the scale.
It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but it will change your life.
I don’t care what your doctor, boyfriend, family or that stupid BMI chart says. It doesn’t matter what your weight is. If you hate yourself now, you’ll hate yourself when you’re at your ‘goal weight.’
I had lost over 60 pounds, and I was only 30 pounds away from my goal weight. But as soon as I found a life outside of my obsession with the scale, I gained it all back. I didn’t love myself enough to keep myself healthy. I still hated myself because in my mind, I wasn’t good enough. I am now married with a child, and I still feel this way. It is an ongoing struggle.
But I can tell you – on the days I really do take my self worth away from the scale, I find a freedom that I can’t put into words.
It sounds dramatic, but I swear to you, it will make a massive difference.
DO find something that you love.
When you take your self-worth away from the scale, you’ll need to find something to fill that void.
And it should be something that makes you happy and is productive.
Sewing, reading, video games. Running, weight lifting, yoga.
As long as it’s not hurting you, and it’s something you love, then it’s productive.
The past few years I have spent focusing on nutrition, health, and fitness. It seems nerdy, but it filled my void. Instead of hating myself for not being where I wanted, I dove into how to better take care of my body and steer it in the right direction.
I’ve also taken up sewing, crafting, and getting back into writing.
I can’t say that I’m completely where I want to be with self-love, but I’m getting there! Baby steps.
DON’T do too much at once.
I have the terrible tendency to give myself 1000 goals to achieve in a very short timeframe.
Here’s the reality: I’m a wife, mom, I’m running a business, and trying to launch a couple more, from home. I don’t have time to put in 3 hours a day at the gym, juice for every meal, and manage to make it to the post office daily. It just doesn’t work that way.
And I know I’m not the busiest person out there. And yet they manage to make it work. And I know you’re thinking the same thing. But let me tell you, you’re not them.
Other moms are supermoms, other people are fitness gods. By all means, use them as motivation, but you’re not required to be them.
Be realistic about your goals and what you’re aiming for. You’ll be amazed at how much nicer life is when you take some of the pressure off.
DO take time for yourself.
I get it – it’s hard. There’s already not enough time in the day for your to-do list, let alone yourself.
How much time do you spend stressing about how stressed you are about all of the stress in your life?
What if you could reduce some of that time? You’d be all for it, right?
Well here’s a piece of that puzzle: you time.
Get rid of the guilt, get rid of the preconceived notions about what you deserve, and put your to-do list to the side for a second. Just take some time to breathe. Whether it’s taking a nap with your kids, working out first thing in the morning, or staying up late writing. Whatever you need to do, do it. Take at least ten minutes to yourself every day to find your footing.
DON’T expect lasting results overnight.
There are thousands, if not millions, of different weight loss programs promising you huge results in a short amount of time. The rule of thumb: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
That isn’t to say these programs don’t follow through with their promises – some of them do. But a majority of them will end with you gaining all of your weight back.
Losing weight requires discipline and massive lifestyle change. You have to change your entire way of thinking and your relationship with food. That’s what makes “a quick five pounds” and actual weight loss different. It’s easy to be disciplined for two days. But it takes work to carry that discipline for weeks, months, and even years.
A good program will be one that doesn’t promise extreme results, but instead is consistent and offers support.
DO find a support system.
It is almost impossible to do something so difficult on your own. Whether its your friends and family in real life, or a group you connect with on the internet. You need to find someone to really keep you accountable. You need to be able to brag about your accomplishments, and cry about your failures.
Sometimes you don’t find your group – but you need to let it find you. I started with a Tumblr found a remarkable group of like minded people that share my goals. I now have Instagram, Facebook, this blog, and most recently, Twitter. Something so simple wouldn’t seem so important. But each of them give me something a little different, a different way to share. You don’t need to jump into every platform out there, but find something that works for you and use it.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. This is just the beginning for someone looking for the basic dos and don’ts. But I think this is a good place to start for just about anyone, no matter where you are on your journey.
What are the dos and don’ts that you’ve learned along the way? What tried and true strategies help keep you on track?