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The first five pounds came off so fast, so easy! Then reality sets in and we have a small loss or no loss at all. Right behind reality often comes its twin, discouragement.
I read this statement on “The Doctor’s” website about feeling discouraged,” Every moment presents a new opportunity for change. The past moment no longer exists; forward motion is the only path I can take.” I like this statement, we have to learn on our journey at each feeling of discouragement helps us to make a change/adjustment that we need to make to keep going! If you never face any discouragement, then you will not know how to handle it when it comes along. And it will come!
There are some strategies you can incorporate to help you not become discouraged.
- Take the long-term view – do not expect to “wake up” skinny one day, you didn’t gain it overnight and you are not going to lose it overnight.
- Get a diet buddy— Find a friend to encourage you and support you as you are both on your journey is a win-win for both people. Remember one small thing, it is not a competition, you are only competing with yourself NOT your friend! Share your struggles, recipes, frustrations, etc. with your diet pal. Programs such as Weight Watchers have weekly meetings for encouragement. There are online support groups as well. I found a couple of fabulous groups on Facebook which focus Weight Watchers and have found wonderful support and encouragement there.
- Allow yourself some treats – failure and discouragement will come quickly if you do not allow yourself a treat now and again. I have found a few things I like as “treats” and try to allow myself to have them within reason.
- Be realistic – Two pounds a week maximum is considered healthy weight loss anything over that and you risk many health complications. Know that you will not lose the same each and every week. It could be more or less; just keep moving forward so the scale can keep moving downward. If you are not a contestant on the “Biggest Looser” chances are you are not going to lose 14 lbs a week! Just for the record, even they do NOT lose that much in one week! The show is edited and contrary to what we see on TV, there are often 3 weeks or so between their weigh-ins!
- Small Steps – Set some small short-term goals. In my journey, I set 5 lb. goals and focused ONLY on the five pounds in front of me. Otherwise, I would have been very discouraged, overwhelmed and not kept going! The more you weigh, the more you can lose each week. If you are not extremely overweight, you can expect your weight loss to be more like half a pound a week than the two pounds a week spectrum!
- Avoid Comparisons – lose weight for your health not to emulate a celebrity, or friend. Just because Angelina Jolie weighs 110 lbs. (not saying she does, just an example!) does not mean that you should! Talk with your primary care physician to determine what is right for you and your body type.
- Do not weigh daily while trying to lose! Checking your progress is great but daily weighing can lead to frustration, discouragement and a great deal of anger! Weighing yourself once a week is recommended to check on progress. Don’t stress over not reaching your weekly goal one week. Sometimes our bodies just have minds of their own, especially us women’s bodies!
- Variety – Try to incorporate one new food, spice or recipe each week so that you are not eating the same things over and over again! Food boredom can lead to discouragement and a feeling of deprivation.
- Avoid negative weight loss messages –Talk to yourself only in positive uplifting terms! Avoid words such as; lazy, weak-willed, pathetic, messy, and sloppy, a cow, helpless, trashy, etc. If you do not treat you nice, why would you expect others to treat you nicely? Give yourself a pat on the back with each success you have! Keep a positive attitude!
One of my personal goals is to keep a healthy lifestyle and to learn as much as I can from this process so I am not prone to have to repeat it on this large of a scale!
I might not be sporting a new sparkling diamond today, or have an expensive dinner date, stacks of boxes of chocolates, bags of Victoria’s Secrets or dozens of lovely roses on my desk today at work, but I have something I did not have a year ago, I love myself and have a great pride in who I am and what I have accomplished!
Let me explain.
A friend of mine was celebrating her birthday last March 2013 and a photographer at the party captured me in a few pictures much to my dismay and absolute disdain. When I saw the pictures, I was horrified and I begged my friend to not post them on her Facebook page! She looked wonderful in her pictures but I just wanted to bury the ones I was in. It was her celebration and I had a marvelous time but—-when I saw those pictures after the party, I was extremely embarrassed and felt humiliated at how badly I looked in those photos. Asking her to not post those pictures, I now see I was trying my best to pretend they didn’t exist and I was trying hard to hide and become totally invisible! look back and see where that came from, I didn’t accept nor love myself. I was working on the outside but I still wasn’t even being nice to myself on the inside.
At the time the pictures were taken, March 2013, I had been doing Weight Watchers just a couple of months and I had lost 13.6 lbs. I remember thinking how totally horrible I looked and I didn’t want anyone to see me looking so bad. I told myself all kinds of negative things even though I knew I was working on things. The pictures did remind me how far I still had to go! I didn’t let those pictures discourage me; I kept pushing, pushing harder and harder to reach my goal! I am glad I looked beyond those pictures and kept moving forward!
My friend sent those pictures to me today, yes on Valentine’s Day, with a note telling me how awesome I look, how wonderful I have been doing (on Weight Watchers) and how proud she is of me and my accomplishments. I sent her a note back and thanked her for sending them to me! I feel these photos are excellent reminders of where I was a year ago! These photos are almost “before” pictures since I had lost the first 13.6 lbs of my journey and had managed to avoid the camera at most any cost!
I am happy and proud to share them with you today, because I now weigh 94 lbs less and feel physically so much better! I love the person in those pictures more today than I did this time last year. Her determination and focus has gotten me to where I am today and will continue to help move me on to my goal which is about 27 lbs away now! While I do not “love” the camera yet, I hope I become less stressed about being photographed in the near future! I am trying to be “kinder” to myself on the inside as well.
Don’t hide from your past; it was your path to the present and doorway to the future!