I think the hardest part about starting a diet is just that, starting. For me there was no real start date. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide ‘Today’s the day!”. I made small changes through time and then realized I was dieting. I think there are a few questions to answer before and as you begin a diet plan.
1. Why am I overweight?
2. What do I want from losing weight?
3. Why am I doing it now?
For me, I didn’t want to be on a ‘diet’. I have tried diet plans in the past like Weight Watchers, the Special K plan, and Slim Fast. None of them worked for me because I felt like they weren’t plans for real life. I needed to learn how to eat in the real world and not be obese. So I’ve never considered myself on a diet, just making healthier choices with the options that I have. Turns out other people make these choices naturally. I just didn’t naturally make those choices before now.
My Answers – I’ve supplied my answers to those questions to give you a few things to think about. Perhaps your answers are not even close to mine but I do think they are all things you need to be aware of and dealing with when starting a diet.
2014 Response: 1. Why am I overweight? I always knew I was overweight. I was not in denial about my health. But I can honestly say I didn’t know it was as bad as it was. I found a way to convince myself I wasn’t THAT bad. I could get my mail and walk to have coffee with friends. That’s good enough right? I finally got to a point where that wasn’t enough for me anymore. I wanted to be able to do all kinds of things. So, how had I got here? I think the answer was a combination of a lot of things. Since I worked a very intensive full time job (teaching K-12 music) I didn’t have the ‘time’ to think and worry about being healthy. Being healthy and worrying about calories takes a ton of time and energy that I had convinced myself I didn’t really have. Another reason was I felt I wasn’t taught to care about health. (Sorry Mom!) As a child, I don’t remember being taught what was healthy and how to balance eating with activity. My adult mind understood what calories were and I was obviously eating more than I was burning. However, ‘a balanced diet’ was not naturally on my mind. I think the last reason I was so overweight is because I didn’t care. I have a husband that loves me at any size so why do I need to be thin? I would bother me if a student made a comment about my weight and I felt uncomfortable in social situations but felt like it was my ‘role’ to be the fat one. As an adult you start to find your place in everyone’s life and I thought mine was the fat friend. Would dropping weight change who I was? At the base of it, I was terrified to lose weight. It seems silly to say that now because being overweight is so much more scary. But I was SCARED. I didn’t know if my skin would shrink back. I knew if I got healthy kids would be much more closer to our future. I was scared I would change who I was and I loved the person that I had become. She did a lot of amazing things. (PS…..I was that overweight. When I look at this picture now, I don’t even know who that is!)
2016 Response: When I read that back, it’s still all true. And for those that are wondering, my skin didn’t shrink back. But the overall journey was harder than I imagined but 10X more rewarding than I ever thought it could be. Now I know though that I’ll always be overweight, in my head. I don’t mean “I’ll always think I’m fat”. I mean I’ll always know what it was like. I’ll always have issues with food and anxiety over if I’m doing it right. Once you’ve been in the Fat Girls Club, it’s membership for life. Other members might not recognize me anymore but I’ll always be thankful for my new health because of where I came from.
2017 Response: Well, that person below seems even more far away now. I feel less and less connected to her at all. In some ways I think that’s awesome. My life barely resembles hers. Most people are shocked to find out where I’ve come from. BUT, in other ways I think that’s sad. I don’t ever want to forget where I’ve come from. My skin continues to heal and look better but hasn’t changed much in the last year. I’ve continued to drop body fat in exchange for muscle, my weight mostly maintains on the scale. I worry less about ‘doing it right’. I pretty much know when I’m making good choices and conscious bad choices. As I rebalance my workouts, I rebalance my diet.
2014 Response: 2. What do I want from losing weight? I wanted to look NORMAL. I constantly felt judged being in stores where I couldn’t fit the merchandise. I was tired to my hubby pulling the table towards him when we sat in booths. I was tired of crossing my fingers for a 2X shirt when they would always be mediums or larges. I wanted strangers to look at me and think looked totally normal. When I started I didn’t set out to lose this much weight. I set three attainable goals in the first month. I thought when I got to my goals that would be “good enough’. 1. Walk the stairs in my building without having to catch my breath, 2. Fit into normal non-plus size clothes, 3. Run the mile loop across the street. I wanted to reach those three goals regardless of what number was on the scale. I knew that would allow me to do other things that I wanted to do like 5k walks, hiking with friends and never having to worry about friends inviting me to events that I couldn’t physically do.
2016 Response: Now that all the weight is gone and then some, I realize how small and big those goals were. They were literally life changing and life saving. I saved my own life in the last 3 years. I’ve now fallen in love with health and fitness so much that I consider a career change and I’m training for an amateur competition. Those goals seem like such a small rung on the ladder that I’ve climbed. But at the same time, crossing each one of those goals, felt just as good. I’ll never forget running my first mile. I’ll never forget trying on my first non-plus size pants. It felt the same as crossing the finish line of my first half marathon. It felt like winning my first real sparring match. It’s all about perspective and where you go.
2017 Response: This year I actually went through the process of gaining weight and it was glorious. 🙂 When I was fighting at 132 pounds, I was having to do every possible thing to keep my body at that weight. It was not healthy and I quickly went back up to 140 pounds. Now I fluctuate between 140-145. I’m still just in love with health and fitness, if not more and I AM changing my career and life to incorporate fitness. I had a lot of successes this last year too: I competed in the Golden Gloves State Boxing Tournament and lost. I’ll never forget those 10 minutes. I completed hundreds of miles in every type of weather. I’ll never forget being called a peer by a fitness trainer I admire. I’ll never forget learning to climb my first rope or getting my internship position. It felt just as awesome as completing the Funky Monkey 2.0 in my 2nd Tough Mudder or running into Folsom Field on Memorial Day during the BB10K. So many amazing memories and opportunities that I’ve experienced because of the health.
2014 Response: 3. Why am I doing it now? I knew I was at a turning point in my life. My hubby and I had recently moved to Colorado and were discussing the future. I wanted to have a baby and when I was pregnant, I wanted people to know I was pregnant. I had always feared that when I was heavy and pregnant, no one would even know. It was time. I was running out of my ‘young years’ and needed to make a change before I started the next step of my life. If I couldn’t give my child a healthy environment for the first 9 months before they are even born, how am I going to give them the skills to be a healthy person? It was time to grow up and make adult decisions for my future. I love my husband more than I can explain. We are partners in everything and are a strong team. I began thinking, “is carrying this extra weight worth it?” I knew that being overweight caused all sorts of health problems that I was lucky to not be experiencing yet. But what about the future? Would being so overweight rob me of years with my husband in the future? 5 years? 10? 15? I couldn’t be so selfish to overeat and not make healthy choices at the cost of a future with the man I love.
2016 Response: And I could not be more happy that I did. In the last three years since I’ve started this journey I’ve been given so much and I’ve been able to give so much. I’ve met people I would have never known. I’ve done things I never thought possible. I SAVED MY LIFE. And it just gets better. Do it. Do it now. The 2012 me wouldn’t believe the 2014 me. The 2014 me wouldn’t believe the 2016 me. What will the 2018 me be like? I can’t wait to find out.
2017 Response: Here’s 2017 me checking in. In the last year I’ve been changing so much. I’ve made a lot of great changes and hard changes. I’ve met new friends and let old ones go. I feel like this will be a transition year for me and I’m still just as eager to know what the 2018 me will be like. Maybe she will be a mom 😉