Encouragement for My Fellow “Losers”

I’ve been working to lose weight for nearly three years now, and many friends, family members and colleagues have seen me gradually shrink before their eyes. As a good deal of people have interest in losing weight–whether it’s five pounds or 50 or more–I get a lot of questions about what I’ve been doing to make it a reality in my life. I also get my fair share of people who offer encouragement and consider what I’m doing to be an inspiration for their own efforts.

It makes me happy to know that I play some small part in helping others to understand that weight loss is possible if you keep at it. I, of course, want to be healthier for myself, but I would love if more people understood that weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated, that it doesn’t hinge upon eating meal replacements or rabbit food, or that there is hard work, but quite possibly moreso on the emotional front (to understand eating triggers and find alternatives to eating when in a bad head space) than in accessing willpower and strengthening resolve.

I’d like to use today’s blog post to give you some encouragement and inspiration to start a weight loss regimen, or to keep going on the one you’re on. Here goes:

I applaud you for seeking to choose a better life for yourself! Never lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Whether you’ve decided to lose weight for serious health reasons, or if you are cutting back on unhealthy eating and exercising to gain more energy or reclaim your skinny clothes, know that you have made a wise decision, and one that will add more vitality (and, quite possibly, more years) to your life. In a recent issue of Glamour magazine, Jennifer Hudson mentioned that with her 80-lb. weight loss, she feels younger and more upbeat. Think of what your weight loss will mean to you, and keep that in mind when things get challenging.

No matter what you see on TV or in the back of magazines, your rate of weight loss is appropriate. Don’t let anyone give you anxiety about how much–or how fast–you should be losing. With the exception of the push I’ve had in time for my wedding anniversary this year, I tend to not give myself weight loss goals. Why? Because I’m not concerned about when I lose weight as much as I’m concerned that I do actually drop pounds. I’d much rather have a sustainable weight loss that takes me five years to pull off than to have lost 50 lbs. in less than a year and, in that blur, not understand how I did it, or how to consistently reproduce weight maintenance or loss as needed in the future. Ultimately, the only timeline you have to worry about is the one your body is comfortable with.

Keep in mind that you are human. Don’t let setbacks set you back. I feel good when I’m churning out progressively smaller numbers on the scale on a regular basis, but it doesn’t happen every week, for a variety of reasons. The most important reason is because I’m not perfect.

I think it’s really easy to fall into a trap of settling for nothing less than perfection with weight loss, especially if you are a perfectionist in other areas of your life. I have that affliction myself. In the past, if I had a good time during the week, but overate on a Friday, I’d give up for Saturday and Sunday, and just start again on Monday–often two or three Mondays out from when my overeating first began. It’s been a major challenge for me to not beat myself up, but again, approaching weight loss from a perspective of it not being confined to any specific timeline helps.

These three pieces of advice are ones that I’ve most had to drill into my own head over the course of time I’ve spent trying and succeeding at losing weight. Rather than ask you to share your advice in the comments, I’m going to open the forum up to questions. Is there anything you’d like to ask me about weight loss? How to keep at it, making food choices, or handling emotional demons constructively? Please feel free to post a question here, or to ask me one on Twitter at @LetThemEatGreat or @DCAngah.

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