Over the last 11 months, I’ve lost a bunch of weight. I’m not comfortable disclosing the actual amount but it’s enough that I need all new everything and that people I see regularly, including the owner of my gym, notice. I mean, I don’t see it but apparently it’s there.
I’m not saying that to brag or show off or make you feel terrible about yourself. Because honestly, this was a decision I made for me and if you make a different one for you, that’s cool. I support whatever you want to do and whatever is best for you. But after the 80th or so time of my weight being alluded to in conversation (and the final time by a woman for whom I have a ton of respect), I was sick of comments. I needed to change something (aside: it is never, ever okay to comment on someone’s weight. No matter how self-deprecating you might be in your comment, even as a form of commiseration, you’d be better off shutting the fuck up. If you think you should say something, don’t. Just don’t. This applies also if a person is naturally skinny because there are people who want to weigh more and simply can’t).
So I did.
Truth be told, it’s hard. So. Fucking. Hard. I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you (incidentally, one thing you learn through losing weight is that sugar is in everything. Every blessed thing). But when you commit to doing it, you learn some things:
- Social media will either inspire you or make you feel worse. There is no in between. You will either look at pictures of people who’ve lost tremendous amounts of weight and feel like you too can conquer your weight loss or you’ll feel like it’s insurmountable and you’ll never be successful. You’ll figure it out rather quickly, which is nice, and once you do, go with it. For me, I can’t look at it because I’m in the latter camp. It’s better for me to ignore. I have enough self-esteem issues.
- Speaking of social media, you are under no obligation to declare anything on any form of social media. You do not have to post weekly pictures or check-ins of your weight loss or mention on Facebook that you’re on a diet or anything of that nature. If it helps you be accountable, then go for it. But if you’re like me, you need to do it quietly and in your own world. We live in this weird world of oversharing and being public about every fucking thing and if you’re fairly private, you feel awkward sharing and that may have to do with…
- The fact that you are fucking ashamed and embarrassed. Because OMG, HOW DID I GET SO DAMN FAT? Well, you might not say those exact words but I definitely did. Sharing my weight loss progress on social media meant and means admitting publicly what I say to myself daily. And because I judge myself so harshly I assume that others will do the same.
- However, you’ll need to get over your shit because without a support network you will fail. Specifically, having people who encourage you even on your worst days will make all the difference. For you it might be a FB group or an online community or your spouse. For me, it was friends I made at the gym (and trust when I say I struggle making friends. I’m weird and awkward and self-conscious so making friends was a huge step for me). There are two women there, not counting some of the instructors, who have helped me through this whole process probably even more than they realize. Without them I might have quit months ago. Also…
- Find exercise and an eating plan you can live with. Eating low carb and running isn’t going to help you if you’re miserable every minute of every day or dread doing it. Counting calories and Zumba aren’t going to work if you hate them. There are tons of options for how to eat and how to exercise. Find what makes you happy and fits with your life because that is the only way to keep at it on the days you really really don’t want to. But remember that…
- It’s okay to take it easy for a day. Or even a week. Most people cannot be committed to perfect eating and exercising 100% of their days. So it’s fine for you to go off-plan for a day and feel like a normal person. Just don’t step on the scale for a few days afterwards because it will kill your motivation and self-esteem and you will berate yourself more than usual. Fine, that might be just me but feeling “normal” is sometimes the only way to sustain the long arduous process of losing weight.
- While we’re talking about the scale, it is also essential that you have nonscale victories. Sometimes the scale might not move but a pair of pants you couldn’t fit into 6 months ago are too loose or your rings will fall off or being able to run a 5K without stopping. You must celebrate those victories in some way. I don’t care if it’s with new makeup or a manicure or an IG post or a piece of cake. You must celebrate and acknowledge your progress. Your mental health through the process will thank you.
- And finally, accept that this is not an easy thing to do. It’s not a quick process at all. Basically, losing weight fucking sucks balls. Hard. You will want to quit on more days you want to keep going. Getting off the couch in the cold and rain to go to the gym is awful. Eating with no restrictions is fun; counting calories is not. Your self-image will take a beating one day and you’ll feel amazing the next. But. If it’s something you want for yourself–and, let’s be clear. You must want to do this for yourself and no one else–it is worth every agonizing day.
If you’re curious how I’ve lost weight, it’s simple. I use the app Lose It, eat mostly protein and veggies (with some exceptions. You can pry my cheese out of my cold, dead hands), and take a variety of exercise classes (boxing, Pilates, and BodyPump. I’ve also started running 3 days a week. I double up some days if I need to). That’s genuinely it. Nothing gimmicky, nothing tricky, nothing else.
Also. Who you are doesn’t change whether you’re thin or fat or somewhere in between. You will still be you and who you are is just fine. But if you want to change the packaging, I say go for it.
Let me be clear. I’m not at all qualified to tell you what you need to do to lose weight. You should consult a doctor or nutritionist or even a health blogger. I’m just a formerly fat lady who’s less fat now. And, if I may, I’m kind of proud of that.
P.S. Set your own goals. You know how much you want to weight or what your ideal clothing size is. Aim for that and don’t let anyone else dictate what it is. Unless it’s a doctor. Maybe listen to a doctor’s suggestion.
P.P.S. When I say fat, it’s an adjective. It’s not a moral judgement. Fat does not mean bad or less than or whatever else we as a society use it to mean as a value or person’s worth.