We all know that diet fads, magic pills, binging and starving are wrong. I have tried so many in the hope that one of them would finally be the answer. In my journey to become a coach, I finally found the real secret.
The real secret is all about what is happening in your head.
I was in that horrible place of feeling physically fat, bloated and uncomfortable but also feeling emotionally uncomfortable. It was a vicious circle because the tighter my clothes were and the bigger the clothes sizes the more I berated myself, felt like a victim and just wanted to find another chocolate bar to make me feel better. As I coached others who wanted to lose weight, I encouraged and supported and at the same time knew that I should be trying even harder than my clients, doing what I was holding my clients accountable for doing….argh where’s the chocolate.
I also had all the best excuses, I was nursing a broken shoulder that has not healed properly, doctors booked me off any exercise for 4 months and I had two operations in 6 months. I am pre-menopausal and pre-diabetic. Many told me that its just my age, my genes; there is no fighting nature. I even had a dietician tell me not to expect to lose more than 2 kgs, despite the meal plan I had just paid her to give me. That just kept me in a bouncing pattern of lose 2, gain 3.
Eventually three things dawned on me – choices, milestones and chances.
Coaching teaches us that we all have choices, we make choices every day about what we will do and who we want to be. I decided that I had had enough, tired of feeling fat and uncomfortable, tired of feeling teary and trapped. I chose to to make a change. I chose to not only do something about it but also to change who I was being while I did it.
Every meal is a choice, I decided to make that choice a life a affirming one and eat the food that I knew would nourish and support my body, food that would feel good. I also chose to be happy with the healthy choice, I chose not to feel deprived or that I was missing out. In essence I made a conscious choice to do and be healthier and happier and …surprise, surprise I felt healthier and happier. I no longer felt like I was missing out when everyone else ate cake, I was doing this for me and the alternative was a feeling I didn’t want to experience again.
One of the most daunting things about losing weight was that it felt like such a huge task that was going to take such a long time to accomplish. I learnt to focus on the small milestones, I started with one week. I decided to eat healthy for one week and I set myself the goal of just losing 500gm in that week. It doesn’t sound like much, which made it really achievable. The first week I actually lost more than my goal and so I was motivated to try again the next week. After a few short weeks I had beaten the dietician’s prediction and then I changed my next goal to a round 5kgs and extended the timeframe, but did it 500g at a time. I reached that 5kg goal, bought myself a new dress to show off the lack of rolls and started getting serious about exercising.
Now the big scary goal seems like it could actually happen, but I keep reminding myself to focus on the 500g for this week. Focusing on a small goal like 500g per week also makes it a lot easier when you are thinking about cheating. But one little cheat can have a big impact when measured in grams not kilograms.
I am a great believer in second chances, life is too rocky and we are too imperfect to believe that everything gets done right first time or that we know everything and can never fail.
This diet journey has also taught me to be more gentle with myself. Yes, there were weekends away at the river when a packet of chips and a beer at sunset sounded like an awesome idea. But instead of beating myself up about it, I recognised it as a choice that I made, a choice that didn’t make me feel very good and one that I could change when given the chance to make that choice again. I gave myself the chance to learn that eating some things has an impact on my body and my frame of mind. I gave myself the chance to recognise when my choices were not life affirming even when it might have felt like it at the time.
Right now, I’m still on the journey. The food choices I make are so much easier now as I can instantly feel when something does not agree with me. I exercise more and have finally reached that point of looking forward to my next session. I’ve entered my first mountain bike stage race and am looking forward to the pictures of a skinnier me loving the mountain trails.
I now understand why they say its about lifestyle not a diet. I am enjoying where this lifestyle is taking me and I like the person I am being while I live it.