Getting real about my weight loss failures: Update #1

Hi Friends,

Continuing on from my last weight loss blog post, I was incredibly gung-ho about losing my last few kilos in 10 weeks. I think knowing that I would be back in Europe soon, probably in a swimsuit soon sent me into a bit of a meltdown. While it could’ve been possible (not entirely sure because I think I could afford to lose more than I think), I am not sure I could have done it in a healthy way and if I would have been able to retain the results long term. Of course, I would love to look great in a bathing suit BUT I feel like things like this don’t work for me as motivation because I could lose a lot of weight, as I have and still say ‘well, I don’t look great in a bathing suit’. Then is it all for nothing?

How did I lose so much weight in the first place?

A few years ago, I was at my heaviest weight at 88.8kg. In the span of 2 years, I got to 72kg and I’ve kept off that weight loss of 16.8kg/37 pounds and eventually lost a little more weight. What worked for me? I only focused on what I had total control over – my actions. I focused on eating as much nutritious food as possible and I didn’t stop enjoying my favourite foods, I just did so in smaller amounts and less frequently. I focused on moving my body and challenging myself physically, I found exercises that I enjoyed (walking, hiking, pilates). Importantly, when I felt like binge eating (which is what led me to the weight gain in the first place), I changed my self-talk. I talked to myself like I was talking to a friend, ‘why are you doing this to yourself’?, ‘what are you avoiding feeling?’, ‘what is wrong?’. I was committed to eating healthier, moving my body and changing my mindset and these things led to me successfully losing weight.

I have been trying and ‘failing’ (a little bit)

During my time in Australia, I got obsessed with the scale, weighing myself every day (bad idea). Every time the number went up I felt horrible, I felt like a massive failure, I thought ‘well, I might as well just give up’. Then I was eating junk food to make myself feel better about not losing weight – a bit ironic, no? I was taking waist measurements too and the number was rapidly dropping BUT THE NUMBER ON THE SCALE WAS TOO HIGH. I was obsessed. I had seemingly forgotten that in the past that the scale did nothing but hinder me and that is simply what it was doing recently.

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Depending heavily on the scales to measure your success can be dangerous and inaccurate

Now, there is something very wrong with heavily depending on a scale when measuring your weight loss progress. Firstly, when you are a female, depending on where you are in your cycle, you retain more or less water. My weight can fluctuate more than a kilo during certain times of the month and even knowing that doesn’t make me feel better when I see the number on the scale. Secondly, if your scale doesn’t take into account multiple measurements of your body composition, it isn’t really telling you if you have actually lost or gained fat, muscle or water. It is only saying you have lost weight from your body – that is it. There are a number of factors that can cause your weight to fluctuate and some of these you might not have control over. So, why focus so intently on a number that you don’t have total control over?

I tried different things and still ‘failed’

So, I stopped with the scales and I tried to keep a visual food diary on Instagram but I found that I actually hate taking a picture of everything I eat, especially if my warm food ends up cold (so unsatisfying). So I stopped doing that too. I think the key to achieving long-term weight loss, especially in a large amount is trying different things, realising you aren’t actually a failure when your approach doesn’t work and that you just need to keep trying until you find something that works specifically for you. Also, if you have setbacks, it isn’t a failure unless you give up, you just need to be committed to getting back on the horse, no matter what!

Moving forward…

I will continue to measure my waist on a semi-regular basis, I’ve actually lost 5cm off my waist in 10 weeks. This measurement is very important to me because while I am no longer overweight according to my BMI, my waist measurement is not where it should be in order to have good health and to lower my risk of multiple preventable diseases. I am going to do what I was doing before – I will focus on what I can actually control: what I eat, how I move my body and my mindset. I want to be the healthiest and fittest version of myself. Yes, I want to look good but focusing on the outer appearance, something that yes I can influence but I can’t control with some kind of precision, I feel is counterproductive. Instead, I will see how my clothes fit my body, how strong I feel when I do a challenging workout and how good I feel after eating a healthy meal.

I won’t kid myself, you don’t know what can happen with your body but you can do your best to look after it. After all, it is the only body you’ve got. This body might not be aesthetically perfect but it is my vessel, it takes me places, lets me experience joy and all the wonders of the world.

I might try to weigh myself at the end of December or the start of January and see how that ends up. When it seems like a good time for an update I will give one.

Care to share?

Do you have any insights or to share from your own journey to health or weight loss? I would love to read about them! Please share in the comments below.

Mikki

 

2 thoughts on “Getting real about my weight loss failures: Update #1

  1. Hi Mikki,
    Thanks very much for sharing these valuable hints. Like you, I feel that checking the scales regularly can be very stressful and not help with motivation. As you wrote, the scales do not take into account menstrual cycles, fluid retention, muscle gain, other health conditions etc. When I get frustrated about regaining weight that I had worked so hard to lose, my wise daughter reminds me that had I not lost the weight in the first place, then the actual gain would have made me even heavier than my original weight so it’s not a failure. Our weight fluctuates regularly for various reasons and as you said, focusing on an overall long term goal promotes a healthier outlook than worrying about short term fluctuations. Incremental changes over a long period of time are certainly better for my health. There are so many unrealistic images out there of what perfection is meant to be that it is no wonder that people (women in particular) feel like they are never good enough. It’s interesting that even when I was a very slim 20 year old, I still didn’t like my body and was self-conscious in swimwear. Focusing on the goal of good health rather than the perfect bikini body leads to a better relationship with food for many people I think. I don’t drink or smoke but I do comfort eat when I feel depressed or anxious and beating myself up about a number on the scales certainly doesn’t help. Thanks so much for sharing useful tips which I am sure many people will find relevant to their own situation. All my best, Jane. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your insights from your experiences. I agree, focusing solely on eating more for your health rather than for weight loss makes it a lot easier to have a positive relationship with your body. It is amazing what a shift in focus can do, it is the only reason I lost nearly 20kg to begin with. I am glad you liked my blog post 🙂 thank you so much for reading! Mikki 🙂

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