The emotional work of weight maintenance
I will share this story with you because I want you to understand a couple of things when it comes to the difficult emotional work of weight maintenance. Of course, self-love is also important but you may feel that it is due to your body image, your weight problem, but unrealistic expectations from you or others are the most likely culprit.
If you think losing weight is difficult, think again! We often think the process of losing weight is the hardcore journey that will give us headaches. We imagine that once this process is over because we got the results that we want, we will be free, and happy, and satisfied. Good bye diet, hello freedom! Well, things are not exactly like that…
What I learned from my weight loss mistakes – a personal story
When I was in the process of losing my own weight, I did a couple of big mistakes that left me emotionally drained and physically tired at the end of one year, the time it took me to lose 15 kilograms. I will start telling you about these mistakes because, if I hadn’t done them, the weight maintenance afterwards would have been much easier.
What were these mistakes?
- Heavy workouts
I was training 4 to 5 times a week, out of which at least 2 of my workouts were hardcore leaving me extremely tired, both physically and mentally. I was so drained sometimes that I needed 2 or 3 days afterwards to recover, but I was never really recovering because I kept on training, kept on pushing even when I was out of energy. I was thinking not being in the gym almost every day will be a big setback. All I wanted was to lose weight, no matter what it took!
- Unrealistic diet.
One year I didn’t eat any sugar and I didn’t drink any alcohol. NOTHING! My body reacted immediately to these dietary changes and the heavy workouts I was performing.
I didn’t think for one second if this is a lifestyle I can maintain, I was only living in the present, obsessed with my goal, not caring for the future or for how I am going to turn this severe routine I was forcing myself to have into a forever way of living. Obviously, the unrealistic diet kicked back once I was done with my regimen.
- Toxic gym trainers.
I am sometimes the kind of all or nothing person, so when I put my mind into something, I go all the way, without thinking of consequences, might there be any. This kind of thinking as well as being surrounded by gym trainers who were pushing me super hard didn’t make a good match!
Now I know that my trainers back then should have been better guides in my process of losing weight and they should’ve known better that a behaviour like the one I had will not take me anywhere in the long term. I only realized it after my one-year effort turned against me.
In my case, a toxic gym trainer was the kind of person who pushes you to the limit because, more important than your well-being, is their ego and personal satisfaction that their program is working NOW and is working FAST.
A toxic gym trainer will not take into consideration any aspect of your life – day to day job, children to take care of, a family that needs you, chores and so on – and will always tell you that you are not willing enough, disciplined enough or hard working enough in order to achieve his/ her goals in the amount of time desired by him/ her so that she/ he can portrait the regimen as a fast solution of losing weight that is really working.
What happened after that one year? One day, as I was in the gym, I couldn’t do a simple squat and then I started crying. No matter how hard I tried to move, it was as if my body froze. My doctor told me I was exhausted, physically and mentally.
I was pushing myself so hard that I had no energy left and no period, for that matter. I stopped going to the gym and I started eating normal again. Effortlessly, I gained the 15 kilograms back in only 3 months. For one year afterwards, I didn’t step into the gym anymore, because I couldn’t. I hated it!
Steps for an eased mind when you want to maintain your weight
In time, I realized where I went wrong: I wasn’t upset with myself, I just understood I didn’t know better! With the help of another trainer, this time a woman that understood what I was going through, I was able to get back in the gym and start eating without cutting any food category. It was a process and I am still learning from it, but I have come a long way since that destructive behaviour I was not aware of back then.
- How you start the journey is how you will continue it
It is important to have a good start in your weight loss journey because this journey will be your new way of life. And as any new thing, it takes time, patience and practice to master it. So do not see it as a sprint, but as an ultra-marathon, because this is what weight loss is: learning new habits of eating healthy and mindfully and incorporating movement in your life as often as possible.
- Do not compare with other people
Like every journey, the weight loss one has ups and downs. Do not expect to have a linear progress with only good results. The body changes with time and the way it behaves depends on many other variables than just food and workout. Be understanding to your body, cherish it and always aim at protecting, loving and taking care of it. If you have these positive aspects in your mind, everything will fall into place. Your journey is unique and there is no need to look anywhere else to see what others are doing!
- Be nice to yourself
Loving yourself is the most important thing in any process of change. Everything that we do to ourselves must start from a place of love and acceptance because this is the only true foundation that will help you integrate a new way of living. Being nice to yourself means giving healthy food to your body but also giving it a sweat treat, walking in the park for 2 hours a day but also enjoy a day in bed watching your favourite series. Balance is everything!
- Get sleep!
In a society more and more deprived of sleep there is no wonder people feel anxious, depressed and tired. As basic as it might sound, sleep is really a miracle for our minds and bodies and a good night sleep, of 7-8 hours, help us stay clear-minded, positive and hopeful. Sleeping well will help you be kind, generous, understanding and always choose the best for yourself and others from that one soft place we all have, our hearts!
- Do as many things you like as possible
When we do nice things for ourselves, we tend to do even more of them. When we feel good, we take good decisions and this means we are more inclined to eating good food, exercising more often and enjoying ourselves more. You deserve the best!
People do not change overnight, so remember that when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance, it is not only your body that will change, but moreover your mind. You will learn new habits, you will forget old ones, you will start to value new principles and you will leave behind the ones that are not of use for you anymore.
It is not an overreaction to say that losing weight and then maintaining it will also update who you are and your beliefs. It will be a good ride, I promise!