Making a lifestyle change is hard and there can be so many barriers and challenges with remaining consistent. Last summer I was challenged to change my mindset and lose the weight I had been procrastinating on addressing. Everyone has different levels of comfort with their body image and their weight but I knew that it was time for things to change. While you can be happy, self accepting, have high self esteem and be overweight, I knew that it wasn’t working for me. I was tired of taking long airplane rides to other countries and being unable to comfortably fit into the seat while being ashamed to ask for a seat belt extender. It just wasn’t what I wanted. I was over my clothes not fitting right and only being able to wear certain select items in my closet because I had “outgrown” the majority of what I had available but didn’t want to spend more money to buy more clothes. I believe in radical self acceptance but I also believe in changing your lifestyle and being healthy if that’s a goal you have for yourself. It was a long, long road that still continues but I’ve made progress. I started with a personal trainer (aka my boyfriend), made the decision to no longer be vegetarian, I got off medication (after consulting with a doctor), started weight training, and changed my diet drastically. It wasn’t an overnight change and it didn’t happen as soon as I would have liked but I lost 45lbs and I’m still working towards my goal. Last week was the first time I could pick things from my closet to wear that I haven’t been able to fit in over 5 years. It was an amazing feeling and having a supportive partner has been great. I still have some progress to make but it’s nice to finally comfortably sit in an airplane seat without being black and blue from the armrest digging into my thigh. I’m determined to remain consistent and to continue to make progress. After all, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
Lately I’ve been on this health kick. Technically I probably shouldn’t call it that because it’s a lifestyle change and I’m consciously being more intentional about making healthy choices. It’s been a very very very challenging six weeks but it’s been good to see some of the results I’ve been wanting. Through this process I’ve been reminded of how important having discipline is to daily life. This was a reality that I also faced last year when I had to get my shit together and finally finish my dissertation. Nothing would be written unless I stopped making excuses and actually sat down to write and became intentional about doing so. So here I am again tapping into that same part of myself to improve and to consistently workout. I thought about the concept of internal integrity and how crucial it is to achieving success. It means that you keep the promises that you make to yourself. Self talk is one of those things that impact us even if we don’t necessarily always consciously realize it. Our actions and emotions are closely tied to what we tell ourselves and our internal dialogue. Internal integrity means that you are a person of your word and that you follow through–even when you want to change your mind about a course of action because you’ve already said you’d do it. A great example of this is the fact that I decided to juice for three days and while I absolutely hated it, I stuck to it because it was what I had promised myself I would do. It was hard but I knew that I could do it because I’ve had to discipline myself in other areas of my life. The mind is a powerful tool and I personally think that it’s important to make a practice of making decisions that have a long term positive impact even if they cause short term discomfort. It’s those types of decisions that pave the way for long term meaningful change. I don’t know if the process gets easier but I hope eventually that it does.
Lately I’ve been lacking motivation to work out consistently because sleep has been competing with work for my time. But that’s no excuse to not be active (or so I’m telling myself). For motivational (and curiosity) purposes I’ve been watching some of the show, “My 600lb Life.” It’s been very effective so far as a source of motivation for a healthy lifestyle. There’s something about watching someone be lifted by a crane-like device that will have you making a conscious decision to put down the junk food and go to the gym. One thing that I’m always looking at when I watch the show is the role of friends and family. Almost 100% they serve as enablers because they have to prepare the food to give to their family member who is bedridden because of their weight. There was one lady whose husband married her because she was bigger and he refused to support her weight loss despite the fact that she was unable to do anything due to her size. He still bought junk food and tried to make her eat it because he didn’t want her to lose weight. However, it was literally killing her and she wanted to be an active mother with their little girl instead of parenting from her bed. This caused an unbelievable amount of strain on the relationship as he continued to make snarky comments that were very hurtful about how she needed to gain more weight. The documentary ended with her deciding that she would take the verbal abuse for as long as she could before she would leave him. I doubt the marriage lasted long after filming because her husband had a very hard time adjusting to the new and more healthier her. I’ve actually seem this happen in couples where one partner decides to live a healthier lifestyle and it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back and the relationship disintegrates. The other partner isn’t happy and finds themselves with a different person than who they thought they married and they can’t reconcile the two. So more often than not they start an affair. That’s why it’s so great if both partners can be on the same page and change together. It rarely happens that way but it’s nice when it does because they can support each other.