About That Weight Loss (Part 1/6)
Why It Doesn’t Work and What to Do Instead
Today, we’re going deep into what is a very painful and tender topic for many, many of us – our excess fat and struggles with weight loss.
(I’m getting super-vulnerable so stay with me)
Get a tea. Snuggle up.
Remember that YOU. ARE. GOOD.
Take a breath and let’s dive in to the heartache of our struggles with ‘weight loss’.
First, I wanted to give you a little background on my history with my weight.
I’ve always been big.
(that’s my story)
Bigger than the kids around me.
(my kindergarten class picture is classic with this bruiser of a boy in the centre and then me, towering over him … it wasn’t until Grade 11 that the boys caught up over the Summer. I remember being so happy that they were finally taller than me.)
Bit of a belly.
I was NEVER a skinny child.
And I hated myself for it.
The ‘Not Good Enough’ Stories We Tell Ourselves
Sure, I was athletic – I played softball and volleyball, did Tae Kwon Do, and I was a competitive swimmer – but I was never great. Just average.
(and it didn’t matter how many tournaments my teams won, or how many races I won, I knew, knew with absolute certainty, that I was never quite ‘good enough’)
I always knew that I was never as pretty or as thin or as ‘good’ as the skinny girls who were popular and had all the boys and friends and parties and all the things that I, as a little girl and young woman, wanted so desperately.
(because what I really wanted was to be loved and accepted, but I didn’t know that back then)
I also knew that it was because I was too big. Too much.
Yet, at every stage of my life, when I’ve looked back at pictures of where I was at my ‘old low’ I would think: “What on earth was I on about? I was gorgeous? Long, tanned limbs. Why did I hate myself so much back then?”
And then I would continue to hate myself for where I was now because while I could see that ‘back then’ that I’d had a distorted body image, I was always sure that I was accurate with my current assessment.
(that’s what having a dysfunctional body image is all about)
So, not only could I shame myself for being too hard on my past self, I could also shame myself for where I was now.
The Straw That Broke This Camel’s Back
Over the years, I continued to struggle with my weight, sometimes thinner, sometimes thicker, until, in 1999, my first long-term boyfriend dumped me on the eve of our departure for a year in Australia by telling me that ‘I would slow him down’.
(oh yeah. yes, he really did. you can’t make this stuff up. and he was right.)
He left. I stayed. And I was mad.
I walked into a gym …
(the very gym where I’d been paying a fairly exorbitant month-to-month membership fee but NOT ONCE GOING)
… and I sat down with a Personal Trainer. It was Margaret. I said to Margaret, “If I come in here and walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes per day, will I lose weight and see a difference in a month? Because, if I don’t, I’m outta here.” I think we can safely call that, ‘angry weight loss’.
And Margaret, being the gracious woman that she is, and with only a mildly taken aback look on her face at my vehemence, said, “Yes.”
So, I did.
Walk on the treadmill every morning, that is.
Started doing BodyPump classes.
Started experimenting with feeling fit. Showering at the gym and then hopping across the street to work.
The weight came off.
I added in eDiets and changed how I ate.
More weight came off.
40 pounds of it.
I became a
Weight Loss Success Story!
(you’ve seen those in magazines, right? cue the celebratory trumpets)
My hairdresser bragged about me. People at the gym and out in the world complimented me on the changes.
For the first time, I was winning. Winning at weight loss. Winning at life.
I was finally acceptable and on the right side of the scale.
I loved it.
Then, I realized that the only way I was going to keep winning was to find a reason to be at the gym MORE because otherwise I would drift away.
(this is a lie, you can sustain a reasonable routine without moving into a gym)
Going All In to Sustain the Weight Loss
I decided that I needed to become an employee so that I could be at the gym for free and often. I had to go ‘all-in’ to keep winning at weight loss.
I became a Receptionist.
Then I became a Personal Trainer.
Specializing in Weight Loss.
My first client, …
(who basically had to insist on working with me and demand to be sold because I was so bad at sales back then and assumed that no one would ever want to work with me)
… my first client won an award for his weight loss, it was so dramatic and awesome.
I was the Queen of Weight Loss.
(you know what’s coming right)
I remember one of the company reps looking at me one day and saying, “You’re finally starting to look like a Personal Trainer.”
(shame comes in many forms and can be so sneaky… can you see it there?)
I remember sitting in a personal training workshop and the Instructor asked, “How many of you remember feeling intimidated when you first went into the gym?” and out of 50 of us, I was the only one to put up my hand.
“That’s why she’ll succeed and you won’t,” he said.
(which should have made me feel great, and I was one of the most successful Trainers in the Toronto chain I worked at, but it didn’t make me feel great, it just highlighted, again, how I was different from all of these shiny, fit people surrounding me)
The Wheels Start to Come Off
I remember reading ALL the magazines, cultivating workouts, finding a dozen ways to do a biceps curl or a shoulder press to keep it interesting, squatting 300 pounds, eating protein bars, leaning into the ‘fitness lifestyle’, trying so hard to fit in…
… and finding it so very, very empty.
And I remember the feeling of despair as I realized that I had filled MY workout times with client sessions.
And that my brilliant ‘all-in’ plan had back-fired.
I had put money and service ahead of self-care.
(it wasn’t the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last)
And I watched as the weight stabilized and then started to creep back up…
Continued in Part 2.
Read Similar ArticlesPosted in: Divine Temple Healthy Living, Sacred Healthy Body
Tagged as: dysmorphic body image, Healthy Living, healthy weight, loving your body, self-care, shame, weight loss