The title of this post is just a way to get your attention. We’ve all fallen into some rabbit hole of “10 weeks to a slimmer you” or “8 days to less belly fat” or fill in whatever blank you like. What they don’t tell you is that you can do any of those things if you wanna touch the surface and lose the weight only to gain it back at a later date.
500 days ago, I started on this incredible, horrible, eye opening, jaw dropping, painstaking, uncomfortable journey to better health. How do I know it was 500 days ago? Don’t worry, I haven’t been counting. My Fitness Pal has been doing that for me. (If you don’t know what My Fitness Pal is, I highly recommend it as the best tool for weight loss and staying accountable to yourself by tracking everything that goes into your mouth. If you’re ready to do that.)
As you can see in the top right corner of the picture above 500 day streak. Every single meal, every single day, for 500 days. That’s huge isn’t it? 500 days is a lot of days. I ate things that didn’t really work for me but I logged them. I didn’t hide anything. If I had a glass of wine, I logged that too. If I didn’t eat for half the day, my diary showed that. Me and MFP have become bffs. It works for me. It’s become a game. I log my food every single day because I like the game of it. i want to see how many days I can do it. And since I am the one who’s been taking cold showers for over 6 years every single day without ever missing a day, I can be pretty competitive…with myself. It’s just one tool I’ve been using for the past 500 days. That, and the scale I bought about 4 months in. I hated scales, but I did it. And now, I weigh myself every 2 weeks or so and that’s it. I don’t step on the scale unless it’s weigh in day and I no longer obsess about the number.
Here’s the thing, losing 120lbs hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Truthfully. I’ve turned myself inside out as I went through the process of making a promise to my health coach to stop emotionally eating. I’m pretty sure I cried off most of the weight in that first 6 months. I got uncomfortable. More uncomfortable than I’d ever been in my entire life. More uncomfortable than I ever thought possible. Losing 120lbs has changed who I am. I’m not the same person I was last January when I started and I’m pretty sure when I get to the end of this year when i hope to have lost another 73lbs, I won’t be who I am today.
I’m becoming very aware of how much people want to talk about health and wellness in a whole new way. Maybe take on the practice spiritually rather than beat yourself up in the gym. Maybe deal with why you eat the way you eat when you eat instead of going straight to salads every single day. Or maybe there’s the mother/daughter relationship you could look at to get started. OR…maybe you were sexually abused when you were little and you could never bring yourself to talk to anyone about it and now the only way you can cope is to eat to drown out the noise.
Weight loss isn’t a physical phenomenon. Yes, it manifests that way. But it’s actually much bigger than that. I only work out twice a week. I think about working out more. And my life is full. So I don’t necessarily want to be one of those people who races to the gym after work right after work just so I can say I went. That isn’t the approach I wanted to take this time around.
I hired a health coach. i got a buddy. I worked my a** off. Literally. January 9th, 2017, I started the practice of being proud. Even though I wasn’t where i wanted to be. I practiced. I woke up in the morning and I reminded myself that I was going to show up proud of who I was. I hated much of who I was, but I had made myself a promise to see what life would be like if I was proud. of who I was.
I hated this photo of myself. But…I was practicing being proud. I was unhappy and basically waiting to die because I thought that’s all there was….but I was practicing being proud. I was living like all the good things had already happened…but…i was practicing being proud.
7 weeks in I was struggling but I was starting to notice I had a wee bit more energy and my skin was starting to look pretty good.
3 months into it I was noticing happiness was becoming a regular thing for me. My eyes were much more shiny. I think even my smile was bigger. and I was starting to get cheekbones. And I was more uncomfortable than I’d been. I started to confront things that happened when I was a kid that impacted my life as an adult. I started to remember things that I had shoved down with food. When one stops emotionally eating, one has to deal with all of the emotions stuffed under all those years of bad foods and suppressing of feelings. I had to start having conversations that I never in a million years thought I’d have. In particular, with my mom. But each time I had one of those, I swear, I lost 5lbs. So as much as I dreaded them, the more I wanted to have them. I started to notice that people were starting to notice. things were transforming over here where i was. People were making comments. Men were checking me out. I was very uncomfortable with that.
Then, at 5 months, I realized I couldn’t stop taking photos of myself because I was so darn proud of who I was becoming. Being proud stopped being a practice and became a part of me. And it still is. (I highly recommend taking a lot of photos when you get started. Believe me, you’re gonna wanna do these side by side photos all the time to see what’s happening when you convince yourself nothing is happening.)
I gained some courage to get a haircut. I tried new hair colour. I bought a fun pair of funky reading glasses. I started to have some pep in my step. I stood in front of the mirror naked every day for 3 months and practiced appreciating the hell out of myself every single f**king day. Even on the days when I didn’t see anything worth appreciating. When I couldn’t see my feet because my belly was in the way and when I noticed my ankles were swollen or that I couldn’t stand the sight of my inner thighs. I made myself do it. And with each day, i started to notice that I had less to say about what I didn’t like and more to say about what I did.
I started sharing every single messy bit of it on Instagram (@lolaspeaking) including all of the horrible half naked photos that I’d never want anyone to see. Ever. Like this one, when I was 44lbs down and still wasn’t sure I could see a difference.
But I shared it. And I didn’t die. So. I kept going. and I kept doing what I said I would do long after the desire to do it left me. I stayed committed some days because I knew people were watching. And some days I stayed committed because my buddy was struggling too and it wouldn’t work for me to fall off rails too. And mostly, i stayed committed because I was starting to fall in love with myself, and somehow it seemed wrong to drown myself in a sea of excuses like I’d done in the past. This didn’t feel like it had ever felt. I wasn’t going to be done in 10 weeks. I had no 12 week program to finish. I wasn’t waiting until i finished that bottle of pills or that package of protein powder. I had entered the arena where the long game exists. I was ready. I was willing and it was time.
I started showing up for myself. I discovered new make up that had me show up differently. That made me even that much more confident. My face started shrinking. My hair started growing and I started referring to myself as a total smoke show. All the while, turning myself inside out, dealing with all the baggage that had been there my entire 47 years. From the age of 8. or 9 when I was made to stand on a scale in front of all of my family members during some kind of reunion because everyone wanted to know how much i weighed and I didn’t want to do it. And someone grabbed me and pulled me onto the scale and when they saw the number I remember one person in my family exclaiming that I weighed more than him – a grown adult man. And that was the beginning of it for me. A lifetime of humiliating moments. A lifetime of making myself feel better by sneaking multiple cheese slices and hiding the wrappers at the bottom of the garbage can.
I started working with a trainer. And spent countless hours crying at the gym during my sessions because I couldn’t move and I was embarrassed and i had such horrible and humiliating experiences with trainers in the past that I had to work through all that sh*t before I could commit to working with the trainer I now have and have had for a year. He’s amazing and he lets me workout and cry on days when I need to. And he believes that weight loss is more emotional than physical, so we deal with the sh*t when it comes up. And sometimes it’s excruciating. Because, as you’d imagine, turning yourself inside out would be painful.
I didn’t want anywhere to hide out anymore. I wanted to take this sh*t on. I wanted to become the best version of myself EVER. I shared with everyone who’d listen. And when I couldn’t find someone to listen, I shared on social media. Everywhere. About everything. It’s a great way to stay accountable. I started a youtube series called Chasing Wellness where I shared the good, the bad and the ugly.
And it was starting to happen. I was starting to see it for myself. I was SHOWING up in the world. I was willing to be seen. i was willing to be messy and turn myself inside out and be uncomfortable and deal with the sh*t and tell people about it. I was willing to do it all. As the weight started to come off, and the baggage started to fall away, i started to notice I had room in my life for other things. things that mattered to me. Like disappearing the diet industry (but that’s a whole other blog post). I started getting invited to speak at events about my journey and what it’s been like and how it’s possible to transform yourself in such a way that it becomes less about the weight and more about what kind of contribution one can be to the world.
I don’t have a goal weight in mind. I’m just stripping away all the unnecessary bits…kinda like Michelangelo did with his Statue of David…Once you start to lay down the armour that’s been keeping you from being seen…life occurs very differently. i started waking up happy. I started to want to be around people. i started to crave healthy foods. i started eating rice and potatoes again. I stopped beating myself up if I ate chocolate. I started noticing I’d shaved about 10 years off my face. Others started noticing it too. I started to notice that it wasn’t so much that people looked at me differently…but that I was started to relate to people differently. I no longer sought approval every where I went. I no longer cared if someone approved or didn’t of who I was. Because all that mattered, was that I approved of who I was and who i was becoming. I knew I was no longer looking for a band-aid for something that I thought needed fixing. I was transforming something that had never seemed possible for me before.
And most recently, I hit another milestone. -120lbs. Since I’ve documented so much of my journey through photos it made sense to find someone who weighed 120lbs and take a photo to show what that is. It’s not only one of the funnest photos I’ve ever taken, because the person across the hall who agreed to be in it, and the co-worker who took the photo, but because I’ve lost an entire petite adult woman. And I started out losing toddlers. 🙂
I never thought this journey would be fun. But I also never expected this journey to be as mindblowingly astonishing and extraordinary as it’s been. by the end of this year, I hope to be half my size and plan to have a big party to celebrate. And even if I don’t get there…I know that I’ll be working through a whole lotta stuff along the way, AND I can tell…I’ll already never have been prouder of who I am standing there on December 31, 2018.
I also think it’s worth mentioning, I spent the first 6 months crying and focusing on the food aspect. i took out all the things that weren’t working for my body and I put in all the things that would and are. Food is a big one. And I took that on while doing all this other stuff. The food was easy. To be honest, getting the food down was simple. I kinda wish I could tell you that was the hardest part, but nope. Once you’re ready to make those shifts, the food just gets easy.
if anything in this post inspires you, I hope you’ll share with me. If you’re strugging and you’re uncertain of where to start and you’re afraid of being uncomfortable, send me a message. This journey is not one that should be taken alone. I have an entire team of people along with me and I couldn’t have done any of it without them and their support. My health coach, my trainers, my health buddies, my co-workers, my friends, my family…none of this would be possible if I hadn’t shared it all with them along the way.
And i’m not even done yet…