During my interview with Heather on the Half Size Me show we started talking about how to let go of an arbitrary number that we all have in our heads and allow our bodies to decide where it wants to be. I talked about how I didn't want to track calories or points for the rest of my life and that is very true. That is not a sustainable behavior for me and I also noticed that tracking everything would make me really anxious. If I was getting close to my limit for the day I would start to get nervous and be more likely to overeat or binge. I also noticed that I was tracking the same things every day and that when I got really meticulous about tracking I would start trying to cut out healthier food items to save me a few calories or a few points. Then I realized how ridiculous this was because it wasn't the chia seeds I put in my oatmeal in the morning that caused me to gain weight or prevented me from losing it. It wasn't my glass of milk or what I put on my sandwich. The real problem was binging and not being able to control myself around sweets and excessive snacking in the afternoon. I knew how to eat, and I knew what I needed to eat. Unfortunately the reality is that tracking comes with a certain mindset for me. In my mind I have paired tracking days with being "good" and non tracking days as being "bad" and my eating would sway either way based on whether or not I was tracking. And so, a more gradual transition is going to be required for me since right now I can't let it go without dire consequences.
Sustainable weight loss is really all about changing your habits, and for everything you take out, you need to add something in or else you will just be focusing on the things that you have taken out. For example I have added my blog, and I have picked up a new hobby: manicures! I also like to read blogs and listen to podcasts, and play video games. I have also add in exercise, gym time, and more activities with the kids. It's the days where I don't have anything planned, or I am lying around the house doing noting because I didn't plan anything that are the hardest for me. To be happy with your new habits and your new changes you have to keep adding things into your life when you remove things, otherwise like I said, you will be focused on the things you "can't do" instead of all the things that you now get to do.
This process of changing habits, requires me to change, obviously, and to be open minded. It requires trial and error, there will be success, there will be failure, but as long as I keep moving forward, keep trying to set a good example for my kids, keep trying to teach myself and my kids what and how to eat and I strive to eliminate emotional eating, substituting other activities, other coping mechanisms for when I am stressed, sad, lonely, bored, or tired I know I am making progress towards a happy healthy and active life. And that right there is the real goal. Not an arbitrary number on the scale. That is not what leads to happiness. People say it all the time: we think that once we get to a magical number on the scale we will suddenly be happy and all our problems will be solved. That is not what brings us happiness. That is not how we become happy. You can diet yourself to your goal weight and still be miserable. Happiness in weight loss does not come because you hit a number on the scale, it comes because you change who you are. Happiness comes because you choose to change the way you think about yourself, you rid yourself of all the negative self talk that is going on in your head and replace it with positive and uplifting thoughts. Happiness comes because you no longer obsess over your weight, size, and what you look like, but you focus on your accomplishments, and your future goals and you learn to love yourself, and you are proud of yourself. That is what leads to happiness in weight loss. Finding balance between eating foods you enjoy, and eating healthy. Learning what exercises make you feel good, and becoming a more positive person. All of these things require change.
Change is one of the key ingredients to successful long term weight loss. Right now I am still willing to change. I am willing to continue to tweak my food, tweak my exercise, change things up, and because of that I will continue to see improvements in my body. When I stop losing weight that is where my habits have led me. Once I am unwilling to change any more then my weight will stop dropping and if my weight stops moving down and I am happy with myself, I am at a healthy weight, I have the energy to be active with my kids, do the exercises that I love, and I like the way I am living then that is going to be where I stay, whether that number is 140, 130 or 125. Whatever that number is I will be okay with it as long as I am happy the life that I am living. If I stop losing weight and I am not happy with where I am at, then I had better be willing to change something or I will not lose any more weight. And changing doesn't necessarily mean eating less or exercising more. Changing could be eating yogurt with lunch instead of chips, adding a vegetable to every meal, doing a different exercise. Our bodies acclimate to the exercise that we are doing pretty quickly and we can plateau just because our bodies are used to what we are doing. If you have stopped losing weight, your body has arrived at the place your habits have led you and if you are not willing to change, then that is where you will stay. And I for one, like this notion. No dieting, no fussing, just living and working on becoming a better person. Learning new things, and continuing on this journey called Life.