This is a difficult post for me to write. Laying it all out makes me feel vulnerable. Although at the same time, it feels extremely liberating, especially for someone who used denial as a way of coping for such a long time.
Also, I wanted to add that this is not the traditional definitive transformation post with an extraordinary before and after picture to support it. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that what I’ve achieved so far is amazing but I am not at the end of my weight loss journey. In fact, I am just past the middle point (my objective being to reach a healthy body weight range based on my height/age).
In all my years of trying to lose weight and get healthier, I’ve never gotten past that point actually. Maybe that’s why I think it’s the best time to openly talk about my fitness journey. Indeed, this transitional period – where I’m hitting a major plateau- is really hard emotionally because, since I’ve never been past that point, I’m starting to doubt that I can go further and create more change. And since I want this blog to be a place where we can help and motivate each other, that’s where I want to start.
I intend to write different articles on the subject, such as reviews of the fitness programs I’ve been following for the past two years or the nutrition and fitness books that have helped me along the way, as well as the people I like to follow for inspiration and motivation. So this is my fitness introductory post.
Weight loss history
I don’t know exactly when I first began dieting. It has been a long time, that’s for sure. It seems to me that I’ve always been in the process of trying to lose weight. I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I was a child.
I was a chubby kid that turned into an overweight (and then obese) teen. I remember that, at the time, denial was my main way of dealing with it. I knew that I was overweight but I feared talking about it because it would mean acknowledging that there was a problem. So I tried to avoid any situation where my weight could become an issue. I just wanted to skim over the question and move on. At the time, I didn’t genuinely believe that I could change. Now, this doesn’t mean that I was not trying to live my life fully. It just meant that I tried to push aside what I perceived to be a great problem, so that I didn’t have to face it.
During this time, I was regularly on some sort of diet. I remember that one of them had “worked”, for a few months anyway (I had lost quite a bit of weight). But that never lasted which is not a surprise with hindsight. Indeed, I wasn’t interested in knowing how my body worked or how to truly take care of it. I just thought that a diet would enable me to shed the excess weight and that I would miraculously keep it off for the rest of my life once I was “normal” like the rest of my friends. With such an approach, I was very far from thinking that I needed to change my lifestyle.
My first significant attempt at weight loss (35 kg) happened when I was 20 years old. I dieted hard and exercised a lot. I was so hungry at night that sometimes my stomach would hurt from it. Stupidly, I was happy about it because I thought it was a tangible way of knowing that what I was doing was working. I managed to maintain my new weight for about a year and then it slowly came back on, one kilo at a time. When I say that, I can’t help thinking “how could you not realize that you were gaining back all the weight you had lost?” It seems impossible not to. I think that I was again in a form of denial. I only remember that one day I realized that I was back in my old big size clothes*. It was quite a shock. After that, I pushed the problem away and kept going with my life, but I was still unsatisfied with my weight.
* I’ve now learned to bin the old clothes when I change size. That way, you don’t leave a door open and it’s a healthier approach mentally.
The aha moment
I saw a documentary on TV once about overweight people and how they were affected by it. You had the usual people that struggled with it and tried to lose weight. On the other side were the people who accepted and loved their bodies and weren’t denying themselves anything. (I understood at that moment that you can’t assume that because a person is overweight that automatically means that they want to change that.) That’s when I realized I was firmly in the first category. I wasn’t happy with how I looked, felt and lived. I envied their ability to accept themselves but I wasn’t at a place where I could do that. That didn’t mean that I was able to act upon it immediately though. It’s just something that stayed with me.
Fast-forward to the end of 2014, around the month of November, when I sort of gave myself an ultimatum. I thought: “You are in charge of your life and your body. If you really don’t like how it is at the moment, you have the ability to change that. If you don’t do that, it means that it’s your choice too and you have to deal with it”. So it was freeing because it meant that I wouldn’t judge myself if I failed. And so I began with something I liked which was exercising. ( I will make a detailed post on the programs I followed and how they slowly made me stronger.) I began by following at home workout videos a few times a week. At the beginning of January 2015, I was exercising every day. Alongside this, I was being more careful about what I was eating.
Where I am now
During the last two years, I have gotten stronger. I’ve developed a love for exercising. That’s something that I find empowering and so motivating. Sometimes, I take the time to look back and realize that, at the beginning of my fitness journey, there were exercises that I wasn’t able to perform (anything that wasn’t low impact really). I’m so proud of myself for how far I’ve come. I have now lost 26 kg. Weight-wise, I am at the same point I was when I lost the weight in the first place. However, I am much more stronger now.
Current transitional period
As I said in the beginning of this article, I am hitting a plateau at the moment which means that I stay around the same weight. It might be my body’s way of adjusting progressively to my new lifestyle. I think that it’s also linked to the nutrition aspect. It’s still my weak point, not because of a lack of information but more because of emotional eating. I now understand the saying “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet” (not that my diet is bad but there is a margin of improvement, especially regarding portion size).
This is also a period of self-doubt. As I said in the introduction, since I haven’t gotten past that point yet, I ‘m not sure that I can go any further. So, it is a constant struggle between feeling good and believing I can do it and feeling like I’m stuck and can’t move forward. However, the important point is that I keep pushing. That’s what’s going to make a change.
The years it has taken me to get to this point have enabled me to strongly establish this new lifestyle, to the point where I know that I can’t suddenly go back to my old ways or regain the weight I lost, like I did a few years ago. I’m in charge now (like I always was but now I know it). I’m also beginning to realize the importance of body acceptance at any stage of the journey because losing the excess weight is not going to make you love yourself automatically. So those are the current things I’m working on.
Reading back this post, I realize it’s more of an introspective piece. It might not explain in details how I’ve gotten to this point but, as I said, I will write more articles on my fitness journey later on. I needed to give you a bit of background first. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments or DM me on Instagram.