I wanted to talk a bit about something HUGE I've had to learn along my journey. And it was something that wasn't easy to learn and accept. Maybe it's something that comes to many people easily, but not me. There's a reason why I've been on this healthy living journey for almost three years.
Ready for it?
Weight loss is NOT a physical thing. Yeah sure, we eat in a caloric deficit and exercise lots and those are physical acts .. But the reality is this: it's all a mental game.
Emotional eating, binge eating, under eating, over exercising, false hunger .. All mental. All detrimental to weight loss. And to be successful in a long-term healthy lifestyle (and healthy weight!) you need to come to terms with those issues, or else you'll always be struggling.
(This girl struggled. She struggled to breathe. To play with her son. To bend over and tie her shoes. To walk and talk.)
I look at myself through the years and reflect on my habits. My pattern was to diet and exercise all Spring and Summer, then come the Fall and Winter ... Well, it wasn't pretty. The diet ended, I fell into old habits, got depressed because of my weight gain and inactivity, and ate more to make myself feel better. And the excuses! "Oh, once winter is over, I'll be able to eat better because fruits will be cheaper!" And "when dad is out of hospital, I'll stop eating so much chocolate and Pringles and pizza".
The reality was this. I need to exercise to feel good and happy. It's a physical endorphin thing that helps the mental happy. I can't run (which was my exercise of choice!) outdoors in the winter because of my asthma (suffocating sucks) and so I'd do nothing all winter. And then the blues would kick in. And the binge emotional eating would get out of control .. And the pounds would come on .. And the tears would pour ..
After this happening for two years in a row, I finally learned from it. I was never going to get better and feel better if I didn't get myself out of that pattern. The reality was, I was heading down a dangerous road .. I can even show you journal entries that I wrote in tears, saying how scared I was to go to sleep for fear of not waking up because of that night's binge. Your stomach can suffocate. It's a real thing.
This year, I said NO to my pattern. So I can't run outside. But there is other stuff I can do. And I DID. I bought exercise workouts to do at home (PiYO, P90, 21-Day Fix) and did something every.single.day. I started taking zumba classes once a week. Exercise made me feel good, and I kept at it. And those days where I REALLY didn't feel like? Those were the days I MADE myself do it.
Exercise wasn't all I did. I ate well. I didn't give in to the "hot winter carbs" thing. And that took a lot of work. A lot of determination. SO much discipline.
And I learned about myself. Why I had certain destructive behaviors and compulsions. What my triggers were. I read books and I plan to never stop because it is an AMAZING thing to be able to dig deep and learn about yourself and better yourself!! It is the greatest gift you can give to yourself!!
And the hardest thing was battling those emotions. When something went wrong, instead of eating away my feelings, I actually had to DEAL with them. I had to allow myself to feel the sadness / anger or whatever it was and I had to deal with it. I had to resolve my problems instead of putting a pizza-shaped bandaid over them. That was SO hard and the thing I am most proud of. I know my emotional eating is something I will be working on for a very long time as it's a hard habit to break .. But I WILL DO IT. Because my goals, my health, my family .. All worth it. The people that mean the most to me won't get the best of me if I don't give them my best.
You want to lose weight? Live healthy? Work on the mental stuff first. The physical part, the weight loss, will follow. I promise.
So that's a lesson I've learned. I'm learning! :)