How many of you out there spend their whole life having a love and hate relationship with food? I have and it is a daily battle. It seems like I have been on a diet every day since I was 16. I have lived with fluctuating weight loss / weight gains and never having met the body ‘sweet spot’. Also, I don’t ever remember a time, where I could just fully enjoy a slice of cake without worrying about calories at the back of my head. But at the same time, I love food so much! my whole life had been about ‘the next meal’. Satiety seems to be the only feeling that makes sense and doesn’t disappoint.
When I embarked on a serious diet and lifestyle overhaul back in 2015, it took me 12 months to loose 40 kgs. Losing weight was difficult as I was suffering from PCOS and fatty liver disease. But nothing prepared me for the hell that comes with maintaining all that spectacular weight loss! Every day is a challenge to ensure I don’t relapse and get back into old habits. I desperately do not want to go back into old habits. More power to people who embrace their fuller figure and curves and whatnot. But the pounding headaches, fatigues, sleep apnea, aching joints, difficulty in finding clothes and the constant feeling of being unattractive … I didn’t want to go back to that.
It is not like, I no longer have demons, of course, we all do! I went through a lot trying to deal with emotional aspects after my staggering weight loss. This is also not something commonly discussed out there. You often see diets, super food and exercises being sold as the key to weight loss. It’s a science, they said. Calories in calories out, they said. But how about the ‘head’ stuff? Your emotions, your brains, your psyche?
In order to figure out why I wasn’t coming out of this weight loss unscathed mentally, I discussed my outlook with my nutritionist, a food coach and joined a weight loss group. Through my observation of others and my experiences, I have listed 9 weight loss elements that every soul who is struggling with their weight, need to truly understand and fathom in order to effectively conquer your weight issues.
There are No Finish Line with Weight Loss
I, like many people have always looked at dieting as a short-term project. Its like.. a series of short projects I have worked on my whole life. The goal always goes like… lose 15 kg in 3 months. So, I would work my guts out, lose all these weights, buy nice new clothes, fit into it for a good 2 months and then put it all back on again (or more).
After a few months of not watching my diet and feeling rather sick of being fat. I start the dieting cycle again. This time lose 17 kg in 3 months (for the additional 2 kgs I put on). This went on and on until the figure became, 40 kgs to lose in 1 year. To make things worse, it has become harder and harder to lose the weight due to all the yo-yo diets.
Fix This : One must truly understand this, ‘Losing all that weight, does not mean all your weight issues are solved and you no longer struggle with it’. The ability to truly understand this will be key to maintaining your loss, long-term. I had to re-train my brains to realise that, there is no such thing as the end, even after 5 years on, every day is still an ongoing battle to keep it off.
You Don’t Deserve Rewards Until you Fully Achieve Your Goals
A lot of diets talk about cheat days. About how you should reward yourself every now and again so you won’t feel deprived. These works for some people, but not for me. How many times have you spent Sunday morning eating your ‘cheat meal breakfast’, which lead to ‘cheat lunch’, ‘cheat dinner’ followed by cheat Mondays, cheat Tuesdays and the whole goddamn cheat week?
Fix This : For those who with the same willpower as me, cheat meals and rewards whilst dieting simply doesn’t work. That said, rewarding yourself occasionally during maintenance phase does wonders. You first must understand the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to lose and maintain the weight loss. Now you understand the scarifies it took, you will also understand that food that you used to consume daily such as soft drinks, cakes, lollies should be consumed occasionally in a small portion.
That understanding is the goal to which you finally deserve your rewards and cheat meal will be just that; one cheat meal at a time.
Your Life Revolves Around Food ? Change It
If you are a larger person and comes from a family who lives tends to revolve around food, welcome to hell and heaven at the same time. My parents used to own chains of restaurants and my mom is a fantastic cook. To this day, my mom would spend all day in the kitchen cooking and make great food. That woman can fry the hell out of anything! All family activities must revolve around food and that is all we know.
I struggle with this part of my identity a lot. This is who I am! It is difficult to tell your family that a small portion food is enough and there won’t be any seconds. They will look at you as if you are crazy, and ask if you are OK. Worse, your mom will become upset with you because you are perceived to be rejecting her LOVE.
Fix This : Portion control plays a big role. Share your food with others. Eat slowly and mingle while you are eating to give you a chance to fill full and enjoy your food. If family members becomes persistent when trying to push more food, it is OK to say no. Yes, you might hurt their feelings, but explain to them that you are doing it for your health. Remember, they are feeding you because they love you. Explaining that you are looking after your health so you can enjoy their food for years to come will only make them love you more!
It’s Not Just About Healthy Lifestyle
While people are saying no to sugar, no to carbs, no to salt, no to everything, these foods continues to dominate supermarket isles at a very attractive price. Everywhere you go, you will see it. Should the world be attacked by zombies, what will probably sustain you for survival will be Snicker’s bars as opposed to avocados. To truly sustain a long-term lifestyle with super food, no sugar, no salt, no carbs is not easy. This is especially when you have previously eaten them every day.
Fix This : The key is to train yourself. Embrace the happy medium and realise that in life, there will always be an opportunity cost. If you decided to consume 750 calories for lunch that day when your daily intake should be 500, realise that you need to compensate the 250 calorie surplus you just had. Let it be with extra exercise, reduction in calorie portion for dinner – what ever that needs to be done.
Exercise is a Life Long Effort
Not everyone is born with a fondness for working out and exercising. My idea of life is never having to sweat- ever! While Sam could just run around all day lifting weights, playing sports. He just absolutely loves it. I struggle with the concept of incorporating exercise as part of my daily routine a lot. I don’t consider my self inactive or unfit, but at the same time, I don’t like the idea of exercising to the stage where my body hurts from it. It shouldn’t be a punishment.
Fix It : Find a physical activity that you enjoy and make it part of your life. Something is better than nothing. I enjoy low impact, long duration style exercise. Like a slow swim, long walks or yoga. I find that style or exercise gives me the opportunity to ‘think good thoughts’.
Stress is a Bitch
I used to turn to food for every occasion and every emotion felt. Happy, sad, angry, stressed – name it. Sadly, being a big ball of an emotional roller coaster, I spent my life making the worst food choices. Pizza, Chicken Bucket, Coca Cola… It is not that I don’t understand nutrition, I read about healthy food religiously and my husband is a health nut! But having the knowledge doesn’t always equates to doing the right thing and making the right decisions.
Stress fat is a real thing, my friend. High level of stress is the worse thing to have when trying to lose and maintain weight loss. Stress and anxiety put your body on a high level of cortisol mode, which makes you hungry. This leads to more eating when you don’t need to.
Fix This : This isn’t going to be easy if you are a worry-er and work in high-pressure environment. The solution is easy but difficult to do. Do whatever you can to reduce your stress and cortisol levels. Exercise, meditate, orgasm, anything!
No Such Thing as Quick Results
All these weight loss supplements, diets and worse.. those gossip magazine about how Kylie Jenner lost all her baby weights 2 weeks after giving birth. They all need to come with a caution sticker ‘Might make you lose the weight, but will not sustain the loss, and might make you put it all back on plus some’. It takes time for even bariatric surgery patient to lose weight, let alone doing it naturally. Yes, you might lose water weight and a couple of kilos but we want sustainability! Quick weight loss just doesn’t offer that
Fix This : Aim for long-term solutions, mind and lifestyle change. Realise that this will be a lifelong challenge.
Relapse Happens, Just Don’t Give Up
The worst time for me is a few days before getting my period. I get lazy, moody, tired, sore and feeling of hunger I cannot describe. I can easily eat a loaf of bread with Kaya spread during this time. For some people, it could be a bad day, or a break-up or something as simple as a Birthday Celebration. But know this, it’s okay to relapse. We are human not a robot.
Fix This : You know what, I let it go. I eat as much bread as I want. I know that restricting my incessant cravings will only make my mood worse, which will make it worse for the people around me. Just make sure that once this is all over… it is time to take responsibility for my actions and get back to work off the loaf of bread. What I am saying is.. relapse happens… enjoy it when it does. But be mature enough for your body and mind to take responsibility for the relapse and make conscious efforts to make it right again
Get Your Emotional Baggage Fixed
I have always been an emotional wreck. Everything is always a drama. The more weight I lost and the better I look in clothes, the worse my state of mind gets. While from the outside, it seems like I am getting my life together, in reality, it is falling apart. My marriage suffered, my relationship with my family and friends took a toll. It was hell. I continue to feel like I’m drowning. Only once I speak to my nutritionist and become part of the weight loss support team that I realised, for as long as I don’t get these head-fucks rectified, it will be one of the catalysts that will hinder my weight loss journey.
Some of the emotional baggage that I had with me were :
- I love to eat all the times. I always must have food. Boredom is my biggest issue
- I struggled to handle the fact that my ultimate diet and lifestyle change, is going to change my eating habits forever. This means that Mackers, Chocolates, Soft Drinks and regular take outs and restaurant dining are over
- Exercise and I have to become besties and I hate exercising
- Weight loss meant that I now have tuckshop lady arms, instead of Madonna biceps (not that I ever had Madonna biceps)
- Even after all these weights I lost, I am not one of the ‘It’ girls.
- All these weights loss and I am still an emotional wreck about god knows what – I am just messed up , no matter how perfect life is.
Fix This : So on top of working on my body, I had to work to get my state of mind in order. It is an ongoing ‘work in progress’. Remember, it is a habit you have had with you your whole life, and now you are working to fix it. It won’t be easy but it’s worth the effort.
How did I get over these? I didn’t, I constantly deal with these every day. But I manage it better, much better than I thought I would. As a result, I have learned to accept some of the flaws, fixed and forget some of the others.
- I broke up with food.
- I ate what I want, when I get the cravings.. just much lesser portion.
- Exercise… I do activities that I like. Which is low impact and doesn’t hurt. Like Walking and swimming.. for a long period of time (1 hr solid, slow and steady).
- I hide my tuckshop lady arms by avoiding sleeveless clothing. Until I find it in me to start weightlifting and get that Michelle Obama’s arm.
- Becoming an ‘It’ girl requires a specific personality. It has taken me this long to realise that I don’t have the ‘It’ girl personality, because I am out there, loud, funny and beautiful in my own way. My own way are the reason why I have people in my life who loves me which I wouldn’t trade for the world. I also realised that.. I value my ability to listen, emphatise and make people laugh more than any other attributes, that is good enough for me.
So you have decided to make a life-changing decision to lose the weight. Along with that decision must come your firm and unwavering commitment to follow through. Just as I did, I encourage you to use the above information to achieve bigger dreams and aspire higher! All the best!
Do you have any other emotional insights you would like to share? Drop us a line below. We would love to hear from you!