10 Things I Wish I’d Known

I probably would have started this whole weight-loss journey thing a lot sooner had someone told me:

10. You will eat more than you did before. It’s true, I now eat six or seven “meals” a day. I’m never (OK, seldom) hungry. I feel like I’m always eating now, whereas before I was eating just three too-big-and-unhealthy-to-keep-me-full meals — and I was always hungry. At least I thought I was. Now, I can eat a lot more because I’m mixing in healthful foods (fruits, veggies, lean proteins) and nixing the really naughty stuff. Plus, add in all of the exercise I do each week, and I get to eat even more! Yay for burning lots of calories so I have to eat a few more to fuel my body! (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t use the excuse of “I just worked out so I can eat a brownie.” I eat more of the good stuff so I make sure my body’s got the energy and strength to get me through my workouts — and my everyday activities.)

9. Don’t be scared of loose skin. It’s not that bad. Really. Sure, it isn’t the most appealing thing when you’re naked. And it wiggles and jiggles strangely when exercising — especially when you’re boxing. But it hides nicely under clothes and it’s a heck of a lot better than what used to be in its place.

8. You’re changing more than your body. My body is definitely changing: shrinking AND shifting. And it’s nice. I’m loving being able to fit into clothes I used to only dream about. But it’s become about so much more than that. My whole outlook on things has changed. And the mental part of weight loss — especially significant amounts of weight loss — continues to amaze me. Some days it’s really difficult to put together the image I see of myself on the outside and the image I carry around in my head. Will I ever stop thinking of myself as that 271-pound person? Who is this “new” me? Does my weight affect my core values — does it matter on that grand-scheme level? This “battle” is definitely as much mental as it is physical.

7. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. (ahem, 6) really is worth it. Not only does it start your day on the right foot and get your energy flowing, you get to see really awesome things: the sunrise, steam rising off the river, deer jumping across the path in front of you. Plus, by 8 a.m. I already feel like I’ve accomplished something quite cool. And, I’ll be honest, I like knowing that when some of my friends are barely rolling themselves out of bed, I’ve already run a 5k or beat the heck out of a punching bag. (Does that make me a bad person?)

6. You’re going to be happier. And it’s not just because you’re looking better — because that’s not (completely) what this is about. It’s because you know you’re making positive changes for yourself. I feel great knowing that I am doing this for me, for my future and for my future children’s future. Plus, those good ol’ exercise-released endorphins certainly help matters. While I enjoyed my teens (kind of) and my 20s weren’t so bad, I’m finding that 29 has, so far, been one of the happiest years of my life. And I know wholeheartedly that losing weight and getting healthy is one of the biggest reasons.

5. This is easy. OK, so it’s not easy easy. But it’s simple. Calories in, calories out. It’s simple math. And once you get the hang of it, you know exactly what you need to do. Does that mean that you won’t have slip-ups or won’t make mistakes. Heck no. We’re all human. But, in my mind, I know what it takes to take this weight off. I’m blessed in that I don’t have medical issues that can make it more difficult than it is. I’ll go back to something one of my elementary school teachers ingrained in all of us 8-year-olds: “I think I can, I think I can’t. Either way, I’m right.”

4. You don’t have to give up your favorite treats. Hello, ice cream! I always thought that losing weight meant being miserable, eating flavorless diet foods and constantly longing for your friend’s hamburger. I have yet to feel deprived on this journey. I treat myself, and I enjoy life. We wouldn’t have taste buds if we weren’t supposed to truly enjoy what we put in our mouths. While I don’t have food-fests anymore where I gorge myself on everything I can find, I do eat ice cream cones and cake and chips and whatever else I want — in moderation. I always smile a little when someone asks me “Can you eat that?” My response is always the same: “Yes, I can eat whatever I want.” And I do.

3. You are SO worth this. This journey is costing me a lot of money. A lot. From my Weight Watchers membership and my heart rate monitor to my expensive running shoes and my trainer to my gym membership and my good, healthful food, I invest a lot of money in this journey, this body. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention all of the new clothes I have to buy because my size keeps going down, down, down? And what about time? I spend a lot of time getting fit and fabulous. There’s gym time, training sessions, Weight Watchers meetings, food prep time. And the list goes on. But, if this body — the only one I’ll ever have — isn’t worth the time and money, nothing is. Heck, it’s even cost me a few friends — more on that in a later post. But right now, I need to focus on me. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy and money putting other people, other things first in my life. Now it’s my turn. Cuz, darn it, I’m worth this. I deserve to feel good and feel good about myself. Besides, I work really hard for my money. And, truly, why shouldn’t I spend it on me?

2. Yes, you can do this. No matter how much weight you have to lose, I guarantee that you’ll learn things about your own strength and power that you didn’t know before. I never thought I’d be able to run. And here I am running almost every day. When I started this journey and had 120 pounds to lose, I was scared. That’s A LOT. That number alone is what kept me from losing weight in the first place. It’s a number that seems insurmountable. I knew — knew — I couldn’t do it. But, guess what, here I am, down nearly 85 pounds and still going. My self-confidence has climbed not only because I’m looking and feeling better but also because my body is doing all of these amazing things I didn’t know it could do.

1. You’re not in this alone. Yes, I am doing this for me. To be successful, that truly, honestly has to be the No. 1 reason behind a weight-loss effort. Doing it for someone else just won’t cut it. However, in the beginning, it was my little “secret” that I joined Weight Watchers. I was scared of failure and scared of letting someone down and scared that if I couldn’t do it, I’d be judged. But I’ve learned over the course of the past eight months that the more people I have on my side, cheering me on, the more success I’m going to have. We all need support systems. We all need at least that one person we can call and share our triumphs and our failures. Whether it’s family (thanks, Mom), friends or this very Tumblr community, we all need someone there. And while they can’t all relate to what you’re going through, if they’re your true support system, they will make darn sure that you know they’re there for you.

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5 responses to “10 Things I Wish I’d Known

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