I’m 21 now.
Ok, not really. I’m 43. 😜
It dawned on me the other day that I have maintained around a 60ish-pound weight loss for over 21 years.
“Looking at the statistics -from a Harvard meta-analysis of 29 long-term weight loss studies, more than half of the lost weight was regained within two years, and by five years more than 80% of lost weight was regained. This means that based on our best estimates, only one in five individuals who is overweight is successful in long-term weight loss”.
Super quick backstory, at 14 I was diagnosed with anorexia which then merged into bulimia and about every other eating disorder in the book. I went from 89 pounds to 189 pounds in a short period of time in my initial “recovery”.
189-pound Sarah had a lot of crap to sort out to not turn to extremely harming behaviors to lose weight.
This process was NOT smooth. It took lots of exploring to figure out how to incorporate a healthy lifestyle. In the first 9 years of weight loss there were some yo-yos (largest being 20 pounds) but the last 12 years have been pretty smooth sailing.
What made me the top 20%
The one in five?
I can narrow it down to 3 main things!
#1). I stopped my black and white thinking.
It’s total garbage, stop it if you do it too.
I am an upholder by nature. If there is a by the book way to do things, I want to do that. Black and white thinking seems to be what I gravitate towards. If there is some rule set in my head, then I am very stubborn to turn from it. My eating disorder set in some strongly engraved rules that were not at all healthy!
The problem with this thinking is it DOES NOT fit with the actual life that happens around me. There is very little in life that is clear cut. It tends to set us up for a “good and bad” way of doing things. So, when I mess up on a rule or don’t follow through with what I have labeled good, the back lash is gutting. My mental state and who I believe I am as a person feels like I got sucker punched!
When I couldn’t stick to a “diet plan” or I skipped one workout because I was exhausted or sick or whatever I felt like TOTAL CRAP about myself.
Smooth sailing Sarah let this GO. For real. I let adequate be perfectly acceptable and it didn’t crush my soul. There was a new grey zone that didn’t rock my core. Ate too many cookies…oops that was not who I want to be. Skipped a workout, no problem, there is tomorrow. Then it was easier to step back into my routine. I wasn’t a failure; I was human and could still be someone who exercised and ate healthy.
Mind you, this mindset took years, lots of practice and repeatedly falling on my face. But I promise you, the “you idiot, why are you so weak, you know better” shame ALWAYS put me in a spiral of behaviors that didn’t lead me to the person I wanted to be.
#2.). CONSISTENCY. Or just adequately consistent!
Through all my ups and downs and figuring out what a healthy lifestyle looked like I focused on a couple things. I know I want to be a person who works out regularly, eats vegetables and is seeking information on how to improve myself.
CONISTANCY is seriously a superpower. But adequately consistent is KEY. This takes away the all or nothing mentality.
I haven’t gone more that 4 days without moving my body since I started my weight loss journey. The reward in that is SO high for me mentally and emotionally. Some days these workouts make me almost hurl because I am in the mood to really push myself (ok maybe I have hurled a few times). Somedays I just kind of half-butt do it and that is alright, something (even 5 minutes of stretching) is better than nothing and it keeps the habit of exercise going. I identify as someone who exercises. Just like I identify as someone who brushes my teeth. That is just who I am so there is no real thought work behind it anymore.
Consistently trying to eat “healthy” is my mindset. A huge struggle for me is getting enough veggies. I have adopted the mentality of 70-80% healthy eating keeps me at a happy spot. That leaves room for “treats” and not having to eat the perfect ratio of foods. Perfect ratios are so freaking stressful.
I have read at least a ba-zillion nutrition books. There is a lot of information out there and I have tried many different things. The main thing that pretty much all of them say is you must eat a ton veggies. I strive for the 2 pounds of veggies every day and I rarely hit it. Some days I just don’t want to – and I sit and pout as I chomp down carrots. Some days I eat 100% crap-ola food, but I know my average is more often on the healthy bend.
The main trend in my life is that I have been consistent at is trying to incorporate more vegetables into my day than I want to. The reward is also high knowing the health benefits and boost in the potential for longevity. This is hugely important to me since we started a little later having kiddos.
Because I am an upholder by nature, I am someone who will work out on my own. On the other hand, eating healthy tends to go in the dumps pretty quick though.
BUT, over time the level of exercise declines and my effort dwindles. Being around people reaching for a healthy lifestyle and improved fitness helps me stay the course and brings out the next level for me. It reminds me I am showing up to be a fit person who cares about what she puts into her body.
There you have it in a nutshell, my top 3.
What about you fine folks? Is there one area of these 3 you could add in.
Life can be like layering these things in. I didn’t do them all at once but over time these became the powerhouses that lead me to maintaining weight loss and not freaking out about it.
Let me know how we can help you in your journey. Your future is in your hands. You are capable of improving your health and physical ability no matter who you are!
Plus, this must be said – I would not be on a healing journey through my addictions without my faith and hope in Jesus - That is my guiding light that reminds me there is more to life than just pain and addiction. Freedom is possible.
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