How I Lost My Weight… And Kept It Off
Back in 2013, I was verging in on the dangerously overweight category. Closing in near 100kg, I pretended to be happy while emotionally eating my way through the dissatisfaction that my life had become. My clothes were constantly tight and uncomfortable and if anyone asked me to be in a photograph, I would either decline or ‘try to smile’.
It was while I was on a European Christmas vacation that I began to realise how unhappy I actually was. Each snapshot reflected back to me this person who was pretending to smile but who knew that life wasn’t going the way it was supposed to. My relationship, a decade in, was strong but lacked communication and had become stale. I was a high achiever at my job and had amazing team mates but I didn’t feel connected to it any more. I began to realise that my life seemed to lack meaning and that I had to make some big changes.
While away, I began to contemplate all the areas in my life that needed change so that, upon my return, I could put things immediately into action. By the end of 2014, I had managed to drop down to 80kg and my world was completely transformed. This is my story about how I lost that weight and how I’ve managed to keep it off since.
The world is full of options
My first step was my own head space. I had felt trapped. Trapped by my job. Trapped by my relationship. I felt like I had to compromise on everything and often in a way where I lost out.
“I began to realise that if I continued to embrace that mentality,
I was going to remain a victim of everything else
that happened around me.”
I stepped outside my comfort zone. I choose to enroll in a course. I knew that it was going to require an investment of my time but I also knew that it was something that I would love and give my life a whole new direction.
I had let being overweight hold me back from trying new things in my relationship. I decided that it was time to let that fear go. I made the decision not to let fear hold me back anymore and to open up to my partner, renewing our relationship and understanding of each other.
I started saying yes to things, even when I knew they would be confronting for me. I soon discovered that, even if I did experience awkwardness or discomfort, it would soon pass and I found out how much opportunity and choice truly existed in my world. I went from living at the mercy of the world to becoming an instigator of my own change and that was truly empowering. The moral here; don’t allow your own beliefs to fool you into the illusion that you don’t have a choice because you always do. It seemed easier to ‘feel trapped’ than to actually make a stand and bring about change.
I became mindful to the present moment
I had to examine my relationship with food. I had always thought that I couldn’t waste food but I hadn’t realised that I was treating my own body like a garbage can by holding onto that belief. I discovered that if I was bored or procrastinating, I would go and eat something. I probably wasn’t even hungry, not that I actually really knew; I wasn’t really present to what my body wanted.
I would just sit in front of the television and I would eat… and eat… and eat… and my mind and stomach were so disconnected that I wasn’t even aware of how full I was. Eventually, I would stop eating, unless I thought of something else delicious and decided I would eat that as well. My stomach knew no limit.
I began to change my relationship with food. I began to use mindfulness to reconnect my stomach and my body and I took a step back to learn what a proper portion size was. Sure, there were days where some emotional event would throw it out the window but that was ok because in those moments, with the stomach and the mind now reconnected, I felt this feeling that I hadn’t experienced in a long time; the discomfort that comes from being full! As uncomfortable as it was, it was the reminder that things were changing for me.
I explored what my values were towards food and towards myself. If I valued being healthy, what actions would I need to take to ensure that I lived and breathed that value. This wasn’t hard and it didn’t need to be over complicated; it just needed to be real and it needed simple, small steps.
I embraced small steps
Nothing gets me more annoyed than seeing advertising for ‘shake diets’. In what possible way is that sustainable? Are you telling me that you’re going to enjoy living on shakes and meal replacement bars for the rest of your life? Research has shown that fad diets don’t work and, more often than not, lead to more weight ultimately being put back on.
I embraced small steps instead. I made small changes in my world. In turn, they lead to a healthy, natural weight loss. Instead of Diet Coke, I replaced it with Soda Water. Instead of a muffin, I had a piece of fruit. I didn’t overshoot with ambition; I knew I wasn’t going to be able to run a 10km marathon to start off with but I could go for a half hour walk.
“I began to embrace the small differences that I could make right here,
right now and they all began to accumulate
into a big difference.”
I embraced some time in the morning to be mindful. It allowed me to become fully aware of what emotions I was experiencing. I can now notice when I’m eating emotionally and have more options to do something about it.
I set myself goals. I weighed myself each week. I wanted to be aware of where I was at. I knew that if I lost the weight, I could celebrate. If I didn’t, I could review the week and determine what small change I would make this week to turn it around again. It wasn’t being hard on myself; in fact, it was almost the opposite. I had given myself permission to know that every week wasn’t going to be a success but I had to know if it was a loss or a gain to keep on the right path. The small goals allowed me to know that I was also taking the time to celebrate that I was taking care of myself, showing myself respect and being accountable for what was happening in my life.
The bit that people who can’t lose weight will hate
The funny thing about all of this; after years of trying lots of diets and having a range of results, this time was the easiest out of all of them. It often felt like I didn’t need to try. It just seemed to happen.
I knew what my weight was and I knew where I wanted to go.
I used mindfulness to become aware of my emotional state and to reconnect the communication between my stomach and my mind so I knew when I was hungry and knew when I was full.
I made small changes in my life that embraced my values; exercising, eating healthy, doing things that connected with who I am and gave me some meaning.
I used hypnosis to strengthen my ability and to focus on what I wanted to achieve. It helped me to relax, to let go of emotions that were causing difficulty and to fully embrace who I was becoming.
I re-educated myself around portion control and I realised that I wasn’t trapped; that was an excuse. I was actually surrounded by opportunity and choice if I was prepared to step outside my comfort zone and ‘own it’.
Over time, I realised this wasn’t a diet; this was actually my new lifestyle. My new way of being. It was perhaps ‘weight management’ but the reality is that when you start to mend and heal the inside, the outside falls into alignment with it. To call it a diet would be a dis-justice; this was my own personal revolution.
Would it work for me too?
If there was a one-size-fits-all solution to these things, every other ‘solution’ would simply disappear, right? The people that have come to see me for changes in their weight have generally got what they wanted but sometimes not via the route that you may have thought.
If you’re an emotional eater, becoming aware of and addressing those issues is paramount before attacking the weight. You’re emotional eating is your coping strategy in life so removing that is like ripping a band-aid off an open wound; possible but not really recommended. Hypnotherapy can help to resolve those underlying issues and to connect you up with a new way of being that can deal with those difficult emotions in a more healthy way.
If you’ve simply become a mindless eater, an introduction to mindfulness and mindful eating along with ego-strengthening to help keep you on track is going to be a powerful way for you to reclaim your ability to manage your weight.
I can only speak from my own experience however I know that after trying every kind of diet under the sun, I realised it was often my own lack of commitment that was letting me down. After exploring hypnotherapy and mindfulness, I was able to fully engage in the ‘why’ behind my need to change and to create new behaviours, renew my many relationships and rediscover a respect for myself that I had pushed aside.
If you feel like that is something that can work for you too, then call me on 0403 821 807 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org