I was scrolling through Facebook today and came across a young woman I used to know. I met “Ellie” through my old weight loss company, where we both lost over 100 lbs on their products. Ellie lost 130 lbs in under 2 years and weaned herself from several medications—her journey was a great inspiration for me.
I found out today that she’s gained back all 130 lbs, plus another 20, in the past year.
I was gutted. I felt the pain she must feel at having to start back at square one of her journey. How had I been so lucky to avoid the all-too-common fate of gaining back all my weight?
“You moved the headstones, but you didn’t move the bodies!”
Weight loss, like any lifestyle change, is a struggle between inner and outer self. Focusing on outer self—our weight or health—is only part of the challenge. We can lose and gain the same weight over and over until we address the issue that’s beneath the surface. Until we shift our mindset and how we see ourselves, then the yo-yo effect is inevitable.
Body of a fit guy, mind of a fat boy
After I reached my weight loss goal, I was scared out of my mind. I had finally lost 100 lbs and saved my life; now, I was afraid that my stupid brain would take it all away.
Even though I was “Fit Boy” on the outside, I still had this 280 lb “Fat Boy” in my brain trying to call the shots. Every day became an obsession about eating enough vs. eating too much. I missed a workout—would I return to binge eating and being a couch potato next? The divide between my new body and old mind nearly led to panic attacks on multiple occasions.
My friend Pat, another 100 lb loser, gave me this bit of sound advice during this year-long struggle between Fit and Fat. He told me that the brain can take up to 3x as long to catch up with our body’s changes. Fat Boy would die off eventually, but I had to be vigilant about my weight for some time afterward. Here’s some of the steps I followed to conquer my inner struggle for weight loss:
• Recognize that your self-image will take time to catch up to your outer image. Be vigilant in watching how you go about your life, even after you reach your target body type. I talk about this at length in my post on secret saboteurs.
• Practice visualizing yourself as your ideal body type. I’m a big believer in manifestation through the law of attraction. How you see yourself on the inside will be reflected on the outside sooner or later.
• Talk to other people who have gone before you. This is the key one. Reach out to other people who have lost the weight and kept it off. Communicate your results with them weekly, if not more frequently. Remember: if they can do it, then so can you. That thought kept me going during my weight loss phase more than anything else.
• Finally, consider your daily choices. Water vs soda, pasta vs lean meats—which one moves you toward your goals? Keep a food journal like this one if necessary.
Getting to your ideal healthy weight isn’t easy; keeping it will be a challenge, too. I promise you this, though: reaching your goal and keeping that new you will be much easier when your brain catches up with your progress. Give it time.
I believe in you.