I have struggled with losing weight for a very long time and on top of that I was also depressed and an emotional eater. I went through cycles of depression and emotional eating. I couldn’t stop myself from eating and I didn’t know how to process what was disturbing me but what I knew is that eating made me feel better, or worse😌. Eating makes you not think. It was like an escape.
I did this all the way through high school and just before I joined University. It was a struggle and anyone who has suffered any eating disorders will know this. It was taking me 10 steps back anytime I decided to start exercising and eat healthy.
This is how the depressive cycles would come: I would get depressed, eat to feel better, end up feeling worse coz of eating too much then beat myself up, which only worsened the situation as I would eat some more to feel better. A never ending cycle.
At the end of the day I was left with a feeling of shame and helplessness. It was so bad that one time I took lots of piriton tablets as I went to sleep wishing to die. The sleeping effects of the tablets didn’t even take effect. I was alive and kicking early the next morning.😁
I had read somewhere about forgiveness one time as I was still struggling with this issue. It was a concept on how to forgive one’s self. I got so excited as I kept meditating upon it. It felt like a freeing and empowering concept. I started applying it in battling emotional eating disorder. I didn’t need to keep on beating myself up. I could learn to forgive myself repeatedly whenever I went through this never ending cycle , show myself compassion and free myself of this shame and self blame. I stopped putting the self loathing stress on top of the stress of emotional eating. At first it seemed like recipe for continuing with the emotional eating habit. I was afraid that by not being accountable for my actions, that is, “by shaming myself and beating myself up”, the eating habit will become worse.
It didn’t. It became less.
This world has taught us that self loathe and punishment is an effective way of discouraging unwanted behavior so as not to repeat a mistake. That is one twisted lie. I realized that even though I was still emotional eating, I wasn’t as depressed as I would be if I followed with self blaming and self loathe hence the cycles weren’t long lasting. Soon I was doing less and less of emotional eating.
I know you are wondering how come I look this beautiful now. How did it work?
I continued working on my goals of eating healthy and exercising when I could even though I still had emotional eating problems. Since I was now forgiving myself, I would bounce back faster into my healthy routine instead of getting stuck on regrets, self blaming and loathe. Many people stop when they fall off the wagon, they fail to bounce back and keep on going. And that is what is needed. It’s not supposed to be perfect. Fall down two times, get back up three. It’s about winning more and loosing less, with time, the losing part is swallowed. 🔑🔑🔑
Let’s discuss about the strategy that I employed to lose weight permanently. It’s a strategy used by C.E.Os of top companies when they want to set goals that brings in RESULTS! It is called SMART strategy.
The S.M.A.R.T is acronym that stands for; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound. In order for a goal to be successful , these 5 things should be well understood and defined.
Let’s start with being SPECIFIC. What exactly do you want?
Weight is a wide topic and it’s also personal as each individual want different results.
I had a hard time knowing what I wanted specifically because of the shame brought about by how many times I tried and failed. Nevertheless, one needs to be bold, overcome the fear of failing again and write down what you want. There is power in writing down and setting intentions. I wrote down that I wanted to ‘be healthy’ as opposed to ‘losing weight’ as I felt it took pressure off me. Being healthy would equal loosing weight.
SMART goal should be MEASURABLE. This will help track the progress and stay motivated. If it’s going to the gym, write down how many times you want to be exercising and for how long. If it’s eating healthy, list down what you can be eating so as to nourish your body.
To stay motivated, one needs to get creative. Encourage yourself constantly by learning to pat yourself on the back for any effort you put towards your goal, and I mean any. Let me tell you, it’s so easy give up and not follow up with your goals so learn to celebrate your small wins, don’t beat yourself for fast results and have a positive attitude.
The secret to stick to your plan is this…show up. Even when you don’t feel like doing anything in your list, just show up. Let’s say you had a goal of running daily, if let’s say you don’t feel like running some days then take a walk , if not, then just stroll around. Keep moving. Clean the house even but don’t stay dormant. That progress within an year will be tremendous. I gave myself 2 years. This works very effectively than those intense diets that some people boast works in a month only to end up gaining the weight back.
A SMART goal also needs to be REALISTIC and ATTAINABLE. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible.
The first time I wrote my goal of losing weight, I wrote that I wanted to lose 10kgs(22lbs) in a month. This isn’t realistic. Back then, I didn’t understand the body in terms of weight and fats. The only way I was going to achieve that was if I was terminally ill in ICU…even losing 5kgs(11lbs) in a month is still not good realistically. Unfortunately, that’s what fast diets programs claim to offer in today’s health market.
What was realistic and what started working for me was the target of losing 1- 2kgs a month over a year or two years, even 0.5kg is better. If you want permanent results do as I am telling you. Slow is better. That weight doesn’t bounce back😁. I still meet my colleagues who I left dieting and they ask what I did.. two years down the line they are still dieting..lol
Finally, SMART goals needs a target date, that is, it should be TIME BOUND so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward.
I gave myself at least two years to see my results, I actually got my results within a year I can boast about it. Stretch your time for better results. Ask yourself, “What can I do six months from now?”. “What can I do six weeks from now?” “What can I do today?”
Long term goal when it comes to weight loss works, give yourself a year to two because in between you really get to learn a lot about what works for you and what doesn’t hence the weight loss becomes permanent. Give yourself room for errors, in fact, anticipate errors so that when they come you bounce back fast and not stay in regret.
I made so many errors that I learnt from. For example, I used to go to the gym every day and for long hours to the point I got a burnt out which triggered depression that I quit out of frustration not knowing that I was tired because I was overdoing it. The body needs time for rest and recovery.
Another thing I learnt the hard way is taking it easy at the beginning of an exercise program because the muscles are not used to it. I would hit the ground running instead of building up pace as I progressed then quit in the middle because I was tired. I am usually a very aggressive person so when I would join a class, I always wanted to be as good as those who had started earlier. I wanted to do to everything the trainer was telling the class to do perfection. If it’s 30 sit-ups at a go, I would strive to do 35, mind you am a beginner. That is how you hurt your back.
I learnt how to work as a group so as to lean on others for motivation. I also learnt effectiveness of doing weight training, that is, using weights like dumbbells so as to build muscles which in turn, burns the fat. Women think that weight training will make them look muscular, on the contrary, it actually make you slim faster while toning your body. I mean, look at me.
Healing from inside and taking back my power made me a Goddess. There are so many internal issues and childhood trauma that were brought to light that I can’t share here but I overcame all of them. The emotional eating disorder became orderly because I faced the feelings and traumas right in the face 😜 💪🏾. I eat so well now I don’t need anyone to tell me to stop eating. My body tells me on its own, I don’t even struggle, I stop automatically. That is the goodness of the human body, it can be conditioned to work differently and also it can be healed. Eating well is a practice. I eat everything btw, everything, in good and right portions. I make sure I eat greens, grains and lots of fruits which I love. I drink lots of water and put lemons when I want to feel refreshed. This has become a part of me and my body feels nice.
I don’t do a lot of exercise like I used to. I have come to incorporate exercise as part of my lifestyle, for example; cleaning my house, dancing, taking stairs instead of lifts, walking around in nature and doing light yoga stretches.
I stay away from negative people and negativity. I see stress I go the other way literary. People say I look 21 at most. It’s positivity and a good vibes. That’s my secret to aging backwards.