I recently looked back at my weight over the past two years. Except for the initial weight gain when I returned from Shepherd Center, generally I’ve stayed about the same weight. I felt a little crazy. Despite all of that food tracking and measuring, exercising and gym visits, obsessing over ever calorie, I was about the same weight. Whaaat?
Around that same time, I saw a book called Body Kindness in one of my social feeds. The book promised to “show you how to create a healthier and happier life by treating yourself with compassion rather than shame.” Life is too short to be at war with my body, I thought as I ordered it. If I’m not going to benefit from “dieting” and assigning myself a goal weight, I may as well enjoy food and quit worrying so much.
The part of the book that resonated with me was “firing the food police” and seeing food as neutral, declassifying foods as “good” or “bad.” I gave up recording in My Fitness Pal (MFP), bought foods I haven’t eaten in years and had a lot of ice cream. But food freedom didn’t automatically transfer into more mindful eating, an indifference to “problem foods” or weight loss. When I finally weighed after a few weeks, I was up a couple of pounds. That isn’t the end of the world, I know, but if you’re short and already a few extra lbs., it’s a good warning sign.
Despite my tendency to overeat using the Body Kindness concept, I did love the “Body Kindness” tips. I loved striking morning power poses in the mirror; getting more sleep and practicing more positive body self-talk. I loved feeling less conscious and more empowered. It didn’t lead to weight loss or even maintenance, but it felt good.
I’ve decided that for me, meal planning and food journaling worked; it’s empowering and energizing. I’ve returned to food journaling and my goal to eat healthier. But I also decided to continue incorporating those body kindness tips as I worked toward getting closer to my goal weight.
It’s only been a few days since I shifted my mindset, so I haven’t magically lost that extra weight I gained. I’m eventually going to weigh again, and I haven’t lost sight of my goal. Instead I’m going to judge my success by how I feel and how my clothes fit. Weight gain happens and weight loss is hard work, so I won’t give up or feel defeated if I struggle. I’ve got this, and I’m not alone.
For inspiration, I visited MFP’s website, where I found these tips to get back on track from MyFitnessPal’s blog. According to MFP, these five tips will help you get back on track:
START NOW AND START SMALL
Stop saying “I’ll start over tomorrow.” Instead of focusing on the total # of pounds you want to lose, start with the five pounds you can realistically lose in one month. And don’t obsess over working out for an hour every day of the week, when a nice walk outside for 20-30 minutes is a good start.
LOSE THE GUILT
It’s easy to feel ashamed, guilty and embarrassed when you gain or regain weight. Weight gain happens, so shift your focus from the past and set your sights on concrete actions you can take to move forward. Set attainable goals and celebrate when you hit them – striving for progress, not perfection.
CONSIDER HELP FROM THE PROS
Whether it’s a personal trainer, nutritionist, medical doctor or therapist, it can help to have someone holding you accountable.
MAKE A MEAL PLAN
It’s always helpful to plan out your meals to prevent you from falling back into old bad habits.
REACH OUT TO FRIENDS
Tell your circle of influence that you’re working on healthy eating. They may want to join you, and everybody knows that it’s easier when you have a fitness/food buddy. They can help by keeping junk food out of sight or not tempting you with unhealthy food in the first place.
Have you ever looked up and suddenly gained more weight than you anticipated? What was your wake up call? What did you do? And what are your tips for staying on track? I’d love to hear from you.