Wouldn’t that be nice? If losing weight was like a choose your own adventure book. To have some say in determining when, where, and how you lose some of that stubborn, uninvited weight.
You’ve worked hard this week watching your sugar intake and starting an exercise regiment. What should you do next to continue crushing goals? Want to lose 8 pounds off your stomach, jump to month 3. Tone up and build your glute muscles, jump to month 2 instead.
And although it isn’t a chose your own adventure, the journey is a story of its own with its challenges, plot twists, development, surprises. Unlike a choose your own adventure story, though, I can’t skip forward to check out the outcome and then decide what path to take. No, I had to discover the story as I went, learning a few outcomes I didn’t realize would be part of the story. There are a few things I wish someone had warned me about when it came to adjusting to the changes I made in my life. So here are 5 little golden nuggets I wish I had received in preparation for my lifestyle change.
If you are a female, you will more than likely lose your boobs.
I lost my boobs. That’s right. I said it. My chest has become extremely flat. I was not prepared for that hit. I’ve dropped 3 cup sizes in 6 months and had to purchase a small sports bra the other day. Small…a small. I didn’t even wear a small when I hit puberty and had to start wearing bras. The word “small” was nonexistent in my vocabulary. I know this seems like something miniscule when it comes to my journey, but it was still a struggle for me and something I wish I had been prepared for as a potential result. Something had changed so drastically on my body, I was unsure how to embrace the change. A characteristic that used to define me for years, no longer defined me. And for some, the area that changes drastically may not be like my situation, but when our bodies change, we have to learn to embrace the good and the new. We have to learn and recognize lifestyle change is a process and part of that process is accepting new things. I could have chosen to continue fixating my frustration on a part of my body, or I could choose to realize that I am healthier and fitter now-which is a much better viewpoint. And because of that realization, if I had the opportunity to flash forward and see the different possible outcomes to my story, and decide what page I would want to turn to in order for the story to end the way I wanted, I would still choose this one.
You will wake up one morning and feel like you are on an episode of “What Not to Wear”.
I was unaware of the amount of clothes I would need to remove from my closet. But I clung to denial that I wouldn’t need new clothes. I didn’t want to part with my old wardrobe because, well, money. It can be expensive to replace things. But there is always that point you reach where you just have to let out that sigh of defeat and accept that it is time. I felt like I was standing in the dressing room of mirrors in an episode of the show, thinking to myself that none of my clothes flattered me anymore. My pants were falling down my hips, sagging in areas they never had (along with my boobs, I lost a bit in the trunk), and my shirts felt baggy and oversized. No matter what I tried on and tossed into a pile on the floor, I felt unkept and disheveled. I felt unattractive and uncomfortable. I needed new clothes. This is not a cheap stop on my health journey, friends. In the past few months, I’ve dropped several shirt sizes and 4 pant sizes, but no one informed me that my attempt at getting fit, healthy, and happy would be a financial investment. Giving your wardrobe an entire makeover can be quite daunting, so I have learned to do it in phases. Sometimes lifestyle changes require baby steps and that’s okay. Don’t expect to do it all at once.
You will have to learn to love yourself again
When you go through a drastic change in life, it’s easy to get caught in the mindset that all your former insecurities and doubts will just go “poof”, evaporating into thin air, never to be seen again. Wrong. If anything, we are prone to becoming victim to the insecurities more, finding new and different “flaws” after the change. When we make the choice to thrive that is when our inner demon tends to rear its ugly head, trying to make us believe we are incapable of living our best lives. Even though I have made great strides in embracing myself, I still have to learn daily what it is to love myself, not seeking out my identity and approval from other people. Yes, I grew to be comfortable with myself and gained more confidence, but that didn’t stop my inner critic from telling me lies. I see the excess skin that hangs off my stomach and cringe. I see a little extra on my back that I can’t seem to get rid of. I see the skin that still hangs off my arms a bit, my little “chicken wingsm” But allowing these insecurities and doubts to overcome my thoughts only causes me to regress back into that negative mindset of believing my identity rests in them. But it doesn’t. Your identity, your worth does not rest in the words you say to yourself that tear you down. And it always brings a smile to my face when people give us that reminder.
Recently, I started to not like my quads. I felt like they protruded and stuck out. I thought they were too big, not flattering. My inner demon tried to attack this new idea that was bringing havoc into my mindset. She tried to make me believe once again that I wasn’t good enough for her standards, but why should my inner demon be my compass, guiding my standards? In the moments we tend to doubt ourselves, though, is when we tend to be reminded about our truth. I had someone tell me they were very aesthetic and nice and that I must have worked hard for them. I was reminded in a moment when my demons almost won, that loving myself in all stages of my body and not allowing my inner demon to tell me otherwise, is what will allow me to fully thrive. I love myself. I love who I am discovering. And I am learning to love my body. And I don’t think enough people tell themselves that because of fear. Believe in your body. Don’t be afraid to truly love yourself. You are capable.
You will gain confidence but make sure to still seek out humility
I admit there are moments in my journey where I haven’t been very humble. I haven’t thought about how my actions or words will come across to others, especially those I care about greatly. I was sharing more of my progress with someone the other day, proud of more of my accomplishments because I knew he would be proud of me. I knew I would get reassurance that my new found confidence was valid. But there is a fine line between confidence in yourself and coming off with a sense of insolence. I got lost in my results, my progress, my confidence without realizing I was creating a space for potential disappointment, frustration, and discouragement in someone else’s life. That should never be our intention. Sometimes I get lost in my story that I fail to remember and focus on the reasons why I share it: to help others find their own voice, their own story. I know I didn’t make the gains and results I have made thus far all on my own. But getting caught up in that overcocky voice inside my head sometimes tries to tell me otherwise. Again, lies the inner demon tries to express. Gaining confidence but lacking a sense of humility will only cause you to approach your journey and others in a toxic way. Instead of creating space for honest and genuine, authentic connection, a lack of humility will cause toxicity to slowly plague the environment.
Your progress is your progress. Be prepared for quick or slow and steady. But be patient through it all.
When I started to focus on my health 6.5 months ago, I didn’t think I would see the results I did. I never thought I would be capable of losing 40 pounds in that time frame and feeling more energy than I ever had (even in my teenage days of swim season). But I did. My progress had a quick jump start, and I had to continue adjusting my life accordingly. But I have also had stages of lull and lack of the progress I wanted to see. In those moments I had to learn to be patient and discover that my progress is my progress. My results won’t be someone else’s results, and I can’t expect the journey to always be rapid fire. But once you have a taste of that, it’s hard to let go and embrace every stage of progress. We tend to put so much pressure on ourselves to seek out certain goals and results (which don’t get me wrong is good. Goals and results are important in the process) that we fail to understand the process itself. We set certain expectations, we leave no space for flexibility when it comes to progress. Be patient and kind to yourself while you discover your progress.
I am okay with my journey not being a choose your own adventure story. If it were, I don’t think I would discover as much about me. I wouldn’t be living up to my full potential. I wouldn’t be thriving. I would skip forward to what I think is the best path and best storyline. But I don’t want to skip to month 10 and not be able to look back and say “That. That moment in month 8 is what got me here in month 10.” Don’t miss out on the present part of your journey because you are too focused on how it will end.