A woman will come to me ready to work out. I explain that what we will be focusing on is strength training. We all know what the benefits are. She buys a package and starts working out the following Monday. She comes in apprehensive and nervous but gets through the first session and feels great.
She comes back the following Monday and does it again. She feels great!
After about five weeks and thirty-five times on the scale, she starts getting frustrated. No weight loss. It's not happening! Then here it comes: "See, it's not going to happen for me. There's something wrong. This is too much time and effort and money to be spending if I'm not getting anywhere. This was a mistake. It's my metabolism, it's menopause, it's my genetics. I'll never lose weight. It doesn't work. I'm failing again."
I understand completely. I really do. It took me two years working with my trainer before I lost ANY weight. I got frustrated. I didn't believe it would happen for me. I wanted to quit.
I am so very grateful I didn't. What I didn't know was during those two years, amazing things were happening that I just couldn't see yet:
- I was maintaining my health.
- I was boosting my metabolism.
- I was building muscle.
- I was getting strong.
- I was developing core strength.
- I was developing consistency and accountability.
- I felt so much better about myself.
- My brain chemistry was healing.
- I was becoming more confident.
- I was feeling empowered.
- I started giving up my excuses.
- I was dealing with my past.
- My heart was healing.
As all this was happening, something else started to happen. I started to WANT to go walk. I started to WANT different food. And my compulsion to eat when I was stressed or upset began to heal.
I started to believe this was possible after all.
Then I lost weight. Slow and steady. Maybe two pounds a month for about two years. A little slower than that towards the end of the two years. I am not sure really, I stopped caring how long it would take somewhere in there. I realized that the gifts that came with each pound far outweighed the pounds themselves.
Every pound lost represents something that must be dealt with first. These are personal to each of us. If you are someone who is stuck in all-or-nothing thinking, you cannot lose weight without dealing with that. Deal with it first then watch that pound fall away. If you are someone who makes excuses and doesn't take responsibility, you cannot lose weight without dealing with that. Deal with it first then watch that pound fall away.
This is the truth. This is how weight loss works and why diets and weight loss surgery don't, unless you deal with what's inside. You can't will it to happen from the outside in. You can't control it with counting and tracking. It is an inside job.
For most of us, this is great news. (I know it doesn't sound like it yet, but trust me.) For me, food and inactivity and all my other self destructive and compulsive behaviors were in place to keep me from having to deal authentically with what was going on inside. That is why, when I would try to quit them, it felt like all hell was breaking loose. They were like Band-Aids keeping the wounds and pain at bay. Had they been ripped away from me all at once, I'm pretty certain I would have died. There was just too much stuff underneath.
Authentic weight loss is a slow process, but it is an amazing process. It has so very little to do with food. It is about learning how worthy we are of respect and care. It is about knowing we are strong enough to sit with very painful or uncomfortable feelings without needing to escape into food. It is about learning we are empowered to make any change we want in our lives and believing that it is possible.
Don't miss out on the gifts by wanting to be thinner right now. Being thinner won't change your life. The gifts absolutely will.