It's "real talk" time.
I've been avoiding doing a 'progress' update here, and on my own personal blog, because I feel like I haven't had any progress. I go back and forth almost on a daily basis between "WOOO! I've maintained/kept over 100 lbs off for a year!!" and "Man, I should be further ahead than I am."
The truth of the matter is - that IS the journey. The journey doesn't always bring consistent scale successes because A) no one is perfect and we all have our slip-ups and our real-life issues to deal with, and B ) plateaus are NORMAL, and they will pass. The challenging part is to stay on track during a plateau.
Choosing the healthy way every day is hard.
But here's what I've been learning lately in my journey. Progress IS maintaining, and honestly - sometimes progress can come from gaining, too. Let me explain that before you think I'm crazy.
Every time I slip, whether it's just once on a random Tuesday or it's for a whole weekend when I'm not feeling so great in the mental-health department, I learn something. I learn ways to protect myself from it in the future, and I learn how to refocus and get back on track. As my journey has progressed, too, I've found that my slips become less and less frequent because I keep learning new ways to prevent it from happening again.
Each time that happens I have a little burst of pride.
The old 'me' would never have gotten back on track right away. I didn't bounce back, I just used it as an excuse to binge for a week... and then a month. Which always put me in a worse position than before I started, and on top of that I was always frustrated and mad at myself. I was mad because I knew what to do and how to do it, but I purposely didn't do it. Queue the vicious cycle; self-sabotage is a very real thing.
Thanks to my Nutracelle though, when I have the slip-ups I sit back, refocus on my plan, and I get to the root of the reason why the slip happened. Sometimes this is the best part. I've learned more about myself in this past year than I did the first year of my journey.
It's easy to get caught up in the scale victories and the looser clothes.
That part is the part you can control - with proper planning and support. You control what you eat, and what you don't eat. The harder part, in my opinion, is the expectations one puts on themselves, paired up with the guilt if you don't meet said expectations. The mental side of things is a little more out of your control.
I want to break that down a little bit more...
When you share your journey as publicly as I have, both within my family and friends and everyone in the Nutracelle family, I've found that at times there is an insane amount of pressure. No one puts that pressure on me - I do it to myself.
"People are depending on you - but you haven't lost any weight lately."
"If you tell them you slipped, you may subconsciously encourage their own slips."
"But be real with them too, share the struggles so they know they're not alone."
"I hope they don't think I'm just lying about everything."
"I can't believe people trust me for advice on this. I'm still struggling myself."
etc, etc, etc.
Those are just some of the thoughts that come with the role I've given myself. It's the exact opposite of the message I would want people to feel/hear if they were in my position. But it can be so hard to be kind to yourself.
So how do you combat that inner voice that's designed to break you down?
Well, it isn't easy. However, here are some of the tips I've started doing to help:
- Talk to your people. If you don't have a core group of people supporting you, then talk to me. I will help you see the good, and I will help to lift you up when you need it. I promise you that much. I actually have one 'customer' (that seems cold, she's my girl!) that refers to me as her "carb sponsor" because she talks to me about her struggles and I help her through them. Nothing makes me happier than helping. Talking it out is SO important. You'll find that you're not alone and that everyone goes through exactly what you're going through. It's so much easier to get through it with someone else.
- Remember WHY you started. This one is huge. Think further than "to lose weight" or "to be healthy" -- what really inspired you to change your life? For me, it was wanting to find a happiness in my day. I was living each day miserable. I'm not a miserable person, I love being happy and upbeat. Revisiting your WHY can help balance the inner turmoil you're feeling and help you find that motivation again. Write it down, print it out, tattoo it on you (hahah too far?)... just do what you need to do to remember that you started this for a reason.
- Keep a blog or a journal. This has helped me so much more than I could ever explain. I always notice when I get out of my writing habit, I get out of my healthy habit. A healthy mind is JUST as important as a healthy brain. If you're not a blogger, that's okay. It doesn't have to be public (my personal one isn't!), and it doesn't have to be fancy. Grab a notebook, scribble your feelings down. Sometimes what we can't articulate verbally can be written down. I see it as a form of emptying the trash - getting all of those pent-up feelings out helps to give me perspective about what's really going on inside. This has helped prevent me from going off track more times than I can count.
- Before & after photos. Even if you don't think you see a change - take them often, and compare them when you start feeling down. Show them to your core group I mentioned in the first point, or just share them with me! You may not see the changes in yourself, but I bet I will. There are times when I get so hung up on where I am right now compared to where I thought I'd be -- that I forget where I was. I put together these before & after comparisons last Friday, and I've felt SO good and SO motivated since I did it:
It's important to take the time to reflect. Your results don't have to be physical, either. Take note of your confidence, your posture, your demeanour, and everything else. Listen to your friends and family when they say, "You look great!" Even if you PHYSICALLY feel the same - they see something different. They see a light in your eyes again, and that's something that the scale will never tell you.
At the end of the day...
It's important to remember that this journey is hard. Each one of has our struggles with our own version of 'hard' but one trend we all seem to follow is that we expect ourselves to be perfect, and we expect consistent obvious results. When our brains start to become the enemy, we have to take a step back and evaluate what's going on, and why.
The only failure in this journey is giving up.
Thanks for reading my lovelies,