Body Positivity Was Keeping Me Fat + Unhealthy
I recently posted about my weight loss journey with my before & after photo and I got so many comments, questions and DM's about it that I figured I should do a blog post on it and share more about my journey and answer your questions! Here is what my post read:
When you feel like you’re not making any progress & ready to give up, you need to know that change happens when you alter your daily routines.
It happens slowly. It happens even when it feels like nothing is happening.
Even the subtle changes can have massive impacts over time.
The first photo was taken in 2019 at my heaviest weight of 270 lbs. I’ve lost 60 lbs since that photo which is only 23 lbs a year.
How achievable is it when you break it down like that? Could I have done it faster? Better? Stronger? Sure.
But developing healthy habits that stick is about consistency over time not speed.
I think body positivity is important as long as you’re mindful of improving your health & wellness. The truth is I used it as an excuse to be happy with my unhealthy body and it was keeping me sick & extremely obese. I was putting myself at risk.
You could say “you only live once” or “just love yourself the way you are” but you could also decide to feel alive & well everyday.
Alive & well was not how I was feeling at 270 lbs no matter what kind of positive self talk I talked.
Sometimes it’s ok to be unhappy with yourself and hit rock bottom. Struggle is where change happens. Not everything has to be covered up in positivity all the time, that’s not real life.
I had to learn so many things, but the most important was to love myself enough to make a change.
A change that would help improve the quality of my life, relationships, energy & longevity.
I’m still learning this whole healthy lifestyle thing. It’s challenging. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. I’m still just over 200lbs in my second picture.
You can still enjoy great food & treats… if you’ve followed me for any amount of time you KNOW I do. I just learned to balance them out with healthier days in between.
It’s a lifestyle, not a diet.
It’s a few more healthy choices to balance out the dessert.
It’s a few extra steps a day.
It’s being real with yourself about where you’re at.
It’s your health & it’s quite literally… Everything.
Ok, so now that you have some context, I'm going to begin by answering the most common question I've been getting:
What is your secret & how did you do it?
The funny thing is, we all know that there's no secret and we all know how to do it, we just don't want to accept the reality of having to eat healthy & move our bodies. To put it bluntly, we want to have our cake & eat it too. Myself included! It's just not the way this works...
First, I had to be honest with myself and understand how I got to be 60 lbs over weight to begin with. I own a bakery, so I started with that. But, it really had nothing to do with me owning a bakery, after all I still own a bakery and I'm 60 lbs lighter now. Once I dug a little deeper and got painfully honest with myself I was able to come to the following conclusions:
1. I wasn't intentional nor mindful about what I was eating, how much I was eating & if I was really even hungry to begin with.
I literally just ate when I wanted & what I felt like eating. That's it. There was no intention, no planning and no effort what so ever when it came to my nutrition and eating habits. If this is currently you, I suggest you re-evaluate. Our society is so accustom to this way of living and eating which is why our population is struggling with obesity. You have to be mindful & dedicated to making nutrient dense meals most of the time. When I say most of the time, I mean most of the time not just some of the time. If you give in to cheat meals too often, it's easy to get carried away and sometimes cheat meals can really counteract the calorie deficits you create if you're not careful.
I also had to start paying attention to when I was actually physically hungry. I didn't even realize this was an issue until a visit to my doctor's office for my annual check up appointment. My doctor told me that as a general population, we're all eating way too much and we are eating out of emotion and not out of hunger. When I started to actually pay attention to my eating habits, I realized just how often I would grab a snack to go along with my mid-afternoon coffee just because it tastes good with coffee. By the way, just because something tastes good with your favourite beverage does not mean you're hungry. I started to pay attention to these habits and slowly, I started eating less and waiting until I was physically hungry to eat. Meaning I could either feel or hear my stomach gurgling. This takes a tremendous amount of self discipline to stop emotional eating habits but I promise if you work at this, you will get the hang of it!
2. I misunderstood the whole "body positivity" movement and it made me believe that my body was fine the way it was.
This doesn't sounds like a big deal but it was one of the main reasons I remained at a very unhealthy weight for a few years. Though this movement is meant to be positive, it was not having a positive impact on me or my wellbeing. It was giving me the permission I wanted to hear in order to make myself feel better for over indulging and lugging around excess weight. This movement definitely has its place when it comes to teaching us to love our bodies considering there are so many bodily imperfections we have no control over or cannot change, but obesity isn't one of them. I may not be in control of stretch marks & cellulite but I am in control of the overall health of my body and how well I take care of it. The honest truth is that we need to learn to love ourselves enough to eat healthy, move our bodies & aim for overall wellness. I'm still learning this myself, and it's not easy but how heavy of a burden is it carrying around the extra pounds? Even just 20 extra pounds gets heavy, think about picking up a 20 lb dumb bell and carrying it everywhere all day. You'd be exhausted! That's what the extra weight is doing to your motivation & energy, subconsciously draining you every day. My best advice on this topic is to learn to love yourself, have grace and patience with where you're at now (even if you know its not where you need to be) and take daily actions towards improving your health. That's what developing true self love looks like. I'm so glad I unlearned this so that I was able to be honest with myself & relearn healthier habits. You can still love yourself as you are today while working on becoming a healthier version daily!
3. Not seeing results daily or even weekly drove me nuts.
I'm extremely results driven & if I start putting all my effort in, then I expect to see the results. Like, yesterday! This is actually what kept me in the yo-yo dieting loop for many years because I would eat healthy for a couple of weeks, see little to no results and give up. The reality is, I didn't gain 60 lbs overnight so why would I think I would lose 60 lbs overnight? It made no sense. I had to change my mindset and tell myself that this was a lifestyle change meaning I wasn't going to go back to my old habits regardless and eventually if I kept eating the right foods and moving my body more that inevitably my weight would start to go down. I stopped obsessing over the scale & I started following health & wellness influencers on Insta to keep me motivated and stay on track. I learned a lot from following other people who put their health and wellness at the top of their priority list.
4. I found a diet that I could live with & I keep it interesting.
Do not try to change your diet entirely. Figure out a healthy way of eating that you'll be able to stick to long-term & most importantly, make healthier versions of your favourite meals (yes they do exists, you just haven't found them yet). I've been following a keto diet for 2.5 years now and I started out very strict right before Christmas time (yes I passed on holiday dinner & dessert) but it was really important for me to build self discipline. If you constantly give in every time someone offers you a (super delicious) donut then you're not building any confidence in yourself or your ability to say no to things that aren't aligned with your goals. Teaching yourself self discipline will take your life to so many new levels you have no idea. Start with your diet and watch it trickle into other areas too. We live in a world of instant gratification- next day Amazon deliveries & groceries delivered right to your porch... we desperately need to reinstate self discipline in order to live the life we want to live. The keto diet included a bunch of my favourite foods that I was already eating, therefore making this a fairly do-able diet to stick to. If I decided I was going to do a vegan diet, it would have been much more challenging based on what I was already used to eating. Set yourself up for success & success will come!
5. Diet first. Exercise later.
To be honest with you, majority of my weight loss was all due to my diet. I highly recommend starting your health journey with establishing and mastering a healthy diet above all else. Too many people try to go all in on everything at once and that's exactly why they fail. Also, and most importantly, diet and food is what gives you the energy you need to be able to take on more physical activity so do yourself a favour and focus on increasing your energy & healthy food intake for a couple months before jumping into a fitness routine.
6. I quit alcohol.
This one I find challenging since wine has been a part of my social life since I can remember. I'm still not 100% confident I'll be able to uphold this long-term (forever) but one thing I do know is that drinking alcohol is not going to get me to my goal weight and it's not going to increase my health & wellbeing. So, for the foreseeable future it had to go! I don't believe it is as simple as calories in- calories out when it comes to alcohol, I think there is a much greater impact on our metabolism and ability to maintain a healthy
weight than meets the eye. For now, I'm just focusing on the negative impacts of alcohol and it's keeping me away.
7. Take the freaking "before" photos.
Ugh, I know... They suck! I really didn't want to take any 'before' photos when I was at my heaviest weight mainly because I wasn't really that confident that I'd get to the point of having any ' after ' photos to speak of. Having before photos is a lifesaver when you're feeling stuck in your journey and feeling like you're making no progress at all. Slow progress is still progress & in fact, it's the best progress because it's much more likely to actually stick long term. The other day when I made this before & after post I was truthfully feeling like I was making zero progress in my health & wellness journey. I just felt like I still had such a long way to go. In some ways I do, but when I saw how much progress I've made, it instantly made me so proud of how far I've already come. You'll be so glad you took the before photos, so don't skip them.
Finally, I'd like to say surround yourself with friends, family & people who also live a healthier lifestyle. Learning from other people who are passionate and on the same journey as you will make you feel incredible and most importantly, not isolated & alone. Join a new group, make new connections and find new people to fill your social media feeds with who uplift and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. I believe in you, you got this!
I love connecting and hearing your stories, feel free to message me and share your story anytime or ask any questions you might have!