I don’t like to toot my own horn too much because I’m still very much a work in progress, but I will say that I am proud of how far I’ve come. It’s hard for me to even remember what it was like when I looked like this on the outside:
And more importantly, how I felt on the inside.
One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is what, if anything, I’d do differently if I could go back in time and lose the weight again (besides start sooner slash not let myself get there again). I try not to have any regrets because I don’t think they’re healthy, but I think looking back and learning from your past is an important step in the process.
So, if I could go back and do it all again, here are the top five things I’d tweak about my journey.
5.) Save a pair of my “Fat Pants”
I hate calling them that, but I honestly don’t know what else to call them. As I started losing weight the final time, I got rid of every article of clothing immediately when it was too big for me. Since I had lost some weight before, I already had smaller clothes on hand to fit into and treated the larger clothes like they were infected with a disease, disposing of them as quickly as possible. While I think my thought process behind this was that I didn’t want to have the bigger clothes to fit back into at any point, I do wish I’d held onto one pair. Sure, I can go to Old Navy and grab a size 18/20 pants and compare them to my size now, but to have an actual pair of pants that I wore at my heaviest would be a pretty good reference point and something it would be nice to look at when I’m struggling these days.
4.) Be Nicer to Myself
I said some pretty cruel things to myself when I was obese that I would never in a million years say to someone else. I’m not sure why I thought it was acceptable to look at myself and say such hateful things about my own body, but what’s done is done. It’s so easy to be self deprecating and to be yourself up each time you fall, but if I could go back and do it again I’d have been a little easier on myself.
One of the most memorable things from a Weight Watchers meeting I recall was an exercise we did in pairs with the person sitting next to you. The person had to say a compliment to you about your weight loss, and you had to reply “Thank you” with nothing following it. Not, “Thanks, but I still have a ways to go” or “Thanks but I really don’t think so,” just “Thank you.” I remember how much I struggled to stop there and it was really eye opening to me that I couldn’t just accept a compliment and instead had to downplay my progress. This is something I’m still working on, but am definitely better at than when I first started.
3.) Realize slip ups will happen, and they won’t break you.
This one goes hand in hand with the one above, but I think it’s important enough to get it’s own line. I used to get so angry at myself and consider my whole day or whole week shot if I had a small slip up – like not resisting the cookies in the break room at work, or going a little crazy on the chips at lunch. These things are going to happen, and the sooner I get over it and forgive myself, the better. I wish I could have embraced that at the beginning of my journey.
2.) Document my progress better!
Since I followed Weight Watchers while losing weight, I weighed in almost every Thursday for the better part of 1.5 years. Looking at my weight trends over time was awesome and I wouldn’t change that for a second. What I would change though, is taking measurements and progress photos. Sometimes, the scale wouldn’t budge. I’d be doing EVERYTHING right – working out, drinking my water, staying within my points, eating right, take my vitamins, even getting my dairy in! I’d step up on the scale so hopeful, only to be met with a sympathetic look “You stayed exactly the same” or, worse, “You’re up .8”. I think times like these would have been the best to have measurements so when I wasn’t seeing progress on the scale, I knew it was happening in other areas. If I could go back, I would have taken at least monthly (and maybe more) full body photos and measurements.
1.) Enjoy the journey.
I think for most of the time I was trying to lose weight, I was SO focused on the end result that I didn’t really stop to soak in the changes as they were happening. I had my eyes on the prize and just wanted to be at goal already! While I think that’s normal and natural, I wish I had stopped a little bit more while I was losing the weight to appreciate the little things, like the healthy habits and lifestyle changes I was slowly developing. I was so focused on being able to run, that I didn’t enjoy the process of teaching myself to run as much as I should have. I just wish I had really embraced everything as it was happening, rather than constantly looking forward to the next step and end goal.
What about you? If you could go back and change anything about your journey to get to a healthier place, would you change anything?