A few years ago, I belonged to a weight loss group called TOPS (ever hear of it? there are chapters all over the world!) and I recall one of the members, an older lady perhaps in her 70s, share that she thought at her age, weight wouldn't be such an issue for her. In her younger years, she had tried many diets and had always figured there would be a day where she could just live her life, unconcerned about how calories would affect her and even if she still had extra weight on her, it wouldn't preoccupy her thoughts as it still did.
I have to say, I think the same thing. I'm 44 and I have always held this thought (ahem, fantasy!) that someday I could also be happy with my weight and not have to put so much effort into managing it. Of course in my fantasy, I am thin and fit, but I should hope that even if I'm not, I can grow to love my body just as it is. While still moving it and choosing healthier options to nourish it.
But right now, I'm not happy with it. See, in 2011, I started becoming intentional about losing weight. It wasn't my first attempt, that's for sure. I had tried WW several times before and even had formed a Chub Club with some friends who were on a similar mission back in 2004. In 2011, I started being really strict about journaling and exercising. Richard Simmons, Sweating to the Oldies, was my exercise of choice!
Without going into a huge story, I transitioned from doing a VHS tape in my living room to running, swimming, and doing Zumba. I even became an instructor for Zumba, Aquazumba, and other cardio dance classes. I had my own business going and everything. I was doing Beach Body workouts like no other and trained for multiple half marathons. As you can imagine, with all this exercise and food tracking, I lost weight. It took me a while though and wasn't a linear journey, but in February 2016, I stepped on the scale to discover that I had finally met my goal weight!
Then life happened. My dad passed away in 2016, months after that amazing day I just mentioned, which played big time with my mental health. Then in 2017, I went back to work full time outside of the home. I had little to no time to get out and do all the exercise. My job as a therapist involved a lot of sitting. I did manage to get out and walk at lunch some days, but compared to what I was doing, this was a feeble attempt at maintaining my weight.
The weight continued to pack back on over the past 5 years. I still belonged to TOPS, had since 2011. I still journaled on and off, planning my meals for the day but most days trading convenience for what was written on my plan, especially when evening came around. I still exercised when I could, but these were really all just half-hearted efforts since I didn't have the time to devote to my weight, at least not the time I had before. I even kept up my group fitness instructor certification, and in addition became a weight management specialist, and a certified health coach.
Looking back, I could have made the time, but it wasn't a priority. I'm really skilled at managing my time but in my mind, I suppose I wanted to discover if it was possible to not care. To live an abundant life without always worrying how many calories I was eating. There's that fantasy again! It wasn't a priority to lose weight when I was so busy living my life.
Even now, I am working on building my business. Seeing therapy clients so that I can fund my coaching business and get it going. I love what I do and want to make an income coaching, guiding and inspiring other women to shift their beliefs to believing that they are important. That they can and should practice self-care. I choose not to spend my time on tracking and planning what I eat. But that's not helping me be as healthy as I want to be. My choices are not serving me.
Which is why when a coaching colleague announced that she needed to get hours under her belt in order to get some certification and was calling for women who wanted to work on their health, I immediately answered her call! This was it. I wanted to learn to love my body so much that I would nourish it and treat it with love. I no longer wanted to count and restrict calories, think twice about having a second helping, or get on the scale with fear and regret.
I want to approach food from a place of abundance. I want to know when I'm hungry and eat to fuel my body. And then feel a sense of being satisfied. To not be tempted by an open pack of Oreos because hey, I'm okay. I'm not hungry. To say, sure I'll have a piece of pie and not have all the negative self-talk running around in my mind. This is what I want and I believe that it is possible.
Right now, I exercise about 6 days per week. We belong to the local YMCA and I really do enjoy it. I think the variety of it is what keeps me coming back and of course, the way I feel afterwards. Some days, I walk the track or I swim laps. Other days, I use a machine- the elliptical is my favorite. I want to try some of the classes but because I go when it's convenient for me, I usually don't make the class times. I also frequent the racquetball courts with my family sometimes, which I have come to enjoy but still have a long way to go before I actually hit the ball consistently. Finally, I've been loving the sauna, even though I know that's not exercise, it is a nice way to end the visit.
I also really like vegetables. Asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and beets are my absolute favorites. So I've got that going in my favor. I know that losing weight is like 80% mindset and I think this is my issue. I am hoping that coaching helps me change that mindset so that I can love my body so much that I just feed it good stuff just because. To show it that love.
My first session was this Monday (I'm writing this on a Thursday). In my own coaching style, I am very action oriented and each session is comprised of creating action steps to be carried out in between our meetings, which is why I was surprised when my first meeting as a client was me mostly talking. About my story, my strengths, my greatest challenges, and of course, my wellness vision. Where I want to be.
To say it was eye-opening would be an understatement. I left the session feeling like I had some clarity that I hadn't had before. I do journal and I see a therapist regularly, yet being able to talk openly about what strengths and challenges really helped me put into words the thoughts swarming around in my mind. Hearing these thoughts reflected back to me allowed me to see them in a different way. Which is a good thing.
I am putting a lot of stock into this coaching experience. I'm hoping for a miracle here. I don't know if I'm expecting it to be less work or something, but I like what I'm doing right now. I enjoy exercise and I'm getting it. I eat vegetables. I also eat ice-cream. I like my coffee with creamer. I want to hold onto these "good things in life" and use coaching to help me make the needed shifts in my mind so that my fantasy can become a reality.