Letting Go and Letting In Lifestyle Changes That Last

A lot of people I’ve talked to through the years will cite some particular experience or influence in their lives that they credit for “why” they finally got their weight under control after years of struggle and failure. But here’s what actually happens:

We bring permanent lifestyle changes into our lives when we accept what it’s really going to take. 

I believe that the single most critical factor in reaching this point is letting go of everything you’ve been told you are and what you’ve been told you should be able to do. As fat people we’re told we’re weak, we’re undisciplined, we’re not motivated, there’s “something wrong” with us that we have to fix. We’re told this diet works, that book is great, this exercise burns a ton of calories, just buy the latest thing that’s working for everybody else.

I spent decades, literally, using up my life with worry and stress over my weight. I was always on or off a “diet.” I was always on or off some exercise “program.” Everything I did had a start and end date. Everything I did was a deviation from my regular life. I bought my share of weight loss products and diet food. People who deal with cosmetic weight changes might be able to use a short-term approach but those of us who deal with a lifetime weight problem have to take a lifetime approach. “Lifestyle changes” really have to be for good. That is the foundation of what we have to accept.

I haven’t been “on a diet” in many years now. I eat whole foods as much as I can and I prepare my own food. I looked at my own limitations and likely weaknesses and I took steps to address them. I went out and bought a crockpot and a steamer and a Foreman Grill because I’m not much of a cook and I needed to be able to keep things simple and easy. This is what it took for me. What would it take for you?

It’s the same thing for getting physical activity into your life. Personally, I didn’t want to go a gym. I didn’t want to stand on a treadmill. I didn’t want to jump around. I didn’t want to think I was supposed to do it for an hour every day and if I didn’t, that meant I was just lazy or unmotivated. I let go of that! I started really, really small and simple. To do more than that, hey, it took as long as it took. Who’s counting? Who’s looking over my shoulder? NOBODY. I found what worked for me and years later I’m still exercising several times a week. I accepted that I would have to exercise at a certain intensity and frequency to get any real benefit but I worked my way up to that point doing things I wanted to do.

You deserve to enjoy your life! You can’t spend a lifetime struggling to force yourself to do what you don’t really want to. Finding your own path to significant lifestyle change is the foundation of my primary message. I’ll sum it up with something I like to say—The roadmap to where you want to go does not exist until you draw it.

Light & Strength, my friends!



    • JoAnn on March 23, 2014 at 10:15 am

    “Lifestyle” always makes me think “of the rich and famous” and I laugh a bit, but of course I agree that this is for life. When you accept that it is forever it stops being so hard. You stop fighting against it and start looking for what works for you. Even using a defined program, I think the people who permanently succeed are those who make adaptions so that it works with their own life.

    My gym is unique in that it’s by appointment so I don’t have to worry about being self-conscious. I was in a conversation yesterday that had that phrase “I could never do what you do” in. I try to remind them that 3 years and 122 pounds ago, I couldn’t do it either. I couldn’t have gotten on and off of the slant board never mind do the exercise. I couldn’t have done a push-up nor gotten back up off of the floor after getting down there. The truth is, we can’t even make apples to apples comparisons on my progress–my rear end is so much smaller, I fit on certain machines differently and we’ve had to rest the range of motion.

    I always say I didn’t get a personality change when I started this. I was always disciplined. I was always motivated. I put in the time, the effort and cold hard cash. I think it’s why I bristle when people hold me up as a paragon of virtue because I finally have success. No one thought I was so awesome before even though I but in a lot more time and effort.

    1. I have heard from SO MANY people who say they’ve always been very disciplined so their weight drove them CRAZY. I felt that way for decades. I could do anything I “set my mind to” so why couldn’t I control my weight? It was like a mystery I had to solve—a mystery of my own body!

      When you lose a lot of weight, people treat you like you discovered some secret but when you tell them what it REALLY took, they’re not so interested anymore! Exercise pretty seriously several days a week, eat your former most favorite indulgence foods just now and then. Acknowledge what’s toughest for you. I know I can’t handle “moderation” all that well so there are certain foods that simply don’t enter my home. I also accepted that I could not let eating be “entertainment” anymore. I had to deal with that.

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