Losing weight ended up being so much more than a smaller number on the scale, or being able to use a different hole in a belt (or buying new belts altogether as it ended up) or even being able to feel comfortable wearing a bikini. Losing weight for me meant finding true happiness with myself.
Not just happiness in being smaller and feeling like people accepted me more, but a happiness that is found when you realise that you may live long enough to at least attempt to fulfil the dreams you have set yourself and a joy found in something as simple as not being out of breath just by getting out of bed. This happiness was also found in changing my attitude, not just my weight, and realising that food didn’t have to be something that I battled with daily.
To me, happiness = balance and health. Finding that middle ground between keeping the weight off that I lost and not feeling like I have to lock myself away with my weights and kale smoothies just to keep it off. For me, balance means finding a way to enjoy a clean diet the majority of the time, so it doesn’t feel like a chore, and also allowing myself to enjoy cocktail hour, or a cupcake, or a pizza slice the size of my face without the guilt that always came with those foods before. Balance is not beating myself up if I don’t get up at 5am for a 5K run, or if I miss a workout altogether. What matters is what you do the majority of the time, not what you do once in a while.
This wasn’t just a fad diet that had an end date. This is my life now and therefore my eating and my lifestyle has to be flexible enough for me to actually enjoy life. Restricting myself constantly until I finally give in, binge and then feel guilty is not the way to enjoy life. Knowing that I work hard the majority of the time and that I will be enjoying a glass of wine and a burger at the weekend is what keeps me balanced and I also know that those small indulgences will not have any kind of negative effect on my health.
How did I find this balance? Well, it certainly didn’t happen over night. It takes time to remove the guilt from “treat” meals that has been drummed in to us by so many fad diets and it takes a while to work out the balance that is right for you. Constantly reminding myself that there was nothing to feel guilty about for enjoying a splurge meal once or twice a week really helped and once my body regulated itself to my new way of eating, seeing results and still enjoying the foods I loved once in a while was as much convincing as I needed.
No longer battling with food has possibly been one of the biggest and best things about my weight loss – I finally have a healthy relationship with it. Sure, my improved health is HUGE, but that was not something that was always on my mind when I was overweight. The food battle was. There was always thoughts of “I need/want that”, “I can’t have that” or “I don’t deserve that”. That isn’t there now. There is balance. There is enjoyment. There is happiness.
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