I Promise You CAN Lose Weight, But There's Something Else You Need To Worry About More
May 2, 2017
One of my favorite parts in Love & Basketball is when Quincy is a kid and he tells his dad, "I can't do this shit." His dad gets mad at him, not because he thought it was okay to cuss in front of a parent at 9 year's old, but because his dad taught him never to say can't because if you say can't you aren't a man.
Despite that scene cracking me up every single time, that is not the optimistic way I live my life. I am quick to use the words never, can't, won't, and any other jargon that makes up a pessimist's vocabulary. I bask in the familiarity of comfort zones, and I only enjoy a good challenge if I'm more than 75% sure I can excel at it. Knowing these things about myself, I couldn't figure out why, then, I am so positive about being on a weight loss journey (again). Then I realized it's because I know I can lose weight. And the reason I know I can lose weight is likely the same reason you can too. I (you've) done it before.
I'm a person who believes heavily in precedent, and when it comes to weight loss, I'm not new to this. I've lost 40 pounds before, I've lost 50 pounds before, I've lost 92 pounds before. I know how to lose weight. Because I rarely come across a woman who is trying to lose weight for the first time in her life, I'm going to assume you know how to lose weight too. So the truth is when you're going hard and getting frustrated and start yelling "I can't do this shit" in the middle of a workout, you're lying. You can lose weight. What you failed to do time and time again is stay consistent enough to lose the amount of weight you wanted to lose or maintain that loss once you hit your goal.
The good news is the fix is much easier than being physically incapable of losing weight, which I'd argue isn't true for anyone (thyroid and other health issues withstanding). I only believe in the saying "you can do anything you put your mind to" to the extent that all the variables needed to do what you want are within your control. And the good news, again, is weight loss is 100% within your control, even if you have a demanding job, type 2 diabetes, knee problems, poor hand-eye coordination, limited funds, or any other excuse you've hauled off before to explain away your lack of self control.
Timing was the biggest reason I started self-sabotaging and saying "I can't do this." I knew I could lose weight--hello 92 pounds -- what I couldn't do was be patient enough with my body as it was shrinking and toning and changing to see it through. I was only 11 pounds away from the goal I'd set for myself when my lies about what I couldn't do (anymore) hit an all-time high. I wanted so badly to be done losing weight that I essentially threw away a year's worth of effort with negative thinking and poor planning. I could've kept going and dropped the remaining 10 pounds or I could've taken a breather and given myself a break from going so hard. What made absolutely no sense was regaining half of what I loss because I was so caught up on wanting to be done losing weight that I didn't even have a plan for what exactly I was going to do when I did. If I had, I would've at least maintained what I loss. Instead I went back to old behaviors and negative ways of thinking. That's the lifestyle element people are always shoving down your throat when it comes to weight loss. That's the key between maintaining loss or always being the girl that's dieting and trying to lose weight.
It sounds absolutely absurd, but I really felt like once I got to my desired weight I was going to peace out of the gym. I thought I was going to suddenly turn into one of those girls who doesn't have to work out when that had never been my story a day in my life. Even if you can get by not working out 5, 6, or 7 days a week, making healthy eating choices is always going to have to be a thing. At some point though, making good choices, hopefully, starts coming from a place of serving your body what it needs rather than denying it what it doesn't.
I say all of this to encourage you to stop telling yourself you can't lose weight (because you've probably done it before and can again) and think more about what you're going to do when you actually do. What are you going to do this time around so the story isn't "I lost 92 pounds but I gained half of it back." It's just straight up, "I've lost 92 pounds." As a matter of fact, turn that but into an and. My coworker lost 50 pounds and now she's studying to be a certified personal trainer. What are you going to do once you lose weight to continue the story?
Weight loss isn't the destination, it's the journey. The weight will come off, that's just simple math and mental strength. What keeps it off is changing your focus from fantasizing about what life will be like if you were smaller to creating what your life will be like when you are smaller.