See My Weight Loss Story: Timeline for reference (this was 2013-2014).
I suppose you could say my confidence started to grow when I began a diet called Shred, which is based on the principle of “keeping your body guessing”. Each week the meal plan was different, such as high fibre, smoothies/low carb, carb cycling, high protein etc. That worked in the sense that I was able to test out different styles of eating and started to learn what my body did and didn’t respond well to. As well as what I enjoyed, what fitted my lifestyle and what worked for both my husband and I.
Around that time, I was getting into the gym and trying to do at least 4 sessions a week. I started trying new things at the gym. Even though I will admit, it was still a struggle to go. This was probably the time when I developed my “just do 20 minutes” rule. Whenever I felt tired or just didn’t want to go, I would force myself to do 20 minutes. At that 20 minute mark I could go home or keep going. That rule somehow released the pressure I had put on myself to do an hour long workout.
So while I was proving to myself in the gym and in the kitchen that I COULD change my ways, the weight began to slowly come off. By this point I had become more interested in the journey, the experimentation, than the numbers on the scale.
My contract finished with the Admin job I was in and I moved to a role as the admin for an engineering team at a manufacturing facility. My brain was quickly trained to think ahead, think outside the box, anticipate problems and solutions. Become more of a problem solver, I suppose. I also learnt that people are just people, these engineers were honestly so lovely. But they had a habit of hunkering down and not wanting to socialise sometimes, which is great when you’re brilliant and have work that needs to be done. Not so great for your loyal and slightly more sociable Admin Officer. So, I had friends in every department; mainly because my role spread across multiple aspects of the plant.
I was gaining social confidence in another country. Up until this job, I had always felt like a fish out of water, struggling to fit in. As a generally shy and kinda private person, I struggled with the daily teasing about how I talk and where I come from. It was tough for me to find a job where my skills were utilised and this one finally felt like a good challenge. I also felt respected, I think because I worked with mature adults, in a diverse team and they had fairly open minds about the world.
Now maybe it was a combination of my eating habits, movement habits and general maturity, but I’m not sure.
I was setting weekly goals for myself in my Lorna Jane Active Living Planner, which I had gotten at Christmas. And I was accomplishing them. I had learnt to release the pressure and give myself a chance at success. Rather than setting impossibly high standards and feeling like shit when I didn’t reach them.
My focus had shifted from feeling so negative, depressed and hating my body and who I was, to just looking forward. It sounds simple, and it is. At this point it had taken me 2 ½ years to learn; to like going to the gym and figure out how to eat for my sanity and my body type.
I started getting more adventurous and doing free gym programs I was finding online. Step-by-step I was making small improvements in my diet. Occasionally I experimented with things like “no sugar for a week”, 3 day cleanses etc. and I treated them as experiments, took notes etc. Because our body will react differently to different methods/foods at different times in our life, depending on what's going on physiologically. It's really as simple as that. You aren't failing, just try something else.
My question to you is, do you think this method of mindset could work for you? Comment below.
Now in 2018, I can safely say that I don't worry as much about what to wear when I go to the beach. Yes, I still have a lower belly, and I have a love/hate relationship with that. But I wear high-waisted bikini bottoms... YES I wear a two piece.
In May we went on holidays with friends who have fallen off their weight loss path and to be honest, she made me feel uncomfortable on the beach because she was wearing jeans and a top. Growing up by the beach, I never had an issue with skin or swimmers, but not everyone has that story. But I don't have a perfect body, I have cellulite and a pudgy belly, but I'm a lot better than where I was and I'm proud of that. If I think about it too long, that'll affect my behaviour and society/my own beliefs have affected that way too much already.