I started dieting by age 10. I spent over 20 years on what I call the diet-go-round®, jumping from one diet to the next to the next hoping that this next one would be the answer. It never was. I could always get the weight off; I could just never keep it off. If that’s you too, know these two things:
- you are not alone.
- there is hope.
Here are 5 things I wish someone told me about successful weight loss when I first started:
1. To have successful weight loss: Know your strong reason why
Your strong reason why is a declaration to yourself of why what you’re doing deeply matters to you. Your strong reason why is a guide to help keep you on the path you want to be on. It’s also an anchor to keep you steady when life becomes a storm around you.
It’s the reason behind why you do what you do, and it’s only for you. That means it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of your reason why, because you’re doing what you do for you and you alone. You need to know your strong reason why: I mean really know it deep down in your bones and take it to heart and repeat it to yourself as needed.
When I started my final weight-loss journey, I wrote down exactly why losing the weight and keeping it off deeply mattered to me. I wrote that I would be healthier and fit into pretty clothes and feel comfortable in my own body. I also wrote that I wanted freedom and peace and to pursue my passions without the weight holding me back. Having that strong reason why has been instrumental in my ability to:
- keep going,
- reach the goals I set for myself
- continue growing
- reach for bigger and better things.
Knowing my strong reason why has also made decision making a lot easier. It’s really helped me focus on what matters to me and in which direction I want to be headed. So if something comes up and it doesn’t align with my strong reason why, then it’s a no. In the same way, if it does align or at least intrigues me that it might, then it’s a yes. In that way, my reason why keeps me focused on the path I want to be on so I can keep moving forward.
Start Where You Are
Eat what you want, lose weight, & keep it off.
2. To have successful weight loss: Realize you’re going to face opposition
You need to prepare for that opposition NOW so it doesn’t derail you later.
You’re going to meet people who may feel threatened by you and what you’re doing. They may feel intimidated by you. They may tell you that what you want is ridiculous or your goals are unattainable or that you aren’t capable of doing what you say you want to do. They will likely take shots at you in an attempt to make you smaller and less threatening in their eyes. I believe that usually has something to do with you reaching for your goals while they sit around not reaching for theirs.
No matter the reason, all that strife isn’t about you. That’s about them. It has nothing—I repeat nothing—to do with you. So don’t take it into your heart at all. Don’t dim your light at all. Stand in your truth no matter what.
I have met people who told me I’d never lose the weight and keep it off because weight loss is the hardest thing in the world. Some people said there’s no way to lose weight naturally without dieting and struggle. Others said that I needed to accept an overweight body that felt uncomfortable to me because that’s just who I was. Still others told me I didn’t have what it took to lose over half my body weight. Sometimes, I even told myself that.
Here’s the truth: none of those things said by others or even what I said to myself was true. None of them. Here’s another truth: all of those things were opposition.
You need to decide NOW how you’ll handle those situations, because they will come.
- What will you do if someone, even someone you may care about or love deeply, thinks your goals aren’t worthwhile?
- What will you do if someone doesn’t agree with your assessment of your life?
- What will you do if someone tells you that you aren’t capable of achieving what you want?
- What will you do if someone actively rallies against you?
- Will you stand in your truth and let your light and your message shine bright?
- Or will you agree with them and slink back into the shadows and stay quiet?
There will be a choice to be made. That’s not a matter of if but of when. Do yourself a kindness and make that choice now while you are calm and can think rationally, make that choice now when you’re not in an emotionally-charged moment. Then remember the choice you made for when that moment of opposition comes.
3. To have successful weight loss: Do the work because it matters deeply to you
I used to worry about the outcome and if what I was doing was really going to work. I’d get myself all worked up about it, telling myself stories about a future that hadn’t happened yet, mostly focusing on what might go wrong. All that did was add all kinds of stress to my life that didn’t need to be there. Worry doesn’t serve you at all. It just expends your time, energy, and focus on a fruitless pursuit because all the worry in the world won’t change the outcome one bit.
I used to gauge my success solely on a number. I’m here to tell you that focusing exclusively on the numbers doesn’t serve you either. By looking solely on the numbers, including my goal weight or a clothing size or any other number or statistic, I made my focus very narrow. What that did is confine my vision for my life into a number instead of expand it into how I felt in my body or how I felt about my life, which are the most important things.
Find the joy again
Instead of worrying about the outcome or focusing on the numbers, just make sure that what you’re doing deeply matters to you. That way, it’ll be fulfilling work to you no matter what the outcome or the numbers. The second thing you need to do is make a commitment to yourself to start it and see it through all the way to the end. That means you need to finish and put your work out in the world.
Honestly, the only thing you have complete control over is the actions you take. Looking at your life that way will alleviate stress and bring joy back into your work again. I know that because that’s what happened for me when I started focusing on doing things that deeply mattered to me while letting go of the outcome and the numbers.
4. To have successful weight loss: Know that the temptation to quit will come
You need to prepare for that temptation NOW so it doesn’t derail you later.
This goes back to number one and knowing your strong reason why. You need to let that strong reason why be your focus and pull you along and be a light in the darkness, showing you the way out. You need that strong reason why to hang onto.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to quit, and not just with weight loss either. It took me two years to lose 174 pounds naturally. Two years in which I dealt with setbacks and challenges and obstacles and self-doubt and the list goes on. Two years of facing my emotions when I didn’t want to and not using food as a crutch when that would’ve been so much easier and having life come at me hard some days with no one to fall back on but myself and on this list goes too.
I’ve maintained that weight loss for 9 years now, and every day I have to choose to keep going and not give up on myself and quit.
You really do need to decide, right now (even before you start), what you’re going to do when the temptation to quit comes. Make no mistake, that temptation will come; it’s not a matter of if but of when. And if you’re not ready with a solid reason as to why what you’re doing deeply matters to you when that temptation comes, then you’ll likely get derailed and you may even end up quitting.
It’ll be much better for you to decide now, while you’re calm and thinking rationally, what you’ll do when an emotionally-charged situation comes around. Then remember that choice when the temptation to quit comes.
And always remember: quitting will never get you to where you want to be.
5. To have successful weight loss: Take to heart that this is about saving your own life
This isn’t about anybody else; this is only about you. You need to be your sole motivation. Period.
Any other motivation will eventually let you down, I assure you that’s true. Why? Because people are fallible and make mistakes. They aren’t always there when you need them. They push your most painful buttons. They leave your life.
You need to be your sole motivation because the only person you can 100% count on is you. You have to be the rock you lean on and the strong foundation on which you build your life. And you are absolutely capable of being those things for yourself, I assure you that’s true too.
I used to make others my motivation—because my friend wanted me to, because my doctor said it would be a good idea, because my kids needed a healthy mom, and on the list went. I also used to let those same others be the excuse I gave when I inevitably gave up on myself and quit. Those excuses went something like this—that friend left my life, my doctor didn’t react the way I thought he should, my kids gave me a hard time and weren’t grateful, and on that excuse list went too.
You are reason enough
When you are your sole motivation:
- the only one you’re responsible for is you
- the only one you’re accountable to is yourself
- and the only one you hurt by giving up on yourself and quitting is you.
Know this: your worth and value are innate—that means you were born with them and nobody can ever take them away from you. You are worth being the only reason that you do what you do.
So you write down your strong reason why and focus on that. And you remember two other things:
- wanting anything for your life is reason enough to pursue it, and
- you are reason enough to have what you most want for your life.
Start Where You Are
Eat what you want, lose weight, & keep it off.
Get off the diet-go-round. Get on with your life.®
My weight-loss journey & how it can help you have successful weight loss.
I got free. Your life can be that way too.
I made my own path because I needed to get myself out of the crazy-making behavior I was having around food. I needed no restrictions, no weighing and measuring food, no off-limit foods, no more judgment around food, no more judging my self-worth based on the scale, no more you’re-not-doing-it-perfectly diet rules that were only fueling my constant thinking about and obsession with food. I needed to modify and change any weight-loss technique I found useful to suit my own personal needs.
- I lost 160+ pounds naturally & have kept it off for 9 years and counting.
- I no longer have any eating disorders.
- I no longer have a fear of food.
Just imagine what you could be doing with your life, following your own dreams and reaching your own goals, cultivating your own passions, making both your inner and outer worlds a more blissful and peaceful place, if you weren’t running in circles on the diet-go-round.
I got that for my life. I want it for yours. My books will show you how.
Let today be the day you make peace with your body and with food.
For more information, check out the Start Where You Are Weight Loss® page.