“Why did you decide to lose the weight?”
I’ve been asked a lot (lot) of questions about my weight loss.
- How did you do it?
- Did you use a program?
- How much did you eat?
- How often did you workout?
- Did you starve yourself?
So many questions – questions I don’t mind answering, because if I can help someone reach their goals, it’s worth the conversation. I’m an open book when it comes to my approach to health, wellness, and fitness. (So ask way!)
When a friend asked me “why did you decide to lose the weight?” I was floored. It took me a few beats to comprehend what she was asking. No one had asked me that before. It’s such a personal question, but I had a great conversation with her, stewed on it a bit more, and decided to share what made me decide to lose the weight with my readers.
I remember the day – very clearly – when I decided “enough is enough.”
A commercial for Weight Watchers was the last thing I saw on TV before hopping into the shower in my tiny Nashville apartment. I went through the motions of getting ready to go wherever I was going. Standing at my vanity post-shower though, it hit me.
I was tired of being overweight.
I can’t say I was bullied or denied a spot on an amusement ride or had to pay for two seats on a plane. I was pretty fortunate in that regard. Or maybe, I was just naive to any criticism or nasty looks I received because of my size. I did, however, struggle to finds clothes that fit me and I liked. As much as I loved exploring Nashville, I hated doing so on foot, especially in the heat. I had no stamina, for one, and the battle with “chub rub” was never ending.
Throw in a lot of self-confidence issues – I was real good at thinking “I’ll never find a boyfriend because I’m not thin enough” – and I was just completely and totally over being overweight. I wanted to feel good about myself. I wanted to not be out of breath after walking two or three blocks in downtown Nashville. I wanted to go into a clothing store and buy the pieces I wanted to wear instead of the pieces that fit.
I walked out of the bathroom and signed up for Weight Watchers.
Besides being “over it,” I needed to make changes for my health. My family has a history of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. While you can’t outrun genetics – see Bob Harper’s recent heart attack – you can make lifestyle changes to decrease your risks. I wanted to put myself in the best place possible to avoid daily medications and finger pricks.
I had tried to lose weight before.
Countless times over.
I would swear off carbs, only to eat pineapple upside down cake at Grandma’s three days later. I would sign up for a 5k as “motivation” to be more active. If I had a goal to work towards, surely I would get off the couch and run, right? I even downloaded the Couch to 5K app… Except on race day, I would wake up, decide “nah”, and spend a leisurely morning in bed and not feel bad about it. If I did go to the race, it was only because I signed up with a friend, and I would begrudgingly walk the whole thing.
I tried fad diets. The military diet was an especially epic fail. I would make a healthy lunch, then accept my co-workers invite to go to Panda Express or pick up hot chicken. It was a vicious cycle of starting, stopping, and starting again.
Until I decided enough was enough.
When I did decide to lose the weight, I lost the weight. I stuck to the Weight Watchers plan. I weighed and counted everything. I planned for things like lunch with co-workers and weekends out on the town. I figured out that if I was active, I could eat more, so I started walking every evening.
I can’t say “and now, here we are!” because that’s not how it works. Weight loss isn’t linear, for one thing, and as the pounds fell away, I had to find new ways to challenge my body. I eventually quit Weight Watchers to count calories. I started taking Pure Barre classes, then started teaching barre. I joined the local corporate gym and got comfortable with exercise, then moved over to The Gym where I’m challenged by the best people in the best way each and every training session.
While I can safely say I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m still not 100% where I want to be. A few weeks ago, I joined Working Against Gravity to work with a nutrition coach in an effort to meet my body composition and strength gain goals.
I ultimately lost the weight for me.
I feel confident in my own skin now. I’m healthy, strong, and yes I buy the clothes I like these days. Honestly, I buy too many clothes. This is the first time I’ve been able to buy clothes I love that look good on me.
Everyone’s journey in health is different. What worked for me may not be your solution. My why certainly won’t be your why. You will probably start, stop, and start again more than once. That’s okay. When you decide “enough”, it will all click.
Just be sure you do it – whatever it is, whether it’s weight loss, climbing Mount Everest, or quitting your day job to launch your dream business – for you.
You are the most important part in the equation.
Never forget: Your “why” matters most.