3 Steps to a Healthier YOU! - Step 3 Move More

I call this the chicken egg problem of weight loss. What comes first, happiness or healthiness? That is the question.

Many people believe once they hit an ideal body weight, size or shape they will find happiness. I disagree. Using myself as an example (which I will do in all of my writings) I was unhappy for years with my body, my habits and myself. I thought that what I wanted, what I needed, to be happy was to be thin or at least thinner. You would think this would be motivation enough to reach weigh loss goals but what actually happens is the need to be thinner causes an unhealthy relationship with food or exercise and the decisions you start to make become about losing weight, not about making healthy choices and being the best person you can be.

You may think, “well, losing the weight is the point isn’t it?" Well, sort of. Losing weight is a by-product of being healthier. If you are making decisions purely based on the desire to be thin, you may be making unhealthy decisions like limiting certain healthy foods, starving yourself or even going down the route of purging. These things may make you thinner in the short term, but they aren’t healthy and in essence you are setting yourself up to fail.

How do I know? I went through that cycle for 15 years. Starting in my pre-teens, all I wanted to be was "skinny". That desire led me down dangerous paths of dieting that, in essence, made me fatter. The damage I did to my metabolism, body and mental state snowballed into gaining more and more weight after each weight loss attempt. I was in the classic yo-yo cycle of hell.

What broke me out of it? Well, as cheesy as it sounds, an 8lb 6oz little boy. After my son was born I was no longer obsessed with getting thinner. My focus shifted. I set my sights on getting healthier. I knew that I had to accept myself and move on from this ridiculous notion that I had to be thin to enjoy life, to be happy. If I didn’t I would start missing out on things with him and that was not acceptable. I also had the responsibility of teaching him how to live a healthy balanced life. How could I do that if I was doing unhealthy things just to reach some absurd “thin” body concept. Life was, is, happening no matter what my size and I had to, wanted to, live it!

So the first step on my path to a healthier me was self-acceptance.

I’m not kidding when I say, I literally looked in the mirror and said…

“Ok, Roni, that’s it. Look at you. This is YOU. And that’s OK. You are making changes to be a healthier, more active person. Your body will change in the process but you need to accept yourself now. It’s the only way.”

Having a good talk with myself was just the beginning, I also decided to start wearing things outside of my comfort zone. As uncomfortable as it was, I wore my maternity bathing suit on the beach with NO T-SHIRT. Instead of wearing clothes 3 sizes too big, I tried to wear the few items I had that would fit. I even wore a sleeveless shirt on a hike with my new baby boy. You’re thinking, "no big deal," right? Well, it was for this 29 year old who hid her arms, literally, for 15 years. I even feared being in a wedding as bridesmaid dresses always seem to be strapless. That one little action of wearing a tank top on a hot day was a simple way for me to practice self-acceptance.

That was over 3 years ago and it is still a daily battle to accept myself. Confidence can be learned but it must be practiced, especially by those of us that have body issues. I believe facing fears about my body was an important step towards self-acceptance and self-acceptance is an important step on your weight loss (healthy) journey. I spent too many years hiding my body in shame when I didn’t have anything to be shameful about. This body is mine, no one else’s, and I wanted, needed to start respecting it. So I did.

<<Read Steps to a Healthier YOU! | Read Step 2 Move More>>


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  • Regi

    AMEN!

  • Crystal

    This was great, Roni. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to read two and three!

  • http://mylifemyjourney.net Christy

    this is good. I cannot wait to link you on my site!! Everyone needs to read this and comes to terms with this.

    Check out Christys last blog post..Sore….

  • Ericka

    Roni you always make sense to me..;-)

  • http://mylifemyjourney.net Christy

    It’s posted. I hope more people read this. I think this is a great starting point for people to realize that the best diet needs to be a change for life not just a change for the time being.

    Check out Christys last blog post..Roni’s Words of Wisdom

  • http://www.blogtolose.com/profile/christine Christine

    Thanks! This is really helpful. I am going to print it out, and maybe even do the mirror exercise you described.

    I think WW is so much easier to do when you focus on health–just wish I could get everyone at my WW meeting to focus on it too–many of the members have this “diet mentality” and it can be a real bummer. Your website really helps me deal with all that. :~)

    Check out Christines last blog post..LTG

  • http://www.blogtolose.com/profile/Bonnie Bonnie

    Amen, Roni! I wish I would have gotten to this point at your age, instead of waiting until I was 52 to do it. I missed out on so much of life because I hated the way I looked.

    Check out Bonnies last blog post..Brian

  • http://dudeatww.blogspot.com Matt

    I have been lurking for a about a week now and I am so glad I stumbled into you and your Green Lite Bites site.

    I agree with you 100%, Self Acceptance is so important. Even now as I am still overweight but have lost 100lbs I struggle to be positive and accept compliments. I am doing better, but it is tough.

    You are such an inspiration. Thanks for all that you do in the “blogging” community.

    Check out Matts last blog post..What a weekend!

  • http://www.baconismyenemy.com Giyen

    I used to chase a number, but now I just want to feel good and be healthy. Self acceptance is the hardest, but the most important!

  • http://debbyweighsin.wordpress.com debby

    This is good Roni. I think it is true too. What I’m wondering about is time. I mean, I accepted myself at an extremely high weight (about 130 pounds overweight) for over 20 years before I decided to lose this weight for health reasons alone. I really do think I accepted myself, and that is why I was able to accomplish so much, and why I never felt rejected by anyone because of my weight.

    Thanks as always for all your hard work. I appreciate that you share your hard days (funk) as well as your good. And your recipes…I am LOVING them!!!

    Check out debbys last blog post..Blog Acedia

  • http://lifeinlizsshoes.blogspot.com/ Liz

    Great Post! I beleive I hit this ‘self acceptance’ stage recently when I started this whole workout/get healthy thing a couple months ago, and I think the healthy attitude is what is helping me to stay with it.

    Check out Lizs last blog post..Recovered and back on track

  • http://onedayatatime-am.blogspot.com/ Amanda Daybyday

    Couldn’t agree more. We treat things and people that we love and like with respect and care. We need to do that with ourselves too.

    Check out Amanda Daybydays last blog post..A kick in the pants

  • Charly

    Thanks Roni! This is EXACTLY what I needed. I have started my journey again after a slight detour and I think that I am doing it this time for the right reasons instead of looking for a number that others find acceptable.

  • Michele

    Awesome post Roni!

  • Jennie

    When reading this post I realize when I look in the mirror I don’t accept it. Instead I tend to think that I will accept the body I want to attain. When my new body gets here I will be able to accept it then. I know that by putting it off I am perhaps crippling my relationship with my body and food. It makes me sad to see the way I look right now I don’t feel sexy in my skin. This may be why even with exercise I am not where I should be, I am not as consistent as I should be and maybe it is because of all this. I am not very overweight but I am carrying too much for my frame and I am in the overweight BMI range.
    I dunno if this makes sense…

  • http://oranges2oranges.net Shannan

    Two things came to mind for me as I read this. First, that I’ve found so much more joy in being able to say that I am getting healthier and fitter than I do when I get to that next weight goal. It’s because the weight goals are temporary “fixes” that don’t really change who I am. There’s always the next pound that will satisfy me, and it’s never enough to last.

    I’m still a little way’s away from my goal, but I’ve come a long way, and I didn’t really start liking my body until I knew I was changing it in a healthy way. Once I started running, the shape of my body started changing and I had more energy, then is when I could see evidence that I was getting healthier. The scale really didn’t show that to me, even thought the weight was coming off. I FEEL better now than I ever did when I used to be this lower weight and 10 years younger, even.

    That leads to the self-acceptance. I couldn’t really accept my body or anyone’s compliments until I knew I was becoming healthier inside as well. I knew I was making the effort, and not just shedding pounds. I’m becoming a different person, I can feel it.

    Great post! I’m going to link back to here on my blog, if that’s ok by you. I really think others need to hear this.

  • SR

    Roni, great post!
    Additionally, I believe for some people self acceptance comes from confidence and confidence comes from “Wow, I did it!!” factor, be it losing first 5 pounds or completing a presentation. So I think when people start losing some weight, it starts the process of “Wow, I can do it, I can go far” which tranlates into happiness and radiance that you see when a person is on the journey to lose weight~self acceptance~healthier self.
    You are so inspiring!! Keep it up :)

  • Anastasia

    Hey, Roni! Today I found your page and I am very happy now, you know, because I found so much similarieties between your situation and mine at the moment. I’ve read only first step but I’m very interested in reading more and more.
    Already I can say “Thank You!” you did a great job with your self and writing about your experience I find it very brave. Thanks again for encouragement! (;

  • http://www.tugboatphotography.blogspot.com Tara

    I love this! This is the stage where I am at right now. I really have been wanting to lose weight and i am at my heaviest, but I just haven’t gotten their yet, and i was really down on myself and now i am getting to the point where i am accepting me.

    LOVE THIS! Thanks!

  • Olga

    Amazingly insightful. Thank you so much for sharing, I needed this perspective.

  • Christine

    Hi! I cried as I read your post. I, too have been hiding my arms since I was 10. I’m 21 now and I still don’t wear sleeveless tops. I hope I can face my fears and be proud of my body someday soon.

  • http://www.msteechur.com Tory Klementsen

    Me too! It wasn’t a baby that helped me see the light, but it was the realization that a family member thought less of me because I was fat. Once I got angry at HER for this, I realized I was expecting more from her than I was willing to do myself. Then I got angrier and I said, “Tory! This is just stupid! How does your weight define who you are? It doesn’t!” I worked on my self esteem and then the seeking a healthier lifestyle came along almost naturally. (Note I did not say “easily”. Weight issues are ISSUES that are not always fun to deal with.)

  • http://www.losingtheshadow.com Jen

    I 100% agree. I have lost over a 100 lbs a couple of times and I hated myself more when I lost the weight. This time, I am working on my issues before I lose the weight, because losing the weight does not make them magically disappear.

  • http://walkingwithhenri.com KimF

    Roni -
    Over two years ago I emailed you saying that the only way I’d ever really been able to control my weight was through exercise. You told me then that you didn’t disagree that exercise was important, but that in your experience, it was really about the FOOD.

    Two years and -20 lbs later, I want to tell you that YOU WERE RIGHT. Accepting yourself, “stateless” eating a LOT less of good, satisfying food, and moving my body in ways I love (walking my dog, among my favorites), are the key.

    Glad to see you are going stronger than ever. You rock. Thanks.
    K

  • http://ronisweigh.com roni

    Thank YOU and CONGRATS!! That’s awesome!
    It’s always been about the food for me. Always. Exercise is now a bonus. :)

  • http://ladydownsize.com Sheri

    Hi Roni. You have kick-started my thinking again. My weight-loss journey has not been so much about thin as it has been about fitting in. There have been so many cases where I felt so out of place from stares, comments, restaurant booths and the like. I can’t tell you how much an extra 200 pounds can help you stand out in a crowd. Yet this alone has not been the trigger I need to get the weight off. I don’t know what the trigger is. Yet your blog post did spark one realization, and that is admitting to what I truly need, and it’s something I feel I need more before weight-loss. Some how it will make it more true in that order? Cannot explain it, but read the blog post I just wrote.

  • http://ladydownsize.com Sheri
  • Maggie

    I read this post a long time ago, don’t really remember when…but it got my butt into action. Not only did I lose the weight, I decided to start a blog about it: http://thismotherslife.com/. You’re like my role model!

  • Adrienne B.

    Oh my gosh. I love this. Rock on girl

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