My name is Liz and I am a huge fan! I read all of your blogs and think you’re a wonderful inspiration. I’m writing because I need a little advice/inspiration/I’m not sure what to call it. You’ve answered a question of mine before (about tips for eating in a dorm) which was great, so thank you so much for that.
I guess my question/situation is how did you get the self confidence to start. In your posts and videos, you talk about accepting yourself at your original weight when you first started Weight Watchers before your started losing weight. I just can’t seem to do this. I guess I’ll give you a little history about myself to help you understand. I’m 21, a college senior (eek!), very very overweight, have tried many diets (including Weight Watchers a few times), I have poly cystic overy syndrome (pcos), and I’m a bulimic/binge eater. I’ve struggled with bulimia since I’ve been a teenager and been in various stages of treatment such as impatient to now individual therapy.
Anyways, all of this information does have a point! This summer I was doing weight watchers and I had some success (I lost about 14 pounds in 2 months). I wanted to lose weight by the time graduation came around but that didn’t happen because coming back to college got me off track. I have a hard time because I live by myself in a dorm so it is very easy to binge and no one will know. I feel so uncomfortable when I’m on campus and when I’m in classes. If I’m sitting in class and people are laughing behind me, I’m worried that they are laughing about me. I’m always worried about what I’m wearing and how it fits. I guess I just want to be normal like other students and have fun and date and go out and not worry about how I look all of the time.
When I read your posts about exercise or about dieting, I think like oh wow that sounds awesome! Or I wish I could do that, but than I don’t ever think I will be. I don’t want to have to get surgery to lose weight, but I’m afraid one day I will have to. My therapist, my parents, everyone around me seems to think that I can do it, but I don’t think I can lose weight and exercise. I just start plans and they never seem to really go anywhere. I guess when you have more than a hundred pounds to lose, it feels like never ending. I hate exercise because it’s just hard and embarrassing (especially in my college gym when most of the people are like tiny or super athletes). It’s hard to feel motivated to work out again when I want to cry when I leave the gym because I’m so embarrassed that I can’t work out more or harder. I just don’t know where to find the motivation or confidence to start to start on a healthy path.
Sorry this is so long and I hope it’s not too depressing! I just feel like maybe you might have some advice and I would really appreciate any advice you have.
First let me say I am SO sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I came across your email while pulling questions for my latest video and when I read it I knew I had to answer you by writing. This subject is way too emotional for me to do "live."
In my opinion self-acceptance is the hardest part of this journey. I know for me it was and although I didn’t have 100 lbs to lose I felt all the same feelings you are describing. If people were giggling I thought they were giggling about me. If I was on the beach I thought people were whispering about how bad I looked. If I was eating I thought people were judging me.
All these feelings made it very hard to stick to any kind of weight loss plan and actually caused me to gain more and more weight. I’d start off really strong. Then get depressed which inevitably would lead me to lose all motivation and ultimately, I’d binge.
I’m guessing it’s a pretty common cycle many find themselves in. As always, all I can give you is my personal experience. I’m by no means an expert or professional, just a girl that can totally relate.
My first HUGE step in ‘getting over it’ was breaking out of my comfort zone. It’s so easy to type now but 5 years ago it was so hard to do. I was "famous" for wearing big baggy jeans and over-sized t-shirts all through high school and college. I hid in these clothes. I avoided sleeveless dresses, tight pants and shorts for more years then I’d like to admit. Then one day I decided to test the waters. I had a good, long heart-to-heart talk with myself and I came to the conclusion that the world would not end if I wore a tank top. That people would not point and laugh at me on the street. That I was just not that important.
That sounds a little harsh but think about it. Who gives a $hit what I look like? Those students who sit and giggle behind me or the strangers on the beach could care less about me. Who am I?
Really… Who am I?
I’m nobody to them but I am everything to me.
Think about it. I was letting these feelings of how I thought other people perceived me to sabotage myself, my goals and my happiness. That’s ridiculous and as ludicrous as it sounds, the day that I had that talk with myself and wore that tank top was the first physical step on this healthy journey I am on now.
Of course 70lbs didn’t just fall off me because I put on a tank top but it was the beginning of a shift in my thinking. I am by no means "cured" of all fat thoughts and body image issues but I’ve been learning to navigate them much better these last 5 years.
You say, "…when you have more than a hundred pounds to lose, it feels like never ending" and I totally get that. I’m going to be brutally honest here. It’s IS hard and it is, in a way, never ending. BUT–I had to throw that but in there real fast cause I didn’t want to scare you. :) — that’s not what you need to focus on.
When I took that first step and then started Weight Watchers I really didn’t have a goal in mind except to stop the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell. I picked a goal weight, of course, but I didn’t focus on that. If I did I don’t think I would have made it too far. 100, 70, 50, even 25 lbs can sound so daunting. SO impossible. So hard.
Focusing on today or this week is very doable. Committing, to say, food journaling for 1 week for example. Most weeks I could do that but if that got too hard I’d focus on the day. TODAY I will do the best I can. I even started a group on BlogToLose called The 1 Day Challenge (since inactive as I have’t been able to keep up but you get the idea.)
Well guess what…. Days do turn into weeks and weeks into months and months into years. I’m approaching my 5 year anniversary and still have to remind myself that every day I have a choice. Is it still hard? Sometimes. But by focusing on the small things and reaching short term goals you can accomplish great things. My commitment to food journaling and counting points led to a 70 lbs weight loss. My attempting to run that first 5k lead to a finishing a marathon. Great things are possible if you give yourself a chance. You can’t give up before you even get started. Looking back that’s what I used to do all the time.
So my advice? Pick one thing. Don’t overwhelm yourself with the amount of weight you need to lose. Don’t try to do it all (eat perfectly, exercise, etc) Don’t set yourself up to fail. Don’t beat up on yourself. Most importantly, DO NOT underestimate yourself. You appear to have a great support system. They believe in you. YOU need to believe in you.
I hope this helps, Liz. Know that you aren’t alone.