While we all call weight loss a journey, I think it is more aptly described as a return to our true self. It doesn’t feel that way when you are starting a diet, but the changes that come as a result of losing weight will make you feel that way. This “new you” just feels like who you were destined to be.
In my experience, the changes weren’t all rooted in physical appearance. The changes weren’t limited to how I felt when I looked in the mirror, or found an increase in energy. No, there is much more to this than the first 20 pounds of weight loss, or the first 30 pounds, or even the 50+ pounds.
As much as I want to answer every question you have about my diet, exercise, sleep and stress levels (and I will answer all of your questions below), I feel there is something I should share with you first.
I call it the “emotional quotient” of weight loss.
I believe emotions to be one of most powerful aspects of successful weight loss and one that isn’t often talked about in diet books. Why do I believe it is so important? It is from emotions that you start the journey, it is emotions that cause most of us to cheat on our diets or to stay the course, and surely the most life-changing difference noticed in ourselves will be emotional in nature.
So please bear with me and let me tell you who I was before I started on this journey.
Up until I was eight or nine years old I was slim, fit and active. Shortly after that I was labelled “The Fat Kid” at school.
In discussions with my mom about our life back then (looking at eating habits, exercise and stress levels), we still haven’t been able to figure out what caused me to change from slim and active to overweight and lethargic.
Was it the onset of hormones? Perhaps.
New stress in our lives? Possibly.
Dietary and nutrition changes? Maybe.
Eventually the hormones, stress and nutrition righted itself but I still carried a few extra pounds up until I went away to college. Not many, but enough to make me feel self-conscious most of the time.
College life added a few more extra pounds, but I tried not to let it bother me. I was emotionally satisfied in other areas of my life at that time.
After college I had a job that was both challenging and rewarding. I was working 45+ hours a week and had built an amazing team of staff who I love dearly to this day even though I no longer work with them.
I had a beautiful home in a nice area, drove a nice car, and had a new puppy that got along well with my older cat. Everything was ‘in place’ and I wanted for nothing.
Yet with all these pieces in place, something was off.
Something was wrong.
I hadn’t been acting myself and it began to affect some of my relationships.
The first thing I noticed was that my usual social and friendly nature was slipping away. I have always loved to talk to and meet new people, yet more and more each day I found that I didn’t want to leave my house. I wanted to shut myself away. I would say things like “I’m not even alive right now,” which really felt like “I’m not present in this moment. I’m locked inside.”
Interactions with others became an emotional roller-coaster. I would be semi-cheerful one moment, but feeling like I wanted to yell “leave me alone” in the next moment. This is hard to admit, but I would sometimes pick fights and argue with the people that I loved.
I was satisfied in my job but as time marched on I started going to work because I had to, no longer because I wanted to.
I didn’t feel right. I wasn’t myself. I was terribly unhappy.
With no outward reason for that unhappiness, I knew I had to look to and understand, my self.
The young woman in my mirror had become overweight, depressed, angry and sullen. I yelled at her that day I decided to understand myself, “Get yourself together!” and “I don’t even know you!”
I sat down and cried, then made two lists.
First, a list of who I thought I was versus who I’d become.
The second list was aspects of my life that needed to change so I could get back to being myself.
Through that honest introspection I discovered that my lesser emotions (anger, frustration, resentment) were the result of stifled pain. Stifled pain caused my new anti-social tendencies. Which fed into unhealthy eating habits. Which resulted in weight gain. I realized that I was on an emotional eating roller coaster; a never ending ride.
Anger dulled my disappointment. Eating dulled the pain and the emotions I didn’t want to confront. I’d hide from myself in shame, then eat to ease the loneliness.
Once I knew the destructive ride I was on, I had to find the brakes. This could only mean that I’d need to get to the root of my dissatisfaction. For me, that root was based in a relationship that lacked harmony, respect, and balance.
At the end of my list writing I faced three challenges.
- To rediscover my happiness.
- To learn to love my body again.
- To find the strength to make lasting changes.
To Rediscover My Happiness
In my situation, the first challenge hinged on my primary relationship. Why was I living with someone who didn’t make me happy? I didn’t feel the relationship could be ‘righted’ or rectified so I packed up my pets and left one night, after having spent too many nights in arguments.
Lesson Learned: I will never sacrifice my whole self again by aligning with negative people or remaining in negative situations.
My Advice: When your health and happiness is at stake you have to disassociate from these people and the challenges they present. It is a downward spiral to self-destruction. Negative people will not help you on your own journey. Instead, surround yourself with people who truly love and want the best for you. People who are positive, people who will lift you up and support you. Those are the people you need in times of great life changes!
To Love My Body Again
The next challenge was to start loving my body again. I had filled myself with toxins. Eating all those unhealthy foods (packaged foods, excess sugars, GMOs) was not a loving way to treat myself. I hated the way I both looked and felt so I decided it was time to start putting whole, healthy foods into my body and see how it responded. A diet that was kind and gave my body the foods it needed to repair itself.
Lesson Learned: I had tried many diets in previous years, but I was always still hungry. Whether it was the boring food, constant hunger pains, or the rise and fall of my blood sugar, I knew a diet of protein shakes, or just salads, or low fat chicken and vegetables only, wasn’t going to work for me. I scoured the internet and found Paleo, Low Carb High Fat, and Ketogenic diets – those resonated with me and made sense. Hence, KetoHybrid was created.
My Advice: Sound nutrition always leads to success – in weight loss, health, and personal fulfillment. When you love your body and give it what it needs, it will respond by loving you back. Our bodies need fats and any diet that is low in fats creates a nutritional imbalance. Our bodies need proteins. Our bodies do not need the extreme carbohydrates recommended by most conventional diets. Balance, variety, and sound nutrition.
To Stay The Course I’d Set Out For Myself
The third challenge on my list turned out to be relatively easy. In the beginning I wasn’t certain I could stay the course I’d set out for myself but in this case the first step was the hardest.
Lesson Learned: The first step is the hardest. My first step was to love myself enough to remove myself from any situation that stifled my happiness and self-love. The next step was to love my body and treat it right. The third obstacle was to stay the course – easy enough as I love this diet and our bodies respond quickly. High fat diets are both delicious and filling (which cuts down the constant hunger prevalent in most diets).
My Advice: Take the first step towards self-preservation and everything else falls in place. While you might not think self-preservation applies to your current life, when you look deep into your psyche you may change your mind. Love yourself enough to be your best self and to treat your body right through sound nutrition. We only get one body to carry ourselves through this lifetime and learning about balanced nutrition is the best gift you could ever give to yourself. Ask at every bite: “Does this harm or nurture my body?”
Your Questions About My Weight Loss
When did you start your diet?
I’ve been eating this way for over a year. I started in mid-January 2014.
Have you gained any weight back?
No, but my body does fluctuate about 3-5 pounds a week. It doesn’t bother me. I’m still happy with how I look.
Did you ever hit the dreaded plateau?
Yes! A few times actually! In the beginning I hit a plateau after I had lost about 35 pounds. I knew I needed to lose more weight and was worried that I wouldn’t. I looked at my diet and realized I needed to up my fat intake a little, and consume more water. So, I did. Easy as pie and I broke through that plateau which started with a three pound loss and kept going after that.
The next plateau I hit was a little more difficult. At around 45 pounds lost I could not lose any more weight. No matter how much I upped my fat, drank more water, doubled my daily walks with my dog – the weight just wasn’t budging. I didn’t give up. I stayed the course and just kept eating the way I had been in the past. I kept eating a KetoHybrid diet and made sure my body was hydrated at all times. Eventually, I broke through it. I’ve now lost 53 lbs. Sure, I’d like to lose a little more, but if my body and my mind are happy at this weight, why stress? I highly advise all of our readers to listen to your body. Become in-tune with your body’s needs. (Just don’t listen to those sugar cravings!)
Did you exercise? If so how much?
Not going to lie, I didn’t exercise at all. Oh wait! I did walk my dog for 10-20 minutes, twice a day. Does that count?
Did you notice a change in inches before pounds?
To be honest I can’t really tell you. I didn’t put a lot of merit on what the scale, or what the measuring tape said. If I had to think about it I’m certain I noticed inches first. But only because of how my clothes fit.
Do you have more questions for me? Send a message using the comment form below!
I no longer call the way I eat a “diet”. This is my lifestyle. This is how my body is the happiest. Being fueled with fat, love, and positivity.
When I got my body off all the sugars, all the wheat, all the things I never thought I could live without, it thanked me. I noticed most of my weight loss in the first 10 weeks. I was able to fit into my high school jeans again. I wasn’t able to put one leg into them 10 weeks earlier. Now, I can wear them for about 5 minutes and they’re falling off of me.
After reading about my journey you’re probably wondering about my emotional changes. Within two and a half weeks I noticed a difference in my emotions. I was laughing again. I was happy. I was running around the house singing my favourite songs. I bounced around with so much joy I often wondered if I disrupted Mom’s work with all the happiness. She did tell me she didn’t remember the last time she had seen me so happy.
How upsetting is that? That my Mother, who knows me better than anyone else, couldn’t remember the last time she saw me sing and dance like a crazy person? Well now she sees it all the time and she says it is her greatest gift.
This is how we are suppose to live. We were created to be happy. To love. To help. To thrive.
We were not put on this earth to be unhappy. To hate. To be angry. To be negative.
My journey to my new self started with realizing that I became someone who I wasn’t destined to be.
I was created to be happy. I was created to love – myself and others. I was created to teach. I was created to guide.
I am now, who I was created to be.
It’s your turn now.