At my last weight and measure check-in, I was 36 pounds lighter than when I started working with a health coach back in January.
That was three weeks ago.
Since then, I have hit a three week slump. Ok, not a slump, but a plateau (because everything sounds less alarming in French). I knew that eventually my weight-loss would slow down – at least for short periods of time. I had prepared for this. Unfortunately, it didn’t make it any less frustrating when it actually happened. Unraveling half a lifetime of insecurities when it comes to my weight does happen in three months, in theory. In practice, I am still wrestling with some of my old experiences and habits.
All-or-nothing mentality. Historically speaking, I am an expert at kicking off a diet and sticking to it. That is, until I make one mistake. Then it is back to a steady stream of Netflix and Taco Bell, or the “fuck it diet” or “plan F” until I hate myself, or feel disgusting enough, or inspired enough to start again. Looking back, it seems obvious that I was doomed to failure each and every time. Healthy people do not have all-or-nothing mentalities; healthy people live a healthy lifestyle. They value movement, and whole foods, and self-care, and the occasional slice of pizza – because healthy people are balanced people. All-or-nothing is the antithesis of balance.
When the needle on the scale stopped moving, I could feel the familiar pangs of my all-or-nothing past knocking at my psyche – trying to seep in and derail me. I have the tools to silence this now, but I still need to stay humble to the process. Because just when I think I am unstoppable and have this all figured out, she checks in to see if it is finally time for me to stop this healthy living nonsense and go back to the comfort of fatness.
Negative self-talk. When I started running back in 2016, I enjoyed an initial boost of weight loss (about 28lbs). After the third month, the pace of my weight loss started to slow, despite of the fact that i was still running Mon-Fri. Although there were many positives that came from the miles I logged, none were ultimately as important to me as getting a handle on my weight. Eventually, like the rest of the things I had tried, the effort no longer matched the results and I went back to the F-plan – probably just in time for the second season of Narcos. Nothing pairs better with a tyrannical, power-hungry, bad hombre than a bean burrito, amiright?
By the time I hit two weeks without a change in the scale, I started to hear a familiar voice. What if you don’t ever lose another pound? What if this is just like the running? How humiliating for you! Especially after you were so convinced that this was finally the answer. And you shouted it from the highest mountain top! You even purchased some Facebook ads, to reach beyond your own circle. How fraudulent. What will Jennifer think? She believed in you, and you are letting her down.
This all sounds pretty depressing, but let me explain why it’s actually good news. I have struggled with that inner voice for most of my life. There have been stretches of time when I hear her a lot, and stretches of time when she seems to have disappeared. What makes this different from any other period of my life is that at no time have I even considered throwing in the towel. My F-plan days are over. I am fully awakened and there is no turning back. I know how the sausage gets made.
In the past, I could hide behind excuses – only I did not know they were excuses. I truly believed that because I have a thyroid condition (Hashimotos) I was doomed to fatness – and it was not my fault.
Poor, Holly. She works so hard, but the cards are stacked against her through no fault of her own.
In the past, I would have folded under my own entitlement issues. I believed that I deserved the food. I deserved a treat because I worked so hard, or because something bad happened, or because something great happened, or because the Sharks were in the playoffs, or because it was Arbor day!
The difference between then and now, is that my knee-jerk reaction now is to figure out why and then push harder. This time instead of folding, I got online and scheduled more time at Soul Cycle. This time instead of saying “fuck-it” I hunkered down and counted calories, meal by meal. This time instead of filling my anxiety with crappy foods and self loathing, I filled my body with whole foods, and self-love.
And it worked. I weighed myself one week later and was down another two pounds. Two significant pounds. Significant because they were hard earned pounds. They were eff-you pounds, because that’s what I was saying to the negative inner voice inside of me. Not this time, lady. Never again, in factor because something great happened, or because the Sharks were in the playoffs, or because it was Arbor Day
The two pounds were also significant because I realized that I am only one pound away from my pre–baby weight. I am almost thinner than I was before I had children. I am also two pounds away from being 40 pounds less than I was four months ago. If I can manage another two before the end of April, I will have lost 40 pounds in four months. I have never lost 40 pounds in my entire life!
I still have a long road ahead of me, and there will be more plateaus in my future. But next time I will be more prepared. Next time, I can put that voice to bed earlier because I know that if I just stay in my lane and keep working what I now know, my body will eventually follow.