I started actively trying to lose weight during the summer of 2010. That was four and a half years ago. In that time, I’ve lost 155 pounds, started this fitness blog, been featured on the Runner’s World website and in one of their books, and become certified as a personal trainer. I’ve even run a half-marathon, and my sights are set on running a full one toward the end of this year.
Yes, that’s all kind of a #humblebrag (sorry), but it’s a segue into my point: I lost weight and changed my life, but the weight loss does not define who I am.
I am living my life–not some weight loss maintenance routine.
Sure, the weight loss is a part of who I am, helped make me who I am, and I work every day at maintaining my fitness and health. But I no longer have to worry about weight loss being my number 1 priority.
Weight loss maintenance isn’t something I do actively. I don’t think to myself, “I have to do this so I can keep off the weight I lost.”
And that’s why so much of the online weight loss community strikes me as unhealthy–every bit as unhealthy as the commercial weight loss industry or even the fat acceptance community.
Sure, I’m scared of getting fat again. So I live my life better than I did back then. I use that fear as a motivator, not as an ID card.
So much of the online weight loss community seems to think there are two modes of life for its members: weight loss mode and maintenance mode.
You’re either actively trying to lose weight, or you’re actively trying to keep that weight off.
Let me be the first to tell you that is complete bullcrap.
By thinking about weight loss in such binary terms, you lose any way to disconnect yourself from your former life, from all the emotional stress and issues that caused the weight gain in the first place.
By seeing yourself as either a loser or a maintainer (or being in maintenance mode), you don’t get to create your new self-identity as healthy person with healthy habits–your identity is still tied directly to the obese person you once were.
Don’t think about your eating in terms of calorie restrictions instead of nutrition. You think about calories burned during exercise instead of training yourself toward some goal–or just exercising for the fun of it. By thinking about yourself in terms of weight loss maintenance, you’re living life in fear of going back to the unhealthy life you had, not giving yourself the opportunity to be someone who lost weight and is now living a fit, healthy, and happy life.
So…Let It Go
Let go of the idea that you’re always going to somehow be that obese person who couldn’t bend down, run 15 seconds, or fit on a roller coaster. Let go of the idea that you have to live your life in ways you don’t want to in order to maintain your weight loss.
You just have to live your life. True weight loss is sustainable through healthy living and honest-to-goodness mental change. I changed the moment I couldn’t fit on that roller coaster, and I knew that I never would let myself get to that point again.
My mind changed first, and my body changed over the next few years.
And I have never once been in maintenance mode because of it. I just live my life.
After 155 pounds, I don’t really count calories, and I don’t weigh myself more than once every month or two. I eat food I like when I’m hungry, drink a lot of water, exercise doing stuff I enjoy every day. In other words, I live my life.
I don’t think about weight loss maintenance because I’m not maintaining weight loss. I’m not a maintainer, and I’m not–nor have I ever been–in maintenance mode.
I’m me. I lost weight. I’m a runner. I’m healthy. And that’s how I live my life.
Now…how do you plan on living yours?
And be sure not to miss the Geek Fitness Health Hacks Podcast! Click to listen to all the episodes now!