I have been a yo-yo dieter all my life.
But I have never hated my body as much as what I have over the last four years.
When I was pregnant with my daughter four years ago, my staple diet was icecream. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. Needless to say, I stacked on an extra 20kg. I thought it would be easy to get rid of the excess body fat once my daughter was born... but oh was I sooooo wrong!
My self-esteem dipped so low that I became crippled in all areas of my life. I remember a time when I would have an anxiety attack if I had to get dressed (in something other than a maxi dress) and leave the house.
The strange thing was, I had so much knowledge about health and fitness. I was pretty active, and felt like I was doing all the right things. But no matter what I did, the weight just wouldn't budge.
Then... one day... my fiancé packed a bag and walked out.
He had threatened to leave so many times before, but this time he was serious. He had made up his mind that he finally wanted a separation.
As he walked out the door, I felt a big black cloud suddenly lift. I hadn't realised that our toxic relationship was causing me so much inner turmoil. As I reflected back, it dawned on me that our relationship had been completely devoid of love, for a very long time.
Every time I tried to give him attention or get him to notice me, he would turn away. This was eating away at my soul, and destroying my confidence. I just didn't have the guts to do anything about it, and this had (sadly) become my 'normal'.
With the absence of love in the relationship... I was turning to food instead.
During the first week after he left, the initial shock of the separation caused me to drop 3kg, because I was too distraught to eat anything at all. But amazingly quickly, my eating habits began to stabilize.
I started to realise that I was better off without him, and I was determined to dust myself off and get on with things, re-connect with my true self, and be a good role model for my daughter.
And the weight continued to come off, but at a much more steady pace.
I had removed the aspect of my life that was causing me to binge-eat.
It had nothing to do with my knowledge of nutrition and fitness. It had everything to do with the fact that I was comfort-eating to fill an emotional void.
Now, I'm certainly not suggesting that you all go out and file for divorce!
But what I want to do is highlight the fact that being overweight doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a lack of education around what we should/shouldn't be eating, or how much we should be exercising. Oftentimes, the inability to lose weight stems from an emotional imbalance.
It all comes down to mindset. All of the lifestyle choices that we make, that lead to weight gain, come from our mindset. There are lots of ways we can create mindset shifts in order to lose the weight, but a good starting point is looking at all of the major areas of our lives (eg relationships, work, career, finances, family, hobbies and leisure etc) and seeing which areas are crying out for our attention.
Are you getting stuck somewhere? Are you unhappy with something? Are you lacking fulfilment in one or more of these areas? Do you need a little push (or a big push!) to make the necessary changes?
If the answer is yes, and you ARE stuck... don't beat yourself up! It's completely normal to feel this way.
Give yourself some love, first and foremost.
Then start thinking about the first step you need to take, to head in the right direction.
Hint: You don't need to know all the steps of HOW you are going to get from A - Z. You only need to decide on the very first, teeny tiny step. Then once you do that, the following steps will make themselves clear. Trust in yourself, and trust in the process.