I always think of November as a month of gratitude, so this year I want to participate in 30 Days 30 Ways! Each day I am sharing on Facebook and Instagram how my life has improved with weight loss. I thought it would be helpful to have all of them in one place for reference, so here they are!
Day 1 – I have the energy to run and play with my son!
This is such a priceless gift. Instead of being sore just standing and watching him, I can truly interact with him on his level.
I can chase him and race him and swing him around. I can lay in the yard and squat down to drive trucks. I can enjoy our play time instead of being exhausted from it.
Someday he won’t want to be with me so much. I don’t want to waste even a minute sitting on the sidelines because of my weight!
Day 2 – I have confidence and I’m not afraid to try new things.
I have confidence to try new things in ALL areas of my life. Losing weight is what you see on the outside, but the biggest changes happened on the inside.
I used to live in fear. There was SO much fear. There was fear of judgment from myself, fear of judgment from others, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of missing out by not trying, fear of disappointment, fear of not pleasing others…it was constant.
Losing weight was much easier once I worked through my mental crap. When I learned how to set boundaries, speak my mind, and practice self care, I needed comfort eating much less. I learned to turn to loved ones in my life who can offer TRUE comfort rather than trying to soothe or numb myself with food!
Day 3 – I can walk up stairs without being winded or sweaty or tired!
This might sound like such a simple thing but it makes a huge difference. Someone who has never struggled with their weight probably doesn’t even think about stairs but when you’re overweight, it’s a big deal. When stairs are a challenge, it can be an inconvenience of course but it can also be really humiliating.
Now I have no fear about finding the elevator or going too slow in front of someone else. Now I don’t have to worry that I won’t be able to talk to a co-worker on the way to a meeting because I’m sucking wind.
Now I am more likely to run upstairs to put something away rather than creating a pile on the steps. That leads to more activity and more steps which keeps me feeling great. I am improving my QUALITY OF LIFE!
Day 4 – I can fit in a restaurant booth with room to spare without any fear or anxiety!
We’ve all been there, right? Your server is leading you to a booth that looks like a toddler table and your heart starts racing while you pray to God that you won’t have to ask for a different table because you can’t squeeze in if you actually want to breathe…
My weight was limiting in so many ways but most of all it kept me from doing things out of fear. Fear of ridicule and fear of shame. I tried to hide rather than being seen. I’m done with that!
Day 5 – I am more friendly – even to strangers.
I never realized that I wasn’t being friendly before. I consider myself a nice person! But once I started losing weight I noticed that I was way more chatty with cashiers and servers than I used to be.
Then it hit me that the issue was always how I felt inside, not about how others treated me. I would avoid interaction out of shame and fear of rejection, but no one else ever ridiculed me. It was all in my head and it stopped me from even wanting to socialize! It’s shocking how much more I talk to people now.
Day 6 – I can buy clothes I like instead of buying the only thing that fits!
Shopping for clothes used to be torture. When I was at my heaviest in 2007, there weren’t as many plus size sections or stores. I was mostly limited to Lane Bryant or the rare find at Walmart.
I would have to try on like 20 things and then buy the thing that looked the least bad or was the least tight. I rarely bought clothing that I loved and felt great in. It was just about what I could fit into.
Now I actually get to CHOOSE! Of course there are still things that aren’t as flattering as others, but I have so many more options. I can have fun trying on clothes and know that I will find items that I feel confident in. I’m learning to love shopping and trying on new brands and styles!
Day 7 – I don’t fear judgment, and I no longer think people are staring at me and making fun of me.
I used to assume the worst about what others were thinking about me because it’s what I was thinking. Surely if someone even looked at me, they were calling me fat and gross in their heads, right?
Losing weight is great but I’ve also worked on my attitude and my Negative Nancy thoughts. I’ve learned to be kind to myself and consider the possibility that other people are NOT thinking negative thoughts about me. I’m not a mind reader so I won’t know what others are thinking unless they tell me. Why not assume the best (or even neutral) instead of assuming the worst?
Day 8 – I don’t say “I Can’t!” My new mantra is “Actually I CAN!”
I’ve overcome challenges in many ways in my life, but I didn’t give myself credit or use it to change my mindset. Something about changing jobs and losing weight this year has really demonstrated this point.
This doesn’t mean I can do everything right now, but it means I believe I can at some point – with the right training or support system. I can solve problems that stand in my way. I can work through my mental crap. I can chase my dreams. YOU CAN TOO!
Day 9 – I don’t count calories or points or macros or carbs! I listen to my body and I feel free!
I always wanted to learn to eat more mindfully but I hadn’t quite gotten there before my pregnancy derailed me. Even at my lowest weight (95 pound loss), I never felt at peace with food. I always felt deprived and controlled by the numbers.
I lived in fear of eating over my points and fear that I would gain all the weight back. I thought one small slip would be the beginning of the end for my weight loss journey.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Corinne Crabtree from Phit N Phat. Hearing her story on the Losing 100 pounds podcast really planted the seed of belief. I finally started to believe that I could figure out a way to live that didn’t feel restrictive and wasn’t SO darn hard. I was so scared to let go of counting because it was the only way I knew to be successful. Her story showed me that there was a different way and showed me that I didn’t need to live by the numbers.
Now I’m immersing myself in learning about mindful eating, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and self-coaching. I’m truly changing my mindset!
Day 10 – I trust my body & my mind to make the best decisions FOR ME.
I don’t starve myself or avoid my favorite foods. I don’t try to do what a diet says I SHOULD do!
I used to live by the numbers. I didn’t even know when I was hungry or full. I was scared to get hungry because I believed I couldn’t control myself. I believed I needed someone else to tell me what to do in order to be successful.
Now I know that I am in charge. I have learned to listen to my body and I don’t freak out if I get hungry. I had developed lots of great habits during my pre-prego weight loss. I just had to adjust my mindset to trusting my body to be my measuring device!
I still plan (pre-track) and try to eat fairly healthy but there’s no drama and stress around food like there used to be! I am not scared of social situations or scared at restaurants. I got this.
Day 11 – I am not afraid that I will gain the weight back.
I used to be so terrified that one bad decision would send me straight down the slippery slope of more bad decisions and weight gain. My pregnancy even seemed to support this theory because I lost my WW support system and eating plan and I did gain a bunch of weight.
However, I have since learned a new and better way of eating. I am not relying on external instruction/motivation/accountability like I was in the past. I trust myself to make good decisions, and I know that one not so great decision doesn’t negate all my efforts.
It’s not ALL or NOTHING. I am not a picture perfect eater one minute then overeating like crazy the next minute. I eat with intention and awareness and I CHOOSE what to do. Sometimes that means broccoli and sometimes that means chips. Nothing else controls me. Small habit changes really DO make a difference because they are sustainable.
Day 12 – I don’t try to hide under over-sized clothing that never actually hid anything.
I no longer try to disguise my size under big clothing. Wearing clothes that were too big never actually hid anything, but I felt like maybe it did. Like maybe if the shirt didn’t cling to my trouble spots, people wouldn’t notice that I was morbidly obese. Wrong. They noticed. I noticed.
The mental work of losing weight helped me to accept my body DURING the weight loss, not just once I get to that magical number. I am the size that I am. People can judge me or not, but it’s their problem if they do.
Of course there are certain styles that are more flattering than others and of course I don’t wear something that doesn’t make me feel great. BUT I’m not going to freak out that someone might see my arms on a hot day or that people will see some of my leg if I wear a skirt.
We are all unique and special, and we all have meaning and value that is NOT defined by the number on the scale or which size pants we are currently wearing.
Day 13 – I am not afraid to meet new people.
Of course I still get nervous, but I’m not SCARED like I was in the past. This all stems from self confidence. Not just confidence in my appearance, but confidence in my abilities as a person. I KNOW that I am capable and worthy, and that belief is not dependent on what others think. That means I don’t rely on other people liking me to feel valued anymore. So why be scared? Someone may like me or not, but I like me and that’s what really matters.
I’ve been working on flipping my Negative Nancy thoughts into Positive Patty thoughts A LOT this year. So when Nancy tries to tell me some crap that drags me down, Patty tells her to knock it off because we have better thoughts to focus on now!
The negative thoughts still happen sometimes but I don’t have to validate them. I imagine my thoughts are like leaves in a stream. I choose which ones to pick up and keep and let the other ones float on by. (I got that visual from a book called Eating Mindfully by Susan Albers. You can find it in my Kit store OR get the ebook on Hoopla!)
Day 14 – Seat belts always fit!
I don’t have to worry about seat belts not fitting on an airplane or an amusement park ride or even in the car.
Something designed to protect us can cause so much angst and grief when you are overweight. The stress of trying to squeeze into a seat and praying the belt will fit is so demoralizing. It’s probably even worse that the restaurant booth because it could be more public. If you have to get an extender on an airplane or leave a ride, it is humiliating.
Losing weight has removed this worry from my life. Smaller clothes are great, but these are the things that really matter. Quality of life and reduced stress and worry are SO much more important than the number on the scale. The mental health benefits of weight loss are more valuable than the excitement of smaller pants. Work on your mindset and I promise your life will change!
Day 15 – I can fit in the stalls in public restrooms now!
Some of those public restroom stalls are TINY, especially at a movie theater. Picture going into the stall and barely squeezing in enough to get the door closed only to realize you can barely turn around. Then once you do get turned around, your body is literally touching both sides of the stall. Talk about feeling claustrophobic. Yeah, good times.
I’m so glad that I don’t have that worry anymore. I don’t feel like I have to plan life around using the bathroom because I’m able to go anywhere now!
Day 16 – I don’t worry that I might break a chair!
It’s so awkward in social settings when you have to wonder if you will fit into a chair, be able to get back out of the chair, or break the chair. There have been times I’ve been genuinely concerned at work about sitting in certain chairs….and I could tell when other people had the same thoughts.
Now I don’t have to check weight requirements when buying new chairs, and I don’t even think twice about sitting in any chair. It’s just not something I have to think about now, and it’s such a relief!
Day 17 – I don’t avoid photos or try to hide behind my son anymore.
The times that I have noticed myself being really overweight have always been in photos. Obviously I knew what size pants I was wearing, but I was able to fool myself or somehow pretend it wasn’t as bad as it was…until I would see the photos. Photos don’t lie and seeing myself the way others see me was a rude awakening.
For a long time I didn’t want my picture taken because I didn’t feel good about myself and didn’t want evidence. Once I had my son, I didn’t want to avoid being in photos with him, but I definitely tried to hide myself behind him as much as possible.
Now I am totally okay with having my picture taken. And it’s not because I think I look so amazing, but it’s because I’ve learned to accept myself as I am now. I’ve come a long way, but I’m not where I want to be and that’s okay. I like myself and I don’t want to hide from anything anymore. I want to be able to capture memories with my flaws and all. That’s life and that’s real!
Day 18 – I have learned to SPEAK my feelings instead of EATING my feelings!
This is probably one of the biggest changes I’ve made in my adult life. I used to be SO afraid to speak up for what I wanted and share my feelings. I didn’t want to make others mad or make things difficult by disagreeing. I was afraid someone wouldn’t like me if I didn’t say or do exactly what they wanted. I was even afraid of my husband leaving me if I spoke up too much.
All of that fear and eating my feelings drove me to being inauthentic and overweight and unhappy. I ended up super depressed and in therapy. It was a slow process for me to change years of behavior patterns, and it will always be a work in progress.
It’s amazing the things you discover about yourself and your thoughts when you aren’t using food to smother your emotions. Learning to speak up and shedding my layers of protection didn’t suddenly make me happy all the time. I still feel sad, angry, stressed, and frustrated. But I do NOT use food to bury those feelings anymore. I write in a journal, talk to my husband or friend, hop on the treadmill, or angry clean. But I don’t eat because food won’t fix any problems other than hunger!!
Day 19 – I know that I am being a good role model for my son and leading my example.
We are trying to teach Landon about energy food and treat food. We want him to know that treats are great but we don’t eat them ALL the time and we still need to eat foods that give us lasting energy.
Teaching him about the different types of foods is a good reminder for myself. I want to practice what I preach. He sees me eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. He sees me drink tons of water. He also sees me eat hot dogs and ice cream. It’s all about balance. I want him to grow up with a natural balance so he doesn’t have the food issues that I have had for so many years.
I’m also leading my example by being active. I run around the yard and play with him, but he also sees me “getting exercise” on the treadmill and with arm weights. Sometimes when I’m on the treadmill, he runs circles around the basement too. It makes me happy to know that he is learning it’s important to be active.
The best part is that what he’s learning will be his normal. It’s normal for him to eat fruits and vegetables (and sometimes chips). It’s normal for him to live an active life through play, soccer, and dance. It’s normal for him to drink water instead of juice. It’s normal for him to have limited screen time. Being able to really SHOW him what a healthy lifestyle looks like is really gratifying because I know that will sink in more than me just telling him what to do.
Day 20 – I can easily cross my legs and be comfortable sitting that way!
When I was heavier, I couldn’t really cross my legs very well. If I tried, I would have to grab the bottom of my legs or my pants and hoist my leg up…but then it wouldn’t be comfortable for long. This makes professional situations awkward, especially in a skirt or dress.
I vividly remember a time I was wearing a skirt and I had to work to keep my legs together. I felt like I was doing a workout because it was so tiring just to keep my legs together. My thighs were sore by the end of the event, and I had a hard time concentrating because all I could think about was my weight and how uncomfortable I was and much I hated being in a skirt.
Losing weight has made such a difference in so many areas, but it’s really the simple things that make the biggest impact. My quality of life is improving, and I have fewer obstacles. This allows me to focus more on the important things in life!
Day 21 – I can tie my shoes without struggling or being in pain!
This simple act is something I really took for granted before I gained so much weight. I still remember the first time I noticed that it was hard to do. I was kind of shocked and surprised and then frustrated and embarrassed and sad.
It was hard to bend down because my stomach was in the way. I couldn’t cross my legs comfortably enough to tie my shoe that way either. I could sit on the floor and bend my leg at the knee but it was hard to hold that position for long because of my leg size at that time. I ended up having to prop my food up on a chair and I tried to tie my shoes super fast because it was still hard to breathe leaning over to do it.
Now I have none of those problems. I can sit in any position and lean down to my feet. I can lift my foot up onto my opposite thigh. I can squat down or bend at the waist and reach my shoes with ease.
This is quality of life. This is one of the simple activities of daily living that become a challenge when we are carrying extra weight. This is a total non scale victory worth celebrating!
Day 22 – I can play sports again and have fun being active!
I played sports all through my childhood, so I did kind of miss it as I got older. When my husband and I first met, we would play tennis or basketball just for fun. Then he hurt his back and I didn’t have any other active friends to play sports with.
After losing weight the first time, I joined a recreational softball league with a co-worker. We only played one season because the following year I was pregnant, but it was SO fun! Then this year I was able to participate in a community wellness event for my employer by playing in a volleyball tournament.
Of course I’m rusty, but it was a lot of fun. I never would have even considered it if I hadn’t lost some weight. In fact, I had been to several family picnics over the years where people were playing softball AND volleyball. I wanted to participate but refused because of my weight and then I was just sad and angry the whole time.
Playing sports is just an example of the bigger issue I used to have when I was super overweight. I wouldn’t even try things because of my weight and my thoughts about my weight. I had such negative thoughts about myself that I assumed everyone else did too. Well no more, Negative Nancy. I’m working on my Positive Patty inner voice now!
Day 23 – Social events can be fun!
Who knew you could actually have fun at parties and weddings? Only recently have I actually been able to relax and enjoy myself. I used to have two extremes but they both made me miserable and angry.
When I was super overweight, I was self conscious and had tons of Negative Nancy thoughts about myself. I couldn’t relax and have fun no matter how others treated me because I assumed they were having negative thoughts about me too. Being uncomfortable then led me to eat my feelings of anxiety, trying to find comfort the only way I knew how.
When I lost weight the first time, I felt more confident but still didn’t have fun. I would be stressed and angry about the party food and would have to white knuckle my way through so I didn’t pig out at the event. I made it all about the food and focused on what I couldn’t have and how I didn’t know the points of the foods, etc. Because I was still anxious but was trying not to eat my feelings, I just became angry and felt like life was unfair.
Now I am SO much more relaxed. It’s not all about the food. I focus on the people and the reason we are together. If I’m nervous, I tell my husband or friend instead of numbing with food. I check out all the food and pick the things I want the most, regardless of the calories. Then I listen to my body and follow my Core Four Hunger Scale. I don’t stress about eating perfect and I allow myself splurges, but I do it with awareness and intention. I no longer mindlessly shovel it in just because it’s there.
Day 24 – Grocery shopping is no longer exhausting!
If you’ve listened to my podcast, you know that grocery shopping used to be the WORST. It was SO tiring that it would consume my entire day. I would be angry about having to go, uncomfortable walking around the store, and exhausted from unloading and putting things away.
There were many times that I would shop for great food but grab pizza on the way home because then I was too tired to cook. We would eat pizza and donuts and veg in front of the TV for hours. I thought it was us spending time together but it was really just fueling our unhealthy lifestyles and depression.
Now I fly through the grocery store with ease. It’s not tiring walking around the store, and I’m not even tired after unloading and putting things away. I have SO much more energy now. Going to the store is still inconvenient at times, but it doesn’t wipe me out for the rest of the day. Now it’s just an errand that needs done and then I can move on with the rest of my day.
This is just another example of improving my quality of life. This has nothing to do with what size I wear or what the scale says. This is about living life and enjoying it, not just surviving it!
Day 25 – I can walk fast (or run if needed) to get out of the rain without being left behind.
This is meaningful to me because I have a humiliating memory of being caught in the rain. It was 14 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
I went to see fireworks with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew who was almost 2. We had parked at my parent’s house and walked down the the park that was less than 1.5 miles away. It doesn’t sound far now, but back then it felt REALLY far.
It started raining during the show so of course we were trying to hustle. Getting wet wasn’t fun but we were all mostly worried about my nephew. He was in a stroller with blankets piled over the top. My brother and sister-in-law were going as fast as they could with him, and I couldn’t keep up. I was tired, out of breath, thighs chafing, angry, wet and alone in the dark pouring rain. Eventually I found my Dad driving around trying to find us to pick us up and they had to wait on me to catch up so he could drive us home.
No one said anything. No one put me down or made me feel not good enough. No one judged me. Except for myself. I was judging myself. I was mad at myself. I was frustrated and depressed and stuck. It’s 14 years later and it still brings tears to my eyes.
Just knowing that I will never be in that situation again is so freeing and joyful. Now I can run across a rainy parking lot while carrying my son. I will never be left behind again because of my weight.
Day 26 – I feel strong and empowered!
I feel so empowered and capable of anything these days. My confidence isn’t about the number on the scale but about the belief in myself and my abilities to overcome obstacles. If I can finally conquer my emotional eating and develop a peaceful relationship with food, I feel like I can do anything!!
Day 27 – I don’t obsess about food anymore!
I used to think about food ALL THE TIME. I was always watching the clock for my next time to eat instead of listening to my body, and I frequently felt deprived because I didn’t feel like I was always having the foods I really wanted.
If co-workers ordered lunch I would be jealous or angry. If someone brought in donuts it would ruin my eating plan for the day. If I tried to change my plan on a whim, there were a thousand little thoughts and decisions and what ifs.
Now that nothing is off limits and I feel like I am eating foods I do want and enjoy, I don’t worry about food or missing out on food anymore. I know that if I turn something down one time, it is not the ONLY chance I’ll have to eat that food. I don’t feel restricted. I feel in control of my own choices now.
It’s amazing how much room thoughts of food used to take up in my brain. It’s pretty great to think about it once when I make my daily plan and that’s it. I don’t have to figure anything out during my busy day or negotiate with myself. I just stick to my plan. It’s simple but super helpful!
Day 28 – I am no longer afraid of the holidays!
Just like most social events, I used to dread the holidays because I was scared. I was scared that I wouldn’t know how to “count” the food, scared that it would be too tempting, scared that I would overeat, and scared that I would gain weight. I used to think that if I lost control, I wouldn’t be able to get it back.
Now there is no “in control” or “out of control.” Now I just eat with awareness and intention, and I listen to my body. I will eat the foods I want the most, and I will have dessert. BUT…I won’t overeat and I won’t eat EVERYTHING just because it’s there.
Picking my favorites and savoring them feels way better than eating until I’m sick on things I wasn’t as excited about to begin with! Have you ever noticed after overeating that you don’t remember tasting half of it? At some point when our minds check out, we lose the satisfaction and override the messages our stomachs are sending to our brains. That’s why it’s so important to keep your mind turned on!
Think about what you are eating. Focus on the smell, taste, and texture and really enjoy it. Sometimes we keep eating because we don’t feel MENTALLY satisfied, even when our bodies have had enough. The more you enjoy your food, the easier it is to feel satisfied.
In the past, I focused mostly on the food rather than the family time and celebrating how wonderful our lives are. Now at parties and holidays, I focus on the people I’m with and the reason for the celebration. I enjoy the food, but I don’t make the entire event about the food!
Day 29 – I can afford extra life insurance to ensure my family is protected!
Apparently I’m now an acceptable risk for life insurance. At my heaviest weight, I couldn’t even get a quote. What does that tell you about the dangers of being so overweight?
Even at 200 pounds, the cost was more than double the cost at 160 pounds. Obviously I hope this is something that never needs to be used, but I am grateful that I don’t have to worry about how my family would get by financially if something did happen.
Day 30 – I’ve reduced my risk of heart attack, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and so many other diseases.
It’s hard to stay motivated by fear, so health risks are usually not going to keep us going unless we have an actual scare. So many of us have family history or other risk factors but we just assume it won’t happen to us or live in denial because we feel helpless.
But we are not helpless. We just have to change the way we are thinking. We need to find joy in our lives in many ways, not just from food. We need to realize that improving our health can improve our long term happiness, while the pleasure we get from food is fleeting.
We need to learn that losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean misery and restriction and deprivation. If you’ve followed all my posts this month, you’ll see how much positive has come from weight loss. The effort is totally worth it!