This is an adapted version of the article, ‘5 Things I wIsh I knew when I weighed 90kg’, that was published in Fitness Magazine, Fatloss edition, December 2014)
I truly believe that nothing in our lives happen by accident. In my opinion, everything that happens to us has meaning, especially the hard or the difficult times that we go through. The difficult times that I went through in my life, also ended up being the times that taught me the most; not only about myself, but about life in general. Every difficult time or struggle can be an opportunity for us to acquire wisdom. Every struggle has the capacity to make us stronger.
One of my biggest struggles in my life was being overweight. How it felt being overweight isn’t something that I can really explain to anyone, because it’s something that you experience on such a deep and personal level. At some point it becomes a fight that you fight all by yourself and you become tired of admitting the struggle, because it’s so much easier to act as if it doesn’t bother you.
In all honestly, it doesn’t matter how hard I tried to act careless, being overweight ALWAYS bothered me.
I do indeed know of a few people who are overweight who REALLY aren’t bothered with their weight and who accepts themselves completely, but these people are few and far between. In general, when someone is overweight it bothers them and they would follow diet after diet in the hopes of losing weight.
One of the reasons why we are so preoccupied with our weight and being thin is because of the negative spin that the media puts on being overweight.
On the one hand, it’s good that ads in the media are making people more health conscious, but on the other hand I see women who already have bodies that other women would die for, but even these women end up believing that they have weight to lose due to the body image consciousness created by social and mainstream media.
I am all for transforming your body and transforming your life, because losing weight has changed my whole life and was probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
But I just want to challenge you, by asking yourself why you want to lose weight? Do you want to lose weight, because you are really unhealthy and really have weight to lose, or are you merely trying to follow the standards that are brought forth by the media.
One thing that I learnt early on in my transformation journey is that your success with your transformation is determined mainly by your REASON for transforming.
There are two types of motivations; intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Allow me to define them for you.
- Intrinsic motivation:When you are motivated by something on the inside. Something inside yourself motivates you.
- Extrinsic motivation:When you are motivated by something outside of yourself. Common extrinsic motivations are receiving rewards (for example; money) for showing the desired behaviour (receiving good grades).
If you want to be successful it’s important that your WHY is intrinsic. If you want your transformation to be a success, you have to have intrinsic motivation, because it’s the only motivation that is lasting.
Extrinsic motivation is always something that’s fleeting, momentary or something that can be taken away at any time, because extrinsic motivation is usually based on someone else. There are a lot of things that fall in the category of extrinsic motivation.
Let’s say your goal is fat loss, and your motivation is extrinsic, then the things that motivate you look something like this:
- The picture in your head of how your body is going to look, motivates you
- The fact that everyone said you couldn’t do it, motivates you
- You have a new partner and you want to look good for him
- You’re going on holiday and you want to look good in a bikini
There is nothing wrong with the things that I mentioned above, but the problem that I have with these things being your motivation is the fact that all of the abovementioned can change in an instant.
What if you have that body that you imagined in your head, what is going to motivate you to keep it?
I know for a fact that a lot of people decide to make a lifestyle change, because of the fact that others said they couldn’t do it or because they want to impress someone else, but when the going gets tough, impressing others just won’t be enough.
Are you going to wake up morning after morning to go to the gym for someone else?? Are you going to eat healthy meal after meal to impress someone else?? Those people won’t be there every time you have to make a healthy choice or every time that you have to get yourself out of bed to go to the gym.
We can only do so much for someone else…when we get tired, or when we lose motivation and we don’t have a reason deep down in our own heart, then doing it for others won’t carry us through.
The fact that we have to be intrinsically motivated isn’t something that I knew from the start, it’s something that I learnt along the way. In all honesty, my transformation taught me A LOT of things. Things that I would now love to give back to others.
Going through a transformation doesn’t always turn out the way you think it would, because sometimes the picture that we have in our mind, doesn’t match reality.
During my transformation I had a few eye openers. Before my transformation I had expectations about how things will progress and how things will end. But in the end things turned out quite differently. As you all know, having an expectation and then not having it met is usually something that is difficult for us to accept, and in some ways I wish that I had been more prepared. Sometimes I wish that someone would have told me all the things I needed to know before I started or at least told me if my expectations were unrealistic.
I would therefore like to share with you 5 things that I wish I knew before I started with my transformation in the hope that it might help you on your journey.
Here are 5 Things I wish I knew when I weighed 90kg:
- Happiness is a choice
There is a lie that is conveyed to us on a daily basis via television ads, advertisements in magazines or on billboards, as well as by social media; the lie that with being thin/skinny comes happiness and success. The opposite of this lie is that if you are fat/overweight you’re probably sad or unhappy and unsuccessful.
Although this message is being conveyed to us very subtly, it still has a major effect on our thoughts and pre-conceptions. We end up constantly comparing ourselves with others and telling ourselves that we’ll be happy if we are thin or if we lose weight or if we fit into a certain dress. We end up living a life where happiness is conditional.
When I lost all the weight my state of happiness didn’t change one bit. Yes, I was proud of myself and I received praise from others for what I had achieved, but deep down inside, I still wasn’t happy.
I wish I knew that when I embarked on my weight loss journey, that happiness is a choice. True, sustainable and lasting happiness isn’t something that comes with a number on a scale or a dress size and definitely no amount of weight loss. Happiness doesn’t have to have anything to do with our outward appearance. Happiness is determined by our mindset and especially what we choose to focus on. There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for and as soon as you realize this you will know that happiness isn’t conditional, it’s something that you choose.
- Some people are very superficial
I wish someone told me before I lost the weight how superficial some people can be. There were a lot of people that became my friends after I lost the weight, while they didn’t even look at me twice, before the weight loss.
When I realized that people could be so superficial I got really mad, because although I lost the weight I was still the same person, the only thing that changed was my appearance, but still people suddenly changed the way they treated me. I just couldn’t understand how people can judge you purely on how you look, with a complete disregard for who you really are as a person. If people actually took the time to get to know me before the weight loss, they would have known that I was the exact same person before the weight loss than after the weight loss.
I wish I knew before my transformation how superficial people can be, because then I would have known that the friends that I had before the weight loss were my real friends and that I shouldn’t be wasting any energy on people who’ve had hidden agendas.
- Weight loss has no magic powers
When I think back to the time before I started with my weight loss journey, I think there was a part of me that hoped that losing weight will magically fix everything else. There was a part of me that hoped that once I have lost all the weight I would not struggle with a bad self-image anymore and that I would instantly forget all the words that have been spoken over me earlier in my life. There was a part of me that hoped my thought patterns and negative inner self-talk will automatically change when the reflection I see in the mirror is closer to the image that I had in my head.
Unfortunately this wasn’t the case AT ALL! I quickly found out that weight loss has NO magic powers.
When I finally reached my goal weight I realized that I still had all the same emotions with regards to my past, I still had a self-image problem and my inner self-talk was just as negative as before the weight loss. I have to be honest with you, this was probably one of the hardest realizations that I have ever had to face, because I had an expectation that losing all the weight would fix my thoughts, my self-image, my self-talk, my life and even me, and when it didn’t I felt hopeless.
Once I made peace with the fact that weight loss has no magic powers, my REAL transformation began, because then I opened up my thoughts and mind to accepting that nothing in life comes easy and that everything is a work in progress. I made peace with the fact that my bad self-image is something that I am going to have to work on daily. I accepted that my thought patterns won’t automatically change when I have a new body and I realized that changing my thought patterns takes practice and it’s something that I can get better at.
I realized that losing the weight didn’t make me automatically forget all the negative remarks or comments that have been spoken to me in the past and that for true healing to occur, I would need to forgive.
I wish I knew beforehand that weight loss has no magic powers, because maybe then I could have worked on all these things from the get go. Like I always say; outside transformation doesn’t mean a thing if inner transformation doesn’t also occur.
- Strive for progress not perfection
One thing that I wish I knew before I started with my transformation is that it’s better to strive for progress than for perfection. When I started my journey the perfectionist side of me wanted to do everything perfectly and a part of me even believed that if I slip up in ANY way I am a failure.
I soon learned that trying to be perfect was VERY exhausting and also not humanly possible. The day that I chose to focus on progress, rather than perfection, my journey became a lot easier, because I allowed myself to be human, instead of chastising myself with each mistake – I could rather choose to learn from it.
The thing about progress that you need to know is that it’s a 3-steps-forward and 2-steps-back kind of process. The only thing that matters is that you keep going and that you allow yourself to learn with every failed attempt, this is the only way to also ensure that you actually enjoy the journey.
- Losing weight & keeping it off is HARD
Before I started the weight loss journey there was a part of me that thought; once I lose all the weight I will never have to worry about my weight again. I believed all these ads in the magazines, which show all these awesome transformations, and most of these people make it sound so easy. After losing the weight I quickly realized that maintaining my weight is not something that will come automatically, it’s going to take hard work and conscious effort day-in and day-out. For a transformation to be successful you have to make a concerted effort to change your daily habits, because these are the things that determine our behaviour, as well as our lifestyle.
Through my own journey I realized that most people don’t succeed at their transformations because they don’t realize the work they are going to have to put in for the rest of their lives.
But I want to encourage you that there is a way to make the transformation easier and lasting; if you change just as much on the inside as on the outside, in other words if you focus just as much on mental transformation than on physical transformation, it will be easier to maintain the weight loss.
This is why I created the MindBodyRevamp Program.
I want to help women on their journey towards a lifestyle change and I want to help them completely revamp their lives, bodies and thoughts from the inside-out.
The MindBodyRevamp Program addresses everything from your personality type, body type, training, diet, wardrobe, makeup, style, how to dress for your body type, self-confidence, mindset, thought processes, eating habits, food issues, body image and so much more.
Registration for this program is NOW OPEN and because this program is so individualized and personal, I only have limited spots available.
Click HERE if you are interested in this program.
Hope to hear from you soon.