Last month I went down to a local news station here in the Twin Cities to talk about health and weight loss over the holidays. I was interviewed about a number of things, but the main topic was “Is it even possible to lose weight over the holidays?”. It was really fun to sit on set with several cameras, teleprompters, and lights and say that yes. Yes, I started my weight loss journey with Medifast the week of Christmas last year and yes, it can work!
The day after we taped the segment, there was a large, national news event that superseded the story. I did’t know if it would ever air and I had plans the evening it was scheduled, so I didn’t get to find out. A couple of weeks later, though, I was emailed the clip of the segment and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Y’all, I’m a hypocrite. A caught red-handed, should put a bag over my head, hypocrite.
I gained 18lbs since August and I had exactly zero self-control over the holidays.
There, I said it. And it feels so good to get that out there. But also really hard and painful to share. I made choices over the last few months that undid some of the progress I made last holiday season. In many very tangible ways, this sucks. But I have also learned a lot from my off again on again experience, for which I’m thankful.
The more I reflect on what happened and what it was that made me throw my plan and progress out the window so suddenly, the more I see that it was a combination of factors. (Cue extensive naval gazing.)
Setting an inaccurate goal.
If you watched the news interview, you’ll notice that I said I was at my goal weight in August. Funny thing is, I didn’t know it at the time. I hit 150 and was fighting tooth and nail to lose 10 more pounds because according to the BMI scale, 140 is safely within the healthy zone for someone of my height but 150 isn’t. What’s weird is that 150 felt so healthy and comfortable for me. And it was also where my body gave me the most grief. I’m not saying that anywhere you plateau you should say is just a natural weight for you (hello, I had several plateaus over my 37lb journey). I’m saying that letting an (openly criticized) scale such as the BMI indicate what it right for you is not the only way to set a goal/healthy weight.
This is tricky territory because it could be tempting to throw in the towel and say “eh, close enough”. That is not the right motivation by any means. But having a grounded, realistic grasp on what your goal should be is a powerful tool.
So there I was in August at 150lbs telling myself that it wasn’t a great result. Try harder. This isn’t good enough. You need to do more. My self talk was more about how I needed to keep going and less about the victories I had already won. It was there that I snapped. I should have been throwing a big ‘ol party, not kicking myself in the shins.
Going back, I will set my goal weight at 150.
Relaxing once the pants were the right size.
I told DanO this a while ago, and it is perhaps the most insightful statement I’ve made about the temptation to let it all go (progress, discipline, on-plan eating) “It’s hard to put on my size 4 jeans in the morning and tell myself that I need to keep dieting.” This is pretty much where I was in September when I walked out of Old Navy with those goal size jeans in my shiny plastic shopping bag and a stupid grin on my face. I’m here! I’ve arrived! I can phone it in now!
O, AllisonO in September. If only I could sit you down now and pat you on your head. How wrong you are.
I’d heard that the hard part starts when you hit your goal weight. I hadn’t believed it. When you are in the weight loss phase, you have the carrot of what your body will look like to dangle out ahead of you. Do these things so that you lose more weight, have more energy, are more fit, look (more?) better. Once you’ve reached a goal weight or size, it’s like you’ve already eaten the carrot. Once the goal is reached, there’s less external reward for continued effort.
Did you catch that? Because I didn’t the first time.
There’s less external reward for continued effort. Which means that the reward and motivation absolutely has to be… wait for it… internal.
Oy. I lack a lot of things, friends, and intrinsic motivation is very high on the most-lacked list. Turns out the hard part starts when I hit my goal weight.
Going back, my goal will not just be to reach 150, but to stay at 150, one month at a time.
One thing I did very right…
was to have an incredibly supportive community around me. DanO greatest amongst these, he has been my cheerleader and encourager every step of the way. I have also had you, friends and readers (who are friends I just haven’t met yet) leave me the most heart-warming and motivating comments and emails a dieting girl could have ever hoped for. Really, truly, the main thing I will be aiming to repeat this time around will be to share here with you all so I can possibly inspire any of you who may need an extra “We can do this!” push, and also be inspired by your words, messages, and your own progress.
Since that news interview I have felt simultaneously convicted and motivated which is a powerful combination. I have taken those emotions and run with them, which has resulted in me already losing 4lbs. Right now, I am 14lbs from my goal and going strong. I received a new shipment full of my favorite Medifast foods and I am am feeling like I have a short weight loss road ahead of me. Which is good, because I now know that I will really need my energy for the maintenance phase.
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My Journey to Health:
December 30, 2011, 187 lbs
April 28, 2012: 160lbs
July 27, 2012: 152lbs
September 18, 2012: 158lbs
October 1, 2012: 155lbs
January 1, 2013: 168lbs
January 21, 2013: 164lbs
23 lbs lost!
14 lbs to go!
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How am I losing that weight, you ask? Medifast! If you use the coupon code, OFAMILY56, and sign up for Medifast Advantage, when you order $250+, you’ll receive 56 free Medifast Meals and free shipping! (More details at the bottom of this post.)
Disclosure: I receive free product in order to evaluate and comment on my experiences on the Medifast Nursing Mothers Program. I will only ever tell you how I actually feel about this experience and the Medifast products. Pinky swearsies. I am supposed to tell you that the Medifast Program is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness and that any medical improvements noted while on the program are related to weight loss in general, and not to Medifast products or programs. K, you got that? Good. There will be a quiz later.