In this episode you are going to get an up-close and personal look at my weight loss journey and how I’ve reached a point of weight maintenance. I think that over the twenty-ish year that I dieted I probably reached my happy goal weight at least a dozen times. It was like an end zone or finish line. I’d see the number on the scale, wink at myself in the mirror, and lay down all the good habits and processes that carried me to my goal. This had to stop. When I reached my goal weight back in 2020 I learned some fascinating things about what it meant to stay at that happy weight as part of a life-long process.
Losing the weight permanently took me through four stages: recognizing my real problem, dieting the way I wanted to live, finding my weight range, and re-evaluating my protocol.
Recognizing the real problem. We were deep into the pandemic when I realized I had a big problem. I had been going through a cycle of binging and restricting since I was a teenager. Whenever life got stressful I turned to food for comfort and when I saw the weight creeping up higher than I was comfortable with, I would engage with some sort of ultra-restrictive dieting until I felt things were under control again. But, the pandemic just wasn’t ending and my stress eating had pushed me over a number and beyond. I was scared. This time I couldn’t get a handle on myself. That is when I discovered life coaching around emotional eating. It saved me. Namely I learned how to self-coach, identifying thoughts and habits that were driving me to emotionally eat. The problem was much more my emotions than the food itself combined with some food addiction to refined sugars and processed grains. My first step was taking care of myself emotionally and taking a huge break from sweets. Today I still use the tools I learned when I see those old habits emerging or have cravings for things that don’t serve me. I now know that I want to turn to God, friends, and self-care instead of cookies. This is important because if I had never worked on this real problem, there was no diet in the world that could help me.
Dieting the way I want to live. Next, I had to start thinking long-term. Instead of dieting like crazy, reaching my goal, and then going back to eating normally, I instead adopted the mentality of only doing things that felt good and that I could do for the rest of my life. Yes, this meant that my weight loss was much slower than it ever had been before. However, I also learned to listen to my body’s hunger signals, have portion control, and eat foods that didn’t cause inflammation or discomfort. I figured out how to love eating in healthy ways. I took pieces of various programs and diets I had explored in the past and created my own protocol that works for my body and my life. This is important. My life and body are unique and so is yours. It is unreasonable to expect it to fit perfectly into someone else’s designed protocol.
Weight range. As I neared my weight goal, I realized that there really wasn’t a finish line, instead there was a zone. Our bodies, especially women’s body’s, have a weight that fluctuates a lot. TO have a single number that I needed to hang on to to feel successful was not only unreasonable but also toxic. It would mean that most days I was either above or below my goal and constantly “failing”. Thankfully, much of the health community has adopted the healthy belief that we should have a weight range in maintenance that accounts for things such as hormonal changes and inflammation. My weight range is 125 to 135. If I go outside of this range or see definite trends that alarm me, then I know I need to re-evaluate my eating, sleeping, hydration, mental health, and exercise.
Re-evaluating. Someone asked me if I am tired of always having to keep my weight on my mind. I’m not. Mostly I am thankful that I have a way of noticing when I’m not taking better care of this vessel God entrusted me to. I know that emotional eating will most likely always be a vice the enemy offers to me when things get hard, but it is also my red flag, alerting me that I’m not being loving, kind, and patient with myself nor that I’m leaning on God’s strength. When I see weight creeping up I re-evaluate what I’m doing. This is especially important as my body begins to go through peri-menopause and I realize that it will continue to be important as my body continues to change in the decades to come.
I know that many women are so focused on getting to that number on the scale that this might not feel applicable to your life, but I want to encourage you that you can do many things now that will make your weight loss permanent. You can learn to work on the real problems that drive you to overeat, you can learn to eat in a way you enjoy that fits your lifestyle, you can begin to notice fluctuations on the scale so that you can later figure out a weight range, and lastly you can become a pro at re-evaluating your progress and protocols.
Lastly, if you are weight maintenance, I want to encourage you because this can feel really lonely. No one will tell you that you they are proud of you or that you are doing such a good job. Where you are at now is something that you can only share with God, yourself, and hopefully a friend or spouse who truly understands. I see you, dear one. Let your fight to stay healthy in this world riddled with unhealthy offers draw you closer to our amazing Savior.
All my love to you! Talk to you next week! Bye for now.
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.