Is going public about your weight-loss journey the ‘weigh’ to go?

“We know that the road to long term Weight Loss Success is a bumpy one and that like anything else, the going gets easier if you have a buddy to share your diet ups and downs.  Studies have shown that surrounding yourself with a good support network may help to spur you on, increasing weight loss and long term success.”

Originally posted here- http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/weight_loss/weight-loss-buddy.htm

If you choose a plan like slimming world, weight watchers etc. you will more often than not attend a weekly meeting, some thrive in these opportunities and their success has shown. The weekly weigh-ins, the companionship, the support people get from these meetings is not only encouraging to peoples journeys but also highly rewarding.

But for people that don’t opt for these plans what else is out there? Or for the people who do attend groups and want to meet other people too?

I started my blog a little over a year ago, now admittedly I knew other people were bound to be writing about the same subject but I hadn’t really come across many.

Fast forward a year and I have discovered a support network spanning the world and I’m still discovering more people and inspirational stories.

Everyone has their own reason to embark on a fitness and health journey and everyone is fighting their own demons so naturally not everyone wants to be so public with their journey. But that doesn’t mean you have to face this task alone.

But studies do suggest that going public really is the way to go. So whether you want to document your journey or not you can share in other people’s journeys.

Start with Instagram it is a MASSIVE inspiration for me. Seeing other peoples food really helps when making your own food choices, discovering different recipes and food combinations you would never have thought of! Seeing people’s progress pictures on days when you really don’t think it is possible. So stalk away (not literally that is still illegal!)

I have said this on many occasions but I’ll say it again, I find soooooo much inspiration from people that follow my journey, that interact with me and share their journeys. Everyone one of you that takes the time to read what I write, share my story, look at my pictures or take tips and even what not to do tips! Even those who do so silently or stumble across me by accident. So please enjoy this new opportunity that social media, smart phones and the internet has given us.

If you haven’t got Instagram download it, if you don’t want to share your personal story that’s fine, but how about a food diary through photos? It works for me, I spend time deciding what I want to eat, and preparing it to look appealing and then I photograph and share it. It encourages me to make the right food choices for my journey.

Like I mentioned above I also love stumbling across other peoples journeys so even if you don’t want to share your journey seek out other peoples and find inspiration to keep you motivated. You are not alone.

© Sarah Woodside

© Sarah Woodside

© Sarah Woodside

© Sarah Woodside

You will often find that many people sharing their journey publicly on Instagram also share their journey through other forums like blogs and Facebook pages. So seek out these too.

 

Which brings me to my final statement on this for tonight…

Calling all bloggers, Facebook page owners, tweeters, instgramers (I know that’s not a real word 😛 !!) or anyone else sharing their journey leave your link in the comment I want to know who you are, let’s meet more awesome people on this journey. Even if you and I already know one another leave your link so more people can meet you.

 

Until next time I’m offer to gobble a mini twister for 45 calories!!!

Say no to body shaming and yes to body positivity.

Who has heard of Tess Holliday aka Tess Munster?

In 2013 she started the #effyourbeautystandards movement on Instagram, encouraging people to love their bodies and be proud of their bodies no matter their size.

In January of this year (2015) she made history by becoming the largest plus size model to be signed to a mainstream modelling agency.

Tess Holliday - Instagram

She is a US size 22 – UK size 26 so naturally her images have caused controversy. They have encouraged the keyboard warriors at home to unleash their vicious tongue in full glory.

What is their argument?

That she is unhealthy, promoting obesity, glamorizing obesity, and encouraging children to become obese themselves… the list goes on.

As an obese adult I am here to tell you that if your child is obese by the time they hit their teenage years or before then, it is more often than not your fault. Excluding any children who are overweight due to health reasons or medication etc.

You feed your children, you have fed them since day one, and it is your responsibility to educate on foods so that when they are left to make their own food choices they make the right ones.

No child grows up with the ambition or dream of becoming morbidly obese.

We know that our world is full of all different types of people. Different genders, race, hair colours, eye colour, appearance, size. So why not teach our children to be more accepting? The concern over someone like Tess gracing our magazines is misplaced. Rather than focussing on her weight, perhaps focus on her confidence. She knows she is overweight she makes no secret of it, but have you seen her smile? How happy she is? How comfortable she is within her own skin?

This isn’t about ‘us’ and ‘them’, fat people against skinny people. This is about body confidence and allowing anybody no matter their size to love themselves.

If we spend our time educating the younger generation in hate and shaming then we are setting them up to fail. We are setting them up for a lifetime of striving for ‘perfection’, comparing themselves to their peers, and struggling to accept themselves. Is this how you want your children and family to live? To spend each day struggling to just be themselves.

This is why I stand up openly and support models like Tess, the same way I support smaller sized models. No it is not ok to promote an unhealthy lifestyle, but it is ok to promote body acceptance. Some people are naturally a size zero so why should we exclude them? Just like lifestyle, illness etc. may mean that someone is obese. Exclusion and shaming is NOT ok on any level. So let’s unite and encourage our younger generation to be more accepting so that they can live in a world where they don’t have to starve themselves in order to fit in, so they don’t have to sit in jeans and a long sleeved top in the middle of summer because they are too afraid of people staring at them.

If you fill them with tools and understanding about the importance of eating well and exercising regularly then you’ve given them the best start in life. You’ve taught them the importance of fuelling their bodies correctly in order to yield the best results.  Children learn from us, so rather than teaching them about all your insecurities give them the power to live without them.

Tess Holliday – Instagram

One year on, progress and truths.

Enough is enough time to stop wallowing in self-pity. The only one preventing me from thriving on this journey is me.

Anyone who follows my blog or follows my Facebook page knows my weight-loss story. It is one that has spanned decades, from a chubby baby, to a podgy toddler, a chunky child, a fat adolescent and now an obese adult.

It is a constant struggle, I fall off the wagon, I clamber back on, I stumble off, I cling on… and so the vicious circle continues.

I have been successful over the years, therefore I know I can lose weight. I know I am capable of sticking to a healthy plan and exercising regularly. I have lost around 100lbs previously, but of course it went back on and more! Throughout my life I have fluctuated in size, it has been just over a year since I began this journey and I am nowhere near where I wanted to be. Am I as big as I was? No and I confidently know that I never will be again.

Initially I was disappointed and because of this disappointment I stopped writing. What a mistake that was, to punish myself by taking away the thing that I love doing most.

This past year wasn’t just a struggle based around weight-loss but also a struggle around my own mental health. Now I appreciate this is a weight-loss blog so perhaps a post about mental health doesn’t fit in here. However this is my journey, my story so in order to be true to myself I want to discuss this with you.

I have struggled with my own mental health for around 13 years. Over the years I have been told my mental health troubles are a side effect of being overweight, I was told that it was to be expected, I simply cannot be this big and be happy (yes a health professional told me that!)

No matter how many times I explained to my doctors and peers that I was confident within myself and I was losing weight to prevent future health complications not for vanity reasons – I was still told that subconsciously it was because I hated myself. I hated the person I had allowed myself to become. So the solution was always lose weight and my mental health will improve with it.

So that’s what I did. I embarked on a public journey to lose weight and change my future.

I was wrong. Everyone who told me this would help was also wrong.

What I should have done is spent the time trying to improve my mental health before I embarked on such a journey.

I sacrificed my mental health whilst trying to improve my physical health.

So what haven’t you seen this past year?

You haven’t seen the days of not eating – too unmotivated and stuck in perpetual sadness to eat.

You haven’t seen the aftermath coming from the days of not eating – guilt ridden days of feeling like I have let everyone down which leads to eating everything and anything in sight (not literally – but a lot of food!) – Which then of course leads back to starving mode.

You haven’t seen the relentless tears through fear that I’ve left everybody down.

I would describe my depression and other mental health issues as the dementors from Harry Potter – they come and drain any inch of happiness you have and leave you surrounded by your own fears, in a state of desperation and everlasting despair.

Why am I telling you this?

Because suffering with some form of mental illness is NOTHING to be ashamed of, everyone has mental health, just like everyone has physical health, sometimes you are well and sometimes you are not.

To lose a substantial amount of weight you need to be doing it for all the right reasons. This year I wasn’t. I also didn’t have the mental strength to deal with the knock backs.

The past 6-7 months have been spent finally discussing my illnesses and finding help that works for me.

Now I find myself one year on since starting this journey and no I haven’t lost as much weight as I would have liked, but for the first time in 13 years I am managing my own mental health and I am not controlled by it – I would say that is a victory.

So to anyone who is suffering, take the time you need, the scales will still be there in a few weeks. You need to believe that you can do this, believe in yourself and your abilities.

I often get people messaging me with hate, complaining that I am glamorizing obesity and making it ok for overweight people like me to love themselves and how I should be ashamed of myself.

Firstly, why shouldn’t we love ourselves? Just because we are overweight does not mean that we should spend our lives hating ourselves and punishing ourselves.

Secondly, empowering and encouraging people to love themselves throughout their journey spreads positivity, if someone is positive they yield far better results.

Thirdly, Losing weight does not solve all of your problems. By addressing these confidence issues along the way, hopefully when someone reaches their goal they won’t still be picking fault every time they look in a mirror, or calling themselves names.

I am not ashamed of myself for anything I write or say, I have never confessed to being an expert however years of dieting have given me plenty of experience to pass on.

I will also not apologise for helping people love themselves no matter their journey.

Body shaming on any level is unacceptable – be that fat shaming or skinny shaming. United we can share our experiences and help each other, losing weight is a hard task but one that seems a little less daunting when you know so many other people struggle like you.