Give yourself grace
When COVID came and disrupted everything we’ve ever known, I found myself more isolated than ever. I was feeling the effects of living alone and feeling unmotivated at the beginning of quarantine. Usually when I’m feeling overwhelmed my body has a physical reaction. I either can’t sleep very well at night and lose my appetite or I want to stay in bed all day and eat everything. At the height of quarantine, I was the former. I was restless at night and all I consumed was a smoothie a day, a mango, and maybe something solid every day for two weeks. On top of that, I found myself destressing by working out for at least two hours every single day. Before I knew it, I was down 11 pounds in less than a month. I wasn’t trying to lose the weight, it just happened. I was officially the “smallest” I’ve ever been. Actually, the cover photo for this post is a visual of how small I was/am. 75 pounds later and it still feels weird that over the last 7 years, I lost this weight. I recognize that people can lose that much weight in a year’s time or less by my journey has been an up and downhill battle with depression, an eating disorder, body dysmorphia, and self-esteem. This is not the first time I’ve written about my struggle with weight but I felt this piece was needed.
I see the difference in how my clothes fit because most things are too big. However, sometimes when I look in the mirror, I don’t see what other people see. I spend hours nitpicking at all the flaws I feel like I have. Oh, my stomach is flat, cool. But I don’t have a rounder butt. My thighs are still big. It’s the little things like that, that are not healthy at all. People always ask me how I lost the weight and tell me how great I look and I always tell them to practice self-love before going on a weight loss journey. Losing weight means nothing if you can’t give yourself grace and honor for the progress you’ve made. I want people who are looking to become healthier to really take the time to center themselves and fill themselves up with positive affirmations. And then believe it. No “body” is perfect. Even the woman we see on social media who we think has the perfect body doesn’t. But confidence and self-love is what those women really possess. And hell, they probably have imperfections they deal with that we don’t know about either.
I offer a few suggestions on losing weight the healthy way for those looking to start their journey. These are the things I did at the very beginning to jumpstart my weight loss 7 years ago. These are the things that worked for me. We are all different and our bodies react to things differently. Take these suggestions and make them your own. But remember to love on yourself first.
- Do your research: It is important to research and talk to your doctor about ways to manage and lose weight. Don’t jump into trendy diets you see right away. Some diets in hindsight are not healthy and you can potentially gain the weight right back. When I first started losing weight, I started out on weight watchers. I figured that was an easy way for me to not “diet” but track and assign points to what I ate during the day. I also did not have to give up all of the foods I liked to eat. I only increased my intake of vegetables…I greatly disliked veggies. I also went cold turkey on drinking soda. That actually wasn’t hard at all. To this day, I don’t drink soda. I’ll maybe have a coke in a mixed alcoholic drink like 4 times a year…maybe. Even then, it makes my stomach hurt a bit.
- DRINK. WATER. ALL. THE. TIME: I can’t tell you how many people I know (GROWN PEOPLE) who say they don’t drink water or don’t like water. Water is literally the key to losing weight. Water is actually all I drink. I don’t buy juice, I don’t ask for a lemonade at restaurants, I don’t stop to get a sweet drink if I’m traveling. I crave water lol and my body will let me know when I haven’t had enough. I typically drink a gallon a day. Some of you may not be there yet. Start out with a reusable water bottle and set a goal to drink that by a certain time of day. As you work on increasing your water intake, it will start to become second nature. Also, when you drink more water, you’re helping your digestion and more bowel movements and those aid in weight loss.
- Intermittent Fasting: My good friend Cash recommends intermittent fasting to jumpstart weight loss but she only recommends you do it for two weeks and then eat 6 small meals a day. When I intermittent fast, I don’t consume anything but water before noon and I try to ensure I only eat up until 7pm. (Some days it’s hard because I do binge eat when I’m sad). That is not me saying, eat for 7 hours straight. I’m saying to be mindful of what you’re eating and then do not consume anything after 7pm besides water.
- Eat until you’re full, not finished: We’ve heard our entire lives to finish everything on our plates. Sometimes, that can lead to overeating and one of the main causes for an unhealthy lifestyle. If you are a person who has to eat all of their food, put smaller portions on your plate
- Exercising: I excessively exercise. Everyone doesn’t have this kind of time or patience. It is important that if you are physically able, to get up and do some kind of physical activity during the day for 30 minutes. Maybe it’s yoga, or a walk, or a bike ride. Whatever it is, do it. If you can spend time binge watching a tv show, get down on the floor and do some crunches or do some at home workouts while you’re watching Hamilton or Black is King on Disney+. Whatever workouts you decide to do, make sure you stretch before and after. I have an unhealed knee injury from running 3 miles a day last year and I tore my meniscus. Even after I had surgery, my knee is not the same. I can no longer run and I often have swelling and popping around the knee area. It’s a horrible thing that I live with daily so please take care of your joints. Lastly, switch up your workouts sometimes. Find some new at home workouts on youtube or hit up a friend to give you different options.
- Find 2 things you love about your body: EVERY DAY. Look in the mirror and instead of looking at what you don’t like, make a conscious effort to highlight the things you do like about your body. And then talk to yourself about them. “Wow, my lips are really full and beautiful”. “Okay, thighs, y’all looking real juicy and sexy!” You have to pour into yourself and show yourself unconditional love before you expect others to pour into you and show you love.
Understand that this is a journey. Trust me, it’s not an easy one. There will be times when you’re traveling and it’s difficult to stay in a routine because you want to try new things in new places. Just do it. And get back up on your routine when you get back home. Give yourself GRACE. The more you stick to it, the more it will be easy to get back up when you slip up.
❤ Queen T