Fear really is a 4 letter word. Fear of failure is a very strong motivator to stay where you are. Fear has held me back from doing so many things throughout my life.
I was a very overweight child. I started my first diet in grade-school which was the beginning to a life of losing weight then gaining it all back plus a few more. A life of feeling like a failure because of my weight struggle.
Listen to people when they tell you your thoughts and the spoken word have a lot of power. One diet I went on, I lost 101 pounds and made jokes though-out the entire year of how much fun it would be to gain it all back. I made these jokes because I didn’t really believe I would keep it off and it was my way of letting everyone know not to be surprised when I gained it all back.
I had 2 miscarriages that really sent me in a downward spiral for many years in my 30’s. My thoughts were telling me what a failure I was because I couldn’t even do that right. My son is grown and married and I felt like I had nothing to live for and was just glad when each day was over and I was able to go back to bed and sleep.
I was happy when I was eating. I often ate to the point of feeling sick, but was still able to eat a little more in an attempt to get rid of all of the negative feelings I had inside. Then I felt guilty and beat myself up for my unhealthy choices.
In my early 40’s I tried several diets for a few weeks or months, but always gave up and gained any loss back, plus a few more. One day I decided I was going to try something different. I was going to add positive things into my life and not get mad or feel guilty when I still made bad choices. No strict rules or guidelines. Just adding in some healthy things.
The first thing I decided to do was really hard for me. I had to stop beating myself up and telling myself I was a failure and stop all of the negative self talk. I have been telling myself I was fat and a loser since childhood. I never really believed I was deserving of anything good because of my weight. I had to start being kind to myself at 247 pounds. Now that was tough!
I was so uncomfortable even thinking I believed in myself in the beginning. I actually cringed a little the first few times I said out loud that I liked myself. I found it easier just to say it in my mind in the beginning because it was too difficult to say the words out loud. As I continued to make healthy changes in how I thought and talked to myself I also started adding some other healthy things.
I added in some activity. In the beginning it was only 5 minute walks and I worked my way up to walking most days of the week and increasing my time and often I take several walks a day.
I wish you could see the smile on my face as I write the words, I have my first bicycle in almost 30 years. That was not something I thought I would ever be saying. Just a few short years ago I was breathing heavy walking through the house and my body hurt too badly to think of ever being on a bicycle.
I also started adding in healthier foods. I started adding in a lot of fruits and vegetables and started drinking water. I kept healthy foods ready and in the fridge in baggies, so it was quick and easy for me to grab a baggie of cut up veggies or fruit instead of chips.
I am still learning more about myself each and every day and liking myself more every day. I knew from the beginning of this journey I was going to have to make this a new lifestyle that I could stick with forever if I truly wanted to lose the weight and keep it off and live a healthy and happy life inside and out. I wasn’t going to punish myself with deprivation or off limit foods. When you spend your whole life over weight and being beat up by yourself and by all of the “well-meaning” comments you get you already feel like crap and feel punished enough.
I don’t want you to think this was an easy or overnight process. I had to work it and I still mess up at times. As I continued working on me and adding in all of these positive things I found I wasn’t wanting or needing to eat like before. I’ll still have a cookie or a few chips, but I don’t feel the need to eat the whole bag anymore because I actually like myself and want to take care of myself. I am down 120 pounds and I feel like I have my life back!
I have a purpose in life again and look forward to the future. I want to encourage anyone struggling with their weight not to give up and to know it is never too late to take that first step in the right direction. I’ll be celebrating my 48th birthday tomorrow and I am so excited for the future and the journey ahead of me!
Jaki Sinclair is founder of Slim Down U, has lost 120 pounds and is committed to inspiring and empowering others to take that first step to creating healthy new habits that will last a lifetime.