This whole weight loss thing isn't easy. It's SO freakin hard. Everyone on social media (me included!) is happy to go on and show progress shots at the gym, share healthy meals they've created and brag about how fantastic they feel; but they hardly say "OMG THIS SUCKS!" Well, I'm here to say it.
SOMETIMES IT SUCKS!
It's taken me 5+ years to do what some people do in less than a year!! That's so frustrating and it caused me so much turmoil. Why can Suzy lose 100 pounds in 7 months and it's taken me 5 years? Why is Betty on Instagram in a thong and barely there bra bragging about her "gains" looking like she's always been a professional body builder? Where is HER loose skin? How was Bruce strong enough to walk away from donuts and eat carrot sticks instead? Where did he get that strength? Why is Maura posting pics about pizza hashtag: #FatKidStatus wearing a bikini with her rippling six pack stealing the show? I mean I know we're supposed to think you're a "fat kid" Maura but really I can't see the pepperoni on your pizza because your glistening abs are totally blinding me...not to mention if I DO look at your pizza I'll probably gain about 10 pounds because that's how my body works.
IT ISN'T FAIR!!! WHY!? WHY!? WHY!? Why must I work so hard to have what I want? Why does it have to take so long? Why don't I look better?
All those "why's" stopped me several times along my journey. I'd be sad, jealous or defeated because I wasn't Suzy, Betty, Bruce or Maura. I was Tiffany and I didn't want to be Tiffany so I'd skip the gym convinced I'd never have gains or abs anyways, my skin would never tighten up; then I'd eat the donuts because smelling them and seeing them is "going to make me gain anyways" and CLEARLY I'm a failure because it's already taken me 3 times as long as Suzy to lose 1/3 of the weight she's lost. I'm obviously a failure, completely incapable of success because this is freakin hard for me. And clearly it's NOT hard for them.
But it occurred to me the other day when someone I love VERY much was feeling very discouraged and said "everyone makes it look so easy." My heart broke as I read her words. I knew exactly how she was feeling because I've felt and sometimes still do feel that way. Then I realized that maybe I was part of the "everyone" she was referring to. I've been on Connect and Instagram lately sharing transformation pictures, snaps of healthy meals and celebrating my success on and off the scale. I've had dinner with this very special person and she's seen me pass on delicious foods that I used to love in favor of something that is healthier; no thank you, I'll skip the cake and eat this fresh fruit instead. I'm sure I did make the choice look effortless because I didn't sit staring at the cake, drooling, wishing I was eating it...because I didn't. But that's because I know how I would feel physically if I did eat it. It's not because I am so dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle, it's not because I want to be skinny and perfect and wonderful; it's because I have a very sensitive stomach and avoiding grains, dairy, sugar and gluten has been tremendously helpful for me. It's a lot easier not to eat cake when cake makes you feel like crap.
But I still struggle sometimes to remind myself that I'm avoiding certain foods for physical reasons and I do battle with myself inside. Sometimes it's fleeting and sometimes the battle lasts all day. Yesterday there was a candy bowl on a desk at an office I was at and I had eaten something with garlic in it so I thought about grabbing a mint--OK, a handful of mints. I had to remind myself that if I do that I'll be setting myself up for cravings and disappointment and I had to argue with myself to stay the course and think about all the reasons why it's worth it to skip the mint(s). I did, but it wasn't easy. How did I so effortlessly pass up cake and then struggle so hard to pass up a mint? Because every single MINUTE that passes something can change. I can feel strong and capable, in control and determined RIGHT NOW and and in 60 seconds I can feel convinced that if I don't eat a Snickers I'm literally going to die.
So when you see my Instagram posts and you think I make it look easy it isn't easy.
It's. So. Hard.
For 5 years now I’ve been a Weight Watcher. I’ve tracked Points, PointsPlus and SmartPoints. I’ve weighed and measured thousands of pounds of food, I’ve tracked so much that I’ve developed calluses on my thumbs from all the times I’ve entered food into my phone; I’ve left blood, sweat and tears (literally, all 3!) in the gym. I’ve had massive let downs, huge gains and moments of sheer joy and even bigger victories. It has never been easy but it's always been worth it.
Comparison is the thief of you. When looking at Suzy, Betty Bruce and Maura's Instagram posts I need to look to them for inspiration. I need to see them as the strong warriors they are and give them credit for fighting to achieve their goals.
Suzy, bravo to you! You put your nose to the grindstone and got to goal in less than a year. I'm so excited for you! It's taken me 5+ but I'm thankful for all of that time because I learned SO much. I couldn't have crammed all the knowledge I've gained into a 7 month period. Maybe if I could go back and do things differently I COULD lose all of my weight in 7 months; but I know for sure I wouldn't maintain that loss if I did. I needed to fall down and get back up so I could learn how capable I truly am. Suzy didn't need to learn that way. That doesn't make her better than me; it just makes us different and she's successful and happy and healthy and so am I. So I need to celebrate with her instead of comparing myself to her.
Betty, you go girl! Rocking that thong...which I'll never do because I'm just not comfortable with the idea of it! Even if i had a body that I wanted to show off, I don't know who might find those pics and I'd hate for a client to stumble across my IG page, see me in a thong and then think about that image the entire time I'm giving them a massage. I'll post a pic of myself in my high waisted bikini instead and celebrate the fact that for the first time in my life I'm wearing a 2 piece and I feel absolutely beautiful and PROUD of myself!! I have loose skin, it's OK. It's proof of how hard I worked to remove 105 pounds ALL BY MYSELF!! I'm pretty proud of my loose skin and while it might not look cute in a thong it looks pretty good in my bikini. Rock on Betty, you wear your thong and I'll rock the vintage look. We're equally as beautiful because we're comfortable in our skin and what we're wearing doesn't change how we look. The glow we're rocking comes from deep within and my high waisted bikini doesn't dull that glow and the lack of fabric on your derriere doesn't enhance it.
Bruce, with every crunch of the carrot stick you are munching on instead of the donut, please know I am proud of you and I am supporting you. I know firsthand how hard it is to say no to donuts because I have failed to say no to donuts so many times in my life. You are a powerhouse my friend and I'm cheering you on from the sidelines!! You made a choice to take the healthier road and most days I choose the same road. But when I don't, it doesn't mean I failed. It just means I took a detour but I know now that I'll always be able to find my way back to the road you're on and we'll continue our journey together.
Maura, your abs and your pizza look delicious. I'm so glad you found balance and you can enjoy the foods you love and enjoy being physically fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Health is not one-size-fits-all and I realize that now. I will continue to make food choices that make me feel good and I will not be angry or upset when you do the same.
And to the very special person whom I love and I'm very proud of (and to anyone else) who thinks Suzy, Betty, Bruce and Maura (and maybe even me?) make it look easy, social media is a facade. People go there to inspire and be inspired and gain followers because that keeps them motivated. It isn't to make you feel bad about yourself and if you don't feel better looking at their pages DELETE THEM!! Unfollow them, it's OK.
All of our journeys are different. There is no right way to do this. You gotta do what works for YOU. Eat the foods YOU like. Exercise the way YOU like to. Do it on YOUR time. This is YOUR journey. It's deeply personal and it's no one else's and there's no WRONG way to live YOUR life. Surround yourself with people who inspire you but don't make your goal to be them. You will never be them but that's OK. You are YOU and there is no one more perfect for you to be.
It's. So. Worth. It.