My last bout of weight loss regain can be solely attributed to complacency. I minimized my weight gain as the result of stress and a lack of exercise. I reasoned, “Oh, I only put on 20 pounds. It’s not a big deal! I can lose that in a few months!” The problem was, 20 turned into 30, which snowballed into 80 pounds! I wish I could go back in time and give myself the reality check I needed. The truth of the matter was that I was slowly reverting back to the unhealthy habits that got me to over 300 pounds. How could I have let this happen? I was the one that dieted so diligently and exercised obsessively. The truth is, we are all susceptible to becoming victims of complacency.
Complacency, or the feeling of uncritical satisfaction with oneself, can either be hazardous or emotionally freeing. Losing weight requires that you love yourself enough to do something about your health. How do you tread that fine line between being complacent and self-accepting? It is so easy to sink into despair when you’ve let yourself down. Most of us will avoid confronting our painful truths when our egos are fragile. Nothing made me more self-conscious than being painfully obese. I felt the nagging need to do something, but part of me didn’t want to confront the truth that I had regained all the weight I had lost and that I had to start all over again.
I think the secret to avoiding complacency while still accepting yourself as a work in progress involves developing self-forgiveness and self-honesty as skills. When you endeavor to lose weight, you are bound to disappoint yourself. Forgiving yourself can be harder than forgiving others that have wronged you in the past. In your mind, you might think, “What are you doing? You know better!” Maybe your own self talk is even harsher than that. Being human means being imperfect. Being human also means that failure hurts the ego and diminishes our self-respect. Sometimes you simply need to let go of the pain your past failures are inflicting on you. You’re stepping up today to change, and you need to respect yourself for making that move. You can’t move forward in life if you are letting the pain of your past mistakes weigh you down.
When you make missteps in your weight loss journey, you also need to be honest with yourself. Just try not to be hyper-critical! If you are prone to negative self-talk, this is probably easier said than done. Instead of obsessing over how much you are struggling, try to look at the situation with an objective eye. Rather than internalizing your mistake, you can come up with ideas to avoid it in the first place. In order to do this, you need to sever the emotion from your mistake so you can logically analyze the situation and prevent making the same mistake twice. Self-forgiveness and self-honesty don’t come naturally, but by building these skills I was able to move past my failures and move towards success.
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Remember, be kind to yourself and keep moving forward!