Slimming and Slogging
Dear Doctor Dot-Connector,
After about 8 years of being a size 18 Womens, I decided to do something about my health and joined a gym. Since I am in my late 20’s I decided to do something about it now because the metabolism supposedly starts slowing down around 30, I also knew that being 200 pounds at 5”5’ was definitely hurting my career, my confidence, and it wasn’t helping my love life. Last summer, I began going to the gym 2-3 days a week and in a nine month span I lost 30 pounds and I’ve maintained that for the last 9 months.
I’ve basically hit a plateau that I’m not satisfied with. I’ve lost enough weight where I am now a size 12 and all of my pants were swimmingly large on me. So I bought some new ones. I definitely look better and for the most part I have more energy and endurance. The other day I jogged 1.5 miles and it was fairly easy. (I tried that a year ago and it was difficult) The trouble is: I am not satisfied. A lot of days I still feel fat. I know that for my height a healthy weight would mean losing another 30 pounds and I want that. I want to be happy with my body. How can I be happy where I am whilst still moving forward?? How do I set effective goals for something like this??
The fact that you lost 30 pounds and maintained that loss for 9 months is a huge victory. What have you done to celebrate the accomplishment? I find it interesting that you describe where you are as a plateau. That somehow makes it seem as though you’ve failed, when in fact, that’s not at all the case. The truth of the matter is that you’ve succeeded wildly. What there is to do is to acknowledge your success and then create a new game with a new level of results at stake.
The kind of thinking and actions that had you win the 30 pound game are no longer sufficient, given the new level of results you’re playing for. Succeeding in this new game is going to require a new strategy. You may need to use resources that you haven’t used yet, such as consulting a personal trainer, nutritionist, or other health professional. You may need to re-think your game plan or take actions you’ve been resisting in order to win the new game. How about going to the gym 4-5 days a week? The point is, the new game requires a new level of thinking, action, and commitment.
There’s something else here that I want to address. You mentioned two specific goals…to lose another 30 pounds, and to be happy with your body. It’s really, really easy to collapse the two together into something like “losing 30 pounds so I can be happy with my body”. You should relate to these goals as two completely separate issues that have absolutely nothing to do with one another. Being happy with your body has to do with accepting yourself exactly the way you are right now. Losing 30 pounds is a game you’re inventing inside of a committment you have. Collapsing the two together makes your happiness a function of your weight loss, which is a recipe for emotional disaster. You can’t keep your head in the game if your happiness and self-satisfaction are dependent on winning.
Lastly, it’s my understanding that many people find weight loss to become increasingly more difficult the closer they get to their goal weight. There are many reasons both physical and psychological for this phenomenon. If you find this to be the case, consider creating a game for the next 15 pounds. Then the next 10. Then the last 5.
You’re doing a fantastic job. Keep moving forward.