Have you reached your weight loss goal, but still struggling to see the major difference everyone else sees?
Do you look at yourself in the mirror and still see a work in progress? Still not satisfied/comfortable with your body?
Do you still lack body confidence, even though your wearing clothes you always dreamed you could wear??
I'm here to tell you that you are NOT alone!
As you would of read in the 'About' section of this website, you'll know that what got me in a career as a nutritionist, was that I have been where you have been. I too have struggled with weight my whole life and only recently gone from 100kg to 72kg in 2 years. I'm not a typical nutritionist where I have always been at an 'ideal' weight and now I have put in the hard work, dedication and nutrition and reached a healthy weight for my height. However, whilst everyone around me is showering me with compliments and say how amazing I look, my brain and eyes haven't quite caught up to what everyone else see's.
Yes, I have changed the way I dress. I've gone from always feeling that I have to cover up every inch of my body (wearing black jeans, tee and cardigan - even in 30-40 degree heat in summer!), to now wearing shorts, singlet tops, short dresses etc. however, that doesn't mean I feel comfortable in them!
Now, the reason I'm sharing all this to you all, is to show you that even us nutritionists have our struggles, insecurities and journeys to become healthier versions of ourselves - we're still human after all! But more importantly, to show you that its NORMAL! Of course everyone around you will notice a significant difference in your weight loss journey before you do! You see yourself daily, in mirrors getting ready for the day, in reflections etc. those around you don't! Those gradual changes over the course of your journey, are going to be extremely noticeable to those who don't see you that often, but you will barely notice.
When you do reach your goal, it's going to take time for you to get used to your new body and when you have lost a significant amount of weight, you will still feel like you have more work to do. Since I've lost my weight, I now feel I have a new phase in my journey to start - TONING UP! I'm not immune to saggy skin just because I'm a nutritionist or now at a healthy weight. But I've learned through my journey, that you will always feel that your a work in progress, that there's more you can do until your completely satisfied - and that's OK TOO!!!
It's important for me to share all this with you, as it's not talked about any where near enough! We're all told we should love ourselves regardless of our size, health status or what others' think. However, as much as I agree with this (and I wholeheartedly do!) WE'RE HUMAN! Telling us how we should feel about ourselves doesn't change our mentality, all it does is make us feel like we're not normal if we think this way and that's not right! It's completely normal to see yourself and feel your a work in progress, but it's about accepting yourself for who you are and what you can't change and learning to shift that negative mindset into a positive one!
For example, you can look at yourself and say I really want to tone my tummy - perfectly reasonable and achievable! But instead of filling yourself with negatives thoughts, telling yourself 'I hate the way I look!' 'look at that flabby tummy, I don't deserve a flat stomach' - this isn't helpful thinking and can be detrimental to your mental health and send you back into giving up and resorting to unhealthy habits you worked so hard to lose.
So, instead turn those negative thoughts into positives!
For example: 'I've lost so much weight, yeah I still want to work on toning up my tummy but I will get there!' or 'I still am a work in progress but dam! Look at how far I've come!'
If you tend to be quite hard on yourself still after weight loss, here's some tips to help you change your mindset to a more positive frame of mind.
#1 With every negative thought or comment about yourself, say 1 positive!
- At the start of the day, when you look at yourself in the mirror and you feel that inner hater creep in to start body shaming yourself, I want you to say AT LEAST 1 positive thing about you, or that you like about yourself!
- I want you to do this not just in the morning, but every time a negative or body shaming comment comes into your mind.
#2 Before & After Photos
- Get some photo's together of when you started your weight loss journey, halfway through and currently. This will help you VISSUALLY see your overall progress. I know if I didn't have my progress photo's, I wouldn't of noticed the significant loss of weight I achieved.
- Keep referring back to these! Every time you feel like you aren't making progress, or you don't look any different, or your just having one of those moments (we all have) where your hating on yourself a bit, look at those before and after photo's! They are there to always remind you of where you started from, where you are now and motivate you to keep going with your goals.
#3 BE REALISTIC
- I cannot stress this enough! Yes, it's normal to always look at yourself and see things you're not happy with, however this can be dangerous if it goes too far! Be sure that what you want to continue to work on is realistic!
- I want to give you an example. I wasn't blessed with long skinny, super model legs, unfortunately genetics gave me a small waist, wide hips and calves that are almost the same size as my thighs! Now I can't stand my legs or my hips! If I had normal sized calves and less hips I would be perfect! BUT WE CAN'T CONTROL OUR GENETICS! I have had to come to terms and realise that I have the body shape I have! Yes, I can shred a bit more fat mass and tone up by building more muscle, but I will always have the body shape I have as that's my genetics!
#4 DO NOT compare yourself to social media influencers and models
- Again, this is UNREALISTIC! We all have different body shapes, some have more of an athletic build, others are more curvy, and some are more lean. We are all different shapes and sizes, which are based on GENETICS! Yes, I can lose weight and tone up, however the shape of my body won't change - only get smaller!
- So with this in mind, following models and social influencers like Kendall Jenner, Miranda Kerr or those with long skinny legs, are pointless for me to aim to look like, as my genetics are built like theirs!
- If you must follow social influencers or celebrities to gain inspiration or motivation, look to one with a similar body type/shape to yours and be more realistic with your goals.
- If you set unrealistic goals or have an unattainable body image in your head that you want to look like, you will always be disappointed and that can increase your risk of developing serious body image issues, affect your mental health in a very unhealthy and detrimental way, as well as potentially lead to eating disorders if left untreated.
#5 Take body measurements or book yourself body composition scans
- Taking body measurements are another great way of seeing results, you may not see in the mirror or the scales! Also take note of how your feeling in clothes. Be aware that as you lose more weight, you may start to notice that you bloat quite significantly after certain foods or big meals. I never thought I bloated until I lost weight around my tummy and this can lead me to feel uncomfortable in my clothes and make them feel tighter, which can impact your mentality.
- Body composition scans are another great way to notice progress. Especially if your weight training, you tend to increase in weight as you build muscle. This can freak you out if your working hard in the gym to find you've gained weight at the end of the week! This is normal and taking body composition scans helps you to monitor your muscle mass increasing and fat mass decreasing - the benefits of weight training!
#6 BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND LOVE YOURSELF REGARDLESS
- I strongly and sincerely want you all to learn to love yourselves regardless of what you wear and what you look like. You CAN love yourself and still work on yourself at the same time!
- Don't burn yourself into the ground on endless workouts and barely eating, exhausting yourself with no results! It's unhealthy and can cause serious problems for your health and wellbeing!
#7 SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP & SUPPORT
- It's imperative that you recognise when it's time to seek professional help!
- Whether that's a PT to help/support your workouts, to ensure your doing the appropriate workouts to reach your goals, regular consultations with a QUALIFIED nutritionist/dietician to support you in your nutrition to support your goals, or if you feel your body image really needs significant help to seek a psychologist.
- There is no shame in seeking help from these 3 professions, as they are the pillars and foundations in ensuring you reach your goals. EXERCISE, NUTRITION, MINDSET, with out these 3 pillars, you will struggle to reach your goals - they work hand in hand.
I hope this helps any of you who are struggling mentally with their weight loss, or even those starting their journey. If you need support and guidance from a qualified professional, who also has first hand experience with all of the above, please reach out and email me or book in a consult!
If you need more support here are some hotlines to help you talk it through:
Butterfly (eating disorders) 1800 33 4673
Beyond Blue (mental health) 1300 22 4636