At some point in your life, you come across your scale, your favorite pants, or your reflection in the mirror and say to yourself, “Woah, I think it’s time to cut back a little.” Whether it’s 5 pounds or 50 pounds or 150 pounds, losing weight is a mental and physical challenge that is a part of most people’s lives at one point or another. If you have lost weight, are losing weight, or are planning to lose weight – there are so many stages that eventually lead you to your goal. And while every experience is different for every person, it can be extremely challenging.
1. The “Holy Sh*t My Clothes Don’t Fit” Stage
The day has come. You decided to put on a pair of your non-stretch jeans and they don’t button. After many nights out drinking beer after beer, a stop at that Mexican joint every week to “treat yourself,” and binge eating pasta after a horrible break up – you did it. You gained weight and now all of your clothes look weird. It feels uncomfortable to sit a certain way. You have a double chin in all of your selfies, and not on purpose. You know you are still your beautiful self, but perhaps a little less healthy. You’re all of the sudden self-conscious of what you look like for the first time in a long time. You know that this was not a sudden weight gain, but it’s the first time you are recognizing it.
2. The Denial Stage
You end up researching the hell out of food, recipes, and specialty diets, but it ends up just making you hungry. So you end up eating all of the bad food in your cabinets because “you should probably get rid of it…but it would be a waste to just throw it out.” After that, you think to yourself that you’re totally fine with how you look. After all, you are a beautiful human being…until you realize you aren’t totally fine with the extra pounds. You’re not fine with the extra chin, or with how you get heartburn all the time. You cut out the crap (literally and figuratively), and accept that you need to seriously think about how you want to approach your impending weight loss and healthier lifestyle.
3. The “Okay, Fine. I Need To Do Something About This” Stage
So, after acknowledging your weight gain, you have come to terms with the fact that you want to do something about it. You want to lose it, or at least some of it (face it, the new booty you gained is GREAT). You choose a diet method, you become a little more active. But it’s baby steps – and that is totally fine. You have now taken this on seriously. You’re excited to try new recipes and adjust your lifestyle to focus on healthier habits.
4. The “I’ve Been Good For A Week” Stage
You’re proud. You made it…one week. You are already feeling good and happy and healthy. You deserve all of these feelings of pride after working hard to eat right and exercise. After all, the first week is the hardest. But, you get a little cocky and expect to see the number on the scale drastically drop and that all of a sudden you can fit into clothes 3 sizes smaller. But truth be told, you are relatively the same. You are the same, yet so different because you have made steps to a healthier you. It might not be apparent right away, but the first start to losing weight is all about the change in your mentality. You’re already steps ahead of where you were a few weeks ago, even though it might not seem like it’s paying off.
5. The “I Have An Event/Holiday/Fun Weekend And Am Going To Go Off Of The Deep End” Stage
So you were doing well. Perhaps you lost a few pounds, or have simply just been eating better quality foods and have been feeling good. And then, it happened. You caved. You ate piles of pasta slathered in oil, you went for that 10 piece chicken nugget with large french fries, you accidentally stumbled into that Mexican restaurant at 2 in the morning for a burrito supreme. And you thought you would stop there, but no. No, no, you kept going because you thought to yourself “I already ruined my diet today/yesterday/this week.” So that one little treat or occasion that made you think that you have worked hard enough to “deserve this,” comes and bites you in the ass. You find yourself going off the deep end and diving head first into a pile of whipped cream. It happens though, and you just have to be able to get your mind back into it. We are all human, after all.
6. The “Getting Back On Track” Stage
So you relapsed, but it’s not the end of the world. Everyone deserves a treat now and then, but you can’t let yourself spiral into the junk food pit of no return – which you almost just did. So you readjust yourself again. You promise yourself that you are not going to be “that person” that always says their diet starts on Monday…every Monday. No – it starts right now and you are finally in a place where you can be serious about it. You remember that first week and how good you felt. You remember how many Tums you had to chew after that burrito. And most importantly, you remember the goals you set.
7. The “Finally Seeing Results” Stage
And just like that, you’ve made a noticeable difference in your appearance. The scale has been showing that difference for a while, but now you have friends and family asking if you have lost weight. You can proudly flaunt what you got because with the weight that you lost, you have gained a little more confidence. Your clothes start to not fit anymore in a good way, and most importantly – you feel good. You feel lighter, you have more energy. You wonder how on earth you could have let yourself eat meals that were not healthy for you when eating healthier feels so much better. You have grown to love this new lifestyle; the new ways of eating and being active have become routine. It’s not strange to cut back or be mindful of everything that you put in your mouth. It’s just something you do now – and everyone is noticing.
8. The “I Can Cheat A Little” Stage
You’ve been strict. You’ve been good. You’ve seen your results, and now you feel comfortable enough to have that slice of cake because you know you won’t spiral down into the junk food pit of no return, like you may have done before. You feel confident about grabbing that extra snack because you know you will be right back on track. You know how much better you feel when you eat healthy. Since you have been eating better, you are able to sneak in that favorite snack or go for a fun meal out. You know how to balance a cheat meal into the rest of your day without going overboard. Or perhaps, you find a way to have your favorite items but in a healthier way. Regardless, you know what options you have to treat yourself that won’t allow you to gain back what you lost.
9. The “Final Countdown” Stage
For whatever reason, you can’t lose those last 3 pounds. You don’t know what it is, but they won’t go away. It is beyond infuriating because you are trying SO hard. Perhaps you cheat a little too much or are getting a little comfortable. Perhaps it is just your body saying to itself that it is happy with the healthy weight you are at again. Regardless, you are a goal-oriented, strong person and you know you can do it. Now is not the time to give up, and you end up cutting all of those “cheat meals” or extra snacks you have afforded yourself after all this time. You are in the home stretch, and it’s only a matter of time until you make your goal.
10. “GOALLLLLL!” Stage
You did it. You achieved your goal. Celebrate it, because this is only the beginning of a healthier you. You know how good it feels to eat healthy. You know how doable it is to allow yourself a treat every now and then without going overboard. You have achieved a goal that wasn’t easy, but it is oh so rewarding. You have grown from this experience wholeheartedly, and most importantly the benefits are priceless. You should be so proud of yourself for going under one of the most drastic changes a person can go through. You should be so proud of yourself for working towards a healthier lifestyle that will benefit you for years to come.