As I have lost and gained both fitness and weight many times over the years I have tried to figure out what made this time different than all the rest. Here’s what I came up with for me:

 

Make small changes gradually over time instead of changing everything at once. This is really contrary to my basic nature and I still struggle with changing one small thing at a time but I think it was a huge factor in being successful.

 

tumblr_lo9k5j8SE31qhtggqo1_500Make changes that you can sustain over time not what you can endure for short bursts. “The healthiest weight is whatever weight you reach, when you’re living the healthiest life that you actually enjoy.” [1] If you don’t like what you are eating and what you’re doing then it will be impossible to keep it up long term. I recently saw a poster that said, “Fitness isn’t owned, it’s rented, and you have to pay rent everyday” which reinforces that the changes I’ve made have to be for life if I want to keep the results.

 

Make the changes for yourself not any one else. This time I wasn’t motivated by external factors to make the changes. This time I didn’t want to impress anyone, fit into a certain dress or picture people’s reaction when they saw how much weight I’d lost, all of which have motivated me in the past. This time I was doing it for me first.

 

Let go of the perfection mentality. I love this saying by Ze Frank, “Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes, but he’s a little bit of an asshole and no one invites him to their pool parties.” Which is a way of reminding myself that progress not perfection is my goal. Perfection isn’t attainable and shouldn’t hold me back from what I want to do.

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Set fitness goals rather than weight loss goals. Weight makes me focus on the scale too much and changes my thinking from getting healthier to being deprived of things I love. I’m in this for the long haul and setting target weights by arbitrary dates is an artifcial measurement of how far I’ve come and failing to achieve these targets is demoralizing and makes me want to quit. On the other hand achieving my fitness goal of running a 5k made me feel proud and ready to try the next challenge.