Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Recently a client and I were talking about the processes of deciding when it is time to stop losing weight.
This conversation led to me wondering how do you know you’re not just settling for good enough? How do you know you have given it your best?
While it can be hard accept, the reality is there is something within us that wants to settle for good enough. However, I also believe there is a part of us that wants to be “more than.” That wants to have more and be more than we have been before, but until we face that "good enough" side of ourselves we will not be able to overcome it.
Coming face to face with the side of us that wants to settle for "good enough" is a scary and hard process to go through. However, realizing and accepting the inner desire to be “more than” is an important to the process of creating meaningful change.
Now, back to the question. How will we know when it is the right time to stop? When is it the right weight and size and not simply settling for good enough.
As I reflected back on my own 125 weight loss journey I knew I had reached my ultimate goal because there was not even the tiniest shred of doubt I my mind. I just knew it was time. The tricky thing about this is it took time to arrive at this conclusion and I started off with a very different weight loss goal in mind. It took years to figure this out.
When I first I set out to lose my weight for the last time I did so without a specific end goal in mind. Just a general direction. Down!
I Wish I Was As Fat As I Used to Think I Was
In the early stages of my weight loss progress I would think about how cool it would be to
get back down to the size I was when I was in my early 20’s which was around 220 lbs. The crazy thing is I didn’t even like how I looked when I was that age!! I thought I was fat. In the picture shown here I was on weight watchers! Here I was 70 lbs heavier and 13 years older dreaming of being back in that very body! What a crazy thing life is. It is crazy how our perspectives on ourselves can shift with the aid of time. Makes me wonder how future me will feel about the body I have now. I wonder how future you will think about yourself today if nothing changes.
But I digress, as I began to lose my weight and have some real success with my process I started to realize the goal of 220 lbs might be settling for good enough…..I didn’t want to settle. I wanted more than that and so I began to shift my mindset from looking at 220 lbs as the end goal to instead looking at it as a major milestone to reach. A milestone where I could then decide if I wanted to stop at or to continue onward. I made a choices to see what I looked like at that size and then I would determine if I was happy with it or not. Wait and see what happens.
As I drew closer to 220 lbs I started to seriously consider the idea that 220 lbs was me settling. I mulled it over more and more as I drew closer to this first milestone and as I approached it I determined that it would indeed be settling. Guess that means I had no choice but to shoot for a lower number and size but what number?
I spent time alone in my thoughts over several weeks and I decided I would like to see "one-derland" and break that 200 lbs wall. Why not see a weight I had not seen since middle school? A weight with a 1 in the front of it!
I still wasn’t sure if that was going to be the stopping point so I didn't tell myself it would be. I looked at 199.9 lbs as a milestone and not a goal. I'll get there and see what I think.
History began to repeat itself and as I got nearer to 199 lbs. I yet again started to think I would be settling if I stopped at 199 lbs. Then came the day arrived. I hit 199.9 lbs lost!!! Yes, I caught it on the exact day I dipped below 200 lbs! (see picture) After the initial excitement of that moment I realized that I can't stop there. That would 100% definitely be me setting.
So, I decided to set a new milestone and go for the big 100 lbs of weight loss and get down to 190 lbs. 9 more to go! Then I could see if I wanted to stop. Get there and see.
I really thought I would want to stop at 190 when I set off for that new number. I was considering it substantially more than I had the other 2 major milestones. I figured that a 100 lbs. weight loss story was very respectable and I thought about how I had not weighed 190 lbs since middle school. No one would fault me for stopping. Maybe I should...I always told myself that I didn't want to be too thin.
As I thought about it more, I could feel I still had some fight left in me. That old belief of not wanting to be too thin was just me keeping myself from wanting something that I thought before was unattainable. The truth is there were still some things about my body I still wanted to change. Areas like my double chin, the fat on the back of my arms, inner thighs, and the largest of them all my belly (no pun intended).
I wanted to see what I looked like without those trouble spots. I wanted to get there and see how I felt about it. Just like I did at the other milestones. So yet again, I decided that I would go for more. That I would not only be the thinnest I had ever been but to also have the best body I had ever had in my life. I started to want to not only be a certain weight but to also look a particular way.
The fact is I was worried people would tell me I was getting too skinny. That people would somehow make me feel bad for going for this goal. I was considering abandoning the pursuit of my dream body because it might make other people judge me…..that was crazy talk! Why should I not have my goal body? There was no reason not to have, so I went for it. I was not going to let the fear of what others might think stop me from having this.
I had to go for it. Finally after 18 months & a little over 100 lbs. lost, I could vividly picture in my own mind what I could look like. The image of the new body was being revealed to my mind. At last! I could see it but more importantly, I really wanted it!! It didn’t seem like something I couldn’t achieve. I knew I could indeed have the body I wanted if I was willing to put in the work to get it. I wanted it and was willing to put in the work! I had come so far. There was no doubt it could happen because I had lost so much already. I just needed to keep doing what I was doing.
What I didn’t realize when I set my new goal that I was going to use every single thing I had learned about myself, weight loss, and exercise to get the last bit off. I knew it would take work to get that last 20 lbs off but I could not fully comprehend just how hard it would be till I got there. To get those last 20 lbs off I would not only I need to use everything I had learned up to that point about managing my weight but would also need to be more diligent & disciplined than I had been before. I would also need to continue to learn new things about myself and about my body. It was going to take work!
I was starting to realize I spent 2 years training for this very moment in time.
The time to eat healthy had come.
The time to take 100% ownership of my food and exercise had come.
The time had come to transform my workouts from simply exercise to training.
It was time to put this new body and mind to work.
I was ready for this!
My weight loss journey transformed at this point. It was no longer just about only about the number on the scale but it also had a lot to do with how I felt about my new lifestyle. Deciding which parts of it were going to stay permanently and which were not. I even put the scale away for over a month just to purely focus on the lifestyle changes I was evaluating. Then, finally, the day came. I got on the scale and saw the number........165.
This time, unlike all the others times, I knew. I knew the moment I saw that number on the scale that I was done with the weight loss portion of my journey. This time the doubt was gone. There was no wondering. Just the realization that I was done losing weight.
I am now at my goal weight and holding true and in fact, I am instead working to reshape my body with intention. A very new and exciting kind of journey from the one I had been on till this phase.
Do I know everything about what comes next in this journey? No, no I do not. However, I know immensely more about reducing fat and maintaining weight than I did before I started my weight loss progress. My journey was a continuum and built upon itself more and more as I went along. I now look forward to 2 years of intentional maintaining. To solidify my new lifestyle and make it a permanent change for the better.