Friday, December 5, 2014

My Losing List

Happy Friday!

Today I want to share a post with you about motivation. Not just a few inspirational quotes (which help me a ton!), but what helps me to have real, lasting motivation to keep being healthy. Shout out to Dani at Weight Off My Shoulders who shared her list last year- it inspired me then and it inspires me today!

In our Weight Watchers meeting this week, we each created a "Losing List"- all the "whys" of the reasons we joined Weight Watchers and why we continue to stay. Reflecting on those reasons and actually writing them down can help further cement the motivation and commitment to stick to the behavior changes you have made.

When thinking about my list, I had to first think about the reason I finally walked back into a WW meeting on January 16, 2013. We had just returned from Walt Disney World where I completed the Family Fun Run 5k and the WDW Half Marathon. My grandmother had just passed away on New Year's Eve. Growing up, she was the only grandparent I'd really remembered having so it was quite an adjustment coming home and not being able to share all the details of my trip with her. As she had been in declining health the last few months of 2013, she and I spent a great deal of time together when she moved into my mom's house. We'd talk about Disney, running, life, our family- all the normal things you'd talk to a grandparent about. So it was pretty hard to come home after vacation and not be able to talk to her.

Christmas 2008 with my stepdad, mom, mom-mom, sister, and brother.

I'd been putting off going back to WW for a long time. I figured, if I can run half marathons, then I must be healthy, right? That even though I was 40-55 pounds overweight, I was still working out so I should be ok. But deep down, I knew that it wasn't ok. It wasn't ok for my health. When my mom-mom passed, it kind of kick-started this idea for me that I wanted to live a long and healthy life- and that's harder to do when you're carrying an extra 40- 50 pounds of weight around. So, I knew I wanted to get healthy and I knew that WW had worked for me before. I'd been a member several times in the last 12 years and I knew that I would lose weight. Keeping it off is another story entirely. That's where the deep, lasting motivation has to come in.

For me, it wasn't enough just to lose weight. Been there, done that. This time, I knew I had to keep it off. I had to make changes that would stay with me for life. I wasn't going to gain it back. The reasons I am choosing to be healthy are much too important for me to lose sight of. 

So here is my Losing List that keeps me focused, especially when I'm struggling:

  • Health- for myself, for my future children, for my family
  • Self-esteem- to love myself, who I am, and all that I've accomplished
  • Running- it's a hell of a lot easier and enjoyable to run without 40 extra pounds
  • Role model- to inspire others to get healthy and stay healthy
  • Clothes- to feel comfortable and attractive in the clothes I want to wear
  • Conquer demons- to finally gain control over food addiction and destructive emotional eating patterns and thoughts

So yeah... about that last one....

For me, the mental part of weight-loss/healthy living will always be the hardest. But it's probably also my greatest motivator to stay on the path I'm on now.

One of my favorite quotes that has helped me tremendously throughout this process is one about self-love: "You can't hate yourself into a version you'll love." In other words, you can't beat yourself up with negative thoughts/words and then expect that to motivate you to become the person you want to be. 

When I was a chubby kid, I thought this would work. I thought that if I berated myself enough, I would be motivated to lose weight. In fact, I actually wrote the initials "Y. A. S. F." on all of my seventh grade school text books in an effort to constantly remind myself to not eat or eat less. If you're wondering, those initials were an acronym for "You Are So Fat." Looking back, it makes me incredibly sad that at 12 years old, I hated my body and myself. 

I never want to hate myself like that again. I never want to raise children that would hate their bodies like I did. The pain that comes with body image issues/eating disorders is intense and can feel consuming and hopeless at times. That's why it's on my losing list- to remember how far I've come and to motivate me to keep working at it.

Through personal counseling- and lots of WW meetings- my food issues are no longer the biggest obstacle in my life. But just like any addiction, I'll always need to remind myself it's there. As they say in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), "just make the next right decision." And that's how I live now- meal to meal, snack to snack. I focus on the present day and how to successfully navigate my food choices for that day/week only. 

To me, being healthy encompasses so much more than a number on a scale or a dress size. It means loving who I am, striving to be stronger, and being good to myself by doing things my body needs- eating healthy foods and being active. That's why my Losing List is important- it's all the reasons I need and want to keep going, especially when it's tough or not going as planned. 

If you are struggling, I'd strongly suggest you write down all your "whys"- you might find that your motivation has been with you all along!

And if you're still reading, you get a gold star for finishing this long post! :-) 

QOTD: Enough with the heavy stuff, I want to hear from you- what's on your "Losing List"? What motivates you to get or stay healthy?


  1. What a wonderful post! I love the quote about not being able to hate yourself into a version you will love. That is so true. I am often my own worst enemy, and I have said some nasty things about myself that I would never say about another person. One of the worst attitudes I get is when I think that I am a failure because I do not perfectly adhere to whatever plan I set up for myself. Maybe I went to a buffet and overate, missed a workout, or realized that my desk is a mess and I said last week that I was going to organize it. I will think, "I can't do anything right. I'm a failure--AGAIN." I'm working on cutting myself some slack and realizing that humans are not currently capable of perfection and that my best (but imperfect) effort will be much better than just throwing in the towel and declaring myself a failure. I think these are issues we all have to some degree. We start comparing ourselves to others in grade school, and instead of seeing other people's struggles and imperfections, we create an idealized view of others and imagine that other people have it all together and that we don't measure up. It's sad that it takes us so long to figure out that beating ourselves up is not only unkind but counterproductive to meeting our goals. Keep writing those inspiring posts! :)

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I think we all have a tendency to be negative towards ourselves in a way that we would never be towards others- it's so destructive! The only person we need to measure up to is ourselves :-)

  2. You have done such an amazing job Sarah, especially still losing weight through your foot injury. And how cool would it be for your grandmother to see you today? She would be bursting with pride, as all your friends and family are. Can't wait to see you at another race weekend in 2015.

    1. Thank you! I often think about my mom-mom when I run- she and Matthew got me through Dopey :-) Can't wait to see you as well!