February 13, 2024

I Lost 102 Pounds. Here are 5 Mindset Shifts that helped me Reach my Wellness Goals.


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Three years ago, I started a personal transformation journey in which I eventually lost 102 pounds off of my 5’6” frame through diet and exercise.

Often, when you read about how to lose weight, the message is the same: eat less, move more, and you’ll get where you want to go.

But can you stay there? The reality is that research shows time and time again that 80 percent of significant weight loss eventually fails—meaning that most people who lose weight cannot maintain that loss, and regain the majority of the weight back within two years.

It is important to remember that the true goal of weight loss is that it is maintainable and sustainable over the long term—and that is about more than just calories in and calories out.

There is a difference between weight loss and wellness. Wellness is about a body that functions best for you. One of the major things I learned was that in order to achieve long-term weight loss, I had to shift my focus to personal wellness.

Yes, of course, diet and exercise are a critical piece of the puzzle in order to lose fat and gain muscle. But in order to stick to those changes, I found that I had to overhaul who I was at the core, as much as I had to shift how I ate and moved.

Our bodies are intimately interwoven with our entire concept of self, of who we are, what we experience, and how we find happiness. When my body changed so drastically and rapidly, I had to give the rest of me time to catch up and figure out who I am now and how to be happy in this version of myself. I transformed my body, but I also had to transform my sense of who I was.

It was ultimately these personal changes which made it possible for me to maintain my weight loss in a healthy and happy way.

Here are the most important lessons I learned in order to achieve personal transformation to unlock long-term, sustainable, and healthy weight loss and wellness.

1. Take time to learn who you are now.

Dramatic transformation is never just physical. It requires a change in who you are. Significant body changes often mean that you have to alter the things you used to do and love. Maintaining significant weight loss isn’t a temporary state where you eventually go back to doing the things you used to do. You have to change a lot of things and that means you have to fill that space in your life with new things.

Give yourself time to figure out what you like. Try new hobbies. Say yes to meeting new people. So much of a physical transformation can require cutting yourself off from things you used to love and that can leave a big hole in the person you were. Be open to finding new things you love that can make you feel fulfilled and find joy.

2. It’s okay to miss who you were before and the people and things that went with that.

When I went through my own weight loss transformation, I changed so much that I didn’t know how to be the person I was before and be this new version of myself. I loved who I was before, but I couldn’t be both versions of me. That was really sad. That meant saying goodbye to a version of myself that I loved deeply. It also meant that some of the people and things that had been in my life before didn’t quite fit now. That’s okay, but I had to give myself time to adjust.

3. Think about how to be fulfilled and not just busy.

Significant weight loss is work! This process forced me to strip down my life. I needed time and energy to focus on my transformation and goals. My life before was already busy, so I had to consciously make time to focus on my wellness and weight loss. I didn’t go out or socialize as much as I did before, and so that meant that I spent most of my time with a smaller group of close friends and family and I said no much more to social events that weren’t a priority to me.

This actually forced me to focus on the things that made me feel fulfilled—not just busy. So much of our lives are filled with things that don’t bring us happiness and joy. When I focused on the things that really mattered, I had more space in my life for my transformation, but I also found that I was more fulfilled by the things I chose to do.

4. Focus on the whole you, not just the physical you.

Originally, I spent a lot of time thinking about the purpose of my body. What I eventually learned was that my body’s job is not to look a certain way. Her job is to help me live the best life I can for me. When I realized this, I stopped focusing on thinness and focused on strength, on mobility, and on mind-to-body connection. This shift made my lifestyle shifts feel much more maintainable. My weight loss stopped being about things I couldn’t do—eat certain foods, go certain places—and instead became about unlocking a whole new set of things I could do. This was a critical discovery for my long-term maintenance.

5. Remember that it’s not temporary, it is the beginning.

So often we want to think of body transformations as temporary. It’s something we do for a short period of time before we go back to our old life. Embrace the transformation. Instead, think of this as a stepping stone to unlock the best version of your life possible.

I do not believe that anybody needs to lose weight in order to be happier or healthier. Smaller bodies are not inherently happier or healthier bodies. But I do believe that a weight loss journey that is a part of a broader personal transformation, which puts personal wellness and long-term maintenance as the priority, can be a positive and healthy change.


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