That photo was me, but it was me at my most excellent. A moment in time. The point of the stride free from gravity. The angle of repose. I was acting the part of a superhero in a Marvel movie. It showed no evidence of all of my imperfections. That picture was what we all want to feel about ourselves, myself included. I spent my teenage years looking at fantasy photos like that and feeling inadequate. And now it was my body in that photo.
|Source: Lauren Fleshman's runway shot|
Lauren Fleshman sought to expose the "fantasy" of her runway photo by posting some of her least flattering pictures of herself taken just a week after the runway show next to the runway photo. These photos were not taken at the perfect moment when her stomach was sucked in just right with her muscles flexed. She posted a picture of her when she wasn't in the "perfect posture" and squeezing the "flab" around her thigh. It took Lauren over 6 months to get the courage to post the blog she typed a week after the runway shoot.
My weight loss journey over 7 years
I started to lose the weight in my teens, which made it easier. After trying for years to lose weight I lost the weight almost by accident when I spent an entire summer riding my bike to work and teaching swim lessons. After that I realized the many benefits of adding activity to all parts of your day. Since then I have chosen to walk places over driving/taking the bus whenever possible, take the steps over the elevator, standing over sitting on the train, etc. While these are beneficial for everyone, for some weight loss is much harder and takes constant monitoring of daily activity and food intake. When I first lost the weight I hardly changed my diet, and I still indulge in sweets much more than I should. So while the weight loss was not easy for me, it was definitely easier than it can be for others.
These photos also don't show that running came pretty naturally to me. I believe almost anyone can run and there is no "runner's body." However, I do think running comes easier to me than it can be for others, and it's an activity I genuinely enjoy for aspects other than weight loss. While weight loss "transformations" can be motivational, they can also lead people to compare their progress, goals, and motivations to others, which can be as detrimental as images like Lady Gaga's Glamour cover and Lauren's runway photo.
Transformation pictures don't show the days I skipped the gym, the workouts I ended early, the times I chose cookies for breakfast, or the times I gave up. They're simply proof that more times than not I chose to keep going, and each race day photo shows the continuation of my journey in a healthy, active, and happy lifestyle. Below I've included some tips to sticking to weight loss goals that have helped me over the years and can be molded to fit your individual needs and motivations.
|Color Run 2012|
Tips for Sticking to Your Weight Loss Goals:
- Find fitness activities & healthy foods you like: If you don't like it you're not going to stick to it. I truly believe there is a a form of physical activity for everyone. If you don't like running don't force yourself to spend hours every week on the treadmill. Try group fitness, try spinning, try mall walking...whatever it takes to get yourself up and moving for at least 30 minutes every day. Same thing goes for healthy eating. If you're not a fan of brussels sprouts don't put them in your meal plan, it will just make you more likely to head for the cup cakes after a long day. That being said, there are thousands of healthy food cookbooks and blogs and you are bound to find some healthy foods you like. Keep experimenting until you find something you like!
- Invest in Yourself: If you find a gym or group fitness studio you like and can find a way to fit in your budget join! A financial investment will make you more likely to go, especially if it is something you really enjoy. If you can't find something affordable try looking for free classes on weekends or running groups, there are tons out there!
- Plan for Everything: Schedule your workouts for the week on Sunday, and try to think about what you will do in case you oversleep your alarm or get stuck at work late. Plan your meals as much as you can ahead of time even if you don't prep them ahead of time. Traveling for work? Plan hotel workouts and try to bring healthy snacks from home instead of buying airport food.
- Add steps to your day: Whether it be parking further away from your office or the grocery store so scraping the car altogether, make it impossible for you to avoid physical activity. Take the steps. Walk the dog. Walk to the coffee shop instead of driving. Continuing to move more is critical in continuing weight loss, and making it a part of your daily activity instead of a chore will make it that much easier.
- Reward Yourself for Victories: And try not to make it a "cheat meal" or some type of food reward. Made it to the gym 5 times this week? Reward yourself with a new workout outfit! Ran in that 5K you've been training for? Pedicure! Didn't eat dessert all week? New cooking appliance you've been wanting!
- Don't compare your progress to others: Unfortunately weight loss, like life, is just not fair. It comes easier to some and the only thing you will get by comparing yourself to other is discouragement. Find other ways to motivate yourself by setting your own goals.