DEAR FFG: I have struggled with weight loss for years and I am at a point where my eating is out of control. I'm having a hard time getting back on track and starting to exercise and eat better. Help! — A Future Former Fat Girl (I hope!)
DEAR FUTURE FFG: It sounds like you're at that place where you feel like you have so far to go, that your challenge is so huge and overwhelming, that you feel like just giving up. I know that place — I think we all know it. I was there many, many times before I finally found my way to Former Fat Girlhood. And I did two things: I committed just to TRY, without thinking about really where I wanted to end up, without thinking even at that point about a "goal weight." I didn't want to look that far down the road because frankly, I had no faith that I could get there.
The other thing I did was to start by doing just one thing. Instead of taking on everything — every bad food habit, the whole exercise thing — I focused on taking one step. My one step was going to a Jazzercise class with a friend (who happened to have issues with her weight too). It was a big deal for me to commit to exercising (in front of a mirror, with a group of people, no less!) twice a week. It was really all I could handle — I didn’t change my diet at all for at least a year. I did lose weight, but more importantly I began to believe that I could change. When I did finally revamp my diet, I had more inner strength and willpower. Without really knowing it, I set myself up for success by starting small and allowing myself time to gain confidence in myself.
So that's what I would recommend. Try letting go of the outcome right now, and commit just to try. And then, make one small move. Even if it's using Splenda in your coffee instead of sugar (if you're into Splenda, that is), or snacking on an apple in the afternoon instead of dipping into the candy jar. Or — even better — putting your walking shoes on and doing a loop around the block after dinner. Change one small thing this week, add another small change next week, and another the next. It's not really at this point as much about the calories you're saving or the calories you're burning — it's about gaining some momentum. It's about starting to move in the right direction.
And know that you're not alone. I've been there, sure, but there are plenty of other people around you shuffling toward success. As the old cliché says (and as I can attest), slow and steady wins the race!
Lisa Delaney is editor of Spry magazine and author of Secrets of a Former Fat Girl.