Are you still believing that if you were at your goal weight or living in your dream body, you’d be happy?
I thought having the ideal body would make me happy too. Of course I’d be more fulfilled no doubt. More confident, and successful too. That’s what they say, isn’t it? Everywhere we look. these messages are either subtly or not-so-subtly displayed for all women to see.
 
In reality the closer I got to this ideal lean body the more obsessed, self conscious, and unhappy I got. Funny, how no one seems to mention this side of weight loss.
 
If I wasn’t trying to ‘get’ the ideal body, I was anxious about keeping it. There never seemed to be the place of enjoying my body and all it could do.
Two things you should know now:
 
Your size and shape will not determine your happiness despite what society tells you.
 
And you won’t feel more confident once you’re in your ideal body or at your ideal weight.
In fact, there will never be a goal that once it’s reached will give you these feelings.

Can you be happy without waiting on weight?

What would you think if I told you you can cultivate those feelings NOW? Before you even get close to those goals you can start to feel the way about yourself you want. It sounds crazy, I know. 
Change the thoughts you have, and the meaning you’re assigning to your weight, size, cellulite, or anything else you want to ‘fix’ about yourself you can start to feel different too. 
One of the big things I think we miss, is the idea we are responsible for the meaning we attach to our circumstances. And in this example, the meaning we’ve attached to being leaner, smaller, or more toned is that we will be happier.

It’s ok if you don’t think you can…

 
I bought the lie that to be happier I had to be leaner and smaller because as I did start to lose weight, there was pressure from others to keep going. The more weight I lost, the more people praised me or made comments about how good I looked. 
This was especially true when I was 111 lbs and breastfeeding or when I was 11% body fat and super lean.
 
I felt I had to keep going even if I was miserable inside; it almost ruined my marriage; and if the way I was treating my body resembled an eating disorder.
 
i didn’t want to lose this new found affection from others, so I held on as long as I could. Like many women, I associated being fat with being unloveable or disgusting. 

What would others think?

In my mind, I had to maintain this picture perfect image of the fit ideal to be a successful fitness coach. And by successful I mean lean and thin. 
 
My fear of going back to being chubby or losing clients forced me to disordered eating behaviors. I began obsessing over food again (just like when I was a competitive figure athlete). Bingeing and restricting became the norm once again.. I shrugged all of this off for a while justifying I was just living a “balanced” lifestyle. 
 
Anxiety about keeping a perfect body resurfaced, and I found myself body checking in almost every mirror I walked by.
 
There was never a time I could enjoy life. Even when on vacay, I felt stress. I’d ‘let’ myself eat whatever I wanted, but knew it would be back on the wagon when we got home. Usually more strict than before so I could get my body back.

The tipping point for me was when I realized…

I couldn’t live the rest of my life counting calories eaten or burned or that I wasn’t actually happier in a smaller body.
 
The interesting thing, is I felt as if I was trapped in my body all over again, just in a smaller, more socially acceptable body.

Would you be shocked to know we weren’t meant to all be the same size or weight any more than we should all have the same eye color or hair color? This is hard for many women to believe because we hang our ability to be happy on what our body looks like.

we weren’t meant to all be the same size or weight any more than we should all have the same eye color or hair color?
 
I ditched prescribed meal plans and diets, and  decided to try something new instead. This was the first time I’d ever really given thoughts to my behaviors, beliefs, and habits around food.
Since following a strict or even a “flexible” diet wasn’t working, I decided to do the opposite and ditch all the rules I had about food at that point. Instead of counting anything, cutting out or limiting certain foods, I’d let my body guide me.
Instead of following food rules, I’d start creating habits. This was an entirely new way to approach food for me. 

Would this actually work for me?

 
Habits are brilliant because you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. This makes it simpler and easier to make healthier choices because you don’t have to think. Of course, habits can work for or against you. And they do take some time to develop or change. 
 
However, by removing food rules I was less likely  to binge on the weekends because I knew I could eat whatever I wanted. Suddenly all of the forbidden foods lost their power over me.
 
Having to  unlearn all sorts of unhealthy and unhelpful behaviors took time. The thoughts, beliefs about food, exercise, and what my body should look like had to be undone. I’m still learning, and that’s ok. 
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, is life is always a practice. It’s not fixed, but more fluid. One slip up or failure doesn’t define us. And one success or win doesn’t get us off the hook of having to do the work.
 
There’s a false belief that healthy should feel hard. It’s a shame because it keeps so many women stuck in the diet mindset. This idea is toxic, and sadly one we have accepted as normal.
Living a healthy lifestyle should be as easy as an unhealthy one. It takes time to get to this place, but it’s where freedom exists.

 Happy now?

Though I may be a bit fluffier than before, I’m the most at peace in my skin I’ve ever been. 
 
I’m way less self-conscious. Thoughts or feelings of insecurity because of my body don’t swirl in my head any longer. That’s not to say there aren’t times those negative thoughts try to come back. I’m just more prepared and equipped to handle the lies because I know the truth, and I know how much sweeter it is on the other side.
Can I let you in on a secret? I’m the same weight as when I started my fitness journey over 12 years ago. Oddly though, it feels as if everything has changed…from the inside out.
xo,
Alisha
PS. I know this probably sounds a little woo woo or too good to be true. Truthfully, I never thought  I could be happy without losing weight either. I thought the other women I saw talking about this had just given up and “accepted” their bodies as if it were a negative thing. If that’s you too, I want you to click here, so we can have a chat.
You deserve to be as happy and as fulfilled right now. What are you waiting for?