Once upon a time, I was a girl at war with her body. I was obsessed with food, what I should be eating, what I wasn’t supposed to be eating. So I was hiding food and eating it in secret and beating myself up ruthlessly for doing that.
I stayed home from many social events because I had tried on an outfit, looked at myself in the mirror, and told myself I looked fat and disgusting. Then, I’d put on sweats and get in bed instead because I couldn’t be seen in public looking like I did.
I covered up and camouflaged myself with oversized clothes. I didn’t get dressed up or buy anything new because I was waiting until my body was the right size.
I had some cute clothes from the few times I had successfully lost weight, but they were like ghosts from the past taunting me with how I had messed up again. I regularly uttered the sentence, “I’m so fat,” like a mantra.
My life from 13 to 30 was a rollercoaster of shame, self-loathing, and trying to fix it by fixing my body—overeating, under-eating, overexercising, and counting calories while rejecting myself over and over.
I felt I was too broken. I had tried to lose weight so many times, and I was convinced it was never going to be different. I hadn’t been able to figure it out, and I didn’t believe I ever would.
The future I never predicted
I never ever would have thought that I would be sitting here, having not only changed my body and story but created a whole life and career around it.
I never dreamed I would certify as a life coach. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I would never have thought I would become an entrepreneur. And yet, here we are.
I would never have thought I would become a master coach and build an entire business and tribe around weight loss. Did you just hear the story I just told you about my past?
I never thought that I would find peace with food. I never thought I could have a bowl of perfectly good peanut M&Ms on my kitchen counter, in all their glory, and not even think about or notice them.
I would never have thought I would ever look in the mirror, see my body with all of its “imperfections,” stretch marks, sagging, cellulite, and feel love.
“I would never have thought…”
How many times have you uttered this phrase in the last year, especially? “I would never have thought…”
I would never have thought I would have a collection of cloth masks for every occasion and to match every outfit.
I would never have thought everything on Earth would close.
I would never have thought I would miss crowded places and other humans. And yet, here we are.
So as you think about your current life and imagine your past self getting a peek at it, what would she have never thought of that is real for you?
Of course, this will be a mixed bag, as life is. There will be some “I would never have thought I’d be divorced” in there, along with the “I never would have thought that I would graduate with a master’s degree.”
Predicting the future
There are so many things about you and your current situation that your past self couldn’t even conceptualize back then.
So many places you’ve gone, roles you’ve filled, accomplishments, missteps, and turns that you’ve taken that past you would never have imagined.
So, why do we sit here in the present and try to pretend that we can predict the future and know for sure what is possible for ourselves?
Why does your brain tell you you will never figure this out?
Why does your brain tell you you aren’t capable of lasting weight loss?
Why does your brain tell you that you won’t ever be lovable?
How does your brain know what will happen in the future?
Newsflash and spoiler alert: It doesn’t.
Now, I’m not talking about the work you are doing to create a vision of and believe in future you. That is useful, powerful, important imagination work.
What I am talking about is all the other useless, disempowering, waste-of-your-imagination work that you do the rest of the time. All of the disbelief, doubt, focusing on the worst-case scenario or the past.
What about all the things that will happen in your future that will be amazing, life-changing, and wonderful?
What about all the twists and turns in your story that will come about naturally and by choice?
Where’s the consideration of that reality?
We seem to hyper-focus on trying to control everything or sit around feeling hopeless at our lack of control. The truth is, there is so much we can’t control in the world around us.
But we always have control over what we make the world mean, how we feel, and how we react.
Gratitude for the journey
I would never have thought there would be so many gifts in the experience of the last pandemic year. Time with my family, slowing down and truly seeing what’s important, letting go of some things and holding on tighter to others, perspective, heartache, gratitude, simplicity, and connection.
I would never have thought I would feel gratitude for my weight journey.
I have learned so much about struggle, emotion, the brain, and the human spirit through this journey.
So much of who I am and what I have in my life is a result of the lessons I’ve learned and the skills I’ve built on this weight journey of my lifetime.
Let’s stop trying to pretend we know for sure what will happen and start focusing on what is possible and how we want to show up in the face of what comes.
Let’s use our imaginations more and worry less about what we don’t know.
Point yourself in the direction you want to go and move forward, open to being guided and surprised along the way.
Let your journey take you where you need to go and dream of the fantastic things to come.
If you want to learn more about my mindset-centered approach to weight loss, start with my free PDF, Freedom From Food Rules. You’ll learn why you don’t need to follow any food rules to lose weight—and how to use the Next 24 Hours Method instead.