I was at the supermarket last week and I had this conversation with the checkout person…
Checkout person: I’m doing the keto diet… I’ve lost 3 kilos.
I used to be a size 6! I have all these beautiful clothes that I can’t wait to fit back into. Especially these shorts that I just love. I need to fit into them.
I’m really focusing on my listening skills, so at this moment in time, although I wanted to shake them until these words no longer existed in their vocabulary, instead, I was quiet and let them go on.
I’m doing an 8 week challenge at the moment where we all meet at the park, do our bootcamp and we eat the same meals. We did our before and after photos and I can’t wait to see my after photo.
At this point, my heart hurt for them. I knew this conversation all too well.
This conversation used to be me. Talking to my mum, my sister, my best friend… but usually talking to myself.
… Do you want your groceries in a bag?
This conversation made me wonder how many hours I’ve spent thinking about this kind of stuff.
Losing weight, which diet to go on next, figuring out my weekly schedule of when I was going to fit in enough hours at the gym, deciding to ‘let myself have a treat’ but only if I followed that treat with a punishment session of a 10 km run.
I’d chant in my mind ‘losing weight, getting fit’ as I ran.
If I look back to when it all started for me, at around age 11, the age I went on my first diet, until only 2 years ago when I finally put a stop to this ongoing conversation, the hours must be in the thousands.
I have spent days, months, YEARS of my limited time on this planet wondering how I can make my body look thinner, how I can be less round on the edges, how can I fit the size 8 instead of the size 12, thinking if I eat that now, I can’t eat that later.
I had one belief only: I am not thin enough, I am not enough. I am definitely not enough when I weigh XXX this much.
And you know what’s interesting… even when I did lose an unhealthy amount of weight… I still wasn’t enough. I wanted more change, more weight loss.
This conversation made me think about every other person who has ever had these thoughts and who continues to have these thoughts.
It made me sad.
But it also made me proud. Proud that I changed this belief. Proud that these thoughts of losing weight, which gym session when, what diet next have, (almost), disappeared forever.
That’s right, I say almost. It took 15 years to create this deep set belief. I’m pretty sure, wait, I know, a relapse is just around the corner.
What’s different now is that I can see it coming. I know the behaviours that set it off. And more importantly, I know how to stop obsessing about losing weight. I know how to come back faster to self respecting Carla. Kind Carla. And non obsessed Carla.
I’m a type-A, Virgo… so obsession is my middle name.
Maybe you think you want to keep the obsession?
Maybe you’re thinking, but if I don’t think about it, I’ll let myself get out of control and put on even more weight. Here’s where I put it bluntly: you’re wrong. You won’t do that. In fact, you’ll find the opposite.
When you begin to let go of the obsession and the conversations with others (and with yourself) that you have about food, diet and exercise (I’m not talking the OMGosh that yoga was epic conversations… they are so welcome :P), you will find so much more space in your life. Space for opportunity, for growth, for love, for gratitude.
You will feel a sense of freedom you have never known before. It didn’t happen overnight for me. It’s a constant practise of letting go of that obsession… but it’s worth it.
Here’s how I stopped my obsession with weight loss…
Stopped linking joy to food
But the coconut icecream is soooo yum! I know, right? Food can be so yum and so fun. But I realised my obsession with food wasn’t serving me. That finding so much joy in food made me think about food all the time. And then, because I was thinking about food all the time, I’d often think about past meal times and feel guilty, or I’d think about future outings/meals and feel anxious.
This behaviour for me was hard to kick and still comes back (a lot) because I seriously do love food. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy my meal times, I am very present when I eat (this helps to overcome binge eating as I can feel when I am satisfied, we’ve talked more about binge eating on our podcast), I love to go out for lovely meals but I try my best to not make ‘what’s for dinner’ the most exciting conversation of the day.
By adding mindful eating to my life, I also seem to eat slower and the sizes of my meals are smaller as I actually stop when I am satisfied.
I used to always feel like the food was never going to be there again. I would eat meals like it was the last time I was ever going to eat this particular thing. This especially happened when I was at social parties, work afternoon teas and any kind of banquet dinner.
I would restrict and deprive myself of certain foods like chocolate, pasta, corn chips, icecream etc. for so long. And when they were on the table, it’s like a demon would take me over and make me eat ALL. THE. FOOD. Note: it wasn’t a demon it was just me, Carla, and then I’d overeat until I felt sick… and then feel guilty for days! Did it bring joy, did this habit serve me? NO!
But how did I stop these food thoughts from taking over? Well, actually, Emma one day said to me “Carla, you talk about food a lot” and although I wasn’t too happy with her observation I started to take note of all the food thoughts and conversations and statements I would have and make.
Oh, there were a lot. So like any mindset change, I brought awareness to these thoughts and I simply let them pass on through. Rather than dancing with the thought and having that self-conversation about what’s for dinner, I’d go on my way, letting the thought pass by.
Realised comparison was killing me
We all know this game too well.
I wish I had their stomach.
Why can they eat all the sugary, crappy food and still look like that?
If only my thighs weren’t so big. Why don’t I have a gap like all the IG photos I see?
Shall I go on? Nah, I’d prefer to stop.
Comparison is the thief of all joy. It’s the thief of life itself. Why do we spend our time and our thoughts on comparing ourselves to others?
Why do we believe that there is a ‘better’ way to look? A more accepted way to look other than the way we look right now?
For me, it was always my stomach. Whenever I would look at others, and yes judge them (even if I was saying something nice about them in my mind, it is still judgement) I would focus on how thin, how toned, how small, how perfect their stomach was.
When I realised that I was doing this, I felt kind of crazy. Why was I so focussed on these small parts of my and others’ bodies?
Every time I would look in the mirror I would hold a (not literal) magnifying glass up to my stomach and scan it. Check in… is it smaller today? Bigger? More bloated? What if I stand like this? Or suck it in like this?
It was completely tiring. Overwhelming.
Once I realised I was spending so much of my time wishing my body was different to what it was, I wondered if perhaps, I could instead, start to accept my body and accept all other bodies just as they are?
Outrageous… I know.
But imagine if I did stop… imagine how much time and space I would have for everything else. Time to actually enjoy LIFE. Wow. Now that would be freedom.
Rather than comparing my body and judging others’, thinking there’s some ‘ideal’ body to get, to grasp on to, to reach, I decided I would practise acceptance of myself and acceptance of others.
I 100% accept myself right here, right now. I would say it, again and again to myself. It would replace my judgemental, comparative thoughts. I even used tapping sometimes (It felt good and helped me concentrate on my new thoughts).
I vowed to quit the comparison game and instead, celebrate all differences.
Afterall, if we were all the same life would be completely boring.
To quit this game after playing for so long is hard and was going to take practise. And I fall back, I still compare. I still at times, find myself holding a magnifying glass up to my stomach. And then I realise. And then I let go. I take a deep breath and stop the game. I call BS on my own thoughts and welcome in acceptance instead.
Started Yoga and Pilates
A big part of my obsession with weight loss also involved a huge obsession with the gym and running. My old belief was, the more hours spent at the gym, the heavier I lifted, the longer I ran… the better I was as a human.
Wait… what? Since when do the hours you spend at the gym and kilometres you run make you a better human? Oh yeah, they don’t.
I would use exercise as a way of punishment and a way of escaping my own thoughts.
I would bargain with myself all the time… if you go to the gym for this long… you can have this piece of cake. If you run an extra 10 minutes, you will probably weigh .5 of a kilo less tomorrow.
There was a time in my life where I would weigh myself every Friday, praying that I would be lighter than the week before. I would even go to a high intensity cycle class and forbid myself to drink any water during the class, to ensure my weigh-in was as ‘accurate’ as possible.
I know! It sounds crazy, but I did this!
Back then I could never imagine a time in my life where exercise could be a space for joy and a time to celebrate my body and all that it does for me. That’s not what exercise is for, right?
Until I found Yoga and Pilates.
When I first tried Pilates I thought that it was going to be cruisey as, that I wouldn’t even work up a bead of sweat. I was so wrong. OMGOSH, Pilates was the best workout I’d ever done! And bonus, you get to do some of it lying down! Why did it take me so long to try it? Ha!
Add in blissful Yoga and you have a match made in heaven.
A way to strengthen, lengthen and tone your body – YES. AND a way to connect to something so much bigger. A way to connect back to YOU. The true you. The you that is kind, loving and deeper than the surface.
The practise of Yoga embodies so much of my new way of living and thinking.
Acceptance. Non-violence (to the world… but also yourself!). Detachment (throw away the damn scales! What’s in a number anyway?!). KINDNESS. JOY. Ohh my mind and my heart is blown with every class and everything I learn about this ancient practice.
It has been said that your physiology directly impacts your psychology. When you think about how a consistent Pilates and Yoga practise transforms the body… think about what it can do to your mind.
Increase flexibility (we’re ok with change, the only constant in life!).
Lengthens (we go deeper and feel more open in heart and mind).
Creates stability (strong foundations in life).
Calms the nervous system (respond better to life situations with less stress).
I’m only scraping the edges! This practice has brought me so much goodness and has allowed me to better understand who I am. Who I REALLY am. It will do the same for you.
And I promise… I absolutely asssure you, you will have fun doing it.
Finding a way to exercise that is actually enjoyable = game changer to losing the obsession about weight loss.
You can try a free class here. Go on <3
Gave away all too-small clothes
I KNOW, you love that red dress and you want to wear it one last time.
Does it bring you joy though?
Having all these too-small clothes hanging in my closet, looking at me every day, reminded me that I’m not good enough.
You see, this is what I thought: because I didn’t fit my old clothes, because I was a little bit bigger than I’ve been… I wasn’t good enough.
It was a constant reminder of my obsession and my life goal of losing weight.
REMINDER: you were not born to just lose weight and make money.
Woh. I read that on Instagram… Mind. Blown.
And so… I decided to give away all of my old clothes that didn’t fit me anymore. They took up space in my closet and therefore space in my brain.
It felt good. It felt free-ing. And I no longer had a constant reminder hanging in front of my face of the past. Reminding me of how I ‘used’ to be good enough. Even though past me who could fit into these clothes wasn’t happy at all! But past me believed that losing weight was the door to happiness. The door to acceptance.
Ridding my life of this constant reminder allowed the thoughts to happen less often.
Throw out the scales
Please… if you still have scales in your house. Throw them away.
You are NOT a number.
I even went as far as to ask my doctor not to tell me my weight.
Now, that I have been so far away from scales for so long, it doesn’t scare me to stand on them. But what’s more amazing is that I no longer have the compulsive habit to stand on them each and every morning.
I no longer attach my self worth to an ever-changing number.
Please. Throw away your scales.
Decided to believe I am a soul and that I have a body…
Deepak Chopra says this. And maybe you are a soul believer, maybe you are not. I don’t mind either way but we all know that there’s more to us than just the shell. More to us than just the surface.
We’re not only skin, muscle and bones.
We have thoughts. Emotions. Feelings. We experience. We see. We hear. We touch.
There’s an awareness within us and if it didn’t exist, then the world itself wouldn’t exist.
Because we are the see-ers, the one’s who are aware… the world is real.
So you see, the body will age, the body will wrinkle with all the new stories and the new life that we experience.
Perhaps the body will gain some size here, lose some there but we check it, we ask ourselves.
Is it really the number on the scales?
Well when you put it that way, it seems so obvious. Of course it doesn’t matter.
Let it go.
I know that when we practise this, when we let go of the number, when we stop focussing on losing weight… we create freedom. We enjoy the life. We experience the journey.
A big reason we created MerryBody Online Studio is that we felt (and continue to feel) the magic of Yoga and Pilates. We had to share it.
It created freedom in our lives.
Freedom from the punishment of exercise we were used to.
It allowed us to learn HOW to let go of these old beliefs.
It’s all well and good to hear the advice ‘let go’ but exactly HOW do you do that?
Yoga and Pilates (especially Yoga) is a practise based on the ‘letting go of’… so we can create space to welcome in the new. The beginning.
If you’d love to create a consistent practice of Yoga and Pilates in your life, MerryBody Online Studio makes it easy. An online membership where you can stream a library of classes from anywhere in the world on any device.
With new classes added every single week, along with monthly meditations, quarterly masterclasses and the most loving, supportive community you will ever meet.