I’m a rather introspective person. Always have been. I enjoy looking for the lessons in everyday life and playing around with them. There have been times when I realize there are things I know that other people are yet to be aware of. This leads to one of the many cool things I enjoy about life – sharing life stories and lessons. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way and I hope they help you on your weight loss journey.
#1: Taste-buds change
I wasn't always the biggest fan of vegetables. I enjoyed cucumber, cauliflower, tomato, and potato. That’s it. Then I went to school for nutrition and learned how amazing vegetables are for you and thought ‘well damn, I better start eating more vegetables’. I slowly started incorporating more into my diet. Along the way, I learned that taste buds change. Our taste buds die off and regenerate every few days and by eating something new, more often you can acclimate your taste buds to it.
At the same time, you can decrease your affinity to other tastes. My father has a very sweet and salty tooth. I was his carbon copy until I moved out of my parent's house and started cooking for myself. At this time I was learning about the effects of a diet high in sodium and sugar so I started to reduce how much I was consuming. Want I once found tasty, a coffee with four sugars, was now too sweet, just one sugar is plenty.
Food companies play with our taste buds. They take the few core flavours of a natural food, let's say an orange that may have a plethora of flavour profiles, and turn it up to the max when making an orange-flavored soft drink. This makes it harder for us when we eat something natural because that flavour seems off. A banana flavoured popsicle tastes nothing like a banana. This works the other way around too. If you eat a lot of naturally occurring foods with their more subtle flavours and eat something with processed flavours, you notice a stark difference.
I would tell my younger self that you’ll want to eat more of whatever it is you’re eating. If you’re eating more processed foods, you’ll want to eat more processed foods. If you eat more unprocessed foods, you’ll gravitate more to unprocessed foods. It’s a slow journey but try new foods sooner rather than later. Even if you don't like it the first few times don't give up on it.
#2: Accept your shape
Growing up I was a pro-level athlete and big thighs came with the territory. I would scroll through Tumblr and look at Victoria's Secret models and wish I had a thigh gap. That’s what makes you sexy right? Fast-forward 8 years, I looked in the mirror and noticed my thighs no longer touched, thanks to inactivity and stress from school. But I did a 180 and thought ‘I liked the way my bum looked before… I’d love to have small thighs and a big bum.’
That’s when I realized there would always be something I wanted to change about my body until I learned to love and accept it for what it is. I would always be chasing something. Now, acceptance does not equal neglect. It simply means accepting your body shape for the way that it is. I’m sure you’ve seen those images of a pear-shaped body versus an apple-shaped body and whatever other fruit bodies are being compared to nowadays.
We’re all shaped differently and hold onto weight differently, yet we chase after fleeting beauty ideals. What beauty ideal are you chasing after? Do you want to be Early Renaissance plump, have a 1920’s boyish flapper figure, or that 2020 Kardashian look? I would tell my younger self to take care of your body and it will look the way it looks. Eat well and move your body often.
#3: Drop the labels
When you first meet someone and they ask you the dreaded ‘tell me about yourself’ question, what do you say? Do you start to list your labels? You’re a mom and an accountant and a cat person. What about right before you drift off to sleep, what thoughts run through your mind? How you’re not a smart person, or a motivated person, or the kind of person who eats salads. We love to label, they give us a sense of purpose and identity, for better or for worse. But they also limit us.
Who would you be without the labels you or society has given you? Who are you when you’re not a mom or an accountant or not the kind of person who eats salads? This can be a difficult concept to wrap your head around in the beginning but once you do it becomes liberating. That’s because no label is permanent.
Think about empty-nester parents. They no longer have to fulfill a role they once had and many feel a loss of identity and or purpose. Think about students who don’t get a job immediately after finishing school. This happened to me. I was no longer a student and I didn't jump into another position where I was given instructions for how to accomplish a role (aka. a job or more education). I felt (momentarily) lost until I dropped the labels.
Your occupation is what you do, it’s not who you are. Your hobbies and interests are things you enjoy, they are not who you are. I would tell my younger self, while labels limit you, they have the ability to help you. You have the choice to label yourself however you want. Who would you be if you didn’t attach to your thoughts that say you aren’t good enough or worthy enough? Drop labels that limit you. Give yourself new labels, or none at all, and watch how your life changes.
Ok, what’s next?
As cliché as it sounds, there is no better time than right now to start implementing what you’ve learned. What lesson resonated the most with you? Start there. What’s one thing you can change, and actually would change, to start living in this lesson? Try it on like a new dress for a month and see how it fits.