This is a trick question, because the answer is actually ZERO.
You may say…
“But I would have a better job.“
“But I would be healthier.”
“But, I would have better, ummm, relations.”
“But I would be more loved.”
The list goes on and on. I’m both sorry and happy to tell you that this thinking is just an illusion.
We love the thought of magic. We REALLY want that magic pill to make us lose the weight in the first place; but if that can’t be, then it damn well better be worth the sacrifice, right? I mean, if I need to forego my favorite chocolate cake, then when I lose XX pounds, that sacrifice will be all worth it, right? Well, it all depends on what your true goal is.
Is your goal to have a happier relationship, friendships, kids, job? You’ll most likely be sadly disappointed. Going from a size 20 to a size 6 will not bring you happiness. This is just one of those things that control freaks like myself tell ourselves. The reason is that losing weight only makes you smaller, it doesn’t make your problems any smaller. To do that, you need to go deep, finding the root cause of those issues and slowly working on them, often with others who are preferably also ready and willing.
On the other hand, is your goal is to have more energy, to be less achy, to get off meds that are weight related, to be able to actually process your feelings without having food be your only coping mechanism? Hmmmm, let’s talk…because this is where it starts to get good.
This is the point where I know you’re willing to do the work. This is the point where true change can begin – when you know there is no magic pill and you still want to change. When you know that the work surrounding your body is for one person – you.
Where to begin? Instead of weight goals, I like to start with energy goals. If you have ever woken up on a Monday morning with a food hangover from eating too much over the weekend, you know what I’m talking about. Think about what it would be like instead, to wake up on a random Monday and start with a meditative walk, come back and prepare a healthy breakfast and then smoothly sail into your work day. How much better would your life be? How much happier would you be?
To work on energy instead of weight doesn’t mean that you don’t pay attention to the health factors that will promote weight loss or a healthy weight, it simply means that when your focus is on energy, those other things come more naturally. As you work on and with your energy, you become focused on what truly matters in life. I promise you, it’s not those last 5 pounds.
To start, think about two things. First, what sucks the energy from you? How can you begin to eliminate that? Let’s say that every time you look at social media, you feel a little “less than” and have some feelings of self-doubt. Is it possible to not check it at all for one day and see how that feels? What could you do with that time instead? Maybe take a walk or play with your kiddos? Second, what actually does help your energy? What can you do to bring more of that into your life? For instance, I am discovering that too much dairy makes me sluggish. Even though I love my smoothies with whole milk, I now make them with almond milk and feel so much better. You don’t have to do it all at once; as a matter of fact, I find that working on one or two things at a time brings the best benefits.
Start small, give yourself grace, allow your mistakes. Most of all, begin this with curiosity. When you’re dealing with energy, you’re just finding what works for you. What a beautiful way to begin a healthier lifestyle!