I'm not done losing yet, but I feel like I've made mental improvements I've never expected, and wanted to share what I've gone through.
On the right, two before pictures of highschool and college. I've never been a thin person, even back in elementary, so the first successful attempt (on the left) was novel to me. More importantly, I made mistakes, and ended up failing because of them.
This post is mainly about what I've learned, in the hopes it might help someone else, or at least have someone relate. These things don't apply to everyone, it's just what I tell myself based on my own mistakes.
I failed rather spectacularly in my first attempt. "Spectacularly" meaning I developed a pretty bad case of binge eating that caused me to gain all of my weight back in about half the time it took me to lose it. It took about 3 years of recovery in outpatient therapy (and a job change) before I felt ready to lose again.
Here's a list of things I learned. If you'd like context, don't be afraid to ask. I was going to write out more but man, it was become a novel and I was like, "people are not going to read this. NEEDS MORE LISTS".
First, the practical things I tell myself to stay sane this time around:
1. I needed to include more calorie-dense foods. They're not as evil as I was inclined to think.
2. I needed to make my goal more flexible, and include more maintenance days for treats.
3. I needed more variety in my diet, flavors of jello don't count as "variety".
4. I needed to let other people use the damn elliptical at my tiny apartment gym.
5. I needed to realize that 5am wakeups for above elliptical use are not my deal, and I wasn't going to get used to them.
6. I needed to not even flirt with the idea of eat-all-the-things days. Those treats should have been spread out throughout my diet (see #2).
Those things are honestly more silly than anything. They were the symptoms of the things below.
Last, but not least, the mental things I tell myself to stay sane this time around:
1. I can rationalize obsession like nobody's business, especially with things considered to be good habits.
2. Just because I tell myself that weight loss won't solve my problems, doesn't mean I actually believe it. I need to believe it.
2.5. My body image and self-esteem issues will not be solved by weight loss. In fact, weight loss may make them temporarily worse.
2.5.5. It's the good habits that make me feel good, not the actual results (although the results help).
3. Weight loss doesn't make me a better person. It fact, I probably became a worse person - so hyperfocused on weight loss that everything else became lost.
4. I need to work on goals that have nothing to do with weight loss. I've learned my goal is to take better care of myself, not to lose weight. Losing weight is just part of me taking better care of myself.
5. I am not a pusher, an all-or-nothing-er, a 100%-er. I like to do things as lazily as I can while still meeting my goals. I am pro at moderation, and I require it.
6. I will have to live with my urge to binge eat the rest of my life, but I have good ways to cope now. That's a big part of life, just learning how to cope healthily.