One thing I learned early on into my weight loss journey as that as the old saying goes Positive thinking brings positive results! As cliché as it might sound, it’s so very true. The moment you can change your thinking, you can change your life. This saying has become such a staple in my life that I actually have a mini dry erase board behind my bedroom door with it written on it – so I see it daily as a gentle reminder.
At the beginning of my journey, the first 2-3 weeks were the hardest. It was a new routine; I had to be conscious of what I was eating. Grocery shopping became a 1+ hour ordeal, instead of a quick dash and grab routine. I actually had to give thought about what I wanted to eat, and then I had to figure out what the points were for those items that I wanted to eat. It can seem a little overbearing and stressful but if you remember why you originally started this journey it makes all those things not so bad.
As I progressed in my journey, I found whenever I thought negatively (which was all the time – I was VERY negative) everything was harder. Nothing was easy, I’d get frustrated easily – but the one thing I can say is I never gave up. The first 2-weeks were the hardest … declining temptations (like all you can eat cookies, cakes and snacks in the kitchenette at work), sticking with what I brought to work for lunch instead of ordering out on Friday (or in my pre-Weight Watchers day 2-3 times a work week), and eating portion sizes of foods instead of my normal “all you can eat” mentality.
After losing my first roughly 80 pounds, I felt more comfortable in my skin. I had more energy and I felt comfortable enough to go to the gym. I admit when I first walked into the gym to walk on the treadmill (I had been an active gym member years prior but as I packed on more weight I simply stopped going) I felt like everyone was looking at me thinking look at that one…. In reality, nobody was looking at me, but in my self conscious mind I turned my step into getting healthier into a negative experience. It took me until my third trip to the gym to realize that no one was looking at me; everyone was too busy doing their own thing to care. There was no WWE announcer announcing, “And here’s Shannon, 300 pounds, entered the gym, on her stalk to the treadmill. Let’s get ready to rummmbbbllleeeeee!!!!”
The gym is a common place – people go there to get healthy (whether that be lose weight, build muscle, train for an event, or attend a class they enjoy). Once I changed my attitude towards the gym, it made going to the gym so much easier. Eventually I got a bit bored with the treadmill and decided to step WAY out of my comfort zone and I went to my first zumba class. I stood in the back mind you because I was the new kid in town and had no idea what I was doing. After dancing like a fool (I was legitimately born with two left dancing feet) I found I was really enjoying myself and I was sweating up a storm. Even though I was very uncoordinated in the beginning and was off doing my own little versions of the steps, I learned I wasn’t concerned others were looking at me, because no one was. Sure there are mirrors on the walls, but no one can focus on the instructor bouncing around, focus on themselves bouncing around AND focus on me bouncing around.
In all reality, the instructor was the only one who paid me any attention. They’re there to help you get a good workout but they also don’t want you to hurt yourself. I may have felt a little self conscious the first time the instructor came near me to show me the correct foot work (because it all starts at your feet), but she followed that up with a “great job” and I felt better about the experience. The more I went to the classes, the more I picked up the routine and it eventually got to the point that I felt like a superstar and like I could help lead the class (in my mind – haha). I taught myself, by training my brain, that the gym was a safe place and it was a place I didn’t have to be shy or make daunting.
I won’t say changing the way you think is a simple task, nor will I say it is something that you can change overnight. It takes time, it takes work, but if you want it bad enough you’ll work towards that goal. I find it was especially rewarding for me because once I began changing my attitude towards things and towards life, good things started happening. The more my thoughts changed to a positive perspective, the happier I became (funny how that happens).
As my thinking began to change to a positive frame of mind, I began to pick up and recognize on the behavior of those around me. I quickly learned that if I was around someone who was genuinely negative I started to become negative. Negativity is a vicious cycle, a leech, and it will latch onto anyone standing within arms reach. Not liking the experiences I was becoming part of, I realized that perhaps it was best to remove myself from those situations. That meant removing people from my life, distancing myself from certain people and remaining with those that were simply positive. It is a difficult thing to do, but in the end, it had to be done. At the end of the day, my happiness matters more than being around someone that brought me down.
Thinking positively isn’t always easy. It’s something that requires daily work because things happen. Stuff arises that we weren’t expecting and it may knock us upside the head and our immediate reaction may be a negative one. But the more positive I am, the easier it is to step back, take a breather and think “what can be thought positively about this situation?” Even in the darkest of situations, there is always some glimmer of positivity and if that glimmer is what’s focused on, things get bigger, better and above all easier.
Positivity has given me such a clearer and cleaner way of thinking. It’s provided me with endless possibilities. It’s allowed me to find happiness. It’s allowed me to focus on me and filter out the toxicity I was surrounded by. It’s given me encouragement during my weight loss journey because I’d look at how far I’ve come instead of throwing my hands in the air and saying “forget it” over something small. It’s given me this ray of light from inside that makes me overall a happier person. That in itself is rewarding because it truly shines on my face.
And without it … I would not be where I am today.