Today I’m taking you behind the scenes of my blog to share with you 5 things I am embarrassed to tell you about my weight loss journey.
Now, let me be honest and tell you that writing this post is making me sweat a bit. Sometimes on social media and websites, we have a tendency to only show the highlight reel of life (and understandably so).
As someone who writes about weight loss and runs an online weight loss program for women, I won’t kid you that at times I feel the pressure to showcase a healthy, fit life. I believe this is important. I never ask my readers or members to do anything I am not myself living out in practice.
While there is benefit in putting our best foot forward, I also believe in owning up to our truth. And here’s the thing – many times my weight loss journey is hard and sometimes it gets messy.
No, let me say that better.
Sometimes I am a hot mess when it comes to my weight and food. Despite the fact that I am maintaining a 100 pound weight loss, I am so far from perfect when it comes to food and fitness.
I named this website The Holy Mess for a reason. Life is messy, and when we put on a facade it doesn’t serve anyone well. God takes the messy stuff of life and makes it holy when we give it to Him to bless and use for His purposes.
If you are brand new reader to The Holy Mess website and you don’t know me or my weight loss journey yet, I hope you’ll bookmark this post and skip over to one of my posts that showcases what I do and read those first, such as:
With that, let’s dive in…
5 Things I’m Embarrassed to Tell You About My Weight Loss Journey
1. I’m embarrassed about my weight.
This is the grand-daddy of things I’m embarrassed to tell you so let’s go ahead and get into this one before I chicken out entirely.
Even though I’ve lost 100 pounds, I’m not at the goal weight the charts say is normal.
There, I said it.
I once read that for people in the health and fitness industry, “Your body is your resume.” That makes me cringe, because if a perfect body is the requirement for leading people on their own weight loss journey, I’d might as well close down my website now.
When I lost 100 pounds, I actually lost a little over 100 pounds and for a very (VERY!) short period of time I got down to the goal weight the charts tell me is my normal.
That lasted for about 2 weeks.
I liked being able to fit into thinner clothes (which, by the way were size 12s and currently I wear 14s), but that weight was totally unrealistic for me. I was working out a LOT and eating what felt to me like not much.
My weight went back up a bit to where it is today and has stayed about the same for the last 10 years. When we moved to New York, the stress of the move caused some weight gain so I rejoined Weight Watchers, but generally I’ve been right about the same weight.
I chose not to have surgery to remove lose skin, which is part of my extra weight but it’s not all of it.
So now that that’s out there, let’s move on to number 2 of things I’m embarrassed to tell you about my weight loss journey, which fits together with number one.
2. I’m embarrassed to tell you how much I’m dissatisfied with the way I look.
If you were to ask me what I’m most unsatisfied about in my life, this extra 10 (plus) pounds is right up there.
And it bothers me that it bothers me so much.
But today is all about the truth, so I have to be honest that in some ways I feel like I’ve come so close to that finish line goal weight as if it’s right at my fingertips, but I can’t quite touch it.
What’s ironic is that if I could go back to my 100-pounds-overweight self and tell her about my life today, she would be beyond ecstatic. I imagine I would say to that 100-pound-overweight-Sara,
Sara, here’s what’s going to happen over the next 10 years. You ARE going to lose 100 pounds, and then you will keep it off for the rest of your life. You’re not going to believe this, but you are actually going to complete 5Ks, triathlons, and even a Half Ironman. You’ll do 250 mile biking events for charity and you’ll earn your black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Believe it or not, you’re even going to run a weight loss program for other women and have a website where thousands of people read your story and find encouragement!
But Sara, I need to prepare you. True, you are going to feel fantastic and God is going to work amazing things through your story. But you need to understand – you’re never going to quite reach your goal weight. You’ll be about 10-20 pounds overweight.
Sick, tired, 100-pound overweight, binging on a regular basis Sara would have JUMPED at the chance to have that life. She wouldn’t have cared one iota about those extra 10 pounds.
Now please don’t get me wrong. I feel amazing and I recognize that I am fantastically blessed. I thank God every day for what He has worked in my life.
I’m working on accepting my body the way it is, but this is a work in progress. (Want more? My friend Heather Creekmore has this awesome book called Compared to Who? that I highly recommend on this topic.)
3. I’m embarrassed that I really love junk food.
I love junk food.
I love fast food.
I love chocolate. And doughnuts. And Cheetoes.
I drink Diet Coke.
I can’t tell you the number of fitness experts I see who talk about the perfect diet they follow. They eat clean, only indulge in healthified junk foods, and heaven forbid a McDonald’s french fry would pass their lips.
And I have to tell you, that’s not me.
Do I eat healthy? Yes, absolutely. My diet is largely made up of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. I don’t indulge in junk food daily, but I eat it several times a week and I like it. I eat some type of treat food every single day.
While it is true that my taste for junk food has eased somewhat since I don’t eat it daily (like I used to), I still really like it and if it’s around, I’ll either eat it or struggle to resist it.
And that’s embarrassing because I feel like as a weight loss role model, I shouldn’t want those foods.
But I do.
4. I’m embarrassed to tell you what my eating binges used to look like.
In this post I shared that when I started therapy for weight loss, during one of the very first sessions the therapist asked me to tell him exactly what I eat when I binge.
Telling my therapist about my eating binges that day was one of the worst moments of my life. I felt like I was pinned to the couch, naked.
Truthfully I didn’t even tell him everything about what I would eat, either.
Here’s the truth about my binge eating behavior.
When I was binge eating…
- I would eat a whole carton of ice cream on one sitting – and not those little ones, a full-sized carton.
- I would eat a whole box of Drumsticks ice cream cones during the course of a day, sometimes starting at breakfast.
- I would eat a whole bag of chips plus some other food, too.
- I kept certain foods hidden away so my family wouldn’t eat them and I could know those foods were there for when I needed them.
- Even though we lived on a super-tight grocery budget, I bought my binge foods even if it meant my family had to sacrifice. (I really, really hate sharing this one.)
- I would stand at the refrigerator eating, then I would pick something out and go sit down and eat it, then I would go back to the fridge…back and forth sometimes for hours at a time.
- I would alternative between a sweet food, then a crunchy one, then a salty one, then back to sweet.
- I would eat until I was physically sick.
- I typically binged while I was doing something else, like reading or watching TV, which put me into a zone.
- I would go through the drive through and get ice cream or a sandwich and fries, eat it in the car, then go home and eat dinner with my family, too.
- I would hide wrappers so my husband and kids wouldn’t see.
- I would re-purchase food so no one would know how much I had eaten.
- A few times, I felt so sick and guilty I tried to make myself throw up, but I never could bring myself to physically do it. I attempted it, though.
- My eating was ritualistic. I went through phases when I binged on specific foods and I knew as soon as my hand reached for it at the grocery store, I was going to binge on that food. But I still bought it.
Binge eating is a terrible behavior to live with and I won’t kid you that it’s not easy to overcome. I’m here to say it can be done. I still overeat sometimes, but I don’t binge eat anymore.
Eating binges are embarrassing and deeply, darkly shameful. I’m afraid to share the truth of it because for those of you who don’t binge eat, these descriptions might seem extreme and almost insane.
I knew it was extreme and crazy at the time but I still couldn’t stop binging, as much as I deeply desired stopping above all else. The compulsion to overeat was so strong, it overtook everything else during those times.
As much as I’m embarrassed to share the truth about my binge eating with you, I hope that sharing will help someone else who is in the binge eating cycle and let them know they are not alone, and even more important that healing is possible.
5. I’m embarrassed to tell you how much I exercise.
This last one is going to seem kind of weird because typically people love to brag about their workouts on social media (and don’t we find those people inspiring while we also kind of want to slap them), but I’m embarrassed to tell you how much I exercise.
During a typical week, I work out anywhere from 10-12 times and what amounts to 15-20 hours. And, I actually work out less now that when I was training for triathlons. Then it was probably more like 20-30 hours of exercise a week.
My workouts are a combination of walking and jogging, lifting weights, taking classes at the gym, and Tae Kwon Do and Sambo (wresting) training.
Why am I embarrassed to tell you how much I work out? One reason is that I am afraid that for women I mentor, if they see how much I work out they will throw up their hands in frustration and say forget it. I can’t work out that much!
So I tend to downplay my workouts.
Another reason I’m embarrassed to tell you is that I’m afraid people will think I have some type of exercise obsession or addiction, which I don’t. I know what addiction looks like because I’ve lived that life, and this isn’t it.
But the deepest reason goes back to that second embarrassment I shared above, and that is that I am embarrassed that people must think it’s insane that I work out that much and don’t have a rock-hard, super-fit body.
I don’t have all the answers here except to tell you that research points to the fact that most people who lose a significant amount of weight need to exercise in order to keep it off. Like it or not, it’s a reality for most of us.
I can share that my business partner, Becky, has also lost 100 pounds and while she is certainly fit and works out regularly, she doesn’t put in anywhere close to the number of hours I do.
So there you have it.
These are the 5 things I’m embarrassed to tell you about my weight loss journey. I would love to hear if these are things you can relate to along the way with your weight loss journey, too. Share in the comments below.
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