The Important Breakthrough That Helped Me Become Healthier

We're happy to share this story from our friend Sara Lou of Eat, Drink and Be Skinny.

POPSUGAR Photography | Emily Faulstich

I'm just a little bit pissed with the dieting industry lately. OK, I lied, I've always been pissed with the dieting industry.

The get-thin-quick schemes, the shakes, the programs purporting to help every women lose 10 pounds. The pills, teas, surgeries, and insert the next big weight loss product here have just been, ugh.

As a society we spend billions in health & weight loss and yet we're fatter than we've ever been. We are sicker than we've ever been. Yet, we're spending more money than we've ever had on trying to not be sick. Are we unable to put the two together? So what gives? And why isn't anything working?

I've also contemplated this as I stood naked in front of a bathroom mirror prodding at the parts of my body I wanted to shrink, I've thought about it as I was working out obsessively on the treadmill, restricting all bad calories and wondering why I wasn't seeing the results I wanted to. I've wondered this as I beat myself up over not going to the gym for two weeks in a row, or when I quickly gave up on kickboxing class because it was too hard for me.

Weight loss just always seemed like a goal that was out of reach. Something with long hard workouts, fat burning zones and food restrictions that not everyone is cut out for.

And well . . . not everyone should be cut out for it.

Our obsession with weight loss and the science behind it is at best a bit absurd. We somehow gain lots of weight and expect a scientific experiment and many research studies to shed the weight off for good. But is anyone asking why we put the weight on to begin with? Does anyone know why and how we've come to this? And by knowing why and how we've come to this, can't we reverse the course of this scary epidemic?

A Little Self-Love Goes a Long Way

A few years ago I was looking in the mirror wondering why the hell I had adult acne, severe anxiety and hadn't lost any weight when I was eating healthy food and working out. I thought I was doing all of the right things and just wanted to throw in the towel. After a little bit of help and therapy, I decided to be easy on myself instead. I developed fitness goals that didn't surround weight loss, or calorie restriction but instead to heal up my skin and anxiety.

I turned inwards to find out why I wasn't losing weight or reaching my goals. When I placed my goals on my own self worth and doing fitness activities that were fun and challenging for me, regardless of their outcome, I started shedding excess fat and became more toned.

When I started forgiving myself for missing a workout, I started becoming more consistent and would, ironically, miss less workouts.

When I stopped giving a flying f*ck about my weight on a scale and instead focused on making myself strong, both on the outside and on the inside, I started getting visibly thinner.

When I put food in my body that nourished me, rather than what the weight loss experts told me to eat, my skin cleared up and I started to feel better.

All of this points me to self love. The secret ingredient in any health and weight loss journey that often gets overlooked because of our do or die mentality. We are so afraid of failing and crushing our egos that the minute we miss a workout or eat pizza we all of a sudden have failed miserably at our weight loss journeys.

Learning Self Love

So how can you choose to love yourself this week?

Here are five simple steps you can take to incorporate self love into your weight loss journey

  1. Give yourself reasonable goals that you can track
  2. Have an action plan
  3. Forgive yourself after you miss a workout
  4. Think about your goals before you order that 3 cheese lasagna
  5. Focus on having fun rather than burning calories