Guest Post: Healthy Amelia, Getting Past the Weight Loss Mindset

If you haven’t yet heard, Wednesdays are our Guest Blogger Series day! It’s a day where Matt and I get a bit of a mid-week break while getting to share with you some of our favorite online bloggers.  And for their hard work, they get the benefit of your readership – we encourage you to please show all of them your support by visiting their blog and social media links.

This week you get to read our friend Amelia from the Amelia’s Healthy Life. We met her when she started attending our meetups and she has become a very good friend of ours.

Like many women, I discovered the Paleo Diet in my search for a sustainable way to lose weight. What I’ve learned throughout my journey has been much more than that and has taught me that there is much more to life and health than losing weight.

I’ve always paid lip service to the idea that being skinny is not the goal and that what I really want is to be healthy and feel good in my own skin. Nonetheless, when I pictured that endpoint, it definitely included a decidedly slimmer figure – maybe not model-thin, but certainly in the more socially acceptable range. I’ve marked and measured my success in pounds and inches – all the trappings of a weight loss journey. With that mentality came all the pitfalls and stumbling blocks of the inevitable plateaus and pressures to always do more in order to reach my goal. If I wasn’t moving forward (losing weight), something was wrong and I needed to figure out how to fix it.

I am at one such plateau right now. I started this process in January 2011 at 268 lbs. and managed to lose 50 lbs. and 9 inches off my waist within that year. It was not a continuous drop but it was a slow and steady kind of success. Since the start of 2012, I have not lost any more weight or even inches, despite being committed to eating Paleo and exercising (I keep moving, but don’t overdo it, by any means). This has been pretty frustrating, to say the least.

I’m starting to realize, though, that I need to shift my focus. It is much more helpful to not only celebrate all that I’ve accomplished so far, but also look at all of the other benefits, apart from weight loss, that I’ve been able to enjoy. Because what’s the alternative? It makes no sense to give up on what I’ve been doing just because it hasn’t brought me to the exact end point that I was envisioning. What if I never lose another pound? Do I go back to the SAD and live a life of decreased health? No, of course not – it sounds ridiculous when stated that way. But that is what many people do and I’m determined not to go down that road.

Since changing my lifestyle, I’ve been able to get rid of the Psoriasis on my scalp that plagued me since childhood, almost all signs of PMS, acne on my face that used to flare around my cycle, the carb cravings that drove me to over-consume junk food, and the horrendous mood swings and energy dips that accompanied my blood sugar surges and drops. All of this added up to me gaining a new lease on life. I have more energy, feel better about how I treat my wonderful husband, and am far less self-conscious about my appearance. And I just feel like doing more stuff in general. Prior to this change, all I wanted to do was hang out at home and I avoided social situations as much as possible. My energy was so low and I felt so down about myself that I really didn’t enjoy getting out there. Now, I still love chilling a home, don’t get me wrong, but I also find myself looking for ways to meet new people (like the great Paleo Meat-ups here in DC, where I met Matt and Stacy!)

All of these changes add up to life that is already so much more full and happy than I ever thought possible. I think I will always be engaged in learning about living the healthiest life possible. It’s just something I’m interested in and passionate about. But it’s time to let go of gaging everything against the weight-loss yardstick. There is more to life than being thin and more to me than the size of my pants. I can’t say that I’m 100% there yet, but I now know where I’m headed.

About Healthy Amelia: Amelia grew up in NJ but now lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband of almost 7 years, affectionately nick-named the Cute Man. She chronicles all of her ups and downs in her constant quest to live the healthiest most balanced life possible at http://ameliashealthylife.blogspot.com.

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  • What a great post! Really good sentiments. Definitely motivating for me to keep working on decreasing our carbs! We did a paleo week for the first time last week and it was incredibly overwhelming. Prior to attempting paleo every day of the week had a regular breakfast which really shaved down my meal planning time every week. So this week I tried to rework just breakfasts so that they were low or no carb. Next week I’ll tweak and work on lunches, and the following week dinners. Slow progress is better than no progress, right? 

    • What a great plan! Making incremental changes can make it a lot more manageable. It is definitely not all or nothing. Great job moving in a healthier direction!

  • Michael K

    A message I appreciate hearing. Good job!

    • Thanks so much for reading, Michael!

  • Keep at it!  I’ve lost over 100lbs with this sort of lifestyle, but here is the kicker- it took 3 years.  Slow and steady wins the the race. I too eventually stopped weighing and measuring and as long as I keep getting stronger, healthier, leaner I don’t care if it takes my whole life.  That’s kinda the point!

    • Wow, Cece! Congratulations on your success. You are so right — we only have one life and one body (I think!) so all we can do is do our best to take care of it. Great job!

  • Susan P

    Awesome and VERY inspiring.  We need more people like you being honest and open so the rest of us who struggle with this very same issue aren’t down and want to quit.  Thanks for sharing. 

    • I’m glad you liked it! I was a bit nervous putting it all “out there” but it felt good at the same time.

  • Maggie Fazeli

    Awesome post Amelia! Stories like yours (and Stacy’s and Matt’s) are incredibly inspiring, and an amazing reminder that health and happiness are about wayyy more than a number on the scale. Thanks for sharing your journey! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement, Maggie!

  • Andrea

    Thanks for posting! It’s taken me a year to lose just 15lbs…and I have much more to go… I get disappointed a lot, but posts like your keep me encouraged! And way to go on your progress!!!

  • Amelia, you have hit the nail on the head with this one.  My story:  We started Paleo in January of this year.  Some of the changes I noticed was this:  I used to have to blow my nose every time after I ate.  I was very hot natured, my feet would get so hot, I wouln’t want to put on shoes.  After doing Paleo for about 6 weeks, I noticed my sinuses had cleared up really well, and I didn’t have to blow my nose after I ate (my daughter noticed this).  I also wasn’t so hot, and my feet didn’t feel hot either.  I guess I didn’t notice it too much as this was during Feb-Mar.  In Dec of 2011, I had my blood work done and my hemoglobin test was at 6.3 (I think normal range is 4-6), this is pre-diabetic, and my Vitamin D was at 8 (you should be somewhere between 30-74).  After 4 months of paleo I had another blood work done and my hemoglobin test was at 5.8 and Vitamin D is at 37 (I took a supplement for this).  Vitamins I incorporated during this time is:  Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Fish Oil, Echinacea, and Milk Thistle.  I also lost about 15 pounds.  Life got pretty hectic for 2 months, so we stopped trying to be Paleo as I didn’t have time to think about what to cook, so I have put on a few pounds.  However, after next weekend, we will be right back on that.  This is the summer I think about me, me, me.  Good Paleo diet, incorporating exercise (I have not added that too much yet), and doing fun things for myself.  This post is inspiring to me as it concentrates on just being healthy instead of watching the pounds.  Thank you.

  • Wow! Congrats on your success! thanks for sharing! great post!

  • Dianne Sharpe

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one that’s not dropping 10+ pounds every month as you seem to find on a lot of paleo sites… I was getting really frustrated as I’m sure you can appreciate!

    I am feeling a lot better in myself eating paleo and wouldn’t want to go back to eating grains, sugars etc. And thanks to inspiration from this site and following Stacey’s journey I’m starting the 21 day sugar detox tomorrow. And I’ve found a Crossfit Gym near enough to check out (Wednesday’s job) so hopefully the fitness journey will continue

    BTW I haven’t weighed myself in months, but there’s been no change in clothes size 🙁 But it will come 🙂