Is weight loss REALLY the hardest thing?
I have been working with plus size women for more than a decade.
When I set up my blog in 2010 I had no idea that it would reach millions of women all over the world.
I also didn’t realise that my views and opinions about my body would evolve so much…
When I started the blog I was still very much in diet mentality…counting calories, dabbling in well known diet plans. I used running to manage my weight…and to some extent it worked.
When I ran my first marathon in 2012 I was at my smallest and lightest (I also happened to be pregnant and didn’t know it)
I was a small size 16…and with my 5’11 frame, for me that was rather slim.
After becoming a mum, and putting around 4 stone of weight on I lost a lot of my confidence and I jumped back into the diet plan way of life.
I did a lot of walking, and eventually I got back to running and trained for my 2nd marathon, which helped me to come back down to around a size 18 again.
I have yoyo’ed between a size 16 and a size 20 for the past 9 years.
My size isn’t as important to me as some might think…even if I have built a global brand around being a “big girl” lol
The Too Fat to Run? Movement has always been a weight neutral movement…what do I mean by that?
It is not Pro Weight loss, but it is also not Anti Weight loss.
The blog, my community and my online fitness programmes attract all kinds of women, at all body sizes, ages, backgrounds and fitness levels.
Our focus is always on health and happiness, and learning to love and appreciate your body no matter what size it is currently at.
Here is where it gets tricky though.
Women often ask me about whether they should try to lose weight when attempting BIG races, like half marathons and marathons.
Here is my take on it.
You can 100% train for and run long distance races at a larger size…I mean I have, and so have many many other women.
Is it easier to be a bit smaller??? In my personal opinion, I’d say YES.
The older and the larger I have got, the harder the marathon and the slower I have become.
When I signed up to do my latest BIG challenge, the Sierra Leone Marathon I was not in good physical condition, and so I knew some intentional weight loss would help me have a more enjoyable experience in West Africa.
I lost about a stone in weight in preparation, and this played a massive part (I believe) in me being able to cope with the heat, and not have issues with my knees or hips during or after the event.
But it is a personal choice.
I always get a bit nervous about talking explicitly about intentional weight loss, as I know it can trigger negative emotions and make women feel like I am preaching a particular school of thought.
In 2018 I did a TEDx talk on “The Fear of Judgement” when it comes to living in a bigger body, and I have written countless articles and books about embracing your body…and yet, in my work as a life coach, over and over again women come to me with issues around weight gain, confidence and the challenges they face when it comes to eating habits and intentional weight loss.
So is weight loss REALLY the hardest thing?
It can feel like it’s the hardest thing emotionally, when you only look at what you eat and how much you move. When you look at this as something you “Should do” rather than “Could do” if it feels good for YOU.
As women we are so much more complex than the move more eat less way of thinking, and for women in their 40s and 50s and beyond, we have had decades of changing health advice, fad diets and negative experiences when it comes to our bodies.
What works for me, might not work for you, and this is why I am an advocate for becoming your own body detective.
- Listening to it
- Keeping notes
- Seeking advice (and then testing further)
- Not letting “failure” define you
And most importantly being kind…your body is listening, it hears you when you say bad things to it…it holds on to that negative energy.
I am piloting a new thing in September with a small group of clients who are interested in exploring some of this.
I have 10 years experience of supporting women, and thousands of women have been through one of my fitness, wellbeing or goal achieving online programmes.
I am nervous about the outcome of this, but I am also super curious and excited to see where it takes us.
Things which seem to work for most of the women I support to change things in their life,
- Autonomy to choose what is right for them
- Support and encouragement
Check out the info below to see if it feels like a good fit for you
I 100% believe you can be a masterpiece and a work in progress.
You can actively be making changes to your habits and behaviours, without beating yourself up for the ones you have had previously.
You can look in the mirror and decide you’d like to look different, and be accepting of what you currently see….sounds like an oxymoron, but it doesn’t need to be.
It comes down to attitude and resilience.
And in the words of Brene Brown, Remember ladies…
“We can do hard things”
Julie Creffield is the founder of Too Fat to Run, author of 12 books, international speaker and life coach. She has helped thousands of women around the world to achieve their fitness and wellbeing goals.
The Hardest Thing is a 30 day intentional weight loss challenge, with expert support and gentle accountability.
This pilot will also be collecting data and feedback to see if this programme will be rolled out more broadly in 2023.
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