When I started my weight loss journey, I thought the process would be pretty cut and dry. Thanks to the amazing resources on SparkPeople, I was well-educated on what I needed to do. I knew exactly how many calories I needed to eat, what I needed to do at the gym and what tools I’d need to be successful. It seemed like the process of weight loss would be linear. A + B = Weight Loss. And partially, that was true. But as I dove further into my journey, I discovered there were many emotions, thoughts and fears that came along with losing weight. The process wasn’t so linear anymore. Suddenly, fitness and nutrition weren’t the only two things I had to focus on. I had to tackle the emotional journey, too.
Once I got about ten pounds into my weight loss, I began struggling with a lot of self-doubt. What if I fall off the wagon? What if I never hit my goal weight? What if my knees give out? What if the people at the gym laugh at me? What if I fail? I was so paralyzed with these fears that my resolve to lose weight began to dissolve. After all, the status quo of being overweight was a lot less scary than the unknown of losing weight. I quickly realized I needed an outlet before I wrecked my healthy momentum. I needed a place to talk about all of the feelings and emotions that go along with losing a sizable amount of weight.
So I started blogging.
I had no idea what I wanted to say, but I still clicked the "Make a Blog Entry" link on my SparkPeople start page and let my mind spew every feeling and emotion into the blank box. I wrote about my fears, my goals and my struggles. I wrote about my weekly weigh-ins, my favorite healthy recipes and my non-scale victories. My writing wasn’t polished and my concepts weren’t clear, but I was always writing from the heart. Just getting the thoughts out of my brain and into a tangible form made me suddenly feel like my fears weren’t so scary.
Besides the ability to get my worries out there, blogging also gave me a forum where I felt safe, understood and supported. My SparkFriends encouraged me and offered suggestions and advice. I met amazing men and women that had incredible stories of success that motivated and inspired me. All because I put myself out there. Those bonds with SparkFriends kept me going on those days when all I wanted to do was quit. It was so much easier to face my fears when I knew that my SparkFriends were facing those same fears alongside me.
After a few months of blogging regularly on my SparkPage, I was named a SparkPeople Motivator. I don’t think I’ve ever been so honored in my life! It felt amazing to know that just by talking about what I was going through, I could help others. Getting my Motivator badge sparked something inside of me that I didn’t know I had: a love for motivating folks and talking about health and wellness.
After much encouragement from my SparkFriends, I transitioned my blogging to a more public outlet. I am now a professional wellness blogger, posting twice daily at my virtual home, Back to Her Roots. I still have the same content: I post my healthy recipes, I write about my feelings and I talk about my workouts, but now I’m blogging for a much larger audience and loving every second of it. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing opportunities to write about my journey for major brands and companies, and I owe it all to my start on SparkPeople.
I can say, without a doubt, that blogging is part of the reason I've been successful in adopting a healthy lifestyle. I lost over 50 pounds in a little over a year and have kept it off for nearly two. I ran a half marathon. I’ve had my healthy recipes published in magazines. And all of it happened because of putting myself out there on my SparkPage blog. Now, blogging in such a public way helps keep me accountable and on track with my healthy lifestyle. I have a responsibility to the readers of my blog to paint a truthful picture of my life and that inspires me to make healthful decisions every day.
I know that all the various aspects of weight loss can be daunting, and certain parts tend to fall to the back burner. But I encourage you to make your emotional journey a priority. Find your outlet and figure out how to work through the feelings and fears that come along with a major lifestyle change. Blogging was what worked for me, but you might like to draw, make collages, talk with your friends and family or speak to a therapist. Whatever way you find to work through your emotions, make sure you dedicate yourself to it just as much as you dedicate yourself to your nutrition and fitness plans. I’m a big believer that the emotional work is just as important as the work you do in the gym.
By day, Cassie Johnston is a higher ed marketing expert, but after hours, she is obsessed with all things health and wellness. After gaining the Freshman 50 in college, Cassie had a lightbulb moment at a doctor’s appointment and left the office ready to change her life. Fifty pounds later, a new-found passion for the healthy living was born. This love of all things health and wellness led to a second career in food, fitness and motivational writing.
Cassie currently splits her freetime between blogging, recipe development, photography, and culinary arts school. Her recipes and articles have appeared on websites for major brands and in the pages of glossy food magazines. She blogs twice daily about her daily fitness and food adventures (and misadventures) at Back to Her Roots.
*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.
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