See Yourself as Fit Person, No Matter Your Size

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)

Sometimes the difference in whether you gain or lose is how you see yourself. Sports trainers often use visualization to help athletes meet their goals by simply by having them imagine or see themselves as winners. What if we all stopped looking at ourselves as dieters and looked at ourselves as fit people? Would we still be so depressed about our situations that we would eat that extra helping? Or would we have a little more bounce in our step and park a bit farther away from our destination? Would we train for a 5K? The possibilities are endless if we don’t limit ourselves with a label of “unfit.”

Yes, so maybe we really are not at peak fitness, or anywhere in the vicinity. I personally am disabled and have more than another 100 pounds to goal, although I’ve lost 132 pounds to date. Part of how I lost weight though, was thinking of what I could do. Sure, there are plenty of things I can’t do, but there are also plenty of things I can.

Take a good look at yourself in your mind and consider yourself fit. You are fit. You are fit to do something about your situation. You are no longer a dieter. You are fit to make your own healthy choices and, if you desire, you can make the occasional indulgent one. The ball is in your court. It’s time to pick it up and play.

How do you play ball with enormous goals or disabilities, or reach any goal for that matter? I find that Fast Breaks are honestly the best way for me. A Fast Break is making a simple goal for the week and doing it. Once you get that one to feel natural, add another. Soon you are building a lifestyle. Fast Breaks are baby steps that get you where you want to go without the pain and misery of a full throttle jump.

One main problem I faced and had to overcome was the way I view myself. I saw myself as a hopeless mess, deprived and unlike “normal” people. I was so overweight that “nobody could possibly understand the pain and shame I was in,” I thought. When I saw myself as the deprived dieter, I felt cheated and longed to be “normal” and “eat normally.” Maybe “normal” people ate smaller portions of the food, exercised more, or ate less during other times of the day. They had to be doing something, because most of us are not blessed with a speedy metabolism and are therefore subject to calories in versus calories out as a rule for weight loss or gain.

I had to start looking at myself as normal. Yes, I do have a thyroid problem and other reasons I gain weight easier and lose weight slower. The fact still remains that I had to, for my own sake, admit that although difficult and slow, I can lose weight and it was going to take years. I had to look at myself as “normal,” in other words, capable of losing weight by making my own healthy choices. I had to admit that nearly everyone who is fit isn’t fit by chance alone. They work at it in some way. The bodies I was looking at and envying were not enviable because everyone else on the planet had a magical metabolism except me. More than likely, that person worked for those muscles or to be slender. We are born to be a certain shape or size genetically, but the rest of it is up to us.

Once I started “seeing” myself as a normal healthy eater, it took practice. I had to fake it to make it. I had to pass up seconds, order smaller, eat on smaller plates, drink water, and eat more fruits and veggies among other things. I didn’t do these things all at once; I did them as Spark Breaks. My mantras to myself were “Would a thinner person do this?” and “I’m the girl who orders small.”

Fitness worked the same way. I had to see myself as capable. I believed you had to workout 30 minutes to get any results at all. I was bedridden at 460 when I started this, so you can imagine how hard it was to have a “normal” workout. There it is again, that word “normal.” For me “normal” had to be redefined ad in home physical therapy at first. So if you are looking at yourself thinking how incapable you are of working out, think again. Something is always better than nothing and it prepares you to take the next steps. Studies have proven that small bouts of exercise accumulated through the day add up to improve your fitness level. You are capable of something and you have a fitness level! Whatever it is, all people who are fitness conscious are trying to do something to improve their fitness level, therefore we are again all the same and “normal.”

It really helped me to redefine myself from the inside out. In the past, I used to think that losing weight would give me definition but I’ve discovered it’s the other way around. It’s how you see yourself that matters and gives you the extra power boost you need sometimes.

I’ll leave you with the sayings “Don’t try to find yourself, create yourself.” “It’s never too late to be who you’ve always wanted to be.” They are both favorites of mine.

Do you use visualization to help you achieve your goals?

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ALEXTHEHUN 4/23/2018
Helpful advice. Perspective is important. Report
DEE107 2/3/2018
thanks for sharing like that create me Report
1GALLYFRE1 2/1/2018
Great article. You are an inspiration! Report
Thanks! Report
KHALIA2 12/29/2017
Thank you! Report
TURQUROISE 11/24/2017
Thank you for the great ideas Report
DJ4HEALTH 10/11/2017
Thanks Report
Great reading. Thanks for sharing.
I have been well overweight for many years, too. But I have been able to be on my feet and do things. I reckon that I was very fit, despite my weight, for a nimbler of years.
Then things went downhill for me, emotionally.
However, with SP I have been able to improve my fitness again. Sometimes now it has to be seated exercise. But I still manage other stuff too.
My admiration and thoughts to you for overcoming your problems from the weight and its inability that you were in your previous existence.
Go for it, friend! Report
Beth, this blog brought tears to my eyes. You are truly beautiful. Thank you. Report
I have found that since I started exercising, I can feel the "fit body under the fat suit", and that is how I think of it. There is a fit person inside me, and the only way to take off the fat suit is to keep going! Keep making better choices each day and sooner or later, I will take off the last of the fat suit and the fit body inside can have a ball!! Report
I just read this and I too need to have the same attitude that I am a fit person, even if I am not. Thanks for your thoughts.
Carolyn from the SL team. Report
I love your blogs and hope you write many more. Report
I am only recently beginning to see myself as a fit person. I needed to run a 5K to appreciate the impact of my fitness level. Thank you for your continues insights! Report
I had an odd thought run through my mind as I was sitting in the sauna after another 3 hour workout. "I've already lost the weight. It's just a matter of time." Since I started going back to the gym on June 11, I've not worked out on 7 days. I've lost 29 pounds, the all important 10% mark. I now have a recumbent bike in my living room to ride while watching television, an area rug in the living room dedicated to exercise (no non exercise stuff may rest on the rug, so I have a workout spot). I got a universal remote so I can use the exercise DVDs before the original turns up. If I continue like this it IS a matter of time. Report
Thanks for the message Beth, you are a wonderful motivator. Report
Visualizing is the 1st step off to a good strong beginning everyday, and in everything we do-- Report
Wow, this was great, I needed to hear that this morning, I have been having a tough few days, and my disability is raising its ugly head, it used to be my excuse not to even start because, I would be like what is the use, I may not be able to keep it up, but you are so right we can do something, you are a great testament, Have a blessed day! Report
As always, Beth has written a wonderful message. Thanks so much.
Just reminds me of what my mother taught me as a teenager. She said, "You can do anything a skinny person can do except get into a size 8 dress". Report
Hi Beth!! Thank you for a truly motivational blog. Sometimes, it is really important to see the whole picture and not get stuck with the part of the picture that we live in (and can be stuck in.) Our stories are very similar--I have lost a good deal of weight and yet still have some to go, with a body that doesn't work well and make it easy. However, I need to tell myself things like, "Since I want this, I must work for it." and "I can do this and won't eat the______, so I can be successful." I love your honest and straightforward way of explaining and telling your story. Awesome, motivating and moving!! Thanks so much. Sylvia Report
Thank you--very helpful. Report
Thanks for your amazing insights. Your wisdom is refreshing and helpful. Report
Thank you! Report
Completely awesome. Thanks. I love the theme - Life isn't found but created. I will carry it in my heart today as I go out for a short run. Wish I could do more but I am recovering from an injury so I will start with what I can do. Here I go! Report
I admire your attitude, spunk, persistence, and realistic expectations. Thanks for sharing your personal story -- you are truly inspirational and motivational. Report
Thanks for your honesty. Report
Thank you for your blog. I also have disabilities plus I was morbidly obese but cutting that down as well. As you say, a little at a time and fitness will come eventually as well as good eating habits. Congrats on your success. Report
WOW, did I need to read your blog! You have inspired me. Thank you! Report
I too am disabled. I really needed this... Thank you so much!!! Report
Thank you so much for this! It is ABSOLUTELY TRUE!!! When we stop putting limits on ourselves and simply DO SOMETHING we are moving in the right direction. We have to start where we are, and the only person we can compare ourselves with is who we are right now... then improve upon that, simply by making a decision to do one thing positive and quit doing one thing that isn't helping us get closer to our goal. Just this moment... it all adds up!
Great blog! Report
You are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing! Report
I do enjoy reading your blogs. They're very down to earth and positive. not to mention well written. Thanks. Report
"It's never too late to be who you want to be" That is so perfect. As I turn 57 I want to be healthy and happy. It took me all this time to realize I am the one in control to make this happen. Thanks for this great blog and the others. I enjoy reading your contributions. Report
We have to remember that we did not get overweight overnight but we expect to lose it overnight. I need to visualize and be happy with myself at this moment because it has changed from yesterday. Thanks for giving us inspiration. Report
Loved the closing sayings. “Don’t try to find yourself, create yourself.” “It’s never too late to be who you’ve always wanted to be.”

I haven't really giving much thought to using visualization. What I have been doing is living for the moment. What I can do right now. I can make it to the boathouse. I can delay that snack for 20 minutes. I can eat half now and half later.
It gets me past the excuses and on the road to what I can do. We all have the ability to do something.

You are AWESOME!!!

You go girl! Awesome attitude and achievement. We are all here to support you while you help us!! Report
THANK YOU so much! Just what I needed to read. Report
So inspiring. Thank for such a motivating blog! Report
~Indygirl: Your blogs always just blow me away! This one was no exception! Love your mantras ("Would a thinner person do this?" and "I'm the girl who orders small.") as well as your "sayings" ("Don't try to find yourself; create yourself" and "It's never too late to be who you've always wanted to be.")

Keep blogging and sharing your journey. Big Hugs and Summer Sunshine, Debbie Morse Report
You so inspire me with your stories. I love reading everything you share. Thank you so very much. Report
Thank you!!! I love the quotes, too. Report
Thanks for the great motivation. It is so true that we create ourselves and we can dothis at any point--it's not too late. I went back to college in my 30s and got my own classroom at 39. I'm so glad I did.
Thank you for reminding me that I can still make those healthy changes one step at a time too. Report
You are truly an inspiration. I began again on my weight loss journey last December. Since then I have lost 20 lbs. Beginning weight was 154 and now I weigh 133. I did it with the help of Spark. I track my food and fitness everyday. It keeps me motivated and challenged to do the best I can every single day. I too, eat from a small plate. I try to do cardio every day for 60 minutes. Sometimes I don't make it. I need a rest. I try to do strength training almost everyday, taking a break when my body needs it. I make it a competition with myself to strive to meet these goals and since I like to win, I usually come out on top! Report
Well, my Hoosier buddy, you have once again written just what I needed to read. I really want to thank you for all your support. Report
Beth - I am new to spark and have never read your blog. You have a wonderful way of expressing how you needed and managed to change your perspective. I loved your comment, " I am the girl who orders small." Just that one little mantra can change so much about how you see yourself. You have obviously learned to embrace the journey. May you continue on strong and inspiring others. Report
Thank you for your insight and wisdom. I have never thought about creating myself now, it's always been when I have lost weight. I see now, I need to change my thinking. You are inspiring Report
Beth, your blogs are always exactly what I need to hear. You share great advice and words of encouragement. Thanks! Report
You GO, girl!!! Your blog is spot on--you can't see yourself as someone who is being "deprived" and win . . . but you *can* see yourself as someone who's in control of her own destiny, who can "just say no" because she *chooses* to say no, who can walk away from temptation without feeling like a child being punished. I *chose* to stop eating Chinese takeout on Friday nights . . . I *chose* to walk away from the opportunity (when almost everyone else in the office ordered it at lunch) today. I was dead on my feet last night, and didn't want to go to the gym. I said, "Okay, just go, and do one set of everything." You know where this is going--once I got moving, I did my regular workout (90 minutes). I haven't reached goal yet, but I'm well on my way . . . getting into clothes I haven't worn in years, looking ridiculous in the ones I wore until recently, and so on. That little train was right, too . . . "I think I can! I think I can! I KNOW I CAN."

And so can YOU!!

Keep up the good work. Report
I visualize a healthier me every time I workout & it's amazing how it makes me feel. Report
Super Great Advice! Ever since I started Sparkpeople, I've seen my attitude change for the better. I definitely see the glass as half full now (usually with my favorite beverage--water). Report
Thanks for the motivational advice! Report
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