Do you ever think about what happens once you've reached a goal you have set yourself? People set goals to improve or enhance their lives; whether that's securing a dream job, finding your soul mate or losing weight - the goal for so many in our image-conscious world. So does your life dramatically improve once your goal is reached?
I have achieved the latter goal. I've lost weight. Around 8 stone to be exact. My weight loss journey is not one of those 'I lost 3 stone in 3 months' stories. I didn't wake up one day after months of dieting and had a flat tummy. It's been gradual, very gradual. I changed my relationship with food. I realised it was there to fuel me, not to comfort me. I discovered exercise and how it can improve your mind and body. I know what food is good for my body, and the foods that aren't. I soon found that changing my lifestyle meant that I, slowly but surely, lost the weight I had carried round with me for so many years.
When you achieve your goal weight that seemed so far out of your reach, you believe your life will magically improve. You'll find a man who will love you; you will ooze confidence; and self-conscious thoughts will disappear along with the traces of fat.
It doesn't quite work like that. Don't get me wrong, there's no doubt that I now feel more confident in my own body - it's so lovely to put on a pair of jeans and a top and feel good. In December I had the confidence to leave my secure full-time job to be a freelance content writer for lots of interesting businesses. I now have to believe in my abilities in order to succeed.
However, the term 'losing weight' has become somewhat ironic to me. The weight has gone from my body (not all of it, may I hasten to add) but it still clings onto my mind. As I was overweight for most of my life, my negative self-image is still burned into my psyche. It takes times for your mind to catch up with the changes in your body and I found that my mind continued to prevent me from moving forward, just as my overweight body did.
There are days where I look into the mirror and I'm proud with what I see but even though I now look and feel healthier and sexier, there are still days where my lack of confidence takes over and anxieties come flooding into my mind. It's debilitating and stops me from truly 'going for it'. Whether that's building up the courage to go on a date or having a meeting with a potential new client.
So how do I rid of this negative thinking in order to move forward? I made the decision to seek help from an incredible therapist. I am not ashamed to admit this, I think it's probably the bravest thing I've ever done along with wearing a bikini for the first time!
It's proving to be a difficult and emotional journey but I am sticking with it. However, it's enlightening too and I'm slowly feeling the negative energy that has been weighing me down for so long lift from my shoulders.
Just as we train our bodies to remain healthy, we need to train our minds too, and I'm training mine every day. I meditate, I do affirmations and I'm slowly replacing the negative thoughts that pop into my mind with something more positive. I am discovering lots about myself and how I can move on from all of those years of being criticised for my appearance. What I find most scary is when I feel like I have lost my identity. I am no longer the bubbly, funny 'big girl' of the group... So who is this woman looking back at me in the mirror?
It'll take time but I am discovering, and it's exciting.