The journey of weight-loss is a journey of health and wellness, but more than that, it can be a journey of self-love.
Just ask 40-year-old Karen Kelly, who lost 200 pounds after making the life-changing decision to open her heart to new possibilities and get herself a dog.
It wasn’t the focus on dieting or the desire to look attractive that motivated her to lose the weight. It was the ability to love herself enough to discipline her habits and commit to somebody else in the process.
In September 2012, Kelly was at a low point in her life. Bad habits had led to many issues, one of which was unhealthy diet. But when a connection on Facebook said they were selling high-energy puppies, Kelly made the decision to buy one.
After an initial first meeting, she decided to adopt a pup named Mia. Then, she had four months to get into a routine of energy in preparation for the hyper pooch. The ending result was a journey of life changes, one of which resulted in losing 200 lbs. Here’s how she said she did it:
1. Make a serious and genuine commitment to yourself.
For Kelly, it was a near-death experience that made her realize something needed to change. She had struggled with depression and anxiety her whole life and when a truck on the wrong side of the road was coming straight at her, she was confronted with a turning point.
“My whole life was playing in my head — and I didn’t turn out of the way. At the last minute, the truck pulled away and I thought, ‘Oh my God, this has got to stop.’ I needed to start living.”
2. Find a routine that fits your lifestyle.
For Kelly, she knew a diet was not a commitment she could make. She had tried them in the past and lacked the necessary skills to hold to the discipline of a diet. Instead, buying a dog enabled a different form of control.
Rather than moving away from her vice with discipline, she instead forced herself to move toward her goal with discipline. She didn’t show restraint in her eating habits but did show routine in her exercise habits. After all, if she didn’t keep up with Mia, there would be dangerous consequences to pay.
3. Stick with the plan, even when the going gets tough.
“On our first walk, I weighed over 350 pounds. I couldn’t breathe I was so out of shape,” said Kelly. “We walked to the hair salon in our town, and I cried and it hurt. But the dog was so excited her tail was wagging. Every time I doubted myself, she’d pull me to go a little bit further.”
But she forced herself out of bed and took Mia for her high-energy walk. Now they walk five miles every day.
4. Try something new.
For Kelly, stepping outside her comfort zone meant trying Zumba classes after two years of walking.
“I remember sitting in the parking lot and thinking, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to get to the door,’ but I did it. And I kept going back. Eventually, I realized I was actually looking forward to my Zumba classes,” Kelly said.
In time, she made friends, joined a softball league, and even became a Zumba instructor herself. Today, she has a diverse network of friends and connections that keep her motivated, which leads to the most important point…
5. Have somebody to lean on.
If you’re going to go through the journey of self-love, you have to learn how to sit with yourself, but that doesn’t mean you have to learn to sit by yourself.
Having a network and finding friends with the same goals as you is an important part of the journey. For Kelly, she said once she lost a little bit of weight and made new friends, the rest became routine. Every week she was looking forward to a different event and each week more weight came off. If it wasn’t for her strong network, she says she could have never done it.
Do you find Kelly’s journey of weight loss and self-love an inspiring one? Tell us your thoughts in the comments and please SHARE with friends and family.
[Featured Image: Karen Kelly]