Lessons Learned From a Loser

Since beginning my journey on “The Biggest Loser” nearly three years ago, I have learned many things; some good, and some, not so good. I am on a mission to share with anyone who will listen to what I have experienced so they may glean from my successes and steer clear of my mistakes. Anyone who is on a journey to health and wellness will know that there is always ups and downs, and always a lesson to be learned. Let us start with the good stuff:

Wellness Rules

Wellness Rule # 1: Only You Can do it For You
I get messages, posts, and emails daily asking to “help motivate me” in their plight. I have some bad news: I can’t. Motivation comes from within yourself; you have to find the reason that gets you up out of bed every day willing to do whatever it takes to shake the unhealthy shell you live in and do something for yourself. Your reasons should not be someone or anything temporary; if they are, you will fail when faced with pain or fatigue.  

fine magazine shay sorrels the biggest loser contestant april 2012

Wellness Rule # 2: Eat Lean, Clean, and Green
Ask yourself the following types of questions when food shopping: is my food “clean?”; is my food colorful?; can I pronounce all of the ingredients in the product? If you do not know what an ingredient looks like, do not eat it! Try this: stick to items with seven or less ingredients; has a mom; or grew in the ground, on the ground, in a tree or on a vine.

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These rules should help you as you are making your decisions on what to eat. Remember QUALITY OVER QUANTITY and you will find yourself eating less because your body gets what it needs; you will stay fuller longer and your body will detox any unhealthy foods, and you will start to see and feel changes in your mood as well as your body!
And now for the not so good stuff that I hope all of you will avoid as you seek your own health.

fine magazine healthy food april 2012 shay sorrels

The Seven Deadly Sins of Weight Loss

  1. Not Measuring: Measuring your food may seem like a really small thing, and it is. However the consequence of NOT doing it is no small thing! For me, I did it so much that I got into a groove; there were times when a measuring cup is not handy, but I thought when you measure 95 percent of the time your eyeball measuring is not too far off from the truth.  But when you get used to not measuring and that 95 percent becomes 5 percent of the time, your eyeballs get bigger, and bigger. Pretty soon your “cup” runneth over. 
  2. Taking a Break: A great person, who meant well, and had very great intentions, gave me some really bad advice; they advised me to take a break to give my body a few weeks to heal from all the intense workout sessions and losing 225 pounds. Believe me, those words were honey to my ears and I gladly welcomed a day where my body did not ache. But what I should have done was slow down. By taking a break it lead to sedentary hours and that led back to old habits which led to longer breaks, and eventually weight began to creep back on. When I decided I had enough of a break, it was devastatingly hard to get back into the groove.
  3. Not Journaling: After leaving “The Biggest Loser,” I was no longer hounded until I got my journals in.  When I took my “break,” I also took a break from journaling. Journaling is one of the easiest ways to get a grip on what is going in your body and what activity you are putting out. If you are a writer and you like to set goals, try FitBook. If you are a techie, download an app like “My Fitness Pal” or “Lose It.” Or if you are a minimalist, get a notebook and start tracking.  
  4. Not Listening to Your Body: During my Biggest Loser stint, I was offered to run a marathon; I jumped at the opportunity because it was a way to challenge myself and have a short term goal that would require training to help keep me on track. Throughout the show I had chronic knee pain and had been told by a doctor that my orthopedic structure (bones) was not that of a runner; as a result, running a marathon would not be in my best interest. Well, I am stubborn and wanted to prove everyone wrong. A month out from the marathon I was running up to 13 miles. In training, I tore the meniscuses in my knee; and it was devastating. I was not able to run the marathon and the injury led to an ACL tear in the other knee. When you have an injury and it is screaming at you, listen.
  5. Doing it on Your Own: This is a mistake that I have often made in many areas of my life. I stopped reaching out to others, including my Biggest Loser family and friends. I decided that I needed to walk this walk alone and that I needed to figure everything out before I reached out. Boy was I wrong. By doing this, I cut-off accountability and I cut-off people who understood what I was facing. Accountability is one of the most important things you can have in your journey.
  6. Caring Only What Others Think: As I started slipping into my dark hole, I stopped going to events, even with my personal friends and family; I couldn’t face anyone because I was terrified to let people down or disappoint others. I did not want anyone to know I was a failure. When you begin to compare yourself and worry about what others think, you WILL NEVER MEASURE UP, YOU WILL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH. A journey of weight loss and wellbeing is a personal journey; and while you may run with others, no one runs for you.
  7. Becoming Apathetic: I just went into autopilot mode, delved into my work and started focusing on everything but my health. I still worked out and some of the healthy habits I had started, remained. But I let whatever I could fall in the way of me focusing on my health. 

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I share these with all of you because if you can relate then you know you are not alone. If you can’t, then hopefully you can avoid it all together. Health has no normal, so get out there and start to make some changes. 

Shay Sorrells
Facebook: BLShaySorrells