Since this blog’s inception I have always maintained that one of the keys to losing weight and keeping it off is figuring out why we abuse food in the first place. You can choose to agree or disagree, but I believe that every person who has ever struggled with their weight ultimately has a reason why their relationship with food is an unhealthy one, whether they realize it or not. Because I like to eat is not an answer.
I have received a few emails over the past month or so asking whether or not I will be hosting the Hate-Loss Challenge for a fourth year in January. My responses stated that I’d been seriously considering it but that I just wasn’t sure whether I could give it the attention that it deserves.
For those of you who are new to this blog, the Hate Loss Challenge was a month long event in which participants carried out a series of weekly exercises that promoted emotional health and happiness. I created this challenge back when other weight loss blogs were promoting month long weight-loss challenges that coincided with New Years Resolutions. I would read as bloggers belittled themselves when they stepped on the scale and didn’t see the results they wanted. Many were eating way too little while simultaneously overtraining, and ultimately burned out on the act of dieting which would sometimes lead to a binge; then the cycle would begin all over again.
It was my hope that by offering a ‘Hate-Loss’ Challenge and start the New Year with a month of positive affirmations, support and self-reflection a habit would be born, leaving us all feeling beautiful in the present moment, regardless of what the scale said. Being mentally healthy, I believe, is the first real step in losing and ultimately maintaining a healthy weight.
In the four years that I’ve been writing here, I can honestly say that my Hate-Loss Challenges are what I am most proud of. I’ve recently gone back and read through several of the exercises we worked on, the difficulties many of us faced and the breakthroughs we shared. Here is an excerpt from one such exercise that I proposed back in 2012:
This week’s exercise: Think back to a time or place in your life when you formed negative thoughts about yourself. Why do you think you are undeserving of praise?
Was there a specific event that caused you to change the way you perceive yourself?
Is it because you’ve always been reminded of your imperfections or weaknesses?
Is it because you’re not receiving enough positive feedback from people whose opinions really matter to you?
Do you have unrealistic expectations of yourself?
Were you taught these habits from living in an unhealthy environment?
We had a week to think about, write about and discuss our thoughts on this subject. I learned a lot about myself as I faced some ugly demons from my past that kept me from moving forward in parts of my life. You can read my discussion post where I answer the above questions here.
That post was one of the most difficult pieces of writing I’ve ever done. Forcing oneself to come face to face with an uncomfortable part of the past is one thing, but to write about it for all to see is another. But I wasn’t the only one. Every participant worked just as hard, confronting experiences that they’d been neglecting yet clinging to for far too long.
After some serious thought, I’ve decided that I will not be hosting 2014’s Hate-Loss Challenge, and for that I am deeply regretful, but at the same time I realize that if I did agree to host, it wouldn’t be fair to any of those who want to join because it is not something that can be done by giving 50 or 60%. It means too much to me to give anything less than my full attention – something that I simply cannot do this coming year. I sincerely apologize to those of you who were looking to join, and to end an amazing three year run.
I will tell you this: just because I cannot commit to hosting January’s challenge doesn’t mean that the month of January will be filled with meaningless drivel! No, I intend on paying tribute to the last three years with some of the best quotes, exercises and excerpts I can find. And remember – with or without a January challenge, I’m always here for support.