In December 2013, I turned 39. Apparently, this is a really big year for people. I am no exception. It wasn’t exactly on my birthday. It was about 3 weeks later (after the chaos of the holidays had died down). On January 4th (yes, this was the actual day), something began to erupt in me.
ENOUGH. — I. am. so. done.
I was ready for a change. A big change. It had been building up for a long time. A lifetime, even. But certainly over the past few years, things had really begun to boil and bubble inside. In my 30s, I met my husband, got married, finished my graduate degree, and gave birth to two beautiful baby boys. It was time to focus on me again. The timing was perfect.
After a lifetime of struggling with my weight and self-image, I was ready to look myself square in the eye (or body) and make a change. No more negative talk. No more judging perceived imperfections. Positive words only.
On January 4th, my husband and I went out to dinner at one of our favorite steak restaurants. But that night, the food wasn’t very good. Nonetheless, I sat there and ate it, maybe wishing the next bite would taste better. But it didn’t. I came home feeling over-stuffed. Heavy. Weighed down. It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling, alas.
I happened to sit down on the couch and pick up the latest issue of Cooking Light. With the first issue of the new year (2014) came an article from the editor about losing weight. I’ve read countless articles on losing weight. I’ve done the yo-yo dieting, each time thinking I’d found “the one,” only to end up 10 pounds heavier than when I’d started. The weight had piled on. By the time I was getting married, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life.
But this time, something did click. I read about an app I could get for my phone to track what I was eating. Oh, I’ve tracked before, too, but it never worked. Although, I had never been able to do it with the ease of clicking away on my cell phone. There was a big learning curve as I taught the app all the foods I eat. I began tracking meticulously. And I weighed and measured all my food. That part, I don’t actually mind. The nerdy math side of me rather likes playing the numbers. I told the app about some of my behaviors and entered the focus to lose one pound a week. One pound. I could do that.
It wasn’t just the app, though. There has been so much more that has led to my success. For one thing, I was ready. That’s such a nebulous idea, I know. It’s one of the inexplicable things. You just have to feel it.
I also had this new idea. What if it took me until I was 40? Would that be so bad? Not really. I could definitely deal with that. So instead of wanting results in a month or a week, I had a long-term focus.
As I start this blog, it is now September – 9 months later. I don’t know how much weight I’ve actually lost. (One of the lessons I took away from previous dieting attempts: I can’t handle having a scale in the house. I become way too obsessive.) But I’ve gone down 3 sizes. I’m wearing clothes in sizes I’ve never worn in my entire life. It feels amazing.
There is so much more to delve into. There are so many layers. So many aspects that have contributed to my success. I want to go into more detail in this blog. I want to process it all. And I also want to remind myself of all that I have learned. Because now I am entering the next phase – maintenance – and I do not under any circumstances want to go back. Not ever again.
I am embracing my new self. I am exploring this person. Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do I want to present myself to the world? Still many questions to be answered and explored. Here’s to the next phase of my authentic self!
Update: It is now February of 2016. Three years after the beginning of that journey I detailed above.
It’s all true. Things really were different. But as I started to settle into my new slimmer body, the old fears came back. What if I can’t maintain it? What if I put the weight back on? Well, those old critical voices in my head were just too strong. I put on about 10 pounds. And now I’m wondering where to go from here.
I think I just hit on it, though: it’s those old critical voices that must be eliminated. And the only way to do that is to replace them with loving thoughts. So now I’d like to devote more of this blog to practicing self-love, self-appreciation, and self-approval.