I was talking to my brother the other day, another naturally thin member of my family and he mentioned that he has never had a strong desire to eat sweets and he believes its because it was never a forbidden food or a restricted food or a food that he wasn't supposed to be eating so he never had feelings of guilt if he did eat some. He just doesn't eat a lot of sweets because he doesn't like the way it makes him feel. Looking back on my childhood,sweets was always on the forbidden list of foods. Even when I wasn't dieting it was always something that I wasn't supposed to be eating, on the bad list, something that I should be avoiding but couldn't control myself around and therefore I was a failure because why did this type of food have power over me? Why couldn't I master myself and eat what I knew I was supposed to be eating? These past 4 weeks I have not restricted anything and I have eaten A LOT of cookies, sugar, candy, popcorn, brownies, cake, if it was made from sugar, I ate it. And I felt awful, not guilty mind you, but physically I felt awful. I still feel a pull towards eating those foods but it isn't as strong. I don't want to eat 15 cookies in one sitting followed up with candy or popcorn smothered in butter or whatever else that is unhealthy that I can find. Today I ate two white chocolate peanut butter cookies, and I felt fine afterwards, I didn't really feel like I needed to eat more. And THAT is something to be proud of . I have lived my whole life in fear of sweets, unsure how to make it relinquish its hold over me. Always living in fear of the next time I would be presented with something irresistibly succulent. The past four weeks I have been trying to learn to want to eat healthier instead of forcing myself to eat healthier, and I believe I have made huge progress towards this goal. A complete shift in mentality that would have come no other way for me.
I have known all along that sometime in every person's weight loss journey there must come a time when they stop focusing on doing things because it will yield weight loss and start doing things because they genuinely want to become healthier, and want to feel better. A time when you stop focusing on weight loss and start focusing on your health, and your overall fitness level, way of life, and happiness. I have known all along that this shift in mentality hadn't happened for me yet, I was still clinging to weight loss as my primary goal but as soon as I set the goal to do a triathlon next year I started thinking of myself as a triathlete. My goal is not so much weight loss anymore, but preparing myself to finish a triathlon, and through that the weight loss will happen. I still have an exaggerated desire to see what the scale has to say, but I've been thinking of other ways to measure progress. For instance, when I am sore I know I am making progress, being able to stop eating cookies after two and honestly not desiring any more is progress, choosing fruit over crackers is progress, actually wanting to eat healthier because I actually want to feel better is progress. When I think about the progress I have made in other areas, I don't feel like such a failure in weight loss, I start to feel like a success, and then my whole mood goes from being depressed to feeling empowered.
So back to my original question. Would I trade the 8 pounds I gained over the last 4 weeks for the knowledge I gained by going through what I did? No, I wouldn't. I have made much more progress in the last 4 weeks than I have made all year, and now I feel like I am in a much better place mentally to take on the rest of this challenge, and see this journey through.