Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Reflections over the past 4 weeks

This last month didn't look anything like I thought it would, and one month ago if you told me where I would be now I would have been horrified.  The past four weeks have been a time of soul searching, and my eating and exercise was on a landslide.  Today I weighed in at 150.4, my highest being a few days ago at 153.  I am sad that my weight has crept back up so much, my clothes feel tighter and I can tell when I exercise that I have put weight on.  It is an interesting thing to experience.  Now that I have experienced being thinner, I definitely don't like feeling heavier, wider, and that there is more of me.  But the question really is this: would I do things differently this past month if I knew then what I knew now- what the outcome would be.  Would I trade the knowledge and mental progression of the past four weeks to weigh 8 pounds less than I do today?  Honestly, I can't say that I would.  I would love to be in the 130s right now which is where I might be if I had never veered off course, but would I really be in a better place?  This past month I have been working on listening to my body, and now I know that when I binge I really feel terrible.  If I eat more than three cookies, I get a raging headache.  If I don't exercise, I feel more tired and lethargic, and grumpy.  If I don't eat protein and just eat simple carbs like chips and sugary foods, I have no energy.  I couldn't play with the kids, I didn't have motivation to cook food for the family, I wasn't taking the kids out to the park or doing any activities with them.  I started trying to find ways to hide, to avoid my responsibilities, playing on the computer and putting movies on for the kids.  It wasn't how I was wanting to live and it was tied to the way I was eating.  If I want to feel good, and have the energy to do activities with the kids, have the energy to live life then I need to make sure that I am eating well.

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.

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