When I share with people that I used to weight 112lbs more than I do now, they usually don’t believe me. So in order to prove it, I am willing to post my “before” photos for all the blogging world to see:
So why am I bothering to share these photos with you? Because I understand the struggle many American’s have with weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle. Boy, do I understand.
After I tell people how much weight I have lost, the very next question is always the same. How? Did I have gastric surgery? The honest answer, before God, is that I used good old fashioned diet and exercise.
On this journey of losing the weight I learned a few important things and I am happy to share them:
1) Being obese means I was addicted to food. Some people may not like hearing that but it’s the truth for me. I needed food to be an escape, coping skill, and friend. I had no real lasting control over what I ate or how much. It controlled me.
2) I had to deal with my feelings and not pretend they didn’t exist. I shoved down a lot of emotional pain and looked for a nurturing outlet in my life and food fit the bill. I ate for comfort and wow did it work. At least for the moment. I felt full and not empty. Problem was that my soul needed to be filled and no comfort food was going to do that.
3) There are people in our lives who want us overweight and they work hard to keep us that way for their own selfish needs. Not everyone will be excited about you losing weight and some will go so far as to sabotage your efforts. Shocking I know. Find someone who is truly hopeful with you for significant weight loss and let them cheer you on.
4) Keep a journal of your eating and what you were feeling just prior to going to the pantry. You would be amazed at how often you, like me, were looking for an emotional thrill or pick-me-up. Once you start to see the pattern, going for the Oreo’s doesn’t actually taste so great since you know it’s out of dysfunction that they sounded like a good idea. Nothing kills overeating like facing the reality of why we are doing it.
5) Don’t be black-or-white in your thinking about exercise. This is a BIG problem! I hope you really catch this point: most overweight people I have known get stuck in the belief that they are “really” exercising only if they are at the gym 5 times a week for an hour or longer. That is a LIE! Exercise is something that we can do in small chunks and have a big impact on our health and mental well-being.
6) The final point I will share is that I was a terrible judge of an adequate amount of food intake. My idea of what was normal to eat, for a woman my height and age, was horribly skewed. One of the most significant steps I took in my weight loss journey was to establish a set eating schedule and stick with it. I still do it to this day. My schedule looks like this: breakfast, 10am snack, 12pm lunch, 2pm snack, dinner and very light snack a hour or so before bed. I have to stick to this schedule or chaos reigns for me. Even after all these years I have to keep my mind in check about food. Because I wasn’t a good judge, I needed help gaining insight into what is a normal caloric intake for women. Do some research online and educate yourself. You might be as shocked as I was to realize that I really was overeating when I didn’t even realize it. I thought my eating habits were normal. Denial is a powerful tool of keeping us in bondage.
My friend, I wish you well in your own weight loss journey. You can make lasting change in your life. I won’t be easy but I really believe you will like yourself a whole lot more if you persevere through the healing process.