This weight I’m wanting/needing to lose (see previous post Getting to the Gym) seems to have been with me for quite awhile now, creeping on over these last three and a half years; long enough that I’ve spent considerable time working on “life style changes” to get rid of it. That’s what my doctor calls the kinds of choices we can make that will actually affect change. She says it’s hard to do but if we are willing to identify behavior that doesn’t serve us and then practice living differently, well those are the changes that will stick.
So if I can alter my eating habits and lose weight that way instead of doing some fad diet, chances are the weight will stay lost.
I looked critically at my life surrounding food and I had to admit I’d been allowing myself to eat pretty much whatever I wanted for quite awhile. And this just wasn’t like me. But I suppose the honest truth is I haven’t been willing to feel hungry since I got sick. I just haven’t had the will for it. And it felt GOOD to be FULL. All the time.
The simple fact is that I love, love, love good food. And I felt lost. I was stuck in a body that offered constant pain and fatigue, a body I couldn’t get away from without dying (definitely an appealing option many days), and food was an enormous comfort, sometimes my only comfort. So I just stayed FULL all the time (didn’t every one of us get as much soft serve as we wanted when we had our tonsils out? I rest my case).
Do you think it could be somehow primal—an instinct to stay strong by being well fed? I don’t know. I just know that I couldn’t stand feeling the least bit empty or hollow. Perhaps being full gave me the sense I was cared for, that I was safe. Hard to say. Easy excuse? Maybe.
So back to the life style changes. I began by taking away one behavior, one food, at a time, giving each a fairly long period in between to show its positive effect by way of weight loss.
The first to go was my deeply entrenched habit of reaching for a large handful of roasted mixed nuts whenever I felt the slightest bit hungry. Oh how I loved the nuts. Salted, honey roasted, cocoa dusted, honey-sesame glazed… every single kind of nut roasted and coated in every conceivable way… I let them go.But not only did I not lose weight, I continued to gain! No kidding.
Next I took away my beloved chocolate, that deep, rich, dark and soothing friend. I knew it had to be the key. But that wasn’t it either. Not one pound lost.
So then I gave up potato chips (those Trader Joe’s olive oil kind, mmmmmm). Unbelievably this still wasn’t enough and I had to let go of Haagen Daz; then went peanut butter, butter, shortbread cookies, Sunday pancakes, it was endless… and I haven’t even started with Kim’s divine pastries—tarts and scones and cakes and pies and cobblers, and then the Sugar Nymphs’ carrot cake, which is simply out of this world… Well you begin to see the problem.
Slowly I quit them all, banished the very thought of them from my heart and mind, and each time it was almost as hard as quitting smoking had been years ago. But I believed quite certainly that if I stopped eating these “unnecessary” foods, along with adding a dedicated walking program to my days, the weight would fly off. But it didn’t. No. I’m finding it’s very different at 65 than it was at 45. And it didn’t take the pain away either, but here I am left with the consequences.
So since the first post in this series, Breaking Silence, I’ve given up yet another bit of my “bad girl” ways: I’ve quit eating between meals. And it’s been tough. I’ve actually been HUNGRY again as a result. And you know what? It’s been okay. It’s even been good.
Maybe I’m being filled in other ways now, like writing to you all again, and having more energy because of the oxygen I’m on and, yes, going to the gym.
In fact I believe I’ve caught myself caring a bit more again, finding a willingness to do the harder, but better, thing because it will be good for me in the long run.
And I’m thinking, just maybe, there’s finally a good chance I’ll still be around for that.
Love to you all,