With only a few days remaining in 2016, it’s time for a look back at this journey. I am 20 pounds away from my goal. I’m wrestling with my brain as I write this to look at the pictures above and stand in gratitude. I dragged out one of the few pictures of me at my highest weight ever. The look on my face says it all to me. That’s the “OMG I’m posing for a photo and I hope no one posts this anywhere, EVER” look. This picture is one of only a handful in my photo album from late 2015 bearing witness and providing evidence of my highest weight. It was also largely responsible for my wake up call. I was a size 20, and incredibly depressed. I couldn’t fathom a way out. I was stuck and without hope. Like, really stuck. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that I would ever find a solution, let alone a permanent one. I was tired and stubborn around finding another way. I imagined that any change I would make would involve deprivation, denying myself the pleasure of food. I imagined any sort of rigid, hardcore rules would last a week or so and I would abandon them, just like I had in the past. Because…I’m busy. Because…it will take too much time and focus. Because…I’m a ball of stress at work. Because…I don’t have the strength or the energy to try again. Because…what happens if I start and fail…AGAIN? Because…I have an autoimmune disease that makes it really hard to lose weight. Because…I wasn’t done feeling sorry for myself. Because…I was so angry with myself for having decades of struggle around weight.
When I began this journey, I wasn’t completely on board if I’m being really honest. In fact, it started more like a dare. I decided to give it 7 days, focusing only on the food, not on exercise or radically changing much about my activity level. In hindsight it was a good mind trick because it pushed me through the doors, and got me into action. When people ask me about how I did it, my answer is one meal, one day at a time. I was willing to go hardcore for a short time. It was the only way I could fathom cutting many of the foods I loved. I would embrace for the first time a very black and white plan, and see how I felt.
One of my favorite Christmas films has a song in it that ran through my head at the start of the journey. Remember the old animated film Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer? One of the songs from the film starts like this: “Put one foot in front of the other…” I couldn’t focus on the big number of 100 pounds. It might as well have been 1000 at that point. I just needed to start with one step, then another. For me, it was anger that fueled that first push. With success, and support, and writing (A LOT), the anger gave way little by little. My depression lifted, and I slowly began to believe this might actually be possible.
I have not done this perfectly. I am still stubborn about getting more physical activity. This has not gone as quickly as it began in the first few months. What has stayed consistent is, the desire for the foods I use to eat is a mere shadow of itself. I never imagined I would feel that way. I had all sorts of reasons for not giving up the foods that held so many empty promises. Letting them go shed light on just how empty those promises were. Those foods never made me feel better. Those foods caused actual damage to my mind and body. Do I still wish it wasn’t an issue for me? That I could eat whatever I want? There are moments, but they hold little sway over me most days.
In the process of focusing on the food, I also decided to make a change with regard to my Hashimoto’s. I found an integrative doctor who ordered a multitude of blood tests and helped me hone in and tackle Hashi’s from a different angle. With new medication, the weight loss is going a little faster once again.
As I look back on the year, I reflect on how this has become a spiritual practice. I see now how my many excuses have dissolved (no time, no energy, fear of deprivation…you get it). I have evidence there is plenty of time when I decide what’s important and give up the time and energy spent feeding a negative mindset. Taking action requires much less of me. There is still work to be done. My lizard brain can still put up a fight, but there is no longer a big battle. Where there was anger, there is now more peace. Where there was stubbornness and unwillingness, there is nimbleness and awareness. I am no longer as invested in people and circumstances that don’t support my greater good. That too was a major time suck. I am not high on a mountain in a constant blissful state, but I’m starting to get it. I’ve not been perfect, but I have been persistent.
The final piece of all this is something I mentioned in my last post: Forgiveness. I am honing in on this one the closer I get to my goal. Less energy judging, more energy given to redirecting and focusing my head and heart on moving forward. I fall, I get back up. One foot in front of the other.
As I come to the end of 2016, I will leave you with my gratitude surrounding this journey thus far:
- I am grateful for my family. Their understanding and support has been invaluable. In particular, my husband and soulmate, who has never wavered in his belief and support around this journey, and my children who show their love and respect in so many ways. You remind me every day of what is truly important.
- I am grateful for the A-team, my BadAss Warriors, who, in their supportive loving way, have provided me with a space to hold myself accountable, to mark the milestones and pitfalls as you walk with me every day.
- I am grateful to all of you who read my ramblings. Your comments lift me up and encourage me. You remind me that each and every one of us holds within us the possibility of transformation by giving and receiving support.
Wishing you a wonderful end to 2016 and a beautiful beginning of a new year. In the new year may you discover the strength and support to believe what’s truly possible for you. Because, it is.