The statistics are grim when it comes to weightloss. We all think we are different, that we are the exception. I know I did. I lost the weight through good ‘ole willpower – dieting and exercising, the traditional “eat less, move more” mantra of restriction and punishment. I wore a size 6 but I hated myself. Even though I was outwardly thin, I was mentally obese. I was miserable and ill equipped to deal with life. I needed food to cope with stress and anxiety and this fed my depression. I was hardly in that body for 30 seconds before I promptly started gaining the weight back – and then some. Ask anyone who’s ever found themselves in this position and they’ll tell you the same – they’re not quite sure how it happened. It’s insidious, obesity. Don’t take it lightly and don’t let your guard down.
I struggled with my weight for most of my life. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t preoccupied with food or my body. Counting and calculating, plotting and planning. I attributed all of my problems to being overweight.
In 2006, I reached a healthy body weight. I should have been happy, but instead I was miserable. I had all of the outward signs of success, but I still felt like a prisoner. I could not love myself, I didn’t know how. (I really loved clothes though!) I spent my life attributing my value to the size of my body or the number on the scale and when I got there, it wasn’t enough.
This may surprise you, but I felt more fat in the photo on the left than I did in the photo on the right. In 2006, I was so depressed that many days I woke up just wishing I would die. In 2012, I was physically uncomfortable, but I was learning to love myself and felt hopeful, resilient, and connected. It’s hard to explain how different my insides felt but I can say with certainty that I would choose 2012 over 2006 any day.
It’s easy to get caught up focusing on the external, but it’s the internal that must really change for any of this to be permanent. The statistics are grim – most people who lose weight will gain it all back and more. Diets don’t work. You are probably thinking “yeah, but I’m different,” but you’re not. If you’ve ever been obese, it’s very likely you are addicted to food, and addiction is insidious.
It’s now nearly 2016. I’ve lost 90 pounds by slowly changing my habits and learning to care for myself and my body. I still want to lose another 60 pounds, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I enjoy food but don’t obsess over it. I am active but I don’t spend hours in the gym or consider how many calories I burn. My weight is taking care of itself.
We are all in this together. No one chooses to be overweight or struggle with obesity. I mean, obviously. It’s an epidemic. We are not alone. I don’t have it figured all out and never will. I just know that some of the stories we believe about ourselves aren’t actually true and that’s how we stay sick and fat.