Well, folks, I am officially committing to losing weight and getting healthy. I have needed to do this for about half my life. I have had an unhealthy relationship with food since my teens and have relied on food to be my comforter and my entertainment. I have gained and sustained a lot of extra weight (I need to lose 100 pounds), and I’ve spent a lot of unnecessary money (mostly on fast food). I am out of shape and incredibly unfit. I was unable to even complete a fitness assessment at my gym recently and had to stop halfway through. At one point, the treadmill read “extremely low oxygen”.
My issues with food began when I was a young teenager and my family and I moved to a different state. I had to leave all my other relatives, friends, and school. I became home-schooled. My life became very insular. We even ended up leaving the small church we were attending due to a schizm which took away my opportunities for fun and socialization as part of the youth group. I hardly ever left the house. A few years later my parents ended up divorcing, my mother fell into a deep depression, and at age 18 I was responsible for doing much of the raising of my three youngest siblings, all while processing my mother’s dark mental health, my dad’s abandonment of our family, and the new norms under which my family now operated. Oh, and I was going to college full time (20 hours a semester and doing summer school in order to finish in three years). And during all of this turmoil, food was my only solace. And so began an entrenched habit where I leaned on food to both fill any voids in my life as well as to act as a distraction from the boredom and chaos. Thus, to this day, whenever I am feeling down or empty, I use food as a coping mechanism.
About eleven years ago, I lost 90 pounds, but I did it by drastically lowering my calories and only eating once a day, and, unsurprisingly, I put it back on within the next year. Food is my one major vice and obesity my one health concern. Otherwise, I don’t smoke, take any prescription medications, or drink heavily. And I get enough sleep most nights.
I plan to lose weight the old-fashioned way, by eating normal portions and picking healthier options most of the time (like a grilled chicken sandwich over a fried one). I also don’t plan on doing any snacking or eating sweets, including soda, as these are generally not very filling, have little to no nutrition, but add considerably to my calorie intake. I will be concentrating on diet over exercise, as it is a lot easier to simply avoid eating something rather than working it off. It takes me about five minutes to eat a candy bar, for example, but a lot longer than that to burn off the calories. As I lose weight and it becomes easier for me to move my body for extended periods of time, I will gradually re-introduce exercise into my regimen.
I had considered doing the keto diet. However, I don’t want to make this diet tough by cutting out food groups, because then I’m more likely to fail by accidentally eating something I shouldn’t or by getting frustrated and giving up. I also don’t want to go through the “keto flu” and end up having to miss work. Third, considering the newness of this diet, I am worried that there are negative long-term effects of ketosis that we don’t know about yet. I want to pick a diet I can stick to for life, without disallowing myself from eating “bad” foods or calorie-counting.
I am also planning to weight myself every other week. I get discouraged when I see the small amounts lost every week but feel like weighing only once a month can be risky. If your weight loss has stalled for some reason, you don’t want an entire month to go by before you realize. So I’ve decided on every two weeks.
The biggest issue for me is hunger. I tend to be cranky and to get a headache when I’m hungry. Also, I work a desk job where most people snack in-between meals while on the job, so this will be a temptation for me. However, I find my stomach starts shrinking pretty soon after decreasing my food intake, and overeating only makes me want to eat more.
I want to lose weight not because I want to be a smaller size or be able to wear the trendiest fashions, but because of the physical issues I have begun to experience the older I get still carrying so much weight. So many diseases and conditions are either caused by or worsened by obesity. Personally, my inflammatory diet high in greasy, fried, sugary, and salty foods has given me cystic acne, greasy skin, nightly acid reflux and other GERD-related symptoms, headaches, chafing, joint pain, bad moods, brain fog, greasy skin and scalp, excess body heat, itchy skin, and caused me to become winded going up even just one flight of stairs.
I know how much a normal portion size is. I simply choose to make the unwise decision to overeat. I cannot trust my instincts anymore as I have all but lost the ability to tell if I am full or not. I *think* that “full” is supposed to mean you’re not hungry anymore. However, I usually act as though “full” means your stomach starts to hurt from how much you’ve eaten. My natural alerts have become distorted and I can’t trust myself anymore. My instincts are not trustworthy at this point due to chronically eating past the point my instincts tell me I’m full and to stop.
I don’t just want to lose weight. I also want to nourish my body with what it needs to function at its peak by giving it balanced meals and adequate hydration. By treating it with respect and the care it deserves. And by using other healthful activities as coping mechanisms and outlets rather than overeating, such as reading, writing, taking walks, and watching movies.
I plan to write progress posts every two weeks and let you know how things are going. Please let me know if you are on a similar journey so we can support each other. I will start my new healthy, balanced eating regimen tomorrow. This is the number one most important thing I can do for myself at this point in my life. I am both excited and nervous about starting down this road once again and am determined to reach the end of it this time. I would say, “Wish me luck!”, but I know it will take focus, motivation, planning, and self-control, not luck. So wish me all of those, please 😉