Sometimes I’m so worried about failing to achieve my goals, I forget about all I have achieved already. From April to December, I went from 212 to 165 pounds and currently I’m below 160 for a total difference of about 55. I’m pretty darn proud of that! How I did it, and stumbled doing it, follows in summary:
April: I invested in Tony Robbins‘ Path the Permanent Weight Loss and assessments for food intolerance and hormones. With naturopath guidance, I completed a 3-week elimination diet by cutting out common allergens: soy, nuts, sugar, etc. then adding them back gradually to test impact. I took MediClear Plus to support the detox. Stress continued to be a problem leading to missed meals, overeating, and headaches. In those 3 weeks, I lost 8 pounds without portion control, though still fluctuation unintentionally between days eating too little and days eating too much. I struggled having friends stay with me, going home to my mom’s house, and taking a business trip, but I pushed myself to open up to loved ones about my goals and held strong for the most part. Once I started adding foods back in, I started walking more as well.
Then on the 29th I binged on a bag of apples and 800 calories in Brazil nuts in front of TV. I got really tired and actually fell asleep on the couch, which never happens. My old feelings of unsatisfied restlessness and insatiable cravings returned with a vengeance. Reminding myself of pride for behaviours all month, I dusted myself off and got back into the groove with my newest obsession: Zumba!
May: I gradually gained energy and strength. I used to wince thinking about the 15 minute walk to work, whereas in May I went out of my way on that walk to add in a couple minutes, and then dance to Zumba 30 minutes at home. I used errands over the weekend to walk hours at a time without feeling bored or unproductive. Still, my mood and energy had various dips where I felt dragged down like I was pushing just to get by. No matter how much I tried to distract myself with work or TV, stress was getting to me.My clothes started piling up on the floor, I rationalized skipping Zumba for two days in a row, and I overindulged on nuts. Many factors could have contributed: I didn’t always space out meals well, I had low iron, painful menstrual cycles, and of course depression and anxiety. I tried mindful eating but found it excruciating boring.
I wrote in my journal: “… that’s settling for way less than my potential! I’m not going to settle for feeling physically sick to avoid feeling emotionally sick! I have goals, plans, and urgency with a ticking timeline. This is no time to fall apart right when I was starting to enjoy life again.”
June: I was feeling very positive. I still enjoyed Zumba and started to get back into dating through OkCupid. I was still hesitant to meet new people, but I put up an accurate profile and conversed by email, BBM, and phone. There were times my depression and anxiety were obstacles, particularly attending a friend’s wedding and reception. But I went out and got a nice dress that fit me and pushed myself to dance like nobody was watching. In my journal, I declared I would meet my goals “by living the life I want and deserve every day! I know how to take care of myself and I know why I am committed to thinking and behaving this way for the rest of my existence. I had a great day today; I’m proud and smiling and know it’s just getting better :)”
July: By July 4th, I had regained back to 201 pounds and my waist at the bellybutton was 41.5 inches, then by July 12th I was back down to 194.5, and July 19th 191, about a size 18 and over 1/4 to goal! Something clicked and suddenly I was redirecting any dip in mood or energy into taking care of myself better and proving to myself I can do it. Also, I took the scary step forward and started dating someone who was affectionate and easy to talk with, which made me believe I can be attractive whether I’m obese or not. The fun flirtations and emotional connection fuelled my journey toward a healthier mind and body.
From my journal: “After 6 weeks of eating only nutritious foods and exercising more, I didn’t have my unhealthy coping mechanisms for my tendency toward depression. As soon as my mood started to dip, so did my commitment, and then it spiralled out of control. After about 6 weeks of relapse, I have the treatment I need and I am feeling like myself again! I’m smiling at cute puppies and cute boys; I’m laughing and talking more easily; I’m slowly but surely getting settled back into healthy food and exercise. And, I am devoted to permanently changing my habits and brain chemistry. I’m on a roll and using the momentum to establish a solid foundation of healthy thinking and behaviour. It’s a proven fact that I can and will reshape myself for the better and achieve my full potential :D”
August: I still had kinks to work out. Where I used to grab candy when I got caught up in my work for too long, I started just eating nothing since I didn’t know how to ensure I had convenient healthy alternatives. Especially with infatuation with the man I started dating in July, I found it hard to get in enough nutrition when I preferred to spend the day walking, talking, cuddling… Also, I still occasionally looked to sweet and fatty foods for distraction or reward. I recommitted to eating 1200-1300 calories and finding better ways of distracting myself (like reading, writing, walking, dancing) and rewarding (like nice new outfits or fun gadgets).
September: After losing 30 pounds, a lot of people were taking notice. Compared to previous weight loss, I was proud this time I was finding success by mixing in healthier habits with my everyday lifestyle. In my journal, I described “focusing just as much on enjoying today as enjoying the day when I meet my weight goal. I’m buying nice clothes at this size and getting my hair styled with this shape of face. I’m feeling sexy with my boyfriend and going out with confidence. Also, I’m eating portions of treats at work, burgers at parties, fries at restaurants. At this point, I feel comfortable incorporating that in with very healthy meals overall, and still burning fat at a good pace. However, it makes it easier to rationalize bingeing when I’m feeling down and want to resort to old coping techniques.” When I overate with my boyfriend then binged in secret, I described the old impulse that took over: “It was scary. It was important for me to experience so I don’t sit back and soak in the compliments, giving up now when I’m only just passing the mid-point to my goal. Not only is daily commitment to physical health essential for me, but so is daily commitment to mental health.”
October: I felt the need to comfort myself as I dealt with a lot of change moving cities and jobs. I fell right back into overeating and bingeing in hotels and restaurants. Once I got settled, though, I recommitted and got to 173 pounds by the 13th. I started weighing in every morning and even set a password to my goal weight (shh). I got more careful about what I kept in the apartment and returned to training myself to resist bingeing in automatic response to stress. And I swapped out trigger foods for healthier alternatives, like hot chocolate protein powder with hemp seeds instead of piles of milk chocolate. I still had bad days when I’d miss work and stay in bed eating pounds of fruit, containers of nuts, packs of candy, and logs of cookie dough. I knew I’d feel worse but did it anyway. I fessed up to my boyfriend and took accountability. To get myself back on track, I listened to Tony Robbins, wrote self-reflections, cleaned the apartment, challenged at a realistic level with exercise, and rewarded myself with ValSlides.
November: I was thrilled to have shrunk my body to about size 12 at 170 pounds with a waist circumference of 32 inches. I kept trying new things like Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat with some success. I got a bit obsessive researching the best markers of health online, like waist-to-hip ratio (mine being .75 at the time). I took pictures of myself and relished in the clear progress I’d accomplished. I buckled down on a competition with my boyfriend to be certain weights by the end of the year.
December: I started the month with a week of pretty deep depression. I tried to avoid guilt while indulging in masses of ice cream, chocolate, and candy. It isn’t surprising the scale showed a 5 pound gain. I reflected in my journal, “I believe there are many triggers to these setbacks as my transformation is very much still in progress. It is mainly irrational feelings of self-pity leading to rationalizations that it’s easier and more enjoyable to just give in. I’m exhausted much of the time, physically and emotionally – likely due to depression and low iron – but instead of tackling those root causes head on all the time, I sometimes use it as an excuse to stay on my couch watching TV and consuming recklessly.” Once again, I took back control and decided to enjoy the process, relish being healthy and not punish myself for past unhealthy behaviours. And just like that I met my goal of 165 lbs and 35% body fat!
Present: I’m now about 157 pounds with a 32 inch waist and 32.5% body fat according to my bathroom scale. I reached 150 lbs two months ago but sabotaged myself by doing an extreme diet for a week and predictably falling back into emotional eating and frequent binges. As much as I recognize the amount of work still needed to normalize my eating for a healthy lifestyle, body, and mind… I’m still proud to have lost 55 pounds! Looking back over my progress, I see definite trends of success and setback I can use to my advantage now. I’m a week into the Change4Good program of 3 balanced meals and 2 snacks, which is going well. It’s scary to try incorporating trigger foods in moderation, but I know I can’t sustain plans that make restaurants and social gatherings way more stressful than they need to be.
I’ll report back in 2015 about how I lost over 80 pounds 😀