Some of you may look at me now and wonder—what could I possibly know about the struggle to lose weight? What do I understand about what it is like to look at myself in the mirror and not like the image reflected back me, what it’s like to feel a prisoner in my own clothes, to feel my self-worth defined by my body shape and to have my activities restricted by my size?
The truth is, this was how I looked in October 2011. I was puffed up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy and couldn’t fit into any of my clothes in my wardrobe. I had about four pairs of “fat pants” that I recycled through and several more shirts that fortunately fit—for the most part. I couldn’t wear any of my skirts nor most of my dresses anymore without feeling like I was revealing a butt the size of Texas. My face was bloated up to make my face nearly unrecognizable, thanks to the months of corticosteroid treatment I had been on for an autoimmune disease.
But the truth was, I couldn’t blame it all on prednisone. I had been on the drug for six months before I had gained any more than a couple pounds. Instead, my lifestyle had changed into that of a workaholic. I literally worked from the moment I woke up until a couple of hours before sunset. My sleep cycle was completely out of wack. I was eating at the wrong times—forgetting to eat during the day when I was in the midst of frenzied work periods, and finding myself starved at 2 a.m., desperate to fill my aching stomach as completely as I could in as short a period of time, so as not to disrupt my workflow.
So, during a very short period of time in March of that year, I went from being a tiny, cute girlish woman to gaining 22 lbs. in all the wrong places. In the process, I grew to feel entirely undesirable not just to the opposite sex, but most importantly to myself. Even now, to look at the few photos I allowed to have taken of me during these many months as I struggled to figure out how to reclaim my old body, it pains me. It reminds me of all those frustrated days and nights when I wondered if I would ever see and be the vibrant, healthy me again.
Then in January 2012, I was getting ready for bed one night and decided that I wanted to try on a pair of pants that hadn’t fit in months. I knew I was starting to shuffle off some weight, but I doubted I was ready to go the next size down yet. To my surprise, I was easily able to slip the pants on comfortably. Thrilled by the rush that gave me, I moved onto the other clothes in my wardrobe—smaller pants, dresses, and finally that pencil slim skirt that couldn’t even fit over my thighs for so long. I was amazed as it slipped up my thighs, my hips and over my nearing flat stomach; I could even zip it all the way up without sucking in my breath. That’s when it became real to me—my plan to reclaim myself was at long last working.
By the end of January, during a trip to Florida, I slipped on a bikini and noticed that I had my abs and toned arms of my youth back. In February, the day after Valentine’s Day, I received the sweet gift that I was back down to my ideal weight—confirmed by a doctor’s scale, no less.
You may be wondering exactly how I lost all that weight in such a relatively short period of time, especially when I was not dieting or going overboard with exercise. The answer is incredibly simple in theory, but so difficult for many in practice. It takes a complete overhaul of the way you think about eating, the way you think about your body, and your relationship with food.
Diet and nutrition are not just about the calories, fat and carbs you consume. Another important component is our “soul food”—areas in which you need extra attention to fulfill your life, such as self-care, relationships with friends and family, physical activity, career, work-life balance, finances and spirituality. Without having those areas in healthy balance, you will never be able to properly nourish your body with all that it truly needs.
You will always be left craving for more, trying to fill the holes of those other areas in your life that are lacking. For many of us, unfortunately we try to fill these holes with extra comfort food to our bellies instead of the extra comfort care to our souls that we really need. Looking down at all those extra metaphorical and literal pounds we begrudgingly carry, we instinctively know there has to be another solution. Contact me to can talk about ways in which you can begin to find yours.
a great post – i also had a increase in weight, going from something comfortable to something very over weight. I only had the stress caused by my working with an extreme disability as far as my job was (coming from an incredible operation on my brain which succeeded but…). Time and stress caused me to eat just wrong. I retired, i took time to change my eating patern and i lost 50 pounds in 4 months. I have stayed at a comfortable weight now for 6 months and that included lots of food around the holidays! No diet, just a change in my patern. I think for everyone this patern is different, so what i say works for me might not work for someone else.
Sorry I am only now seeing this whitemist. Congrats on finding a way to manage your stress and change your eating habits to improve your health! I agree, the “formula” for each person is different, but I think finding the motivation and discipline for self-care is paramount to all.