Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Insanity or Resolve?

As most people (who know me) know, I’ve been battling the bulge for many years. I started out needing to lose 10-15 lbs after giving birth to my daughter and now, I’m on a mission to lose 75. Yeah…..WHOA…..what a difference! Pre-pregnancy, I weighed 134 lbs.  Post-delivery, I weighed 150. Three years later, I went away to college weighing 160 lbs.; at the end of  2 yrs., I came home weighing 180 lbs. From that point, my weight gradually increased: reaching a one-time, short-lived high of 250, hovering around the 237-240 range for a good 10 years and now hanging at 226 lbs. A few times during my battle, I did lose a significant amount of weight only to gain it all back plus some. You may have heard it before and I am here to attest to its truthfulness, if your mind ain’t right, your body won’t be either. Trying to lose weight without dealing with the mental/emotional component of why you are the size you are is a waste of time. You may make some progress but it won’t be sustained permanently. Let me give you an example of how your mental status affects your physical stature: About 15 years ago, I decided I was going to lose weight once and for all. I weighed around 190 lbs at the time. I suppressed my appetite with a pill and walked my way to 155 lbs. I don’t remember how long it took for me to lose the weight but I know I maintained the loss for, at least, the entire summer. At the time, although I knew I looked great, I was still bigger than what I wanted to be and the biggest of most of my sisters and friends. Mentally, I was a big fat whale. The way I felt in my body then is the same way I feel in it now: smothered & hidden. The way I look at myself in pictures now is the same way I looked at myself in pictures then: way too big. I thought I was huge then, but I’d give almost anything to be 155 lbs. now. When I look back at those pictures today, I say to myself & aloud, ‘Damn, I looked good!’  At the time, though, I was constantly being told by a certain someone that I did NOT look good…..and I internalized that and believed it (shaking my head @ the memory....woosaahh!). Unfortunately, due to the unrealistic method I used (taking pills) coupled with my mental state, I quickly gained back the 35 pounds I had lost and gradually, an additional 50+.  
During the time I gained the bulk of my weight, I was dealing with a devastating breakup and had involved myself in a series of placating ‘relationships’ with guys that, in the end, only magnified the pain I was already feeling. In addition to that, I never liked to cook and my skills were (are) limited so my daughter and I ate out A LOT. Fast food became my steady companion…..and has been ever since. Over the years, I’ve used powders, shakes and pills to lose weight more times than I care to count and I have no desire to try any of those again. However, there is one program that I’ve tried before and was the only regimen that worked for me. Weight Watchers, an effective and affordable weight-loss program, has helped millions of people (including me) lose weight. How did it work for me if I’m still overweight, you’re wondering?  Well, it’s a wonderful program for those who are serious about losing weight and getting healthy. But, it (or anything else) can’t work for you if you’re not willing to work for you in partnership with it. It’s no ‘get-slim-quick’ scheme and is ideal for individuals who aim for a lifestyle change, not a temporary metamorphosis (although it will do that for you, too). It uses a points system that allows users to monitor food/caloric intake and provides guidelines on not only the amount of food you eat, but the nutritional value of the foods as well. It also has a component that tracks exercise and activity levels.  I don’t view WW as a ‘diet program’ because it’s not something that can only be used temporarily. With WW, you can achieve your weight-loss goals and maintain them for life.  There are no pills and shakes involved that are unrealistic to a permanent lifestyle change.  On WW, you can eat regular foods, including those that are beneficial to your health and those that are bad for your health (albeit, at your own risk).  There are point values for almost any food you can think of.  So, you can keep track of how much ‘bad stuff’ you put into your body, along with the ‘good stuff.’  When I was on WW for a respectable amount of time (approx. 4 months), I did lose weight and, for a short while, I maintained it. However, as soon as I went back to my old, unhealthy ways, the pounds came back and they brought a few friends with them. I was so mad at myself for letting that happen because I wasn’t hungry while on the program and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.  As per my usual routine, though, I let my emotions get the best of me; and when that happens, I call on my trusty comforters: fast, greasy, creamy, fried foods. In no time, I was back to feeling sorry, tired and plain ole miserable. And being in that space is no fun, no matter how many smiles one manages to put on. So, I’ve decided to try WW again!
I know, I know…the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, expecting different results. People, I’m not insane, trust me. Through all my trials & error, I have learned a thing or few. As I already stated, I know my weight problem will not go away if I don’t address and resolve any emotional/mental state issues I have going on. I’ve been making progress, little by little, day by day, in handling some things that I’ve let fester & crust over. I still have work to do but I am at a place where I am handling things in a manner more conducive to a healthier state of being. I am confident that now is my time to shed the fat suit and reveal the gorgeous, fit gal within. She is tired of playing the back, second fiddle, angel in disguise. She is ready for the world….and it’s either now or never. I know what’s going through your heads: Sunshine Anderson’s, Heard it all befooorrrrrre…….. You want to know what’s different today than, say, a year ago? Me. I’m different today… so many ways. Ways that I won’t get into specifically but suffice it to say, I value myself much more than I ever have. I know what gifts I bring to those around me, I’m aware of my purpose in life and, more than anything, I truly believe I am worthy to live a better (quality) life. Besides, nothing beats resolve. I have (to use a recently stumbled upon quote) made up my mind in a way that totally says, ‘I will not have to do this again.’
Starting tomorrow, I will be a member of Weight Watchers. Every week, for the next 90 days, I will post a Progress Report, detailing my food and exercise activities and any changes to my body weight/shape/size (in photo form). When the 90 days are up, I hope I am in a place where I can run this race without having to pay for WW or any other weight-loss program.  However, right now, I do need the support WW (and hopefully some of you) will bring. I welcome all feedback and constructive criticism. Even better, I welcome you to join me in my weight-loss efforts if you’re fighting the fat too.  Either way, please, do weigh in………….
*Disclaimer: I am not a spokesperson or paid advocate for Weight Watchers. I am simply expressing my personal feelings about the program. Hopefully, it may be of help to others who also struggle with their weight/health.