Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Food is fuel NOT therapy

It took me 41 years to realize this.  I used to eat for comfort, out of boredom, for entertainment.  I have been successful at weight loss.  One of the most important things I changed to make this journey successful was the way I thought about food.  I used to obsess over food.  It would be the first thing I thought of when I woke up, and the last thing I thought about before I fell asleep.  Food controlled me. It made me happy, and miserable.  It was my best friend and my worst enemy.

When I explain to those who ask how I have lost weight and detail the diet I've followed, they often scoff and say, "I could never be so limited in my eating".  I usually just nod and move on.  It's not my place to make judgments.  But in my head I'm judging.  What if the option is limiting what you eat or dying young riddled with disease that could have been avoided?  Would you limit what you eat then?  I didn't get it until last year.  Even though I was morbidly obese, I made excuses and justified my obesity. I argued that I was still fairly healthy so therefore had time to adopt a healthier lifestyle later on.  Just another cop out if you ask me.

I'm not going to dwell on the what ifs.  I've played this over and over in my head during the last year enough times that I have ALMOST let it go. What if I did this years ago?  What if I was able to make the changes I needed to when I was 31, or even 21?  Well truth be told, I just wasn't ready then.  You absolutely need to be in the right mindset or whatever diet you are entertaining will not work.  This is where the yo-yo diet effect enters the equation.  You are either ready or you are not. I know that the people who need to make lifestyle changes and scoff at  my eating plan are just not ready to make the change in their own life.  And maybe they never will be ready.  This is a lifetime commitment, not something that you do until you reach goal before going back to your old ways.  Changing your whole lifestyle is hard work.  If it was easy, everyone would do it and we would all be fit!

If you want something bad enough, you will do it.  For whatever reason, something clicked in my head and I was ready.  Perhaps it was for the love of a child.  Perhaps I finally discovered the love I had for myself.  Either way, the planets aligned and I was able to commit to something I have failed miserably with the past 30+ years.  I have dieted consistently over those 30+ years and lost and gained weight.  The past 14 months is the longest I have ever stuck to a "diet".  That is because I have accepted that this is now my lifestyle.  It is my "normal".  I will have to do this for the rest of my life.

Others wonder how I can walk away from tempting treats and my old trigger foods.  It's very simple.  The food I put in my body now is fuel so that I can run my next 12k.  I eat so I can function at work during the day.  I eat so I can keep up with my 5-year-old.  I eat so that I can enjoy every other aspect of my life that I missed out on because I was morbidly obese.  I eat to keep myself healthy.

At this moment, I am the healthiest I have been in my entire life.  I have worked hard to get to where I am today.  Eating junk and processed crap is just going to get me back to where I started and I have invested too much time, energy, sweat and tears to go back to 300 pounds. Squandering my investment would be bad business.  Very bad business indeed.  Perhaps the single most important thing I have learned over the past year is that I am definitely worth investing in.  Think long and hard about where you are in your journey.  Aren't you worth the investment?  Be kind to yourself, you definitely are!