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!


11 comments:

  1. Great post! I agree 100%.. you are either ready or not. I am still working on the food=fuel concept. I win most days... but I cave occasionally and indulge. A far far cry from the old me who would binge and binge and not see it for what it was. A work in progress. ;)

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  2. Loved this post ... and your graphic at the top, which was exactly what I needed to hear. I was stressed out due to circumstances I had no control over and wanting to eat, so instead I sat down to read blogs. I got to yours and read the words in that box ... choose wisely I did! I set the iPad down, picked up the iPod instead and went for a 45 minute brisk walk. Thanks for that, I feel much better. :)

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  3. It's so hard, almost harder than eating better, to convince myself that I am worth it. I wish that part would click for me. I am just gonna keep plugging along and hope that comes. Great post, hope you have a good holiday Leigh!

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  4. Awesome Post! So true. Food is Fuel. That is all it is. And exercise is the cure for depression. Very important to remember going into Thanksgiving.

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  5. This is a great post Leigh! It took me 50 years to get it and I still struggle with it. I never would have believed that exercise is a great destressor (if that is a word) until last year. It really does help.

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  6. This is a such a great post. The fix was so remarkably simply that most people reject it as too restrictive. When in reality it is the opposite. It is very freeing. It's a less complicated lifestyle. Kind of like the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy finds out how to get back home. She says I should have known it all along. But then she wouldn't have experienced the journey. Okay, maybe that analogy wasn't the best, but you get the idea.

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  7. great post.... I wish I was there. I am older and but not wiser. It is such a mind game. Hopefully someday I will win??? So happy for you that you are there and doing GREAT! Keep inspiring the rest of us.

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  8. Absolutely! Great post and I couldn't agree more.

    Having done the decades-long lose and regain dance, and found myself (scarily!) heading for my fifties hating the fact that I was still obese with the prospect of already bad health getting worse, I finally woke up to the fact that a lifestyle change, not a diet, was what I needed. So, so glad I did it.

    It isn't always easy, but your first image says it all. Getting moving (for me walking, usually) really helps shift me to a more positive place, in a way that chocolate bars can't match!

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  9. Love your post. I would love to say I have conquered that but I have not. I have successful times and I still have those bad days. Luckily my successful times are more and more and I hope to get there someday. I will keep working on it. I love though that this band took the frantic-ness out of my eating and put me more in a calm place to make better choices. I still make those choices but I don't feel out of control when I do them anymore. Have a great thanksgiving girl!

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  10. It's funny how many times I started diet over and over again...lost weight on whatever program it was...reached goal in some cases...regained the weight. This time I made lifestyle changes and it seems to be working for me...I guess it was the click I needed!

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  11. I agree completely that you have to be ready in order to make the necessary changes. If you cannot fully commit and have a clear understanding of why you're doing what you're doing and it can't just be to see a lower number on the scale, you'll falter. I still comfort myself with food sometimes. It's a hard habit to break.

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