Wanting to lose weight, to me, implies that I would do the work needed to accomplish the goal. I mean, does it make sense to say “I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to exercise or change my diet.”?
If a magical fairy showed up and could grant me the wish of a fantastically perfect metabolism that would allow me to lose weight with no effort, then SURE! I want to lose weight! Sign me up!
No such fairy exists. I’ve checked.
Still, I don’t feel thrilled with what I see in the mirror. Losing weight would certainly make me look much better. Shopping for clothing would be less blood pressure raising.
It’s not easy being overweight. It’s the one major thing I would be happy to change about myself.
So I know for sure that many are wondering “why don’t you just lose weight?” I know losing weight is not necessarily easy
for anyone. But believe me when I say it is for sure more difficult for some.
One big goal I have for this blog is to help people understand each other better. In this case it means putting my personal thoughts on weight loss out here for everyone to read. eeeeeeekkkkk… But its worth it if you understand the struggle a little better. If you’re less likely to judge the choices of someone else before you know their story… I’ll gladly share my heart in the hopes that my experiences encourage or enlighten even one person.
WEIGHT LOSS, THE EARLY YEARS
I was a pretty thin teenager. But then again, I didn’t eat a whole lot. I ate some cereal for breakfast, maybe a little side dish of rice for lunch, a small ramekin of cookies and cream ice cream every afternoon, and then a family dinner at home (thanks, mom!). I remember clearly many days when I didn’t eat anything. It was usually Sunday because I could get away with it since our family eating schedule was different. I made up for the not eating on other days though. Even then I really did love food!
Being thin did not feel good. It was a constant struggle to stay that way. Always trying to find new tricks to keep myself away from “bad food.” Every day my stomach hurt. Many nights I couldn’t sleep because of the intense stomach pains.
I went on my first real “diet”
when I was 19 years old. I weighed somewhere
around 125 and was desperate to fit back into my size 2 jeans. A size 4 seemed so
big to me then. Slim Fast to the rescue! I lost a few pounds in a couple of
weeks and was so proud of myself. And hungry… I was incredibly hungry.
Nine years ago I was a young woman in my twenties yet again feeling frustrated with my weight. I took a job at a gym, which was a fantastic opportunity to learn and work on my fitness. For a year I worked out for 1-2 hours a day at least 5 days a week. I sat in an infrared sauna at 135 degrees sweating my butt off for 30-45 minutes several times a week. For breakfast every morning I ate tuna packed in water right out of the can and a handful of dry fiber cereal sticks. Lunch was more of the same or for a treat it might be a protein burger (a burger wrapped in lettuce). I obsessed over everything I ate. I allowed myself to snack on prunes if I was really hungry. If it wasn’t full of fiber and/or protein, I didn’t eat it.
In that year I was working at the gym, I almost never ate more than 1400 calories in a day. If I ate less I didn’t lose weight. If I ate more I didn’t lose weight. It was a constant obsession to hit that exact goal.
In that one year I lost 20 pounds and got down to a size 12. Yep, a whole year of hard work and only 20 pounds of weight loss and 1 size down to show for it.
Don’t get me wrong, I looked pretty good. I was strong and physically healthy. I had some serious muscle tone (that has a lot to do with my small weight loss numbers).
How did I feel? Miserable. Sad. Depressed. Every few years since I was a teenager I’ve hit a bought of depression. That year was a tough one. I spent a lot of time in bed watching TV and crying. Being the strongest physically that I’ve ever been did not make me at all happy.
My next “big” weight loss was a few years later. I had gained back all of the weight I previously lost and then some (typical). I was appalled to find myself moving up to a size 16. I had a career that I absolutely loved, a nice little house, a wonderful husband, two adorable dogs, and I was fat and happy. Except I wanted to scratch out that fat part. So I joined a gym and took up running. I freaking HATE to run. But I did it. For an hour every day after work I ran. I skipped the weight training at that point because I wanted to see the scale move. I cut calories back to 1200-1300 a day. I did lose weight. How did I feel? Here’s a list:
Frequent hypoglycemic episodes (shaking, nauseated, sweating, clammy, blurry vision, panicked feeling) – this also happens to me when I have tried to jump-start weight loss with a low carbohydrate diet.
Always extremely tired.
Had a hard time focusing on tasks at work.
Felt very irritable.
Daily struggle with Achilles tendonitis, aggravated by frequent treadmill and elliptical use (and seriously, it hurts!).
Afternoon headache and strange “sick” feeling. I had blood work done on multiple occasions to try to understand this problem. None of my doctors could find anything wrong. But every single afternoon by 3pm I came down with a dull, aching head ache and a strange pressure from about my chest up. No idea why, and this always happens when I’m restricting calories.
Increased acid reflux and IBS flare ups.
All of that daily pain and frustration that seemed to take over my life… and I lost 20 pounds in 3 months. Worth it? Meh… not really.
SKINNY GENES… THAT’S NOT FAIR
In the past I spent too many dinners feeling confused about how my skinny friends could be eating big cheeseburgers and fries with a milkshake while I, the big girl, sipped my diet soda and a bowl of soup. I’ve watched much thinner friends eat multiple burritos while I eat one. Tonight I just loved hearing the skinny lady at DQ tell me how much she loves the new apple pie sundae and she ate two for dinner.
I certainly do have moments when I eat what I want and as much as I want… the majority of those moments being in the past year… but for the most part I eat a totally normal amount of food. The big difference is that I don’t have skinny genes.
You may say this is a cop out; but please, let me have this one.
WHY I NO LONGER WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT
I’m now in my 30’s and mother to an amazing little girl. To lose weight means daily pain and struggle for me. It means extra time away from that precious girl while I sweat it out at the gym (I’m already away from her too much as I work full-time). It means obsessing over everything I eat and almost always feeling hungry. It means planning every morsel of food that enters my mouth, weighing, measuring, and rationing my food like an addict.
Weight loss takes over my life.
“Weight loss doesn’t have to take over your life!” you say. For you, it probably doesn’t. For me, it does.
I’m done. No more diets.
I won’t let my daughter grow up watching me constantly struggle with this. I’m not giving in; I’m getting over it.
Don’t pity me for being a “big girl.” I have a wonderful life. I’m really quite healthy and active. I’m definitely happy.
GOALS FOR A STRONGER ME
I do feel that we all should set healthy goals for ourselves. Although I’m not going on any diets to lose weight, I have set several healthy and achievable goals for myself:
- Drink more water
- Eat more fruit and vegetables
- Move more
To accomplish these goals I am going to start out my day with a full bottle of water and a serving of fresh fruit at breakfast time. Starting off well is always an energy booster for me. I’ve also decided to join our local YMCA which offers a great childcare program so I can bring my daughter to the gym with me when I can get there for a 30-45 minute heart-healthy cardio session (great immune system boost too!). I’m actually excited to cram myself into a bathing suit and swim with my daughter at the pool too.
NO MORE WISHING
Sometimes I imagine what life would be like if things were different. What if I was prettier, skinny, had better skin, wealthier? Add Adele’s voice and my dreams have come true.
I’ve always wanted a tattoo and I always say I’ll do that when I’m skinny.
I love water parks and for years now I’ve said we’ll go to one when I’m down to a certain weight.
No more wishing. No more waiting to live my life.
I’m giving up waiting to capture what alludes me. I choose to be happy now. I choose to be me now.
MY WEIGHT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU
If you’re super fit, that’s great! For real, I’m happy that you’re happy. But you reaching your goals really does not motivate me. I’m not in the same place as you. I’m totally thrilled for you that you’re fit and thin. Now, you can feel free to be happy for me that I’m strong and fulfilled in my life doing the things that matter to me.
I don’t want a trainer. I don’t want to be pushed. I’ll just take acceptance, thank you.
Plus cute clothes in my current size… I’m throwing out my “goal” clothes.