I’ll tell you what: it’s been a hell of a week. :-)
I hit the 40 pound weight loss mark, which was very exciting! Two more pounds till 339, which will be even more exciting. Then, of course, there’s 50 lbs lost when I will have finally redeemed myself from losing 50 pounds in 2009 and gaining it back. After that, it’s uncharted territory.
A week ago, I ate at McDonald’s for the first time in 5 months. It was not the delicious thing I remembered it to be – rather, it was dry and disgusting. I was shocked as hell to realize that, after a lifetime of loving McDonald’s food. I now believe 100% that fast food has a “dumbing down” effect on our sense of taste – and that if we just cut it out of our lives completely, it’s only a matter of time before we reboot our taste buds. Before I performed the Imaginary Lap Band experiment on myself last December, I would have chosen McDonald’s over most healthy cooking every time. Back then, cooking was a pain in the ass. It was much easier to drive thru somewhere or call for take-out than to actually cook a meal. Now cooking is my preference, even if I do find the clean up to be a pain in the ass. :-) It’s worth it to me…because I’m breaking free from the fat girl that’s been holding me prisoner for over 20 years.
Hindsight is 20/20. Looking back, I realize that I was treating myself as though I wasn’t worth the trouble. I believe this was a hangover from childhood…from a time when some adults in my life stood by and watched The King put me through years of emotional terror. I was just a kid and was unable to see that there was nothing wrong with me…it was the adults who were screwed up. Unfortunately, I just knew in my young heart that their inaction meant that I wasn’t worth the trouble of defending. Of course, the real situation was much more complicated than that – but a child simplifies it and turns the blame on themselves rather than admit there are adults in their lives who have no idea what the hell they’re doing…which is exactly what I did. So I grew up with that “less than worthy” mentality. As if weight loss isn’t hard enough.
I also ate a brownie last weekend. *gasp* Read the When Brownies Attack post to find out what happened there. Suffice to say that I made two calculated food gambles and both reassured me of my continued awesomeness. :-)
As I write this, I’m smiling ear to ear…because I know that I have really changed. This isn’t the wishful thinking I’ve done during a million healthy living attempts in my life. This is real. This is true. There is no feeling like actually knowing in your gut that you’ve changed for the better. It’s joyous and exciting and…wonderful – and if you’re reading this and wishing that you were feeling the same way, I have one thing to say to you: keep moving forward. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to starve yourself, and you don’t have to do two hours of exercise a night. Just keep…moving…forward. Make every week…every day…every minute better than the one before. You’ll get there. Give up and you get nowhere. It’s up to you and only you.
When I first decided to do this back in December, I had to consciously try at everything. Every little damn thing was a conscious decision…
Get up in the morning, remember not to spend all my time zoning out during the news. Make a healthy breakfast. Do not drive thru Starbucks.
Drink water and eat snacks at work. Chew gum during cravings. The vending machine is NOT to be used.
As soon as I get home, pack lunch for the next day so I don’t forget. Leave note on my purse so I don’t forget to take it. Cook a healthy dinner and eat before 7 pm.
Stick to the list when grocery shopping. Do not walk through frozen section. Avert eyes when near the ice cream! Repeat “I don’t need it” over and over in my head. :-) When I feel deprived, remind myself that I have to work now to see results later…and that my decisions will be worth it.
Now it’s 5 months later and I don’t have to remind myself to do any of these things. What I’m trying to say is…it’s hard as hell in the beginning, but if you stick with it and persevere, you will rock at this. You will be an effing ninja. Compared to how long and how hard you’ve been fighting this fight, a few months is nothing at all.
Think about it this way: do you get up in the morning and think “Eh…I don’t feel like brushing my teeth this morning.” (And I think I speak for us all when I say I hope not!) Or…I don’t feel like taking a shower. I’ll just be funky all day. Do you have to think about whether or not you should feed your children? You just do it, right?
Healthy eating can be just as automatic…you just have to grow the habit.
When I was a wee little girl, I didn’t automatically get up and brush my teeth in the morning before school. It took lots of coaching by Mom to teach me the good habit of oral hygiene. Now I stumble to the bathroom every morning and grab my toothbrush…not even thinking about it. It’s intrinsic. It’s something I just do.
Healthy eating habits aren’t any different. Sure, it’s tough at first. It’s new and seems cumbersome and inconvenient at times. It would feel better to go back to the safety of your “normal” life…downing giant servings of whatever your guilty pleasures are. You need to be on point for the first few months. Focused. Relentless. Family may have to tolerate menu changes – or you may have to steel yourself and make a separate meal for them. Friends may have to understand when you don’t want to eat out at first…or when you don’t want your share of dessert. You should be prepared to be your staunchest defender. In extreme cases, you may need to remove very negative people from your life. Set your boundaries, dig in your heels, and start this habit. These first few months are a small investment when you consider the larger picture. It’s like I always say: a year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today.
I’m only 5 months into this process and I have a long, long way to go. I’m so glad I started. I’ve already changed in some very important ways. A million times before, I’d hear the phrase “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” and I would mentally roll my eyes and think yeah yeah yeah…just get me there already! Now I get it. I’m growing…and I’m grateful. And for all my Hot Mess brothers and sisters out there who share the same struggles, this is my deepest wish for you as well.
You are the only one who can do this for yourself…and believe me…
40 pounds gone and I’m still revving my engines!
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