I've talked about this a little, but not in much detail. Did you know this isn't my first weight loss rodeo? Obviously you know I've tried many, many diets and failed. But did you know I successfully lost 150 pounds before?
While in Ft. Lauderdale last night, I went to dinner with a friend I hadn't seen in a very long time. We had connected originally through a low carb message board. Back in 2005 (I think) I hit 445 pounds. I felt desperate, so I tried to get approved for weight loss surgery, but my insurance wouldn't cover it. I started following Atkins because it had a reputation for being able to lose a lot of weight fast.
I lost my first 100 pretty quickly, over 8 months. The next 50 were slower going, maybe another 8 months. All by diet alone.
Then I went to grad school, the my mom died, then I got married.
It's like something inside me snapped. I started undoing the weight loss the day we got to Mexico right after our wedding. Bam. Food. Carbs.
I didn't even realize it was happening, but very quickly I gained all of my weight back, plus 10 pounds, to hit my highest weight (and Skinny Emmie starting weight) of 455 pounds.
So why did I undo all the work I did in the first place?
- The first time around, I was losing weight for vanity. I was eating the low carb food, but not changing the reasons behind how I viewed my body and its fuel source of food. Lots of cheeseburgers without buns and steak. While that's all fine and dandy, it wasn't very balanced, and I often had cheat days to get those cravings satisfied.
- The first time around, I didn't exercise. Not at all. I bought a whole bunch of workout videos but I never really did them. There was about a 3 week stint where I went to the gym before the wedding, but it was half-assed and not in the name of fitness.
- The first time around, I didn't explore why I wanted to eat. I was kind of miserable during that first big loss. I was sooooooo sick of meat and cheese and eggs, but I stuffed it down because I liked the number it showed on the scale. I had a Pavlov's dog response when I smelled bread or sugar. I would bitch and moan about having to be around others eating the food. It just wasn't enjoyable. But I never understood why I wanted that food and why I couldn't be satisfied with the food options I had.
All in all, you can say that losing 150 pounds is great, but in my case, it wasn't. It wasn't permanent, it wasn't with my health in mind, and it wasn't in a way where I felt like my body was strong. There are times like last night where my friend remembered the 150 pounds lost person, not the 150 pounds lost plus 160 gained and 76 lost again- that make me go “DAMN. IF ONLY I STUCK WITH IT.”
But today, as I woke up wishing I could get a workout in to help shake the cobwebs from my sleep, I realized that it all happened for a reason. I feel stronger and healthier than I ever did then. I feel like an active participant in my daily food and exercise choices, instead of just following a strict meat and eggs diet. Do I still eat meat and eggs? HECK YES! But I also will throw in some fruit if my body tells me it needs it, or a piece of whole wheat toast without feeling like I'm committing murder on my diet. I'm taking a proactive approach to my health and long term fitness goals. If I screw up, I feel strong to be able to recover. My Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer last night was a bad choice, but I corrected it with the next meal, breakfast of hard boiled egg whites, some fruit and coffee. I can recover without feeling guilty and ready for an uncontrollable binge. It cost me 160 pounds to learn these lessons, but I'll happily pay that toll anytime if it's going to lead me to long-term success.
Have you ever had a major setback that you now look at as a blessing in disguise? What was it, and what did you learn?