This past April, on the Suede Sofa, Lara and I began a 6-month challenge encouraging our readers to pursue a dream or a goal. My PeRsOnaL ChAllEnGe was to have PeAcE WiTh FoOd. I’ll have to admit, although the challenge ended October 1st, I’m still working on that. In fact, this has been a work in progress for um…. well over 25 years.
I first gained excess weight when I was a sophomore in high school. During the following summer I joined WeiGhT WaTcHeRs and lost all the weight I had gained. Because I was an athlete it wasn’t too difficult keeping it off.
Then came college. I gained the “FrEsHmEn 15” plus some. Having the freedom to eat whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted, those pounds didn’t come off fast or easy. The rest of my college years I saw my weight go up and down. Mostly up. By the time I got married, 10-plus years after college graduation, I had managed to get back to my HiGh ScHooL WeiGhT. What a relief!
Then came children. The scale went up once again. Over 50 pounds. But after my 2nd child was born I decided to GeT SeRioUs about losing the weight. I was tired of all the fluctuations and wanted to establish life-long habits that would sustain the loss.
So, in April of 2009, after having a “CoMe To JeSuS” talk with myself I decided I would do whatever it took. I had actually begged myself, in the “SpiRiT oF ExPeriMenTatiOn”, to try eating really healthy (lots of fruits and vegetables) and eliminate (for the most part) all junk food for just three months. Along with eating healthy I wanted to exercise a lot, which wasn’t that big of a deal as it had already been part of my lifestyle. So the decision was made. I would live with ReCkLeSs AbAndOn and find out once and for all if this would “work” for me. Well, three months later, I was 25 pounds lighter, so I guess the answer would be “Yes”.
If you are looking only at the numbers then the answer would be “Yes”, but if you looked at what was going on InTerNaLLy, the answer would be “No”. Even though I reached my goal exactly by the date I had set, I wasn’t happy, nor at peace. Immediately after hitting my goal of my all-time low I began to gain weight. Over the next six months I gained about 13 pounds. So once again I decided to go on a strict diet and lose the unwanted weight.
This time around I TrAcKed My ProGreSs very closely. I included everything from what caused my “mess-ups”, the time of the day I messed up, what was going on internally, etc. The information was invaluable and as a result I have written about all my lessons in a book I hope to get published sometime soon.
On this second try I worked out even harder and lost even more than I had the first time around. But due to an All-Or-NoThiNg mindset when I failed to reach my goal on the date I had set (I was only four pounds away) I threw my hands up and totally lost control for about a month which resulted in me gaining much of the weight back.
I’m on my third take, but this time is different. I have a NeW oBjeCtiVe. It is not a number on a scale or a number (a.k.a. a certain size) on the tag of a piece of clothing. No more QuiCk FiXeS. No more CraZy DiEts. No more excessive workouts just to lose a pound or two. No more being fixated on food whether that is dreaming of what I am going to eat, or being obsessed with eating only a certain kind or amount of food and staying within those strict limitations.
Instead it is…
Plain and simple. And the contentment that comes with knowing that FoOd DoeSn’t RuLe My LiFe.
I’ll be sharing with you the LeSsoNs I have learned. They have worked for me. Maybe some will speak to you. Others you may find obsolete. Take what works and leave the rest behind.
If you find yourself on this journey I pray you FiNd HoPe and then the CouRaGe to take the steps to get to FrEeDoM and PeAcE WiTh FoOd.