Yesterday was a 4-star day: I maintained the integrity of my calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.
Before I started losing weight in September 2008, I remember having some separation anxiety with food. So many times, this anxiety would serve as the catalyst for "one last binge" before I "really got serious" once and for all. My focus was clearly on what I would be giving up. When I started back then, I decided to have a nothing is off limits approach, as long as I could fit it into my calorie budget. This approach helped curb the feeling of forced deprivation, but I still felt separated from the bigger portions.
In retrospect, it wasn't separation anxiety over any specific food, it was the perception of losing my coping mechanism; my drug, in the amounts I was accustomed. Eating to excess, sneak eating, binge eating, stress eating, emotional eating, eating for sport--all of it was a way of life. It's all I knew. I was really good at it, too.
I've communicated with a lot of people about this very topic and I discovered it's a very common thing to experience. What I quickly discovered was, my perception was faulty. My focus was driven by my addictive brain that felt its supply was threatened. Once I came out of the fog a little bit and I started losing enough to see and feel the difference, my perspective started to change.
Instead of focusing on what I had to give up, I started focusing on all of the wonderful things I could now enjoy along the way. All of these wonderful things, made possible by my decreasing size.
I remember them all. The first time I sat in a chair with arms without discomfort. It was actually at one of my daughter's school functions. Normally I would just stand or look for a folding chair without arms in the back of the auditorium, or not go altogether. I remember when the seat belt in my vehicle finally fit. I remember when my wife's arms could finally go all the way around me and actually touch! I remember the first time the doctor looked at me and said: "Your numbers look great, keep doing what you're doing!" I remember enjoying an amusement park with my family for the first time since childhood, and even though I was scared of the big rides, I rode 'em all--simply because I could fit. I remember the first time I had a foot race with my daughters. Yeah, they still won--but I was running like the wind blows.
I wasn't focusing on all of these positive things when I first started because I didn't know them. All I knew was, things would be very different at buffets, and that really bothered me.
At some point, with consistency and hard earned results, a shift is made. Suddenly it isn't about all of the things we're giving up, it's about all we're gaining. My friend, Life Coach Gerri says it best: "I traded an abundance on my plate for abundance in my life."
And we still get to eat. We just don't get to abuse food to cover, comfort, buffer and smother us away from dealing with life. It's difficult. Life is hard sometimes, especially when you're morbidly obese. I noticed the emotional eating compounding issue at a very young age. I would eat to feel better and the resulting weight gain would leave me feeling worse, so I had to eat even more--because now it was a compounding problem. My coping mechanism was giving me even more reasons to use the coping mechanism.
The biggest challenge becomes learning to deal with things we avoided. This is where writing comes in very handy. Good therapy is another tool if you can get it. Once the shift in perspective is made, and we're no longer fretting or downright grieving over the perceived loss of food, that's when we can really start enjoying our transformation. That's when we start making it much more than just a physical one, it becomes a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual transformation.
What's really scary is, once these transformations start happening, it can all be surrendered if we lose our grip on the proper perspective.
I lost 275 pounds. I decided I had figured it out. I experienced all kinds of transformations--all of the above. The discovery of true forgiveness was life-changing. The physical change was mind-blowing, the improved health was miraculous...then...Just when I thought I had a lock on this for the rest of my life, I started giving it all back. I traded in my new perspective for the old ones and the resulting weight gain came fast.
With each additional pound, it became harder and harder to find my way back. I thank God I didn't go all the way back to 505 pounds. Stopping the slide wasn't something I did on my own, that's for sure.
The fundamentals I practice today help keep me well. The support I seek and give and the perspective I hold and know to be good and true are things deserving of my constant devotion.
Do I eat far less and differently than I once did? Yes. And I still eat well. I don't eat sugar, no matter what--it's off limits for me and that's okay, too. In fact, it's an absolutely wonderful thing to be able to say without any shred of loss, whatsoever.
I live a satisfied life with food. I hope and pray I don't ever again trade the abundance in my life for abundance on my plate.
#groceryshopping A few things- including 39cent avocados! #bargainshopper pic.twitter.com/kDROHyRmXx— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) April 10, 2019
View this post on Instagram#whatsfordinner Joseph's Flax-Oat Bran-Whole Wheat Pitas topped with 113g refined sugar-free marinara, 5oz 96% lean beef, 8oz sliced white mushrooms, 64g black olives, 52g orange bell pepper, 46g red onion, and four .8oz slices mozzarella. #bigmeal #nosugar #foodplan #dailypractice #crazydelicious The boundaries I must maintain doesn't allow for takeout pizza, restaurant pizza, or anything like that. But if I make the time to prepare my own, using ingredients that fit my food plan boundaries, I can make it work well. Since I only make what I'm planning to eat- no leftovers!
Practice, peace, and calm,
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