Willpower, It’s Now or Never

I visited my doctor this morning and I was kind of anxious to get on her scale. I hadn’t been to her office since January 2014. At that time, my weight was near a mark that made me cringe. It’s a feeling similar to ones car rolling over 100k miles. A month later, my husband compiled a series of video clips in honor of our daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday. The progression of my body image confirmed what I saw on the scale a month earlier. I needed to make a change.

The very next day I cut out everything I knew was questionable– my daily red wine, cheese, butter, starchy white carbs, sugar, and any other alcohol. If I had any oil, it was olive oil or coconut oil, used sparingly. I occasionally treated myself to gluten-free toast but just one slice. I knew from my experience with Weight Watchers several years before I had to do this cold turkey or my trigger foods would tempt me to want more and more (portion control) or foods that are not healthy even in moderation.

I didn’t start exercising or increasing my activity any more than I was moving. You know, keep the bar within reason so I didn’t set myself up for failure. It’s easy to feel discouraged when you’re changing habits that control you.

My goal was merely to drop my weight so I could live longer for my daughter. I’m not playing the game of life with a good hand. Just about every health risk runs on either or both sides of my family. My maternal grandmother died at a young age of heart failure. My father died from colon cancer in his early 50’s. My sister, aunts, and cousins on both sides of my family have had breast cancer. And then there are diabetes risks, thyroid conditions, and more. As I compiled a photo slideshow for my daughter for her 16th birthday, I realized she only has my husband and I. All of her grandparents are deceased and her daddy is already in his 60’s. See why I felt the need to change?
So the weight just sort of melted off. After a month, I believe I was down 15 pounds. The first week was a challenge and ended with a treat of a glass of red wine at a friends birthday party. The next week was a little easier, except for the bottle of Winter Jack whiskey my dear husband bought me as a congratulatory offering. He meant well but is so often my enabler when I’m trying to do the right thing. The third week I was seeing results and started feeling healthier. The foods and drinks I enjoyed so much became evil to me. Remember, I hadn’t started exercising so this was purely from cutting out bad food choices.

I’m not a Celiac but I feel so much better without wheat products in my system. Without the measure on the scale, the visible difference in my puffiness was evident. My face was thinner and my midsection didn’t hang over the top of my jeans. I have the beginning of arthritis in my joints. Without wheat in my diet, the pain and swelling decreases as well.

Last year I visited my family practitioner for my physical in the fall. My blood counts had dramatically improved. He asked what I had done and I was happy to share. I visited him a couple weeks ago for my annual physical. I was curious how my counts may have changed eating shift meals at the restaurant and adding fine, German beer into my routine. Happily, my HDL count was a record high– higher than any of his patients, from what he could recall, at 119. I wish I could donate some to my David. He has struggled for years with the cholesterol his liver produces unfortunately.

So this morning, the scale at my OB/Gyn office proved I held my own with about 40 pounds of weight off my frame since January 2014. I’ve dropped more than that but have about five extra pounds that have crept back thanks to late night eating after feeding the masses at the restaurant. I’m also feeling fluffy again and know I need to cut back on the Dunklweissen, cheese, and pretzel bread. My joints will thank me as the weather gets colder too.

So this blog entry isn’t written to say, “Yeah me!”

I’m writing it to encourage others to press on. To start today what you know is good for you. Food is like any other compulsion. Just as I wrote about spending being the thing I used to appease my emptiness, food was another idol.

I love food… Or I should say, I LOVED food. I enjoyed cooking it, shopping for it, reading about it, eating it, photographing it, serving it… Basically, obsessing over it.

When I reached the three-week milestone with my diet change, I came to a pivotol understanding of what needed to change in my mind.

I needed to get to the point where I was eating to live rather than living to eat.

This is the point of my writing today– look at your life to decide what is consuming your thoughts and your actions. Do you have a healthy balance? Are you living life in moderation? What is your god?

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