About 15 months ago, I decided I really needed to do something about my weight. Well into the “obese” range, my body was really weighing me down, in more ways than one. So I decided, this needs to change.
That’s all well and good, as long as you actually change your behaviors. I’m a great one for deciding to do something and then somehow believing that it will therefore happen without further ado (for the record, it usually doesn’t work out.)
Anyway, back to the point: I hit my round-number weight goal last week! Hurray! Of course, this is just the first (and most overly ambitious) such milestone, because I still have a long way to go. Even though the next week or two will pop up a few pounds back over the line, the general trend is still downward.
I wish I could say it was just a matter of effort, but piety alone won’t get you into heaven. I have always eaten healthy foods, but now I am in more control of what, when, and how much I eat. The switch to Wellbutrin proper has done wonders for managing my appetite. More stable blood levels of medicine means I don’t get depressive symptoms in the evening, and therefore don’t binge right before bed.
Magically, somehow, I can now tell when I’ve had enough to eat, before I’m even full, and can actually stop eating! It’s simply amazing. If you’ve always been 100% in control of your eating, there’s no way I can explain this to you, but it’s an incredibly empowering feeling. I am in control, not my belligerent gut! Yes, there are times when I feel extremely hungry and I just ignore it and down a glass of water, but when my stomach growls and my head starts complaining, then it’s time for a snack.
Feeling fully justified in celebratory spending for hitting my weight goal, I bought a few wardrobe necessities – lightweight longsleeve shirts in the correct size for layering, a belt to keep my ever-loosening pants from showing crack, and cute shoes, just because I deserved them and they were on an awesome sale. I’ve been swapping clothes in and out of storage for awhile; today I took all the remaining “too small” items back to my closet because they won’t be too small for much longer – if I can keep up the pace, that is.
This feels SO good. I feel like I’m suddenly in a new leaner body, though the actual change is small and gradual. It accumulates – I’ve gone down two cup sizes (32H, woohoo!), lost two underpants sizes, dropped two jeans sizes, and instead of 1X, I’m sporting tops in a standard size large! I might not be the epitome of healthy, sexy, mid-30′s womanhood just now, but I sure look and feel a hell of a lot better than I did this time last year. Besides, the confidence gained from feeling better about my health and appearance is a magnifier of all that’s attractive.
Just that little bit of positive feedback was all I needed. Success begets success. I am confident that I’ll lose the next 5 pounds and limbo myself right into the “overweight” category. As I lose more, it shows more – I’m starting to see the shape of my face change, bringing an overwhelming sense of relief. As if I’m becoming me again. Or perhaps a better version of me.
The concrete changes are minimal: I take more walks and I eat less. Very practical, right? I’ve been tracking my exercise against mood scores and coping for some time, and when I get more exercise, I cope better. I really do have to make exercise part of my daily routine, like it or not (usually not), so I’ve added a daily to-do list reminder to make it harder to ignore. I can already walk up the hills faster and breathe easier while I do it. That alone is a meaningful accomplishment for me, but it can vanish in just a few days of sloth.
I’m not counting calories because I’m neurotic enough about tracking and details already. I don’t snack much in the evenings anymore, and I try to stick to things like frosted shredded wheats rather than cookies. I cook whole-food veggie-laden dishes using my trained-from-toddlerhood healthy cooking skills as often as I have the energy and ingredients. I eat much lighter, but more often, which also keeps my blood sugar more stable.
It’s more work keeping on top of tracking my physical activity, reminding myself to get outside and move around, and preparing healthy meals. I just have to care enough about myself to put a priority on doing these simple things that so dramatically improve my quality of living.