I hit rock bottom when I found myself gorging on a half-gallon of Edy’s Vanilla Ice Cream. I don’t even remember walking to the freezer and taking it out.
Curled up in my favorite chair, boys out with friends, watching a show on Britbox, I was shoveling spoon after spoon of that delicious, creamy goodness in my mouth.
I didn’t even bother to use a bowl. Straight out of the carton.
About halfway through, I happened to catch a glimpse of my swollen ankle propped up on the ottoman. And then I looked down at my hand, swollen so much the rings were causing indentations.
Even my favorite yoga pants felt uncomfortable.
What the heck was I doing?
I was eating myself to an early grave, that’s what.
I cried. You know, those big, ugly, snot-coming-out-of-your-nose tears.
And when I had finished crying, I ate some more ice cream.
My pity party wasn’t over. Like I always did, I made excuses as to why I was overeating:
“I worked hard all week and I deserve it.”
“I’m big-boned so my 5’9” frame can handle a few extra pounds.”
“It’s the weekend and I’ll do better starting Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday….”
Good Lord, I was a fool.
It was easier to use lame excuses for my overeating rather than pinpoint the real issues. Because no one likes to admit they are flawed - right?
But I was indeed flawed. Big time.
The next day, I called my doctor’s office. I told the nurse, “Listen, I need help. I’m binge eating and I can’t stop.” Baby steps.
And when I met with my kind doctor (oh my goodness, she’s absolutely amazing!), I hung my head in shame. Almost as if I had been a naughty girl caught with her hand in the….oh, wait. That’s how I got into this mess.
I think if she had screamed at me and told me how bad I was, I could have taken it much better. But her kindness and non-judgmental demeanor made me feel…guilty. I felt like slinking away and disappearing into the walls.
But she talked to me. Not at me, to me. She asked the right questions to open up not only my mouth but my heart. Years of hurt poured out and when I had vomited all of my feelings into her lap (figuratively, of course), the relief I felt was overwhelming.
She suggested I speak to a therapist to figure out why I was eating like there was no tomorrow.
Best. thing. ever.
She’s so soft-spoken that I have to lean in my chair to hear her but the words that come out of her mouth are powerful.
I was all over the place during our first session. I didn’t realize I had so many pent up feelings that were begging to be released.
She suggested a few things I can do to help me along in my weight loss journey:
I’ve always loved to write so this wasn’t a stretch. What was out of my comfort zone was writing about what was going through my mind and my heart when I felt hungry. That required a big dose of “get over yourself and just do it!”
What I realized through journaling was that I really wasn’t that hungry. I’m what you call an emotional eater. I ate when I was sad or lonely or upset. Not truly because I was hungry but because I was using food to mask the pain rather than dealing with the emotion itself.
The result has been I now only eat three times per day (max) with no snacking. I only eat when I am sincerely hungry, not when I’m bored or sad.
Plus, I’ve rediscovered my love for writing. Win/win!
Join an accountability group
Okay, the introvert in me was screaming inside about this one. There was no way I was going to join some group, reveal my weaknesses and show my overweight selfies to the world. Nope. Wasn’t happening.
273 pounds - October 11th, down 15 pounds.
288 pounds - August 11th, shortly after my therapy appointment and she suggested I track my progress.
I got over the fear and did it. I’m a very visual person so if I can see a difference (even the slightest one), I’ll stay motivated.
But putting it all out there is still a struggle.
Back to the accountability group thing: find one. Or if group motivation isn’t your thing, find an accountability partner. The group I found, thanks to my therapist, has been a huge blessing. There are weekly weigh-ins, if you want to participate, and other challenges to keep you on track. Totally non-judgmental, extremely supportive and encouraging. Just what this fragile ego needed.
If you’re looking for a group like that, here’s a link to the Facebook group I belong to. Jump in there with no fear, introduce yourself and tell ‘em Regina sent you :). It’s a closed group so you don’t have to worry about your Facebook friends seeing what you’re posting. And sorry, guys - it’s a woman-only group.
You mean rocking in my porch swing doesn’t count? Darn!
I actually had to get up off my big butt and put in the work.
I had to stop making excuses: “I’m too busy.” “I’m too fat.”
Isn’t that last one ironic?
Now I work out 4 days per week and guess what? It hurts like crap sometimes!
But I know I need to do it.
Instead of looking at exercise like a burden, I consider it my own personal time, that time where I can put in my earbuds, listen to my favorite podcasts and zone out. Forget about what happened that day, what drama is waiting for me at home. Just time to pour into myself.
And that’s not selfish. We all need that time to ourselves to recharge and take care of ourselves. You deserve it. Wise words from my therapist!
How has losing some weight changed my life?
Look, I know it’s only 15 pounds and I still have almost 50 more to go (my doctor and I calculated my goal weight based on a few factors, including my height and age - I’m 51 if you were wondering).
But losing that 15 pounds (or a little more than a stone for my British buddies), has been a game-changer for me. Here’s how.
Healthy eating, healthy mindset
Yes, I’m eating a lot healthier than I was (I don’t even crave Edy’s Ice Cream anymore!) but my mindset is in a much better place.
I’ve let go of a lot of old hurts, crutches I was using as excuses to gorge on McDonald’s fries.
A healthier mindset has made me a lot calmer and probably easier to be around. I’ll let my close family and friends weigh in on that one :) I just know I feel better physically and mentally.
Speaking of healthier:
Did you happen to see that screenshot of one of my Facebook posts, announcing I’m no longer at risk for diabetes? Yep! I had my A1C test yesterday and it was the lowest it’s been in years. The smile on my doctor’s face was all the praise I needed.
But not only that: I don’t have to wear my sleep apnea mask anymore!
Oh gosh, I hated that thing! For the last four years, I’ve hooked myself up to that gadget so I can get continuous air in my bloated body because I would wake up gagging for air. And apparently I snored loud enough to wake folks several blocks away. Slight exaggeration but not by much.
I’m not snoring anymore, I’m not nodding off in the middle of the day and I don’t feel like I’m going through the day in a fog.
Had I known that was even possible, I probably would have lost weight a long time. Did I mention I hated that mask?
Meal prepping ahead of time and not ordering food on the fly means mo’ money in my pocket. I ain’t mad at that! UberEats was a regular at our house but now, I reserve that for special occasions. Being too tired and lazy to cook isn’t a special occasion, just so you know.
Other ways things have changed:
My shoes fit better. I used to have to wear my sneakers without socks most times because otherwise they felt too tight. And I can zip my boots up all the way instead of leaving zipped halfway because my thighs were too wide.
I’m reading a lot more
Instead of reaching for ice cream/cookies/sweets of choice when I’m bored, I reach for a book. Or my Kindle (my sister recommended BookBub - lots of bestsellers for a low price and even free sent right to your device. Cool!
I’m much more focused and intentional with my time. Reading is on my schedule and I stick to that just like the exercise regimen.
Below are some books I’m currently making my way through:
I’ve got a ways to go but I’m encouraged with my progress so far. But I’m even happier with my quality of life now.
I’m in a good place. Finally.
Stuff I’m using in my journey:
Body Fit by Amy videos, especially this one. I do this workout several times per day.
Stay tuned for more updates on my weight loss journey. My goal weight is 225 and with your prayers and encouragement, I can do it.
Are you on a weight loss journey? Feel free to share your goals with me so we can encourage each other!