Dieting. It should be a curse word. I’ve lost and gained hundreds of pounds in my lifetime. It’s amazing how easy it is to gain 100 pounds but how difficult it is to lose five pounds. I think I’ve been on every diet under the sun over the years–some with minimal success and one or two with great success. I’m not sure if my dieting success had more to with a particular diet or my state of mind while dieting. I’ve learned over the years that you need to be “ready” in order to successfully diet. What do I mean by ready? You need to be ready to change your lifestyle and eating habits. I’m not talking about eating lettuce for every meal but about making better food choices and eating in more limited quantities. When you’re ready to embrace those changes you are ready to successfully diet. I recognize that adjusting old habits is difficult, especially since eating satisfies more than hunger. Eating can satisfy boredom, depression, sadness, stress and accentuate celebrations but in order to lose weight, you must gain more control over your appetite, food choices and emotions. Now let me be clear, I’m not a dieting guru and struggle with the process as much as anyone else. My closet has clothes that range from sizes 8-26, with every size in between accounted for. I do understand the journey, oh too well, and I have begun to notice patterns to when I’m a successful dieter and when I’m not.
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I’ve always had to lose big numbers to get to my personal weight loss goals. I’ve sometimes looked to those who have to lose fifteen pounds with jealousy and disdain–the disdain mostly for myself. Losing larger amounts of weight is a daunting and scary process. When you are over 100 pounds overweight, you feel that your health and life are at stake with every bite. But even with the will to do it and the risk of failing health, losing that much weight requires a lot of supports, stamina, and fortitude to stick with it successfully. You need to want it very badly to keep motivated for the long haul. For me, losing 100 pounds or more can take a year or two at least, so patience is definitely needed. You also need to have a weight-loss support group and/or family/friends that will support you on your weight loss journey.
Most dieters, thankfully, will never need to understand what it is like to have to lose that much weight. How you ever so slowly emerge into a new body and a new way of living. Your battered self-esteem and health issues rebound slowly as well. I never considered weight-loss surgery as an option either. If I can avoid having an evasive medical procedure, I prefer to. I also know from my past weight-loss efforts that losing 100 pounds or more can be done effectively with diet, exercise, and the proper will-power and attitude. I’m not frowning upon weight-loss surgery; if that’s the only viable option for health reasons then it should be considered carefully by you and your healthcare providers. I guess I am from the old-fashioned “buck up and get it done” school. I figure I took the time to overeat to gain the weight, then I must “suffer the consequence” to lose the weight. I did the crime, I do the time. I’m always hoping that the punishment will motivate me not to repeat the crime-but dieting has a high recidivism rate.
Are there any perks to dieting? Yes, if you keep your eye on the prize–and everyone’s prize is different. My prizes are feeling and looking better, wearing stylish clothes, being healthy and gaining control of my impulses and emotions. Dieting also gives me a sense of control over my body and body image. The more weight I lose the further I feel in control of my own life. If overeating is an overreaction to my world, then dieting helps me control my world.
I’m 50 pounds into my weight-loss journey at this time. It has been a long ride with many plateaus and valleys but I keep on driving. Another important reason I want to keep going on my weight-loss journey is for my daughters. I want my daughters to know their mom at a healthy weight. If I can prevent them from being extremely overweight, I will feel as if I’ve broken the cycle. We all learn our eating behaviors initially from our parents and I want to teach them a healthy way of life. My grandparents and parents struggled with weight issues and so have I throughout my life. I would prefer not to pass this condition onto yet another generation in my family. I want my daughters to gain healthy habits from my weight-loss. It will be a lifelong gift to them.