I am hesitant to write this post.
I have lost 50 pounds in 5 months, and it has been an intense and personal experience, one that I am not sure I can truly articulate. However, something whispers to me that the things I have learned in this process are not unique to me--and frankly, contain lessons that could be applied to far more than weight loss.
This isn't meant to be a guideline on how to lose weight--I may talk about specifics someday, when and if I feel I have something to offer. This is more about what I have learned as I made changes in my life that would lead to changes in my body.
1) I have learned that we are capable of far more than we know or acknowledge.
I have done things in the past 5 months that have been beyond what I would have thought were my capabilities. I have broken habits and changed thought patterns that have been a part of my life for decades, in some cases even my whole life. I have come to believe that God asks us to be obedient not simply to honor and worship Him, but so that we can see what lies within us...so that we can see His power, which is part of what we are able to access as His children. There is power in being obedient to truth--regardless of what kind of truth it is. It doesn't matter whether it's "If I eat well and exercise, I will be more healthy" or "If I want to gain knowledge, I have to study" or "If I cross the street into oncoming traffic, I will be road pizza" -- it's all the same. It's when we stop fighting against those truths and live with them instead that we really begin to see what we can do.
2) I have learned that it's never one big decision, it's a million little ones.
This is one that can be difficult to figure out, and even more difficult to become comfortable with. My losing 50 pounds is not a result of my saying, "I want to lose 50 pounds." Sure, that may have been part of my original thoughts or goals, but there have been thousands of decisions considered and wrestled with over the past 5 months, each of which has gotten me closer to what I wanted. Every morning when we wake up, we make decisions every minute that will progressively get us somewhere. Those decisions determine whether or not we end up where we say we want to be. Every day, I had to get up and say, "I am choosing to eat correctly at every meal." Every day, I had to get up and say, "I will go to the gym today and I will work out." Every day (and sometimes, every hour!) I had to say, "I choose to cope and function in a way that makes me feel good about who I am and is in harmony with what I know to be true." It'd be easier if we just made one big decision and that was it--and there are times when we do make a grand and important decision--but that alone won't get us there. The reason I think this particular lesson is so difficult to learn is that it requires living thoughtfully and not impulsively. It requires living in a state of clarity and awareness of the fact that those millions of little decisions are going to be made every day...whether you make them consciously and purposefully or not is up to you.
3) I have learned that the easiest person to lie to is yourself.
It's ridiculously easy to be dishonest with yourself. It's also ridiculously destructive. I didn't get to the point of needing to lose a great deal of weight by honestly dealing with myself and why I was gaining weight to begin with. I told myself little lies, like: "I deserve a reward of food." or "I've blown it today already, so I might as well just eat more." I also told myself big fat (pun intended) lies, such as: "I don't abuse food, I just like to eat!" or "No one else has to pay attention to what they eat, it's not fair that I should have to." or "This is just how I am going to be for the rest of my life. I can't change now." The problem with lying to yourself is that you start to believe what you are saying. And believing those lies is what keeps you right where you say that you hate to be. I have struggled most of my life with feelings of depression and low self worth, and guess when that changed significantly? When I got honest with myself, and decided that I was going to live in complete truth with myself and with everybody else. And by "live in complete truth" what I mean is that I wasn't going to lean towards either end of a spectrum of thought--I wasn't going to justify or excuse anything I did, but I wasn't going to beat myself to death over anything I did, either. I was simply going to see things as they really were, and not try to pretend that they were anything different. If I found myself trying to go back to old ways of thinking, I would stop myself and say, "Nope. That doesn't fly anymore. I know better than that." Being honest with others was harder for me. My husband has never been anything but loving and supportive of me, always saying I am beautiful and attractive. I have held in most of my feelings about my body and my struggles with food, always afraid to be that vulnerable. (even now, I am torn writing this, knowing how much I am choosing to reveal to anyone reading this) In deciding 5 months ago to live in complete truth, I have opened up to him and shared fears and weaknesses and flawed thinking that I never could have before. He has become my greatest cheerleader, my strength and support, my shoulder to cry on, and all the while somehow maintaining a needed neutrality...there is no doubt in my mind that he knows that this is my mountain to climb, and that he'll love me even if I am climbing for the rest of my life. I cannot guarantee that every person could react the way that he has, but I know that regardless of what he did, I had to be honest with others in order to truly be honest with myself.
Coming Soon: Part 2