You get two posts tonight because I was cleaning out some files tonight and found this draft I never published. Still relevant. So here you go.
Recently I was reminded about the first steps and how difficult they can be. While I never forget the person I was before I lost the weight — because, really, she is me and I am she — sometimes I briefly forget how unbelievably hard and lonely it was:
- Saying no to group lunches out
- Saying yes to salads when everyone else is ordering pizza
- Bringing my own food to staff meals
- Picking something on the menu I can alter without causing too much embarrassment
- Passing up your friend’s “famous” chocolate cake
- Knowing that it’s OK to put myself first
And I forget that some people just don’t understand that sometimes a piece of cake is not just a piece of cake. It’s a 9×12 devil staring at you. And eating a single serving of potato chips is something out of fairy tales.
So you have to avoid certain foods. And throw some things away — even if you just bought them because you think you can resist them. But you can’t. And if you don’t throw them away, that jar of peanut butter (or brick of cheese or can of Ovaltine or loaf of fresh french bread) ends up empty before you can say “I shouldn’t be eating this.”
For some people — myself included — food has to be rethought. You almost have to retrain yourself to recognize food as nutrition to live the life you want rather than something we take for granted and just eat … and eat … and eat … because it’s there — and our mouths are empty.
I don’t ever want to forget how far I’ve come. I don’t want to take my journey for granted. I don’t want to forget the work I’ve put in mentally and physically to make the changes I’ve made in my life. Because a healthy lifestyle — when you’ve spent most of your life borderline morbidly obese — is a mental battle just as much as it is a physical one. And it is fought in the trenches kitchens stomachs taste buds everywhere there’s a food choice to be made. Every day. Because food is a fact of life. It can’t be avoided; it can’t be ignored.
Rather, it must be rethought; it must find a new place, a new purpose. And it does get easier. Because you feel better. And you learn what your body really needs. And you learn the difference between “can’t eat that” and “don’t really want to eat that.” And you learn that sometimes ice cream is just ice cream.