The Emotional Journey

Triumph and Defeat 

Every day was the same lie over and over again. The lie only contained one word, “tomorrow”. Tomorrow I will eat right. Today I will eat this ice cream. Today I will eat this burger. I was in denial about why I was gaining weight at such a rapid rate. It was always something else’s fault. “It’s because I quit smoking”. “It’s the medicine I’m on”. “It’s because I had gallstones”. Deep down I knew it was because I kept putting off eating the way I should. The worst part was that the more helpless I felt about the weight gain, the more junk and ice cream I would eat to make myself feel better. “My weight is already out of control. One more blizzard won’t hurt.”, I would always say. The more I ate the less satisfied I became. I just wanted more and more. I was no longer in control. My life was ruled by sugar. I actually used to wake up just so I could eat cookies for breakfast. Sometimes I didn’t even mean to eat them but I was hungry and it was so much easier to grab a few cookies than it was to make myself a meal. I was going to the gym but I was seeing no progress. I was running anywhere from 1-4 miles a day and I was still consuming more calories than I could burn. Once I got to work things would get worse. I was surounded by food and overcome by boredom. This made the temptation that much greater.

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Finally after having enough I told my doctor I needed help; my weight was spinning out of control and I couldn’t stop it. He referred me to a nutritionist. As a former nutrition student I wasn’t sure what a nutritionist could tell me that I didn’t already know but at that point I was game for anything or anyone that could help. When I stepped into her office I had two choices to make. Lie to her the way I had been lying to myself or finally be honest with myself and also tell her the truth. I chose the latter. I felt that it was a waste of time and resources to continue the lie. I was only hurting myself. I told her all about how I would eat sweets multiple times a day, that I felt like it was an impulse. I was addicted. I told her about how easy it had been for me to continue not to smoke because my boyfriend refused to date a smoker but I knew he wouldn’t break up with me for eating cake so I ate cake. She asked me how I was able to get over the addiction of cigarettes and I said, “I didn’t want to be single”. She thought that comment was pretty funny but it was true. What I ended up asking myself afterward was, “what if I keep going down this road? Would I be single anyway because I ate my way to my own grave? This is my health we’re talking about. Why don’t I apply the same thought process I had with smoking to food?”  I shared that idea with my nutritionist and she thought it was a wonderful idea. She told me that it takes three weeks to break a habit and six weeks to break an addiction. So she helped me set a goal for the next three weeks. Originally she set my goal to one dessert a day. I felt that wasn’t good enough so I set it to one a week. She was shocked that someone who had just shared how addicted to sugar they were was setting such a high goal for themselves. She asked how confident I felt and I said, “very”.  She told me I had to reward myself and it couldn’t be with food. So I picked something I had needed so badly that I had actually been looking to get before that appointment. My reward was shoes. This would be the catalyst for my success over the next 21 days.

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Unfortunately old habits die hard and the first thing I saw when I got home was that my boyfriend had bought lemon heads and without even thinking I grabbed the box tilted it in my mouth and chewed the yummy goodness til it was gone. It was shortly afterward when I realized what I had done. I had eaten my one dessert for the week. Each day I was quickly disappointed when I stepped on the scale. It barely moved. I was so sure that I would see some drastic changes in the numbers. After all I had made a pretty drastic change to my diet. The disappointment was there but I was willing to do everything in my power to get those shoes! Finally Friday came and I had made it one whole week only eating one dessert. The scale had only moved by one pound but that didn’t matter because I had accomplished a feat that I hadn’t been able to before. One more week passed and I was down 3 pounds now. That Friday I felt like I needed a day to myself so I went downtown for some time to myself to regroup. Once I got there I headed for, The Gyro Stop because I had been craving a Gyro for days! After walking around for a while I decided I wanted a glass of wine and some time to relax. I headed toward my go to place, The Spar. Instead of wine I ordered a glass of blackberry hard cider and a small pizza to offset the alcohol. The cider was so delicious I ended up ordering a second glass. Unfortunately it had a little more alcohol than I realized so I ended up ordering a round of Cajun tots and lots of water to get rid of my buzz. It was a great day but all that extra food took a toll on my progress with weight loss. The next morning I had found that I gained two pounds back. I couldn’t believe it. I knew I was going to have to work extra hard the next week. So I buckled down. I measured everything I ate and used a calorie counting app called Lose It! I made sure to stick to my rule of one dessert per week and I stayed away from eating out.  By Thursday of the third week I had lost a total of 5 pounds! I was so excited! Plus I got to buy my new shoes. I was finally making progress.

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Shortly after I had my follow up appointment with my nutritionist I recieved a package in the mail. They were two pairs of jeans I had ordered because my other ones had started getting tight the month prior. I tried them on and they fit like a perfectly tailored glove. It was the first time I had made the decision to return clothing that fit so well. I made the decision to return them because for the first time, I hadn’t been saying tomorrow. I was saying yesterday. Yesterday I chose to be healthy and tomorrow I won’t be starting a new diet, tomorrow I’ll be able to fit into those jeans that used to be tight.

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