Weight loss can turn into a nightmare, if we allow it to become so important that we lose sight of everything else in our lives. I became obsessed in being resolute about reaching a goal weight that my research indicated would mean that I was no longer overweight.
But, I awoke one day last week and realized that I had to change how I looked at victories and defeats on this journey, if I am to retain my joy at the size I am today and be able to enjoy my life. I needed to simplify how I defined victories, and not use the numbers on the scale as the only means of determining how successful I have been in losing weight. I have found that weight loss is as much about the mind as it is about the body!
This epiphany came after I had visited my cardiologist last Friday. With a twenty-pound weight loss, my defibrillator had shifted downward, because the skin is thinner there now. I was suffering insomnia because when I turned over to sleep on my side, the device would move with me, sticking up in my chest. I was afraid that it would fire accidentally, as it was so loosely in the pocket.
In my interview with the doctor who reinstalled the device last year, he asked if I had lost the twenty pounds intentionally, and I told him that I had lost the weight because if I had contracted the coronavirus, I wanted every opportunity to survive it. He smiled and told me that losing the weight was a good outcome for me. He made me feel victorious!
It was then that I realized that how we define success in losing weight matters as much as the steps taken to lose the weight. The fact that I am healthier and my heart is healthier is a victory for me that I can celebrate every day. When I tell people that I don’t take medication for my diabetes, but maintain my low A1C by diet and exercise, they are impressed and I am glad that I am not on medications.
That I can now go on two-hour and three-hour walks on the different paths and trails around us and when on vacation with my husband counts as a great accomplishment. The knowledge that at age 69, I take one daily medication, and that is Lipitor for high cholesterol, results in people proclaiming how well I am doing. Lastly, being able to buy sizes 6 and 8 in blouses and pants at the Goodwill store means there is a lot of choices, as a lot of people can’t wear those sizes.
As a Christian, scriptures matter to me and I try to live them, and Romans 12:2 speaks of changing how you live by changing how you think, or of being transformed by the renewing of your mind. For me, changing how I think of my weight-loss success makes it easier for me to appreciate the work I have already achieved.
But mostly, changing the criteria for defining success means I no longer feel to xertz down cookies and candy like there is no tomorrow when I perceive that I have failed. Instead, I focus on eating healthy foods at each meal, exercising at least 100 minutes a day, and finding peace in my Bible studies and the Masterclass programs I am taking this year.
These are victories that I can count each day, and if I trip up on one of them, I just get back on the horse the next day. If I follow the way that I have mapped out, the weight loss will come, and if I find that this is as good as it gets, then I can still celebrate the weight that I have already lost.