This week I’m celebrating a small victory. See, my weight gain happened in stages. There was always that 30 pounds I needed to lose. Then 15 more I gained after I returned from Iraq. Oh, and another 10 after a particularly rough patch in Afghanistan.
When I returned home from my last deployment I had big plans. I was going to exercise every day, eat healthier than our cafeteria food overseas allowed and fit back into the cute clothes I bought during that wild shopping spree in Paris three years before.
Ha! Instead I became one with the couch. And the scale climbed another 20 pounds.
And that’s when I started this blog. Now, 18 months later (with far fewer posts than I had hoped), I declare victory!
Now, don’t go thinking victory means my doctor isn’t still lecturing me about BMI. Or that my goal weight is even within striking distance. Hardly. The victory I’m celebrating is the fact that – although barely noticeable to most – I have changed.
It started small…I gave up soda as one of my 2013 New Year’s resolutions (well, starting January 3, 2013 because I couldn’t break up with Coke until after I recovered from that wicked NYE hangover.) I remember those bi-weekly phone calls with my health coach back then. After a 20-minute confessional on every bad thing I had eaten, I would end with, “But I haven’t had a soda yet!” I declared war on high fructose corn syrup and now it doesn’t have the same clutch on me that some ex-boyfriends still do.
Next I confronted my addiction to cheese. Is that a collective gasp I just heard? Don’t worry – I haven’t abandoned Port Salut or La Tur or St. Andre’s triple crème altogether. But instead of a meal substitute, cheese is now equivalent to dessert in my world – to be enjoyed occasionally, as an indulgence, and only in reasonable portions. Yes, I’m a bit misty-eyed at this but it’s for the best. It really is. And, I’m ok with it. Or at least I will be one of these days. I hope.
Then Kim introduced me to juicing. Drinking the green stuff. Never thought that would happen. But we started by spiking it with alcohol to help me step off the cliff. Then without the booze, because that’s the deal we negotiated. And now it’s my favorite snack for a shot of energy. Seriously.
From the juicer I graduated to the Nutri-bullet. My best friend and travel companion. Forget MasterCard, I don’t leave home without my Nutri-bullet. And now I start my days with an apple/carrot/ginger/orange combo that makes me happy. Yes, happy.
Slowly I incorporated a few other changes too: More fruits and vegetables but fewer starches. I’m one of the cool kids with a FitBit. I don’t go a day without my “pink drink” (aka Plexus – yeah, it’s a MLM company but I like it and I think it’s helping too.) I hired a personal trainer instead of buying a new handbag. Then reduced my martini budget so I could keep seeing him.
And today when I stepped on the scale, I achieved my first benchmark of success. Twenty pounds later it’s as if all the tacos and mac ‘n cheese and french fries that I ate to medicate my re-deployment anxiety and depression never happened!
Yes, that’s down about 23 pounds in 18 months. Not breaking any speed records here. But that isn’t the number that matters. Neither is the bigger number on the scale. Or even the fact that I can fit into my fat jeans. (Yes, it got so bad that now I’m celebrating wearing the fat jeans).
What matters is that the number is going down – even though I’ve been living out of a suitcase for all of those 18 months. Yes, for the first time since my tour in Iraq in 2009, the number is steadily DECREASING.
I may get a gold star for the slowest weight loss ever. But that gold star is more about real change. I finally understand the difference between dieting and that “lifestyle change” people talk about. Dieting is deprivation — for a finite period of time. Changing is finding things you enjoy as much as the bad stuff and then loving how much better you feel to keep it up.
Of course, I still have six storage containers of clothes I can’t fit into…yet. But I choose to celebrate this little victory because I finally understand that every day is about making good choices — and not hating myself for the bad ones. Same goes for the rest of life too.