Why I’m taking a break from weight loss

I’ve lost 28 pounds. And now I’m stopping, on purpose, before my goal.

Most people would be ecstatic at 28 pounds and finding the path to reach their ultimate weight loss goal and do anything to keep it up while it’s working. Well, it’s not to say I’m not happy about it. But in addition to happy, I’m a little scared and a little puzzled too, if I’m honest.

Maybe it’s not “stopping” so much as taking a break. I have every intent on coming back into the weight loss swim lane.

I’m just putting my weight loss program on hold — switching to “maintenance”—while I figure some crap out.

Scared & puzzled, how?

I’ve started seeing changes in my body and my environment, and not all good. They’re not bad, per se. And that’s not to say there aren’t tons and tons of good (and great) changes too.

It’s just, there’s many, many things you can ignore when you tell yourself, “oh, that’s just cuz I’m heavy.” Or, “how can I deal with that when I can’t even control what I eat?”

I’ve come to realize that I was using the “I’m too heavy” mantra as an excuse for so many things that had nothing to do with weight. I was out of control with what I was eating, but it wasn’t just about the food. It was both emotional and physical.

Emotional:

Sad? Eat this, you’ll feel better. Anxious? Eat this, you’ll feel better. Lonely? Eat this, you’ll feel better. I DID feel better while eating—all the sausage and pasta and cereal and yogurt and pastries and cookies I ever wanted. (It could be healthy foods, but unlimited anything is rarely healthy.) But eating to sooth myself didn’t make anything really better. When the food was finished, the issues remained.

Now? Now, I no longer eat as a reaction to external factors (mostly). This has been HUGE for me.

What does that mean? It’s as simple as asking myself – are you really hungry? And actually listening to the answer. The question isn’t “do you want to eat?” or “would eating make you happy?” – the answer to those questions is always a resounding yes.

But “hunger”? That’s something that these few weeks of tracking points with Weight Watchers have given me real insight into. I’ve come to realize, I’m rarely hungry. That’s hard to admit.

Does this fix what’s going on emotionally? No, absolutely not. Does it help disconnect eating from my emotions—yes, absolutely.

Addressing what’s going on emotionally will certainly take more time than a few weeks of losing weight. But I’m glad to start making these important connections to cause and effect and disconnecting food and eating from my emotional response to situations.

Physical:

As my sister Karen has said, we often picture ourselves in our minds eye as not only thinner, but also younger. Meaning: I can lose 40 pounds, but I can’t lose 20 years of aging.

I think part of me was equating weight loss (and the “looking better” that comes with it) with looking younger too. I’ll try not to dwell on the wrinkles. But oh these #*•/ing wrinkles!!!

And not everything is where it once was. I won’t get into specifics, but let’s just say that I used to laugh at all those undergarment products for holding or reshaping women’s bodies and I’m not laughing any more.

I went from being an active 20-something who played college sports to being an overweight 40-something who told herself this is just how most women look and there’s nothing to be done about it. I’m in the process of defeating and reshaping that attitude, but it won’t bring back my 20-something athletic body. I just don’t know what’s in between.

To be honest, I’m a little scared that I might find that I don’t like what’s at the end of this weight loss journey. What is my best self and what if it isn’t all that great?

Bottom line: My body is changing as a result of this weight loss and I need some time to catch up to it. I always thought this would take months and months. I guess it was moving too quickly for me to keep up with the changes—mentally and physically.

I’ve lost 28 pounds. (Over 30 if you count my highest weight in 2017.) Now my plan is to maintain for a while. I’m NOT going to stop tracking points. I’m NOT going back to eating without thinking.

Let me get through the holidays and New Year and see where I am and go from there.

In the meantime, I’ll still blog about my observations, because this is a journey, right? It’s not only about losing weight, but about the journey—how we got here and why and where we’re headed. Even writing this gives me a lot of hope, more than when I started this post.

p.s. What’s with the picture, you ask? This is the tree in my back yard. It dawned on me that my “break” from weight loss is kinda like a change in seasons. I can’t just jump into the next phase of this journey. I need to pause, change colors and maybe even get rid of some dead stuff before I can regenerate for Spring. (OK, maybe that’s a bit much…)

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