Friday, August 20, 2010

Changes in Lifestyle = Changes in Weight

A couple of years ago, I did the unimaginable: I lost seventy-two pounds in six months. It was a complete lifestyle change for me; I totally revamped my diet and my exercise regimen, and I was rigid in sticking to it. I was so proud of myself for my accomplishment, and I swore that I would never go back to it.

But the changes of the past year have taken me back to square one. Last summer, I gained back thirty pounds. After losing my brother, well-meaning people sent us a lot of comfort food, and after the funeral was over, life still didn't go back to normal. I tried to return to my diet and exercise regimen, but my heart wasn't in it. I was so unhappy all the time, and felt as though I should take the comforts where I could get it, even from food. Also, I wasn't sure why I should work s o hard, and deprive myself so much; after all, my brother deprived himself all his life with the intention of reaping the benefits later in life, and he never did.

It took me until the holidays, and winding up on the bathroom floor during a holiday party, vomiting and crying over my brother, to begin rediscovering my resolve. I decided that my brother wouldn't want me to be living so self-destructively; after all, I'd done so much work on myself since high school, to be well both physically and mentally, and he wouldn't want me to throw that away. The Christmas season is a tough time to begin any dietary changes, so I decided to start afresh in January. And I did. During a three-week stretch of time, I lost ten pounds, and was encouraged.

But that wasn't the end of the changes, or the setbacks. Over the next four months, I became a homeowner and a wife. As a homeowner, I had to learn to balance the needs of my house and pets with my full-time job, while turning my childhood home into my adult home. As a wife, I had to deal with the stress first of having my husband living in another country with a five-hour time difference for the first month; after that, I had the same responsibilities as I did as a homeowner, while learning to cook quick meals to share with a husband who has very different dietary needs than my own. All of this has derailed me even further, so that I have regained the rest of the weight I'd lost.

Now it's time to find my resolve once more. The toughest part is relearning how to do it for myself, and not for others; my husband loves me for who I am, regardless of my weight, but other people, who complimented me when I was thin, have lost no time in pointing out my recent weight gain. It's hard not to want to lose the weight again to make the criticisms stop and the compliments return. And when I go back to work, it will be tough to decide to cram any more into an already full day, even if it's just an extra half hour; combined with a seven-hour workday and over three hours of commute time, it seems especially daunting. But most of all, I have to figure out what will make me HAPPY; is it the temporary, superficial comfort of sweets, or the satisfaction (and energy) that comes with a healthy lifestyle. And of course, the ever-existing question: what do my choices say about me?


  1. Alyson,
    I was just thinking about things of this nature this morning as I dragged myself out for the laziest run ever. I wanted to go because I wanted to make myself feel better, but man was my heart not in it. I struggled the entire time. I think the most important thing is that we not put undue pressure on ourselves or pass judgement on ourselves. Those negative energies will only counteract what you want to do, which is be happy and healthy and amen to that. Stay focused on you. If you want to feel better, then the exercise and the healthy eating will come. I know how hard it is, but I always find small steps are the best ones, and allowing yourself that treat or that day off is so essential. I'm around on most Thursday through Sunday mornings if you want to run/walk around Clove Lakes!

  2. Hey hun,
    You are a beautiful person whether you are thin or heavy. Its hard to find that balance, trust me I struggled and continue to struggle with being a wife and then a mother. We are people who need to make people happy. You need your time even if its to walk to the ferry instead of taking the bus or just reading on that beautiful porch you built. You will find your way again. This time do it with a friend so you can help each other out.