Can I share with you something crazy personal? This is me. On the left, in 2012, on a 10 year anniversary trip with my husband to Cape Cod.
And that’s me again on the right, 3 weeks ago, on the Friday before my son’s Bar Mitzvah.
You know those before-and-after shots where people say “Wow, what a difference 4 months (or however long) makes!”?
Well, my story took a bit longer. 4 years longer.
But still, can I say: “Wow, what a difference 4 years makes!”?
First, there is the obvious: I am exactly 50 pounds less in the picture on the right, which is the lowest I’ve been in over 14 years. Yes, I finally weigh less than I did when I got pregnant with my oldest. You know, the one who just had his Bar Mitzvah?! It only took me 13 years to lose the baby weight!
Self-effacing comments like these are no doubt my way of deflecting. The truth is that sharing this picture and this post with you makes me feel (more than) a little self-conscious. I know, it’s kind of weird that I’m a blogger, which is a pretty public “profession”, and yet I’m actually quite a private person in real life.
But I’m doing this because I believe I’m not alone. Not alone in struggling with my weight and not alone in struggling with my self-esteem as a result.
Gosh, I spent many, many years feeling terrible about myself. And just straight up feeling terrible. Being 50 pounds overweight is exhausting – physically and emotionally.
I’m also doing this because I know that sometimes those before-and-after shots can seem like “magic”. Like, “Oh, I found this program, this pill, this food, this exercise regime… and now look at me!” Well, I’m here to tell you that there was no magic for me.
There were, however, many, many, MANY false starts. I lost 30 lbs, and then gained back 15. I lost 15 lbs, and gained back 5. And then another 5.
But finally, finally, this year, in 2016, when I committed to making small changes to beget big changes, I set to it and stuck to it. And I lost those last 30 pounds for what I hope and believe is the final time.
Without a doubt, mine has been a classic 2-steps-forward-1-step-back journey. There have been many victories and quite a few dark moments along the way. But at nearly 45 years old (YIKES!), I think I may finally have a semi-grip on myself — on what works for me, physically and psychologically, when it comes to weight loss.
But before I share some of the lessons I’ve discovered, I want to underscore this one very important point: I don’t have it all figured out. I don’t even have it all figured out for me yet, let alone for the entire population of people interested in losing weight.
I say this because it’s so easy to get the impression on the Internet these days that there is some “universal truth” about weight loss. Paleo is the answer! No veganism is the answer! No cross-fit is the answer! They can all be great answers, for the right people … at the right time in their lives. But I just don’t believe that there is a universally right way to do this.
So just like when I’ve shared the story of how my husband and I got out of debt, or how we budget so that we stay out of debt, the “weight loss story” that I will share is definitely not meant to be proscriptive.
I’m the last person to be able to tell anyone, “Do this and you’ll definitely lose weight!” But what I can do, hopefully, is share my experience and provide some empathy and inspiration for those of you on the same path.
… Or gazing longingly at the path and wishing you could get on it.
… Or wondering what the heck happened to your path and whether you’ll ever find it again.
(Been there, felt that. Too many times to count.)
Over the next couple of weeks, I will share more about what I’ve discovered on this four-year plus journey (hint: certain foods trigger me like nobody’s business and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that sugar is stronger than my will).
But in the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Have you lost weight and kept it off? I’d be so happy to know how you did it – and how the process changed and affected you.