It's Thanksgiving 2011 and I just stepped on the scale, after the big meal, in full clothes and shoes. Ridiculous, right? I mean, why wouldn't I wait until the next morning, before I had eaten anything and gotten fully dressed? Because I wanted to see the absolute worst.
Have you ever felt like you’re maxed out? Like you’ve finally reached the ultimate in discomfort, shame and loss of control? I was buying clothing sizes that didn’t reflect the real me, the person I saw myself as, the person I knew I was as a kid - light, carefree, fun loving and energetic.
So, I was looking to [finally] lose weight, feeling completely fed up with how I felt in my body and I wanted to know where I was starting from, the worst case, the biggest I had ever been. I guess I thought if I can handle what the scale says after eating all day and being fully clothed, then I can handle anything.
Sure enough, it was a large, somewhat shocking number. Well, maybe not a total shock, but definitely unfamiliar and like I said, not ME. And since this was a digital scale, there was a little .8 at the end of the number, as if the number itself wasn’t bad enough!
I think I was trying to scare myself into action. I wanted to see that high number so I would finally do something and make changes. I was trying to kick my butt into gear. And actually I had just come off a 10 day raw vegan diet, as an experiment and act of desperation. So I was already trying. But I think I needed motivation to keep going, not necessarily eating all raw, but to keep eating healthy - super healthy!
And that’s really the key, isn’t it? Not just diet, or do something for a short while and then go right back to eating anything and everything. No. Stick to it. I needed to find a way of eating that I could stick to, forever. But what? How? Well, the raw vegan thing was certainly fun, but it didn’t feel sustainable. It felt like a crash diet, and that’s not what I was looking for.
Of course I was going to eat cooked food. OK, cooked food: check. And I loved how the raw vegan diet was dairy free and by default, gluten free. OK, no dairy: check; no gluten: check. That seemed like a good start. A combination of raw and cooked foods that don’t contain any dairy or gluten. But what about meat? Well, my husband was at that time, and still is, vegetarian, and I had already stopped preparing meat in our home. So cutting out meat seemed easy enough.
But what about sushi, my favorite, absolute most loved cuisine of all time? I wasn’t ready to give that up! So I didn’t. I still ate raw fish from time to time and, let’s face it, sushi isn’t cheap, so how often was I really going to eat it anyway? And that’s it - that’s the “diet” I created for myself and decided to try sticking to for as long as it felt natural, easy and comfortable.
Well, here I am five whole years later. I am still on a 95% plant-based and 75% gluten-free diet. I just had sushi the other night to celebrate my daughter’s birthday (her favorite food too). I am [still] down 4 sizes since that Thanksgiving, the last time I ever ate turkey, or any poultry or beef. I lost all the weight in the first year, and have been able to keep it off to this day. I don't see myself ever getting that big again.
Talk about sustainability! Who knew this would be the new me? I had created my own, customized diet, somewhat on the fly, without a whole lot of research or hemming and hawing. You could say I intuited my way to my perfect diet, one that suited me perfectly that I could stick with for the rest of my life. It felt powerful, fulfilling and exciting, and most of all, I felt very in control.
Your turn! Please share your weight loss success story in the comments below, or any epiphany type story related to food and eating. I’d love to hear all about it!