Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Food and Everything

If you pay attention to what our culture says about weight loss – articles in women’s magazines, ads for weight loss programs, or television shows like The Biggest Loser – you will hear one constant theme and it is:

What You Will Gain When You Lose.

Because everyone knows that losing weight is nothing if not a winning proposition. You will gain greater health. Increased confidence. Delight in being able to do whatever it was you couldn’t do because of your weight. Other people will admire you. And find inspiration in your accomplishment. It will be a happy-happy-joy-joy experience.

This is untrue but the idea persists, I believe, because most of us don’t spend too much time in weight maintenance. Most of us lose a lot of weight and, after a few glorious months as a thinner version of ourselves, gain it all back. And then we must start the cycle all over. This would be an accurate description of my life with weight for close to fifty years.

Somehow, in 2007, I found a way to break that cycle – I lost a lot of weight and have kept it off for over five years. Not that my weight has been completely static during that time. The actual situation is that I gain a few pounds, then I lose it, then I gain it back, then I lose it again. The key is “a few” pounds. Not one-hundred pounds.

Another way to describe my life in maintenance is that I’ve slowly been coming to grips with what I lost, in addition to the weight, that is. It took a few years for this to really sink in, which is probably why I never got here previously – I’ve never spent this much time in the maintenance phase before. When the novelty of being thinner wore off, I started noticing some things. Like the fact that many of my relationships involved going out to eat. That my ability to deal with stress was directly proportional to my ice cream consumption. That chocolate could fill any void. Without the balm of food, it’s just me and my problems, all alone in an often exasperating and disappointing world.

So this is my challenge now, to live a satisfying life, one in which food nourishes my body and soul, but is not everything. The idea that food is not everything would have been inconceivable to me for my first fifty years. Now, five years into this maintenance thing, it’s a belief that has got to go. And that’s a loss as big and as real as anything I’ve ever contemplated losing before.


  1. how are you doing? just realized it has been over a month since you posted. . .

    1. Hi Vickie! I'm still here. I just haven't had had much time to write this summer. I posted something today that I've been working on in bits and pieces for a couple weeks.

      How are you doing?

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