I’ve waited so long to be able to say this. I’ve worked incredibly hard every day. This last month has been one of the hardest I’ve ever had. I’ve had to watch while family and friends devoured food that I hadn’t ever realized I had taken for granted. I have faced some of the strongest feelings of temptation imaginable but I pulled through.
After one month of rigorous diet and exercise, I am proud to say that I… have lost 40 pounds!!!
To be honest, I didn’t think I had a chance after day one. I have less self-discipline than anyone else I know. But I didn’t just change my weight, I’ve changed my mindset and that’s what counts in the long run.
The first two or three days were pretty manageable which was not at all what I had suspected. But I was running on sheer enthusiasm and the taste of protein shakes hadn’t yet lost their appeal.
Then came the cravings… By day five my parents were ready to tie me down Exorcist style to keep me from sprinting to the pantry like a bat out of hell. I dreamt about. I imagined food every time I closed my eyes. I once caught myself looking at restaurant menus online. I had the cravings of a pregnant woman going through methamphetamine withdrawal. And that’s exactly what it was: withdrawal.
I begged for things as seemingly insignificant as a single tortilla chip. I would get up in the middle of the night and spend minutes in heated mental debate over whether or not I could allow myself to eat one single tortilla chip. Not only was it pathetic but it was sad and surprisingly scary. I never thought I could become so vulnerable over something so common as the food we eat every day.
By the end of the first week, the cravings had subsided. I hadn’t cheated despite wanting to more than anything else in the world. And I had lost 20 pounds. In the past, I’ve only ever really felt proud of myself has been after performing on stage or for winning awards for something I had written. But the arts come easily to me. Losing weight does not. This was a pride that I had earned. This was a pride that I had fought for tooth and nail. And yet I couldn’t even enjoy it because of the utter disbelief I felt for doing it.
I cheated on the second week. The cravings had returned but this time only one food was bouncing around in my mind: pizza. I wanted it. I needed it. On a whim, I threw on a pair of shoes and walked 30 minutes to the my favorite pizza place. 2 slices. 1 cheese, 1 sausage. It got me the kind of excited you feel when you’re a kid coming down stairs on Christmas morning. I was giddy going into the first bite.
And then something strange happened. The pizza wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be (and people, believe me: when you haven’t had solid food in over a week you don’t go to just any pizza place I mean this was the good stuff). Within 30 seconds I realized what I had done. I had set unrealistic expectations of how good I believed the pizza to taste. There’s no way anything could have lived up to this memory of the pizza I had created in my mind.
This was a completely new perspective. It was the first time I had thought like a skinny person in years! When I was in the eat-all-you-want-with-no-consequences mentality. I was putting food on a pedestal not because of how it tasted but because of what the food filled in my life outside of my stomach. Sometimes it was chicken wings and stress relief. Other times it was cheese fries and an anti-depressant. In college it often took the form of ice cream and the company of friends. I had purchased that pizza subconsciously believing that it would provide me with something more and when there was nothing to be found, I was left with just pizza.
It was the strangest thing, but for the first time, I was able to look at food as a utility. The nourishment was mandatory but the calories were entirely optional. While I knew I would be scolded by the nutritionists for taking a “cheat day” I knew I had learned something more valuable than the calories I had expended on it.
Towards the end of the month, all cravings as well as any desire for unhealthy food were completely absent in my mind. It was weird to think about so I chose to focus on my schoolwork. Up until the last week or so I had been on a role. However, I have recently forced myself to overcome a second form of temptation: the desire for more variety in my diet. I had graduated to being able to eat protein bars after week two but those quickly lost their appeal. There were a few cheat days throughout the month and I am not the least bit ashamed to admit that. Without being able to practice making healthy choices whether it be at home alone or during social gatherings. Each time, I found myself not only making healthy choices, but near the end of the month instinctively seeking out the healthy choices.
This, as you can imagine, is more important than losing weight. There are scores of “successful” dieters who gain everything back again over time. Those who are able to retrain their brains into seeking out healthier options have a better chance of fighting off obesity in the long run. There cannot be a cure for obesity because their cannot be a cure for the voids in our lives that food often remedies. Because of this “remission” is as good as it gets and losing the pounds is entirely meaningless without being able to see food at its base level, nourishment, at all times of the day and night and under any degree of stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, or whatever potential void it may fill in your life.
While I have managed to lose almost 13% of my starting body weight, the road ahead of me is much longer than the one at my back. At 227 I will have crossed the threshold of obesity and will be medically considered “overweight”… goody. I mean. I work so friggin hard you’d think they’d lighten that label up a little bit. Whatever. Anyways that’s what I’m shooting for by the end of the summer, meaning that I will have to lose 43 pounds in another two months. That’s .68lbs a day for 63 days!
If I hadn’t already done what I once believed to be impossible, I might think I was crazy.
~I’ll be feeding you seconds in no time,
P.S: I WAS CAST AS SHREK IN “SHREK THE MUSICAL!!!“ If you live in the Chicagoland area, click for tix!!!