May 17, 2012
How did you know you were ready?
Question: How did you know you were ready to lose the weight?
Actually, I didn't know I was ready. My "readiness" came somewhat as a surprise to me. I was reading something online about a woman who was tired of being overweight. She was going to blog about her process and was going to start right away. I thought, "I wish I could do that." I felt fat and lethargic and under-energized. I looked at my kids and felt exhausted just thinking about the effort it would take to keep up with them. But I knew deep down that life didn't have to be this way. So I piggy-backed on the woman who was starting the weight loss blog. I literally copied her first step and set up my blog that morning. Smaller Sarah was my first step.
I didn't know what I was doing or how I would proceed, but I knew that I needed to get moving. So that same day I took a walk - the first I'd taken in years. All I knew is that I had to start somewhere. My advice? Don't wait for the right moment. Start before you're ready. Then once you've taken a small step, repeat that step over and over until you're ready for another step. All I did for the first few weeks was walk. Once I was confident in my ability to consistently get out the door for a morning walk, then I began to strategize about my next step.
Question: Why were your previous attempts to lose weight unsuccessful?
I know this sounds crazy, but previously I was always looking for a low impact, easy way to lose weight. I didn't want a weight loss plan to take time away from what I thought was "my life". For instance, I took some weight loss drugs in the late 90's and lost a bunch of weight. But of course when I stopped taking the drugs, which by the way were horrible-terrible-no-good-jack-you-up-then-crash-and-burn drugs (Phentermine), the weight came right back. The other thing that stifled me in the past was my mixed up motives. I simply wanted to look better. I wanted to look like other people I knew who were beautiful and thin and attractive to others. I had no interest in looking like me. And I certainly wasn't ready to look deeply at my emotional habits, which included binge eating, hiding food and a serious sugar addiction.
Then I had my children and realized that my body was awesome! I gave birth to two beautiful boys and was able to nurse, nourish and protect them with my body. Not only was this an empowering experience but it also showed me that I was capable of far more than I gave myself credit for. I also have a very supportive partner, without whom I could not have made the changes necessary for this kind of shift. I think my previous lack of success in losing weight was a confidence issue. In the past, I didn't think I was strong enough to do the hard work required for this kind of life change. I also didn't realize that my weight was a kind of armor I was using to distance myself from a destructive person - a person no longer in my life. If you want to lose a lot of weight and lose it permanently, you must be willing to examine why you are overweight. You must become an investigative journalist about the source of your own choices. (More on this topic tomorrow.)
This time is different because I now know my own worth. I am part of a true and beautiful partnership that is the center of an entire family. I know that my actions matter. I am the one in our family who decides what is on the table at meal time. And more importantly, I have two young men to raise. They are looking to me for cues about how to act, eat, think, love and move through the world. They look to me for key information about their own worth and potential. So when inspiration finally struck, I was ready to accept with a whole hearted "yes".