I’ve lost a toddler (at least in weight) but am winning a war

Like many of us, I’ve been unhappy with my weight most of my life.

When I first wrote that sentence it read, “I’ve battled with my weight most of my life.” But when I reread it I knew that wasn’t really accurate because the majority of the time I didn’t put up much of a fight. There were skirmishes; and when I lost them it made it too easy to just give up, wave the white flag and have a cupcake. I told myself, “You are just going to be heavy. No reason really going all out with the diet and exercise.”

So I didn’t. And my weight would go up and down five or so pounds but really not ever change much. The only “diet plan” that had ever worked for me in the past was getting deathly ill in a third-world country. I lost nearly 75 pounds in mere months. Obviously this wasn’t sustainable or healthy, and much of that weight came back on.

Most of my life, while I haven’t been engaged in battle, I have at least put up some resistance. I ate pretty well, I’d exercise a little. And a year ago I committed to doing more exercise and consistently did Zumba two days a week. It was a good, fun workout.

But my “resistance” did little to nothing to move the scale.

In October, a friend and co-worker told me about a sugar fast she was planning to try. I’m anti-fad diet, but this one seemed like a “nothing to lose” kind of effort. Cut out sugar. Even if I didn’t lose a single pound, it wasn’t like I was eating all meat or drinking just green juice or anything crazy like that. I was still getting a balanced and healthy diet — lots of veggies, brown rice, meat, etc.

In the 21 days of the fast I lost about 10 pounds. It wasn’t anything crazy, but it was pretty exciting. And I felt better. It also cut my crazy sweet cravings and seemed to kick my metabolism in gear.

Since then, mid-October, I’ve continued to keep most sugars out of my diet and continued my two days of Zumba and added a few extra days of walking/jogging or working out on an elliptical in my work’s fitness center. But I’ve let myself indulge in the occasional dessert, overindulge in a Chinese buffet or two and eat some cheese. I don’t feel like I’m obsessive about my eating or exercise but instead making healthy choices with my food and activity. And I’ve finally gotten to the point where when I miss a Zumba class I actually missed being there.

And I’ve seen some results. I’ve lost 23 pounds — a toddler. My goal is to lose a small child but it will take continued effort and work, something I’m ready to do.

But you know what, if I didn’t lose another pound I’d be OK with it. What I’ve learned in the last few months is that while sliding the dial on the scale down a few notches every week feels good, what feels even better is not having to stop mid-dance party with my toddler to catch my breath, having more energy and leading by example for my son in what a healthy lifestyle looks like.

While I’m certain I couldn’t say “I’ve battled with my weight most of my life” before, I’m happy to say I still can’t say it. At 33, yes I turn 33 on Sunday, I’ve learned it isn’t about weight. (It’s taken me long enough to come to that conclusion.) I’m battling the sluggishness; I’m battling the early heart disease; I’m battling my self-confidence issues; I’m battling to have a long, healthy life with my family.

What are you battling?

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