There were a few moments this summer, while eating ice cream, for example, that I felt happy and free while I told myself: “I’m just living life.”
These feelings were about my food choices, something that I struggle with on a daily basis, with every single meal of every single day.
Jerry and I allow ourselves one cheat day a week. People have differing views on the topic, but they personally work for us and I have been very successful with my weight loss while still giving myself that one day a week to indulge.
That’s not the problem though. The problem occurs when it’s NOT a cheat day but I’m cheating anyway. Most of the time, I can stay on track pretty well. But then there are those other times… those times when I’m out with friends, or my family is out to dinner, and I just want to enjoy life and food like a normal person does and not have to obsess about serving sizes or calorie counts. Those times that I just want to eat and not think about the consequences of my food choices, and wonder if this meal or this dessert will reflect on the scale on this week’s weigh-in.
And this is where I often feel torn.
I tell myself that life is for living. That an ice cream won’t kill me. That everyone else is enjoying the food, so why not me?
See, when you’re a “weight loser,” your mindset is totally different than that of most people. Every single bite of food has to be carefully thought out. Meals need to be planned days in advance. There is almost always some sort of guilt or doubt associated with “bad” decisions. Food consumes your mind still, but in a different way than it did before. “Should I eat this? Will it be worth it? Will the number on the scale go up?”
There is an elusive balance between weight loss and living life, one that I’m still working out in my mind. Some days, I cave in, throwing caution to the wind and enjoying life (and food) like everyone else, without a care in the world about what I’m eating. Some days, I decide that weight loss is more important to me, and I remain resolute in my decisions about food. This is most days, actually. Most days, I am “good.” I still haven’t quite figured out the exact balance between just living life and being purposefully mindful in my food choices. For the most part, I’m still finding success on the scale (though not every week), so I think I’m working toward a good balance. Before my pregnancy and wedding, I had no difficulty losing upwards of 6-7 pounds a month. I had a laser focus, but I passed up a lot of opportunities, even skipping going out with people to avoid the food temptations. I was happy with my body, but I missed out on a lot. Now my weight loss is a lot slower because I’m working on finding a better balance for me: one that will enable me to both lose weight AND live a full life.
So that’s where I’m at right now. 90% of the time, I’m still carefully counting my calories, obsessively weighing in, and mostly being successful. But I’m also trying to find a way to just live too, without always obsessing about those numbers: calories, weight, serving sizes. They are always on my mind. After 3.5 years on this journey, I’m still not perfect, but then again… no one expects me to be. I just want to learn to live a little while I lose.
I’m getting there.