I no longer remember the point at which I simply gave up. But I know it happened. My weight crept up and up and up as the years rolled by. Sure, I successfully dieted — numerous times. But I know now that was the problem: I dieted. And at some point, every diet ended and I reverted to my old habits. Each time, the weight I lost came back — and then some.
During one of those previous diets, I launched a weight loss blog, determined to write about everything I had learned. I was convinced that I had overcome my weight issues once and for all. I also thought that writing about what worked for me would keep me honest and accountable . . . surely the weight would stay off.
Sadly, the result was the same. And since few people read my posts and even fewer expressed any interest in my planned read-along and discussion of Fat is a Feminist Issue, the book I still consider a must-read for any woman struggling with her weight, I abandoned the blog, as well as my new-found outlook. Once again, the pounds piled on . . .
In January 2011, I learned about Pacific Medical Weight Loss. As I read the program description, I began to feel something I had not felt vis a vis my weight problem in years: hope. Actually, the program sounded too good to be true, and I had to remind myself that there is no panacea, no magic, no foolproof quick-fix. Still, I determined to investigate whether I was a candidate for the program and, if so, give it an honest effort.
I began the program on June 11, 2011. Five months later, on November 11, 2011, my faithful, supportive friends joined me in celebrating the fact that I had lost 100 pounds. By the time I boarded a plane bound for Maui on July 11, 2012 — accompanied by three of those friends — I had lost a total of 177 pounds, graduated from the weight loss program, and entered into the maintenance phase of my journey. My Hawaiian vacation was the reward I promised myself if I succeeded.
Several friends encouraged me to blog about my participation in the program, urging me to detail my weight loss as it occurred. I steadfastly declined, largely because of my fear that I would fail in a very public and humiliating manner. Also, I asked myself if the world really needed another weight loss blog and still resoundingly believe it does not, especially if the emphasis is on cutting calories and sharing recipes.
Most importantly, I did not and still do not think people want to know the ugly truths about weight loss that I would be required to share if I were to pen a fully candid account of the emotional and psychological explorations and analysis necessary to achieve permanent — meaning, life-long — weight management success.
Because the reality is that until you are willing to engage in the unsparingly difficult examination of the reasons why you became an emotional eater in the first place, as well as the myriad ways in which being overweight has served you — yes, served you — over the years, the weight will always come back. Digging that deep inside yourself for answers and being willing to develop a new relationship with food, your body, your world around you, and everyone — literally — in your life is exceedingly difficult, as well as an unending process. The Pacific Medical Weight Loss program provides the necessary tools, while Dr. Daren Primack and his wonderful staff facilitate the process, but it is soul-rending, unrelenting, and lonely work. No one can do it for you. You must do it for yourself and by yourself. It is a journey you must make utterly alone, even though an unconditionally supportive network of loved ones is, along with professional assistance and guidance, mandatory, in my opinion. (It is also critical that you disassociate from anyone who will sabotage, no matter how unintentionally, your efforts, even though recognizing and parting with such people can be gut-wrenchingly painful.)
Pacific Medical Weight Loss gave me back my health, confidence, and the ability to enjoy many activities. Every day is gift — a joyous opportunity to celebrate and learn still more about how my weight got so out of control, why I gave up on myself, and how I can ensure that I never feel that hopeless again. Each morning the challenge of maintaining my success begins anew, and I am at peace with the knowledge that will be the case for the rest of my life. I know how easy it would be to slip back into old habits, resuming the emotional eating that repeatedly sabotaged my prior, short-lived weight loss successes, and overshadowed each and every one of my numerous other achievements. But I am confident that will never happen.
That’a the plain, rather ugly truth. Frankly, I don’t think it makes for compelling reading, nor do I believe there is much of an audience for the details. Most people want to take a pill, spritz some liquid elixir on their food, or think about the problem another day because, after all, that pint of ice cream in the freezer is beckoning them . . . It is axiomatic that change is never easy. In the case of achieving and maintaining lifelong weight loss, it is especially difficult — and not spectacularly interesting. But the change is totally worth the effort because — take it from one who knows — there is no food that tastes as good as being thin feels!