It’s a theme week here on Chocolaterunsjudy, and that theme, for the most part, is about weight loss/management. Most of you got to know me at my current weight, which is my goal weight (plus or minus a few pounds).
You don’t know the overweight Judy. The Judy who had a lot of black in her wardrobe. The Judy who probably always wanted to run, but unlike a lot of you brave souls, would never have thought of taking it up at her heaviest (although she did run around with the dogs at agility). The Judy who was not happy looking in the mirror.
Choosing my hard
There’s a saying that I’m fond of: being overweight is hard; losing weight is hard — choose your hard. It’s true, too.
It is not easy to lose weight. It gets harder and harder the older you get, too.
But you know what? Being overweight is hard, too. The guilt. The shame. The struggle to find cute clothes. The nonexistent energy.
You know what kept me going through all the years (yes, I said years) I was stuck on a plateau just a few pounds from my goal weight? I did not want to go back to my before picture. I didn’t like that Judy much. And as long as it’s within my power, because yes, sometimes life interferes, I’m going to do the hard work to stay the after Judy.
I can eat anything
It’s true, and it’s one of the things I love about Weight Watchers: no food is off limits.
I like to say I can eat anything I want, I just can’t eat everything I want. Are there times where I can’t eat what I really want? Yes, of course there are. Many times, of course.
But nothing is off the menu, and I do indulge in all the things I love. Just not all the time.
I like what I eat
Eating healthy can really seem like a punishment when you’re used to not eating healthy. Because let’s face it, a diet of french fries, ice cream, and doughnuts tastes good. But how do you feel if that’s all you eat?
I can tell you as a teenager and college student I used to do things like eat an entire pound of chocolate or an entire box of poptarts in one sitting (and call it dinner).
It didn’t make me feel good. Today the mere thought of doing that makes me ill. So when you look at me and think she doesn’t get it, trust me, I really do.
What I eat is always evolving, but the truth is I really do enjoy healthy foods. And it’s taken me decades to get to this place, although I did always enjoy freggies, even as a kid. I like how I feel when I eat healthy with a side dish of indulgence, instead of the see-food diet.
I like my clothes
Another thing you may not realize about me is I’m a fashionista. I love clothes. And cute clothes were really hard to find when I was overweight.
That black dress in the before/after photo I shared Tuesday? It was my niece’s Bat Mitzvah and I couldn’t find a cute dress to save my soul. That was actually my aha! moment, my turning point, and what got me back to Weight Watchers. It wasn’t really the dress, but I will never forget how impossible it was to find a dress that made me feel good about myself.
So sue me, I’m vain and I like my clothes and I want to keep wearing them.
It’s more about how I feel
That’s really the bottom line. I didn’t feel good — emotionally, physically — overweight. I had very low energy and I wasn’t happy with myself. I certainly didn’t feel confident. And you know what? It’s amazing, sometimes, how the bigger you become, the more invisible you become. People don’t start conversations with you. I was really amazed, as I lost weight, how all sorts of strangers were suddenly talking to me.
Look closely at my before picture above. That is not a happy looking person, is it? I hated having my photo taken then.
If you are trying to lose weight, though, no matter how much you hate photos, take one. And keep taking it. Having before/after photos is incredibly motivating.
Let’s not even mention how unhealthy it is to be overweight. You know those 40 lb cat litter bags? That’s almost what I was carrying around with me, 24/7.
Now imagine carrying that cat litter bag with you everywhere, all the time. Kind of tiring just thinking about it, right?
I won’t lie, when I joined Weight Watchers in my late 20s it was mostly (but not completely) about how I looked.
When I recommitted in my late 40s, it was mostly (but not completely) about how I felt. Which is exactly why I was able to stay the course this time. Going back to point #1, losing weight is hard, and for most people, looks alone won’t keep you doing the hard work.
But improving how you feel? That makes all the difference in the world. It’s why I keep running, too; because despite the tendency towards injury, despite not always enjoying a run, despite having trouble motivating myself outside sometimes, in the end, I know I will feel better.
And I feel better thinner. It’s worth it. I’ll tell you the same thing I tell people about running a half marathon: if I can do it, anyone can do it. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
Do you think it’s just not fun to eat healthy?