Like many Americans, I have been overweight most of my life. I tried all kinds of diets, bought every type of exercise equipment imaginable, and still watched as the numbers on my digital scale climbed higher. Then, at the age of 34, it became necessary for me to undergo a complete hysterectomy.
“No,” my male ob/gyn assured me. “A hysterectomy won’t make you gain weight.”
Obviously, the man had never seen a spayed cat. They are HUGE, and over the next several years my already oversized body became huge, too.
Frustration, disappointment, depression – mornings for me ran the gamut, until one morning I woke up and decided to switch gears. I stopped dieting altogether.
Crazy as this may sound, it was the best thing I could have done. One minute I was a lifelong failure, and the next minute I had taken the first step along the road to success. You can’t even begin to imagine the sense of freedom that I felt.
I wish I could say that the pounds I began to lose dropped off quickly, but they didn’t. In point of fact, they dropped off rather slowly, but the important thing is that they dropped off at all. It represented a radical shift in the cosmos or, at least, the world as I had known it.
First one, then two, then three pounds were gone. Not only were they gone, but they never returned. Slowly, but steadily, one pound at a time, I lost over fifty pounds. More than five years later, these same fifty pounds still fail to register on my digital scale.
No, I had not discovered some magical elixir, my stomach had not been subjected to surgery, and I was not popping pills. The secret of my success – not just for losing the weight, but also for maintaining the weight loss – was really quite simple. In one basic shift on that fateful day, I had adjusted my attitude.
All of my life I had focused on dieting, until losing the weight had become an obsession, and like most obsessions, it had made my life miserable. Never-ending concern about my weight woke up with me in the morning and slipped back between the sheets with me each night. It restricted my pleasure at parties, family events, and employee social gatherings. It filled me with guilt whenever I did glean a bit of pleasure.
So what had I done that had so dramatically turned my life around? I had made a conscious decision to no longer diet, but rather to concentrate on getting healthy.
Suddenly, I found myself to be guilt free. I no longer had to deny myself even the simplest of pleasures. Free to have a cookie if I wanted one, I no longer ate them by the bagful.
Now, instead of my weight controlling me, I was in control of my quest for health. Instead of waking up each morning depressed, I now awoke energized and excited about my new project.
One simple substitution at a time, one new level of understanding about how the human body actually works, one new habit established – added together, each contributed to a healthier lifestyle that, in turn, resulted in slow but steady weight loss.
Most importantly, maintenance was no longer an issue. No longer was the diet I was on going to end. My healthy new habits were ongoing, as I continued to add to them.
My doctor has told me that 90% of her practice arguably needs to lose weight, and from time to time, some of them do. They lose 5, 10, 20, even 100 pounds, and then they gain it all back, usually adding on a couple of pounds in the bargain. She calls me her miracle, and at her urging, I have documented my journey in A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off!
Perhaps, if you concentrate more on being healthier, you can be a miracle, too.