This question has been haunting me recently as I’ve passed my one year mark of living a low carb lifestyle. Statistics say that once you lose the weight, most people usually FAIL at keeping it off. Why? What is it that makes living a thin lifestyle for those of us who lived the majority of our lives overweight so difficult? Do we follow a program just to get the weight off or do we truly recognize the need and necessity even of shifting paradigms?
The first time I lost a significant amount of weight I got pregnant almost immediately. At that point, I for some reason thought that I could just go back to eating the way I had previously enjoyed myself. After all, it was for the baby right? The pounds began to pack back on, and this was multiplied when we ended up having complications with the pregnancy and losing that baby. But what happened to me mentally? I obviously had taken the mindset that I needed to lose the weight, but not to keep it off. Bad habits crept back in and before I knew it… not only had I gained it all back, but plus some.
I spent the next 2 years yo-yoing before conceiving again and with that (successful) pregnancy I gained over 70lbs! I knew I was overweight, but just wasn’t in “that place.” I always used the excuse “I could never give up my bread… potatoes… (insert your poison of choice here).” So obviously it wasn’t priority in my life at that point.
Slowly, things began to compile and the veil began to be lifted as I started seeing just what was going on in my own life that was hindering me making a real difference. What was it that was hindering me? Me.
I realized that I was serving me. “I want… I can’t give up…. I deserve…. I can’t pass on….” all about the “I.”
What happened when I started losing weight at lightning speed? My thought process shifted, but from one self serving “I” to another. “I want it off NOW.” Patience and self-control played second fiddle to my insatiable desire to go faster and faster. I was encouraged and spurred on with the hope and false information that this was perfect and a great way to lose. And I bought it! Totally! Never-mind what damaging effects I might have permanently been putting on my body. But one thing rang through….
My mom asked me shortly after I lost the weight if I had in actually traded one selfish ambition for another. Is this what had happened? Is this why we have such a hard time maintaining weight-loss to begin with? I suddenly realized that I had still not completely dealt with the heart issue.
I began my journey with good intentions. I wanted to make a better life for myself, my family, my health, and to honor my Lord with my body. But the road to destruction is often lined with good intentions. When the complements start flying that same self-centered thinking begins to creep back in. “If they like me now… just wait till they see me then…” I don’t think that anyone would deny that being on the cover of a magazine is pretty much the ultimate compliment that you can get when you’ve been losing weight. Especially for someone like me who has been overweight my entire life.
Since leaving the Kimkins program I have learned so much. God has blessed me with incredible friends and family who have supported me 100% in everything that I’ve done. One thing that I discovered however is that by not addressing the base line issue that I had forgotten why I decided to begin my journey in the first place. I chose to live the way that God intended me to live. I no longer face a self-serving attitude of more more more (or less as the case may be). I found that I needed to re-adjust my paradigm and realize that successful weight loss and maintenance was not about getting complements or feeling good about myself, while those are definite benefits and perks, they are not the goal. True maintenance begins in the heart.
By transferring my thinking to a goal of honoring God with my body and extending my life in a healthy way for my children and family, it is no longer about “I.” Food is for nourishment first and enjoyment second. At first, it seems like a tremendous paradox… if we didn’t enjoy food so much then we wouldn’t have a weight problem, but if the pleasure was taken out of eating, then we wouldn’t feel the need to nourish. We have taste-buds for a reason. It is a gift so that we can enjoy this aspect of life. But like other aspects it is a gift we seem to abuse.
By over-indulging we seem to counter-act the exact thing that God intended for us. I believe He would much rather us savor and completely enjoy the flavor of a strawberry, instead of smothering it in sugar and bleached flour and taking away from the nourishment and satisfaction that can come from a simple serving of the fruit. When we over-indulge, we desensitize ourselves and our taste-buds to the actual pleasure that can come from eating GOOD foods.
Ask anyone who has been eating healthfully for an extended period of time. Whole, healthy GOOD foods seem to take on an all new vibrancy. Why? Because we had become desensitized to the actual flavors of the foods themselves. I am constantly amazed at how good I feel and the pleasure that comes from eating well. I can now enjoy those moments of healthful eating with greater satisfaction than the food can give me; because I know that I am honoring God with my choices, and I am giving my children a much brighter future with a healthy and participating mother.
While I am still far from what I would call a complete success as far as the maintenance goes, I feel confident that this time it is for good. It’s been 7 months. This time, it will stick. This time, it’s not about me.