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Losing 60lbs was the self care I never knew I needed

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Losing 60lbs was the self care I never knew I needed

Saturday, November 02, 2019

I heard a shallow knock on the door and for a minute froze with anxiety. I was in the tiny bathroom of our overpriced one-bedroom apartment in the city. "I'll be out in a minute" I croaked. I still had that creaky, unused morning voice. But the truth was it wasn't going to just be a minute. I might be in there all day at this rate. I was standing in the same spot for god knows how long just staring down at my feet in disbelief. Above my toes, in bright, glowing numbers read 175 lbs. I could not understand how that number was mine. The last time I'd weighed myself was about 5 years ago for a college track meet where I clocked in at a measly 103 lbs. "How did this happen?" I asked myself quietly. The tears began to well up as I slowly stepped off the scale and dragged myself back to bed. During this time my husband had found something else to occupy himself but I could hear him shuffle to the bathroom just as I was pulling the covers over my head.

I laid there under the covers until my own body heat forced me out of my shell. I knew I had to do something. The fact that I hadn't even noticed I'd put on this much weight was enough to send chills down my spine. I looked in the mirror everyday and I'd buy a new clothing item a couples times a year. "Do I have body dysmorphia or something?" I thought to myself. But the numbers didn't lie and based on my height of 5'0" I knew if I didn't do something soon I'd be facing some serious health risks.

I started with what I knew. I squeezed into my old leggings and sports bras (which by this point were about 5 sizes too small so you can only imagine...) and walked downstairs to our apartment gym. Thankfully no one was there and I had the place all to myself. I stepped on the treadmill and set the speed to 6. Boy was I in for a surprise. I have never slammed the stop button so fast. By the time it got up to speed 5 I just couldn't keep up. At that point I really just wanted to give up but I decided if I can't run, I can at least walk. And for the next few days that's all I did. I also started taking a long hard look at what I was eating. I'm not saying I ate the healthiest foods in college but I was mindful and didn't have endless snacks at my disposal like I do now. I started cutting out processed foods unless they were super high quality (which meant I'd only have them occasionally). Vegetables, lean meats, and tons of water were to become the main staples at each meal. To not lose my sanity I also incorporated lots of healthy fats like avocado, good quality butter, and Greek yogurt. My biggest vice would be the hardest to overcome which was cutting back on fruit. I kid you not when I say I ate fruit by the truckload. It was my favorite food group but sadly it was the key factor to my weight gain. You see, although fruit is super healthy, it does contain fructose. What I didn't realize was my body was storing all that sugar and causing complete havoc.

Honestly, just like most people, I didn't keep up the gym routine for long. The days got cold and the bed got cozier. I slipped back into my old ways and the weight just piled on once again. Then something really surprising happened. I began to have a negative self-image. I disliked looking in the mirror and dressing up. It was such a shift in my persona as I've never been self-conscious of my body before. It truly was a frustrating time for me. It meant never having anything to wear and keeping clothes way too small as "motivation" to lose weight. It was so unhealthy. Finally I'd had enough. I didn't want to live like this anymore. It was affecting my work, personal, and overall quality of life.

That's when I discovered the capsule wardrobe. The basic concept is to downsize to only a few items of clothes for each season. You have to keep only what fits and what you are guaranteed to wear. Once I'd watched enough youtube videos and read enough posts on the topic I set out on my herculean task. I opened my closet of lost hopes and dreams and tore it apart. At the end of this emotional journey I was left with only 15 items that met the criteria. I knew I was in trouble. But I had no fear as I'd sort of planned for this to happen and had a running list of what I needed to build the perfect capsule wardrobe. I started shopping at goodwill, then moved on to old navy, and finally Jcrew. By the end of the weekend, I had the closet of my dreams.

It's amazing what a new wardrobe can do for you. I started to take a lot of pride in my outward appearance as well as my health. Getting dressed was now something I enjoyed. This is where I truly believe the shift finally happened. Instead of wearing clothes I hated or trying to squeeze into ones that no longer fit, I had accepted my size 10 and 12 and started to love myself for who I was. That's when I gained compassion and stopped judging myself. I was more gentle and supportive with my self-talk. I said I mattered and was just as valuable at any size and deserving of love.
Without realizing, the weight slowly began to melt away. I kept having to get my clothing tailored each month until finally I'd give in and buy a smaller size. Within 6 weeks, without stepping a foot in the gym, I'd lost 35 lbs. Everyone wanted to know how I did it. My answer was always the same. I decided to stop fighting who I was, accept myself fully, and take pride in taking care of myself.
Pretty soon my eczema cleared up, my migraines stopped completely, my sciatic nerve stopped pinching, and I no longer had digestive issues. I kept this up for a few more weeks and finally with my new confidence and energy, stepped into Capoeira class. That's where I started doing exercise that I truly enjoyed. I loved the fight-like-dance of the Brazilian martial art that I spent hours practicing with my older brother as a teenager. My body began to grow stronger and more agile. I felt incredible and I was so grateful I did this in a healthy way physically, mentally and emotionally.
If you've never been overweight it's hard to understand how someone can get to this state with little to no awareness. But I can tell you that this is something that happens everyday and, if you're not paying, attention can happen to you as well. I try to still check in and weight myself every month or so but it's pretty easy to tell when I'm putting on a little weight by how my clothes fit. When that happens I just take a look at my diet and activity level and adjust accordingly. I can tell you right now that your body doesn't want to hold onto that weight. It just doesn't know how to process and let it go.

When something isn't right, our first reaction usually involves adding or covering up to fill a perceived void. What this experience taught me is to do the exact opposite. I got to this clarity by eliminating possessions, food and stories I was telling myself. I let go of any idea that didn't serve the higher vision I had. I decided to use what I had and be grateful that I had a body that was functioning, able to work and take care of myself and love my family. Yes it didn't fit what I saw promoted in the magazine but those are people too and I can guarantee they have insecurities as well.

You were given one body in this life and that body deserves to be loved and cherished. Don't limit your life in a pursuit for something that you don't necessarily need. If you need to lose a few pounds to be healthier and stronger then start paying attention to foods, actions, and habits that make you feel crappy. It wont happen over night, but repeated actions become habits, which then lead to a lifestyle.

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Life really is what's happening to us while we're trying to do a million things and the next time you have negative self talk, switch your mindset to a state of gratitude and acceptance. Be gentle with yourself fiends.

I heard a shallow knock on the door and for a minute froze with anxiety. I was in the tiny bathroom of our overpriced one-bedroom apartme...

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