“How did you do it?”
It’s a question I get a lot these days. Usually when I run into someone I haven’t seen in awhile or I meet people who hear about my weight loss.
In most cases I think the question is merely polite and conversational, but I remember when I used to ask others the same thing it was laced with the futile hope for a silver bullet answer, a simple and quick solution to the extra 65 pounds that had plagued me for more than a dozen years. A desire for a pill you take and the weight just falls off with no extra work, without changing a thing. Or perhaps a new diet that involves some rare South American fruit that tastes delicious, fills your stomach, and again, (see the pattern here?) the pounds literally melt off. These days when I get the “how did you do it?” question I occasionally recognize that look, eyes that say they know that no such bullet exists, but desperation keeps the hope alive.
Now that I'm well on the weight loss road, I’m afraid my answer always disappoints. I lost the weight the old-fashioned way: consuming fewer and smarter calories, and exercising more. I know, I know, what a bummer, huh? But it is the truth, a hard-won truth that most people don’t want to hear. When I’m asked that question and someone really does want to know the answer, I break my success down into three major categories.
I used to hate that word. “Die” with a “t” on the end. But I’ve come to embrace it. Not as the short-term, silver bullet type definition, but rather the “what I get to eat for the rest of my life” definition. Notice the use of “get to eat” rather than “am forced to eat” because it really is way more pleasant than I anticipated.
When I tried to lose weight before, my biggest fear was hunger. I really, really hate being hungry. I hate suffering in general, actually. But the funny part is, I haven’t had to go hungry at all. I eat more often instead of less often, every three hours, in fact.
In January I was struggling to lose each pound and I was hungry and pissed off pretty much all of the time. When I complained to a friend at the gym about how slow the loss was going, she asked me if I was “eating clean.” Huh? She gave me a copy of Oxygen Magazine and I was intrigued by the ripped woman on the cover.