Monday, December 12, 2011


The story of all the fluctuations in my weight could go on for the 30-some years it took to write it, but I want to take this time to reflect on the last 16 months of the journey, my time spent with Lean Eating. I had looked at the program before--each time a new one was posted. My worlds were not aligned, though. I was not fully ready for the program until the August, 2010 one started. As that sign up period hit, I had been beating my head against the same weight loss wall for years. Slowly, I had made progress, dropping a little weight here and a little there, sometimes gaining a little, but with an overall downward trend over the previous 7 years or so. Previously in my life, as I had really tried to lose weight, I could, but age and years of stress and who knows what else must have finally caught up with me because at 36 I found myself unable to drop more than a pound every few weeks, and any period of successive excess would lead to multiple pounds gained. Einstein is known to have said that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Finally, during the summer of 2010, I was ready to stop the insanity. I was ready to turn the reigns over to someone else in hopes that they could guide me down the path more effectively. Truly, though, I had little hope that they could. Something in me believed that I was broken, that I couldn't lose weight any more, that I was destined to be chubby for the rest of my days. As I look back I can recall this feeling, but I feel disconnected from it. It seems so different from the person I am now.

I started that first program promising myself that I would follow it religiously for those six months, that I wouldn't give up for that six months. The first few weeks were exciting and as hopeful as I had been in a while. But the weeks continued to pass and the other women began to consistently lose weight. They were feeling the change and being (justifiably) happy about it. Six weeks passed. Eight weeks. And almost nothing. I still weighed more than I did the week before the program started. With each passing week of little or no change, I became more and more convinced that I was broken, that I was destined to be fat. But I had promised myself that I would stick with it. Six months, I would give it six months. Around this point in the program, I contacted Krista, my coach, for further guidance. One of the things she asked was whether or not I was weighing myself daily. Of course I had been, I had been weighing every morning since long before LE. It was my way of making sure my weight wasn't creeping up, so turning loose of that was a difficult-difficult for me. She also asked that I "check" my attitude and work aggressively on being positive and thinking about and visualizing progress. "I am getting lighter and leaner with every step. Today I am lighter and leaner than yesterday. Tomorrow I will be lighter and leaner still... " became my mantra. When I woke up every morning, instead of weighing, I would repeat my mantra. Any time I started thinking negatively, I would repeat my mantra. It was ever-present. And the weight started to slowly move. By the end of the first round, I had lost 16 pounds, but as I looked at myself and the pictures after peak week, I was disgusted and disappointed. I had made progress, the first progress of any extent that I had made in a long, long time but I wasn't where I wanted to be, and I was left with a dilemma.
By the end of that round, I felt like I was living the habits. I was doing them. I understood them. They were my way of life. But I was afraid. The idea of being away from the structure and support of the program scared the hell out of me. Although in retrospect the answer seems clear, at the time I was unsure if my best course of action would be signing up for the alumni program or starting another complete round of Lean Eating. That decision was a painful one for me (as are most life decisions). Finally, though, I decided that I still had quite a ways to go, and participating in another round really had few drawbacks, so as much as I would miss my fellow Barbelles with whom I had bonded so well, I would move ahead with another group.
My bonding with the new group was slow--mostly from my own hesitancy--but I told myself to give the great ladies a chance, and as I did I, came to love them. Again, I wanted to give the program my full effort and was happy to see as I did that the lessons were not just a repeat of the previous round's lessons. Again, my progress was slow but was slightly more steady than during the first round. Then came the opportunity to go to the LE Gathering in Niagara. I had promised myself and Marc that I wouldn't go anywhere other than TN without him in 2011. (I had made too many trips without him in the previous couple of years.) May, however, was a painful month for me. Losing Daddy suddenly and almost losing my mom after she fell a week later, I was taxed physically, mentally and emotionally and needed something out of the ordinary to look forward to. The gathering became that something.
The gathering also provided the change that I needed to propel my progress forward. Not only did I get the boost of being around my Iron Phoenix teammates, but I also got to sit with one of my coaches for a while and do a workout with her then sit with Krista, my LE coach, for a while, too. This time was critical for me, a connection I needed like a fresh breath. My biosignature profile was also critical. For the first time since starting the program, after implementing the biosig recommendations, I started making steady progress. Emotionally this steady progress was earth shattering. Staying positive became easier which then made the progress more steady which made the positivity easier. Part of the biosig recommendations was an intermittent fasting protocol. This protocol was comfortable for me, a nice change and something that helped make things "click."
Somewhere along the way this year, I have experienced a shift in my world. The way I feel about food is different. The way I feel about myself is different. The way I feel about life is different. Food is my fuel. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy it, and there are still times I feel like I'm missing out. But then I think about how sexy I feel and how nice it is to be able to shop and feel like I have endless options for how I want to dress and not have to dress to minimize my chubbiness. Thinking about that makes it much easier to turn down something I really don't need to begin with. Describing how differently I feel about myself is a bit more difficult. Sure, I am more confident, and I feel attractive for probably the first time in my life, but there is more to it than that. I am coming to truly know myself from the inside out, and by coming to know myself, I am for the first time giving myself permission for genuine self-love. For how can I love a self I do not really know or understand? With this new self-appreciation, I am finding a new sense of hope and anticipation about life. I feel more of a sense of control over my own destiny. I feel hopeful that I will find what it is that I am supposed to be doing. I feel like I have a mechanism for finding what it is that I am supposed to be doing and for finding a way to do it. And perhaps most importantly, I feel like I am not alone in the quest.

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