Sunday, June 24, 2012
If you are an emotional or stress eater like I am, each pound that you've gained over the years probably symbolizes some transition or life event. Maybe it was relocation, graduation, marriage, divorce, death of a friend or family member, or other traumatic event. Or it could simply be a mundane lifestyle change or too many dinners out. Combine the weight gain with failed diet and exercise programs and you end up cloaked in multiple layers of fat.
I'll give you examples.
As a teenager in middle school, I was enrolled in P.E. class, a cheerleader, played softball and ran track. I walked two miles home from school nearly every day. I weighed 135 pounds.
Then I graduated middle school and started high school. I ditched most of the extra curricular activities and took the bus home from school. I gained 20 pounds and weighed 155. Did I ever take this off? No.
Then my family relocated from the midwest to the east coast. I became homesick and spent lots of time at home watching MTV. By graduation, I weighed 170. Then I left for college.
I was much more active in college. My dorm room was on the fourth floor in a building with no elevators. I walked to classes every day. I jogged and worked out at the gym with friends. My weight settled in at 155 lbs.
My last year, I moved off campus and took a part-time job at a fast food restaurant. I rode the bus to campus and ate lots of free burgers and fries. My weight returned to 170.
After graduation, I fell in love and got married. I dieted and exercised to look good for my wedding. I weighed 155. Got pregnant and had my daughter. My weight returned to 155. Then I got divorced....one year later, met another guy and fell in love...that relationship fizzed. Two years after the divorce I weighed 180.
Four years later, my grandparents died...
Then I accepted a new job and relocated....
Six years later, I lost my job....
Well, you get the idea. Being an emotional and stress eater, I gained weight with each life event and, with one exception 10 years ago, never took it off. Now, as I drop the weight, I'm once again confronting what originally caused the weight gain.
Right now, I've just lost the 20 pounds I gained while I was unemployed last year. I've also lost 10 of the 20 pounds I gained when my grandparents died. I now have 35 pounds left to lose; The balance of the weight I gained after losing my grandparents plus the 25 pounds I gained after my divorce.
The 20 pounds I gained after middle school? No plans to lose it, because I'm in my 40s and don't want to look boyish or angular. I believe that when you're older and lose too much weight, it draws fat from your face and ages you.
My granny died 10 years ago and my divorce was 20 years ago. It's time for me to stop carrying around these events on my body. Wouldn't you agree?
What are you carrying around? Are you carrying the events from your past into your present? Maybe it's just weight you gained from happy times---delivering a baby, a series of hot dates at fancy restaurants, weeks of graduation celebrations? Heaven forbid, if it's from something truly traumatic, please see a therapist and face those issues. Whatever it is, at some point the fat is visible baggage from the past and needs to go.
Onward and downward.