Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fear of Regaining Weight

I have been in two serious car accidents.  Before the accidents I was fearless.  Traffic, snow, speed...none of it scared me. Since my accidents I am much more cautious, and am even afraid to drive in certain conditions.  In a weird way, a similar thing occurred with my weight loss.  When I was overweight, I never thought about what went in my mouth. Cookies, nachos, fast food...none of it scared me.  Whereas immediately after my weight loss, just the word “cookie” was enough to send me into nervous sweats.  It was like weight loss induced some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder, where being overweight was the trauma that kept recurring in my mind.

These symptoms appear to be fairly common among those of us who have experienced large amounts of weight loss.   It is really a sad story: we realize that we need to change, educate ourselves, turn our lives around, feel great, and then suddenly become overwhelmed with the fear that it is all going to disappear.  We think we are going to eat that second cookie and suddenly our bodies are going to start ballooning out like Aunt Marge’s in Harry Potter.

It took me a long time to realize that that just isn’t going to happen.  There will be no ballooning in my future.  Yes, I know that the majority of people that lose weight gain it back, but I did not lose weight in the same way as the majority of people.  I didn’t crash diet, give myself insane restrictions, or develop an unsustainable exercise routine.  Most importantly, I am not the same person that I was 6 years ago.  In my weight loss journey I did not just change my weight, but my lifestyle and outlook on life.

If you follow my blog (or looked at the “Approach to Weight Loss” section), you know that I believe in a type of weight loss that involves making small changes in habits over time.  It is really more of a lifestyle transformation plan that results in weight loss, than a weight loss plan.  For example, I used  to shop in the middle sections of the grocery store that are full of calorie high/nutrient poor foods. Now, I completely skip those sections and buy things like produce which are calorie poor/nutrient rich. I don’t do this consciously, I do it naturally, because over time I have remodeled the way that I eat.

I have developed confidence in myself, but I am not saying that I never feel the fear of weight gain anymore. My former life will always be with me in the back of my mind. But in the end, I know that I have changed, and no cookie is going to take that away from me.  I hope that you will, or already do, feel the same about your own weight loss.

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