This Rollercoaster called Weight Loss

My weight has been a problem for me for quite a while now
It’s so crazy how I am so accepting of what I consume
to only feel like a fool walking into my own death trap
these diabetes are real
and these heart attacks don’t play
I mean, for real
those donuts at Duncan’s ain’t doing nothing but dunkin’ on my life span
with an alley oop from a so called “diet plan”

This is an insert from a spoken word I wrote about three years ago.  I had recently took an epic fail in my weight loss journey, so I was inspired to write a poem about it.  This poem was liberating for the moment.  I would perform it and go to Waffle House later.  Yes, I know what you’re thinking.  I was a huge hypocrite. Looking back at this piece made me realize one thing, inspiration doesn’t mean anything without action.  I talked the good talk but I was walking in a different direction. This was after I knew what it felt like to succeed. Prior to my big slip up, I had lost weight and lived a healthy lifestyle. When times got tough and it was hard for me to get back up,  I got comfortable with talking and not doing. A common ground that most of us tend to share.

Before this rollercoaster dipped and my life derailed, there was a starting point to my weight loss journey. I had noticed that my sister was being very cautious about the things she ate.  She was working out and started talking more about her healthy journey.  I was in college around this time, and I would come home to her begging me to go to the gym with her.  I finally listened and decided to try out this healthy stuff.  I remember the night I talked to her trainer.  He asked me how much I weighed and I shamefully shared with him.  He paused and responded in a very realistic way.  He told me, “You need to start taking care of yourself, you’re unhealthy.”  Although his words seemed harsh at the time, he was right.  I was severely unhealthy and I didn’t even notice it.  As time went by and people seen that I was getting serious, my college buddy decided to join in on the fun.  We would travel to Dothan EVERY week to workout with him, talk about our weekly goals, and discuss nutritional discpline.  We even had to send him EVERY meal we ate. This was a difficult task being that somedays I would slip up, and when I did, he would make it clear that he was upset at my lack of discipline.  I had tough love for him, but I appreciated his honesty.  This was a completely different world for me, but I had come to enjoy the results.  During that time, I had lost approximately 38 pounds and so many inches.  Since then, I’ve gained every bit of it back…PLUS SOME!

I had recently loss my grandmother and looked to food for my comfort.  I ate and ate and ate… my trainer got fed up with me.  I stop driving to Dothan.  I started making excuses and accepting that food made me feel better.  My initial goal was to lose 50 pounds before I graduated from college.  By the time I was getting ready to graduate, I had gain all the weight I lost.  I didn’t even necessarily enjoy my graduation because even though it was a big milestone, it wasn’t everything I wanted.  I wanted to be 50 pound lighter too.

However, I will admit, I did get fed up after while.  I got tired of talking and making excuses.  I literally got tired of my own voice when someone would ask me about my weight loss.  I would think to myself, “Guh, hush! You ain’t doing nothing but making up another excuse.”  These moments were helpful for me because it allowed me to hear my reality.  I was a professional excuse maker, and I grew tired of it. Without the trainer this round, I got a bit motivated and started back on my journey.  I lost 20 pounds of the weight I had gained.  I started feeling myself. I called it my bounce back period.  I had graduated college, moved out on my own, and started living the grown up life.  Man, you couldn’t tell me anything. I started going to the gym every morning at 6am, I would jog on the weekends, and meal prep every week.  I was back on it, honey!  I had gotten my torch back and I was running with it…losing inches and everything.  Then came the challenge…

I picked up another job.  I was also convinced to keep my current job with reduced hours, I started graduate school, and I started studying for the GMAT exam.  An exam that satan himself created for my demise. My life had derailed, again.  In order to keep my new job that I obtained AND continue school, I had to pass this darn GMAT.  This is when the pressure was applied and food was the release.  I ate bad and felt bad… I ate more and gained more.  It was terrible.  I could only reminisce on those times when I was looking fine as wine and enjoying my clear skin and flat stomach.  The more busy and stressed I got, the more I ate.  It was unhealthy.  I went through this for about a year until God positioned me to relocate to another city because of a promotion I received with the job I was convinced with.

This was a blessing because I would not be as stressed anymore and I would be able to focus on myself and my health, at least that’s what I thought. This was also around the time that my daddy became sick.  (see my recent blog post about my dad, “meet pain, gain hope”) Instead of changing my habits, I continued running to food for comfort.  There would be times that I would not even be hungry and I would eat anyway.  I just couldn’t understand my behavior.  It was completely out of control.

when will I understand that the pleasure to consume the very thing that can kill me
will do exactly that
kill me
and no not softly
but very aggressively
like I’m literally trying to run up a hill to Zion
with a miseducated sense to the fact that
I am what I eat
Why does unhealthy food seem to comfort us?

Why do we think over-consuming will make us feel better?  If we truly evaluated how we feel after we eat these things, would we agree that it does so? See, I’ve always struggled with my weight.  Every since I was little I was known to be the big girl on the block.  I lived my entire life worrying about the way I looked and how I thought I was unattractive because of it.  When this whole time, I was literally and figuratively feeding myself deception.  I believed that I “needed” food, so I ate.  Deception is a stong case of bullcrap and detecting it can be challenging, but not impossible to conquer. It’s just a consistent battle.

As I began to live out my “new life”, my journey didn’t kick off like I thought. It seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I wasn’t in a pressing environment anymore. I was on my own living the grown up life, but that was it. I had lived so long without any discipline or order, so I still ended up eating what I wanted and  enjoying the “luxury” of trying new restaurants every other day.  The absolute dumbest thing ever…  I was making more money so I didn’t see any harm with eating out more.  I was just acting like a complete fool, but then I become fed up once again.

I started the Whole 30 (The Whole 30 is a 30-day fad diet that emphasizes whole foods and during which participants eliminate sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy from their diets.  Sounds crazy, right?) about three weeks before my cruise to Mexico, but you can call it the Whole 21 because I completely broke down on my vacation.  I had thought long and hard about doing this “reset” diet. I grew tired of waiting and contemplating.  I decided to just go for it.  The Whole 30 or Whole 21 was incredible!  I felt like a brand new person.  My skin was clearing up, my stomach was getting flat, I had energy, I felt like I could focus more and this was in week two.  I will admit that it was extremely hard and I almost broke down several time.  I stood up to the test thought, until the cruise. I ate a burrito our first day on board.  I remember feeling like a complete disaster the entire cruise.  If I knew breaking the Whole 30 would’ve made me feel that way, I would’ve stuck it out or waited until after the cruise to start.  The new and Whole 21 approved Daishu had jumped ship.  The free side of me came back and I shamefully indulged in every thing I could when I returned from my vacation.

About two months later, the beginning of the new year,  I decided to give it another shot. This time my friends joined me and we endured together.  We completed all 30 days of the program.  I was so proud of myself for finishing, but I will say it was THE hardest 30 days of my life.  My friends can attest to that as well.   On day 31, the Whole 30 guide gives you instructions on how to reintroduce foods back into your lifestyle.   We didn’t do any of that.  I remember eating a burrito, how ironic, at my weekly missional community.  I had all the fixing AND a desert.  I also remember feeling terrible that night as well.  I had literally went 30 days of strict discipline and then threw it all away as soon as my “30” days were up.   Isn’t that crazy?

After a while, I found myself asking these questions: Is living a healthy lifestyle a mind game?  Do I have to trick myself to believe that its a lifestyle change?

Uhh, yes!

I am totally aware of that truth now.  I am diligently trying to get back into the swing of living a healthy life.  I can continue to reminisce on the times when I was going hard, but that won’t change anything if I am unwilling to make the same commitment I did then. My sister has this quote that tends to motivate me when I fail to be consistent, “Every day is a second chance, sistah!” I believe her words every time I mess up because as you’ve read, my weight loss journey has been a roller coaster.  It has been one of my biggest fights.  A lot of people deal with different types of temptations and sufferings, and I will boldly admit that my weight loss journey is one of mine.   I am constantly reminding myself of the strength I have to fight my thoughts and insecurities when it comes to food.  This strength coming from the redeeming love that Christ has offered to me and the commandment to be obedient in that regard. (i.e. taking care of the body, this temple)

I have concluded the ending credits that listed all my excuses
the film of my comfort zone is over
out of the box and into the woods
I am ready for war
so strap up garlic and butter mashed potatoes
I’m about to serve you this work…out.

What is life without trail and tribulations… unrealistic.  We all have a battle to fight and one of mine is against finding pleasure in temporary fixings that can kill the body God so graciously provided to me.  Will it be easy to transform my life and live healthy? No.  Will I fall and be tempted to stay down? Possibly.

But will I get up…thats the most important question.

How will I respond to defeat?  Hopefully, by remembering that redemption is a part of everything that I believe.

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