I remember pretty vividly the last diet I went on.  I was one of the millions that tried Atkins six or seven years ago.  It was a struggle the entire time and the horror of horrors to me was my starting weight: 196.   I remember thinking to myself “how did I let this happen?”  Prior to that weigh-in I had measured my weight in terms of how far away from 200 lbs I was.  You see, to me, 200 lbs was the big number… the point of no return… the fatter than fat.  Coming from a family of overweight/obese individuals, I figured for many years that staying away from 200 lbs was the best I could hope for.  So at 170 I said to myself “I’m still 30 lbs away from being 200, that’s a lot so I’m ok.”  At 185 I said “I’m 15 lbs away from 200 and it’ll be ok as long as I’m careful.”

When I finally caved in to the intense cravings for carbohydrates I got while on Atkins and chucked the entire diet out the window, I was somewhere around 179.  That weight didn’t last long and I kind of neglected to step on the scale again for a long time.  The next time I remember my weight, it was 212 and I was at the doctor’s office getting a stern lecture on my weight.  Two traumatic things happened in that moment: I realized I was over 200 lbs and the doctor made me feel like a complete moron.  I resolved to lose weight right then and there… but I didn’t.  I tried and I tried.  I went through cycles of feeling guilty and frustrated and heartbroken over my inability to lose weight and cycles of not giving a damn anymore because I obviously couldn’t do anything about it.

You see, I didn’t know I had so much to learn.  I didn’t realize what I was eating.  I didn’t realize how many calories I consumed even though I thought I was eating healthier.  Exercise, never something I excelled at was a constant challenge and something I constantly started and stopped.  I would go for months without thinking about it and then try to start an exercise routine.  I’d try starting small and I’d fail.  I’d try starting big and I’d fail.  Everything I tried, I tried at home… you couldn’t get me to step foot in a gym… the idea of it was too horrifying.

On Friday I weighed in at 199.  It was a big moment for me.  It’s the first time in a long time I haven’t had a 2 as the first number of my weight and it feels fantastic.  I’ve learned a lot since June.  I’ve learned about the food I was eating vs. the food I’m eating now and even vs. the food I want to be eating.  I’ve overcome my aversion to going somewhere to work out… a huge step for me and one that may just have changed my life.  Getting out of the house to exercise and finding something do-able for my fitness level was key.  Then, sticking with it and expanding upon that only made things better.

Today I weighed in at 198.  it almost seems impossible that I”m below 200lbs and still losing weight.  Nearly too good to be true.  It’s not easy all of the time, but it’s easy most of the time.. and I find myself approaching that start weight of when I was on Atkins.  I remember how fat I felt back then and it just doesn’t mesh with how wonderful I feel right now.  I feel fit.  I feel fantastic.  I feel so different from that person who started Atkins all those years ago… However, what I do feel is fear.  I’m afraid that the weight will become difficult to lose now and that my experience will be similar to what I experienced then.  Common sense says it won’t be the same… but we’re not dealing with common sense… we’re dealing with the emotions of failure and shame and they’re awfully hard to shake.

So.. it’s all relative.  Years ago I was 196, fat and out of control.  Today I’m 198, getting more fit every day, and finally in control… finally understanding food and my relationship with it… finally feeling as though someone might look at me and not think “gross.”