Ten years ago, I reached the culmination of a two-year process. After 31 years of being overweight and morbidly obese, I had lost 230 pounds. I leveled out at a steady weight of around 210 pounds – still technically too big for a person of my build, but without skin surgery, it was about the lowest I was going to get.
And to maintain it, I had a strict regimen from which I nearly never deviated. I ate three meals a day with one afternoon snack. I had nothing to eat after my evening meal. I didn’t eat anything that was made with white flour or that was heavily processed. I avoided carbs and focused on high amounts of protein, along with fruits and vegetables. Desserts were a vestige of the past; I only ate them, in small amounts, at holiday meals or birthday parties.
I exercised at least two to three hours every day. I commuted everywhere on my bike and rode a 25-mile loop on the local bike trail almost every evening after work. On weekends, I would take even longer rides, or hike 10 miles in the woods, or compete in a half-marathon. In those two years of losing weight, I completed two half-marathons and rode my bike 100 miles in a single day across northern Ohio. I was at the peak of fitness, even though I still looked like a blob.
And then I got tired. I got tired of lettuce. I got tired of chicken breasts. I got tired of always being tired from strenuous workouts. My regimen slowly began to slip. I’d miss a day or two of exercise. I’d be stressed out about something and justify stopping at the local donut shop. Slowly but surely, I began to lose hope in my ability to keep the pounds off, and eventually, I gave up completely.
Fast forward to 2018…and 150 of those 230 pounds had reappeared. Along with them, Type 2 diabetes reappeared, high blood pressure reappeared, aches and pains reappeared, and my sense of being a failure slammed down on me…hard. It didn’t help that I was working in a very stressful job and was perpetually exhausted.
I nearly lost hope…again…for what seemed like the thousandth time in my 42 years on earth.
Faced with an uncertain future, I hunkered down, stared at my once again larger-than-most image in the mirror, and searched for hope. The magic weight loss pill had not appeared. It was time to face reality and realize that if I didn’t start making changes again, I was likely to encounter some very significant health problems and reduced longevity.
Now, that doesn’t sound very hopeful, does it? One thing I have learned in my years of searching for hope for the heavy is that it’s a common human experience to find it when we are at a dark moment, low point, or facing an uncertain future. I don’t have a good explanation as to why. But I do know that sometimes hope has a way of rising out of the proverbial ashes.
So, today, I am back at it. I’m working on an updated regimen – one that is not as strict and more easily maintained. I’m happy to report that it’s working. Oh, it may not be happening as fast as I would like or as fast as it did 10 years ago…but it’s happening. I’m learning to be patient and forgiving with myself. I’m learning to find life and joy in the people and things around me…not just the food set in front of me. I know you can do the same. There is hope for the heavy – each of us has to find our own unique path to it, along with the grace needed to maintain it. Best wishes on the journey.
I’d love to hear what you do when you find yourself searching for hope. Let me know in the comments below!
7 thoughts on “Ten Years in Ten (Short) Paragraphs”
I enjoyed reading this Jon. I am looking forward to reading your book
As a former morbidly obese person I know that losing weight is very difficult. It’s a lifestyle change.
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So happy for you in your new journey. I think I see a change in Janet, too. You’re in it together. That helps when you can encourage each other. Don’t give up. I’m keeping you in my prayers.
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Today in class I mentioned how the word “tikvah” in Hebrew means both “hope” and, perhaps by coincidence, “rope.” (It shows up in punny ways with Rahab and in Job.) Hope definitely keeps us hanging on. Though I don’t know if I can articulate what gives me hope. Maybe I’m just stubborn. 😉 No, you know, I think it’s the lives and stories of others that give me strength – in addition to having something bigger than myself to have faith in. I love your endeavors, Jon. I’ll definitely be watching for your writings.
Love reading it Jon, very well written and inspiring.
Losing weight can be a struggle or a positive affirming experience. Each of us needs to find a reason to make this commitment. Mine was seeing a photo of myself at my granddaughter’s first birthday party. I didn’t recognise myself! I had always hidden behind a crowd in family photos just showing my face. I decided I wanted to see my granddaughter grow up with an active granny. My attitude changed overnight. I slowly lost weight a pound or two each week. In four years I have lost five stone ( in UK) which is 70 American pounds and am in the healthy range. My advice is to ban the word ‘diet’ Develop a healthy eating plan, find food you really enjoy and view it as a lifestyle change.Dont feel guilty to put yourself first.
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You are an inspiration, Carol! I agree completely. Diets, or at least the “diet mentality” must go!
Thank you for sharing your journey. Like all journeys, there are hills, mountains and valleys. It’s just difficult to see that perspective when you’re the one taking the journey:) I have had a couple of failures but many more successes in my journey so far. I think that is all part of it. I liked what you said about being more for patient and forgiving of yourself. It is easy to let all those small failures culminate and feel like a big one! It is so much better to focus on the successes. I also liked how you are going more slowly this time. That is so much more realistic. It may take longer but you’ll be more likely to stick with it. My goal with Weight Watchers was to change the way I eat. I want to change my cravings. I love exercising….not half marathons though:) My weak area is chocolate and chips..ha, ha. Anyway, I AM changing my cravings! I find that the seasonings you use and vegetables can make some VERY delicious meals! I am also trying “healthy” desserts. There is some pretty creative recipes out there that let you enjoy your sweet tooth w/o a lot of calories. Take care. Tell Janet hello for me! I will read your other blogs too.