I was talking to a friend recently about losing weight. I said “You don’t understand what this means to me”. Their response was, “You are right that I don’t understand what it means. What does it mean?” The problem was, I wasn’t sure how to explain it.
Over the past few days I have been mulling this around in my head, trying to find the words to describe it. There is one word that keeps resurfacing in my head – Freedom. This is one of the most difficult things I have ever attempted to explain. It’s something you really can’t understand unless you experience it. Here’s my best attempt.
While this started out as a weight loss attempt, it has shifted to a journey to better health. That not only includes physically, but mentally as well. You’d be surprised at how much losing weight can affect the way you think – about yourself, about your eating habits, about everything really. A new world opens up to you. The impossible becomes possible. You see things in a different light. It’s empowering.
My body is moving in ways it hasn’t been able to in years. I have energy I haven’t felt as long as I can remember. I have a want to do things. Before it was do what I had to and then rest and relax (mostly just lounge around). I’m now pushing past that and doing more and sitting less. (Don’t tell anyone – but I was actually excited about getting out and mowing the lawn yesterday!) I actually want to be more active.
When you’re overweight, you can very easily get out of shape. You find it harder to maneuver in some ways. I had a moment just the other day at the gym where I walked between two pieces of equipment. Now, if you’re overweight, you may have experienced the “shimmy of shame” as I like to call it. You know the drill – you’re walking between two objects where other people just walk straight through. But you are unable to just walk right through. Either your hips are too wide, or your whole body is too wide. You have to turn sideways and side-step through. Sometimes sideways is just as confining as well, so you have to find another way. Well this time, I just walked right through. It was still tight mind you. But I did it. No turn. No shimmy. Just walking. I felt my face light up. I felt freedom. Freedom to walk through the way I wanted.
As I lose weight and begin to rewire my thinking, I’m learning to love myself. I’m learning to be proud of who I am. I’m learning to search for the gifts I have that I’ve never seen before. I used to doubt myself constantly on what I could do. I’m learning how strong I truly am. Why have I never realized all this before? The negative thoughts took over. They filled my head. I now have freedom from those thoughts to make room to focus on the positive.
I used to be a slave to food. I ate for taste. I ate too much. I ate the wrong things. I’m relearning how to eat. I’m learning to listen to what my body needs. I’m learning what is good for me and what isn’t. I’m learning how my body reacts to certain foods. I’m learning I like foods I never thought I would. I’m learning healthy eating doesn’t have to be tasteless and bland. I’m learning to enjoy natural sweetness. I’m learning I have the freedom to make the choice of what I eat and drink, and how much I eat and drink.
The truth is when trying to explain what this means to me, it’s hard to put into words. I’m not sure this writing is doing it any justice at all. But I hope it helps give you even the slightest glimpse into the freedom I am experiencing each and every day. With each new goal met, with each pound lost, with each weight and rep I can increase at the gym, with each new good choice I make on eating, comes freedom. The freedom for me to say “I CAN do this and I WILL do this. The freedom to say this is not the me I want to be. The freedom to look to the future and see a better me. The freedom of knowing I will get there no matter what anyone else says. I have a freedom I never knew existed. The freedom to believe. The freedom to believe, finally, in me!