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It’s been a while since I’ve written about my weight loss journey.  First, notice I did not call it a diet.  Technically, diet is the kinds of foods eaten by a person.  It is not solely the idea of reducing calories to lose unwanted body weight.  Besides, what is unwanted body weight?

The definition is simply each extra pound of fat is 3500 calories derived from eating excess food.  Food is simply the fuel our bodies need to function.  The fuel is measured as calories.  Each of our bodies requires a specific amount of calories to maintain a health body weight, and to function throughout the day.

It seems very simple.  Burn all the calories eaten everyday, and automatically maintain a perfect body weight.  Well, there are other factors that go into body weight.  It is regulated by body functions too.  Thyroid function effects body weight, by controlling the metabolism.  There are other organs and chemicals in the body that control eating or the processes of what is eaten.  An imbalance in the body’s function can affect its ability to process foods, and maintain a healthy body weight.  Some diseases, such as Diabetes, affects body weight, and a person’s ability to maintain a healthy weight.

What is the perfect body weight?  It’s not the insurance charts.  The reason is simple.  Muscle mass weighs more than fat mass.  An athlete could weight 15 or 20 pounds heavier than the insurance chart, and be healthier than a non-athlete at the same weight.  I tried maintaining my weight at the insurance chart level once.  I could only eat one small meal a day to maintain the weight.  That was definitely not healthy for my body.

We’ve looked at all the physical aspects of body weight, and image.  What about how we think about ourselves?  Where ever we are at, we have developed a way of looking at ourselves, and justifying what we see in the mirror.  I think the hardest part of weight loss is changing our view of ourselves.  The longer the weight has been on, the more comfortable we are with being over weight.  To loose weight means we have to change how we view ourselves, how we fit into the world, how we relate to other’s in the world and more.

It is a major change!  For those who have always been on the heavy side, it is a place they have never been before.  Fear can play a factor in keeping the extra weight.  It has become normal.  Other people notice when we make a physical change.  For those who have been heavy most/all of their lives, it’s like changing a hair style, only it feels more intense.  People will notice you on the street or in the store, and look.

A change in body image is required.  Simply put, at the store cloths shopping may require smaller sizes or even a different department within the store, to find sizes that fit.  The longer we have traveled to the Plus sizes, the stranger it seems to go into the Misses or Junior department.  Clothing styles are different.  Colors are different.  Everything about shopping for clothing changes. . .and I mean EVERYTHING.

One hard question to ask is:  “Why do I want to lose or to keep this weight?”  If the answer is anything other than for your own health and well being, it is going to be hard to take it off, and keep it off.  It has to be done for yourself, not another person.  It has to be the most important thing in your life.  It has to be something worth focusing on for a long time, without feeling discouraged. 

One rule is that it will take as long to take it off, as it took to put it on.  I’ve been on the weight loss journey for several years, though it’s been a serious venture the past 15 months.  In this time, I have allowed myself to plataeu two to three times.  I needed my ideas about myself to catch-up with how I looked in the mirror.  It has been a huge psychological change for me. 

So far, I have lost about 45 pounds.  That equates to about 3 pounds per month.  I’ve dropped from a size 15/16 (think it should have been 17/18 to be comfortable) to a size 11/12.  The most important measurement in weight loss is in inches.  How many inches have been lost.  I didn’t measure or weight myself at my heaviest.  My decision to change came from a photograph my son took of me.  I looked like a stuffed sausage in size 15/16 jeans and a men’s large tee-shirt.  I can say that I’ve lost at least four inches in my bust, waist and hips.

Another difficult change for me was the idea that I didn’t have to stuff myself with food.  It was ok to feel a little hunger.  It was a normal body function.  Before, I don’t remember ever feeling hungry.  I ate food before my body had finished process the previous meal, and it never had a chance to signal me for food.  On the flip side, too little calories will not allow for lose of extra body fat.  Our bodies will go into survival mode, and burn our muscle tissues while retaining the fat stores for later use.  Body fat is reserve energy for the body to use during lean times.

On a positive side, weight loss seems to give you more energy to complete tasks throughout the day.  I know that I feel younger, look younger, and am able to be more active.  I have less body pain, and it costs less for groceries.  Food has become fuel again, not a security blanket in times of stress or uncertainty.

So, the question to ask is:  “Am I happy with my weight?” 

Love and Light to All. . .Karen

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