A number of years ago I started on journey to get healthy, lose weight, and see if I couldn’t take control of a life that I felt was going in a downward spiral. I knew that if something didn’t change, I’d be topping 250 pounds by the time I was thirty. That was not a direction I wanted to go. In the past I had topped out the scale at 215 pounds after spending a semester abroad. While I lost the weight I gained over the summer, the next few years was a fight with the scale, hovering around the 190 mark. Finally, I got sick of struggling and trying to do weight loss on my own. At that point my boss had suggested Weight Watchers, with whom she had had great success. Up until that point I’d always assumed that something like Weight Watchers was for the weak. I thought I could do it on my own. Then, finally, after a night binge consisting of a whole flatbread, half a tub of ice cream, three glasses of wine, and half a package of Oreos, I realized that I couldn’t do this by myself. I made a promise to myself that that Saturday I would attend my first Weight Watchers meeting. That was nearly two years ago. I didn’t tell my mother that I’d joined as I thought she’d laugh at me. She too struggles with her weight and I had thought she’d always written off Weight Watchers as a money grab. After three months of consistent weight loss, I finally told my mother what my secret was. Rather than laughing at me, she told me she’d been thinking about joining and that this would be a catalyst for her to turn thought into action. It took me only four months to lose thirty pounds. It was quick. I lost consistently and stuck to the plan religiously. I wanted to hit lifetime status as soon as possible so I could stop paying the weekly fees which I didn’t really have the disposable income for at that time. I lost the weight and kept it off for a year and a half.
Last August I moved from my home in Edmonton to Toronto to attend culinary school. I’d upped and quit my office job, deciding to train in the culinary arts so that I could start a business as a personal chef and help other realize that success I’d had in their own weight loss journeys– or even in just creating healthy lifestyle change. That could include people experimenting with becoming vegetarian, vegan, or people who had to deal with dietary restrictions such as celiac or diabetes.
My first semester at school went excellently. I maintained my weight and even lost a little bit more. I was zealous in watching my food consumption to the point that people started to bug me about it. I was obsessed. Then come January I lapsed into depression. I ceased to care about my body and shoved any sort of food into my mouth that made me feel better temporarily. I put forty pounds back on in four months. I hid in my room and munched on peanut butter, cake mix, popcorn, and Oreos. I ate all the time, and when I wasn’t eating I was obsessing about when I would eat again. I didn’t truly snap out of my depression until I left Toronto and headed back out West. Now, after being back in Alberta for a month and a half, I finally feel like I’m ready to attempt losing the weight again. I’ve been making healthier choices lately, but have simply been eating too much, and still have the occasional peanut butter or dried fruit binge. As I approach weight loss again, I find that there are things I learned from my last time around that I do not want to repeat. For example, last time I lost weight I used a lot of artificial sweeteners. Sucralse (Splenda) and Asparatame were two of my best friends. I knew that they weren’t any good for me and that they could also trigger sugar cravings. Many scientific studies have warned against using these forms of sweeteners, but I justified it by saying that while they may not be healthy, neither is being overweight. Touche. But trading one evil for another shouldn’t be the way things have to go. So, this time around I’m trying to lose the weight without using artifical sweeteners. This is going to be a challenge, as I have a super sweet tooth.I know the tricks, like eating lots of fruit, and if you’re going to have chocolate, just have a little bit. Have you ever tried having an entire chocolate bar in front of you and only having one piece? I don’t know about you, but it just doesn’t work for me. So my plan is to steer clear of it completely. Sad, but true. So, no artificial sweeteners. This time around I’m going to love the body that God gave me. After all, I’ve only got one, so I’d better take care of it if I want it to last. Now, if it just wasn’t so hard to get up for those early morning swims!