What a year! It’s been one full of change for me. The most obvious one is that I started the year at about 320, saw my weight go up to 330 and now I’m down to 269 with more weight loss on the way. Sure, I went into 2010 making a half hearted attempt at resolving to lose weight, just like everybody else, and by February I’d forgotten about it. And now, at the end of the year, I actually did it. Honestly, it still seems like I’ve pulled off the impossible. I’ve literally lost 18% of my body. Poof. Just gone.
My BMI was at 42.4 and now it’s down to 34.5. That’s an 8 point drop in my BMI in about six months. That’s an amazing change and the fact that I’ve been able to keep my weight moving down all this time has me very encouraged. I had a bit of a setback in December as I struggled once again with my depression but I have been able to work through it and not let it stop me. I think that’s the biggest victory I had in the past year.
There were so many other changes in 2010 too. I started the year really struggling as I was dealing with a serious inner conflict as I finally came to terms with the fact that the faith I had grown up with was no longer mine. Seriously, if I had to chose between losing my weight or losing my faith, I’d pick losing weight any day: it’s significantly easier to do.
2010 also saw me go through some of the worst of my depression. I’ve written about the worst of it in previous posts so I’m not going to dig it back up here. Even though the memories of this illness are not pleasant, they are cherished because they allow me to see how wonderful everything really is.
I started a new job in 2010 and it has been a great one. Moving back into an IT role as a programmer was one of the better things I could do for myself. I enjoyed being where I was as an analyst but I am much better suited for the mental challenges that come with creating software solutions.
I discovered Savor in 2010. This was probably the biggest surprise of the year for me. It opened up a whole new world for me and gave me the inspiration to be able to make the changes in my life that I needed to make. Without this book, I would not have learned about mindfulness and I would not have come to a realization that Buddhism and meditative practices offer real, concrete answers to the struggles and pain of everyday life.
I had never meditated before 2010. Now, I meditate between 30 minutes to an hour each day. I find that meditation brings me clarity and helps me to see things as they really are. Living mindfully and meditating make it very hard to lie to myself about why I do what I do. I notice the difference on days when I don’t meditate: they just feel harder to get through than days when I do.
I started to write on a regular basis. I have always enjoyed writing and expressing myself through words but I had a hard time keeping things going. However, this time I have been able to maintain my writing and create a post every day or every other day (on average). The reasons for this are that it helps me to keep a record of where I’ve been, it helps me sort out my own thoughts about what I’m going through and it gives me a way to inspire and encourage others. I have made connections through this blog that have become very valuable to me. A small community has built up here and I’m blessed to have it as a part of my life.
I didn’t just write in this blog. I’ve got another writing project that I’ve been working on and getting over the depression and building up good writing habits has encouraged me in working on that project as well. I don’t know if anything will ever come of it but it’s a fun project to work on even it it’s only for myself.
The coolest thing I’ve learned this year though is the real secret to losing weight and keeping it off. People pay a lot of money to have someone tell them the “secret”. I’m about to give it away for free. The fact is that losing weight is not a matter of dieting or of exercising or of doing this or that or another thing. Weight loss, real permanent weight loss comes from changing ones lifestyle. Just going on a diet will not work for long term change. Exercise is critical to becoming healthy but if you aren’t able to do it for whatever reason (and I have not exercised nearly as much as I “should”) you will not be able to maintain the lost weight. No, changing the way that I live has been the key factor in becoming healthy and happy and lighter (both physically and emotionally). Changing my lifestyle has had serious implications on what I eat but the changes in lifestyle brought about the changes in my diet and this made it much easier to do. Since I wasn’t clinging to my old way of life and trying to eat differently, it didn’t feel like I was depriving myself of starving myself or going without. In the past six months, I’ve lost 60 pounds but I don’t think I’ve ever once felt like I’ve starved myself.
The lifestyle that we’ve adopted in the U.S. has been the key factor of our obesity epidemic. We won’t find a way to end the problem of obesity until we come to terms with the way we live. That’s why it’s going to be one of the hardest things we, as a country, have ever done. Harder than the Great Depression, the Great Recession, World Wars or Reaganomics (that last one was a joke OK?). We can’t go on living the way we do. We either change, or we die. It’s as simple as that. In 2010 I chose to live.
Now that it’s January, I’m sure there will be a lot of people making a resolution to lose weight. A lot of people may have already broken that resolution (or at least think they have) since it’s 8:30 P.M. on January 1. I hope that people who find out about this site as they look for resources to assist them changing their life for the better will be able to find something here that will help them. It’s not easy to do but it can be done. I’m 61 pounds into it. I’m excited to see where I’ll be in another 365 days as I look back on what I have gone through in 2011.