People sometimes ask how I lost 100 pounds but I think that the better question is why I lost it. The answer to this question isn’t short but I’d like to share a few key points about how I arrived at the decision.
My weight loss started roughly 5 months before I lost a single pound. My family had endured some difficult medical problems that had subconsciously opened my mind to the risks I was taking with my health. I did not have a sudden “ah-ha!” moment though. I knew, on an intellectual level, that my habits were bad, but I did not make the emotional connection at the time. I don’t know where the impetus to change came from but it was, itself, quite sudden. And so, I made the logical decision to quit smoking.
I managed to get a doctor to give me a prescription for Chantix within a few days and I started it right away. In short, Chantix works by preventing nicotine from connecting with the cells in your brain that derive pleasure from it (you’ve probably seen commercials). I took the pills for 5 or 6 days, and then just like that, I stopped. I did not even have the famed last cigarette; of course, one of them was my last, I just didn’t make a show of it and I do not remember it.
The next week was awful. I thought about smoking quite a bit. I had given myself permission to eat whatever I liked and however much I wanted. Quitting smoking is hard enough and I couldn’t let the thought of weight gain derail me. Of course, concern over weight gain was not much of an issue in any case. My agitation was something to see. I remember screaming in my car at the absolute top of my lungs because the sub shop didn’t get my order right. I wanted two subs, not one.
People often describe losing weight as a lifestyle change and in some ways, that is true. But, I think people expect an epiphany moment in which all the barriers they have will fall away, slashed through by the sheer power of their dedication. Perhaps that is true for some people. It wasn’t for me. I had emotional connections to smoking and eating that even today, I have not fully examined. I had to think through what I wanted from my life and then figure out a way to make it happen.
I started by recalling when I had last felt truly comfortable and healthy in my body and the answer was sometime in my middle teen years. It was when I was most active and ate the least. At the time, I was more motivated by chasing dates than food. And then I tried to think about how my daily routines had changed. What, exactly, had I been missing? And my first answer was walking. I used to walk and now I didn’t. And that’s where I started.
And now, an awesome walking song. Want more? Check out this list at the Hiking Life.