I’ve lost 98 pounds gained after pregnancy loss, depression, menopause and antidepressant drug therapy. I’ve lost fat, but gained many good things: better overall health, food “sobriety,” confidence, joy, peace of mind, self-esteem. Here’s how.
I had the usual baby fat as a kid. After shedding it with adolescence, I never had weight problems even through four children. Then I lost two stillborn babies and started the antidepressant Paxil–known to cause weight gain, says Mayo Clinic. I hit early menopause at age 41 and got really fat. I started having health issues I’d never had before– cholesterol, blood pressure, pre-diabetes, liver, heart, coordination. Losing weight alone got all of those under control with no medication.
Breaking the Cycle
I struggled with food addiction. I didn’t exactly binge, but I did eat too much and drink too much wine. I’d eat and drink alone (bad habit) at night (bad time) in front of the computer (bad place). Consuming too much, right before bed, it sometimes came back up as acid reflux. I was riddled with shame. Sometimes, I’d eat to cover that shame. That made me fatter, sicker and more miserable. Then, I decided to get off that vicious merry-go-round and lose weight. I began to eat mindfully, count calories, control portions. I not only lost weight, but broke the stranglehold that food had me in. I found “sobriety” from overeating.
I like controlling my diet, looking thinner, feeling healthier. I like wearing cute, flattering clothes instead of frumpy-dumpy. But there’s more. Losing weight made me feel something I hadn’t felt in a long time (if ever): pride. Not arrogance. Improved self-esteem. I feel grateful at having been given the strength to change what wasn’t working. I’m proud of myself for having the courage, willpower and diligence to make change happen.
Losing weight has helped me drop the negativity. And that’s apparently contagious. I notice people treat me differently–they show admiration, they smile and are friendlier, sometimes even deferential. I wondered why, aloud, to my oldest daughter. She said confidence is attractive (“sexy” was her word). People like being around people who care enough about themselves to look nice, to make healthy choices. They admire folks with the guts to change themselves.
So I feel better physically, but even more so emotionally. I could write a book about how weight loss heals depression and shame. Comparing before and after pictures (see those attached to article), I looked awkward and brittle before. Granted I was struggling with menopause. But it went beyond that. I was embarrassed about my weight, angry with myself for being too lazy to lose. I felt guilty about hurting my health. I was sad that my family was stuck with someone who’d let herself go. I’m not saying these were appropriate feelings, nor that anyone made me feel them. I just know that I’m happier. now. And it shows.
Should people feel bad about being fat? It’s not about “should we” but “do we.” I did. I think a lot of people do. The solution for me was taking charge of my eating and shedding the pounds.