Several years ago, before my brain got wrecked along with my car and before intense workouts sent me into panic attacks as they now do (apparently the high heart rate is a trigger), I used to work out a lot. I also ate a lot. I’ve really never been one to turn down food, but food had also become a way for me to cope, little did I realize at the time.
I’ve never been skinny or slender, and the winter I worked too much and was also still working out, when I finally got to what is more of an “ideal” weight, my family and friends were concerned because I looked too skinny to them.
I worked out because I wanted to, and because it balanced my eating habits, and because it was social, and because I liked being strong, and, thankfully, not because of other reasons that have been a struggle for so many people. I also sometimes liked to push myself, and in the spring about 9 years ago I decided to lost some serious weight. I lost 20 lbs in a month by exercising, which included 4-5 miles of walking every day and about an hour of high-intensity workout.
I’ve never been able to lose weight by diet alone, until now.
When I say diet, I mean what and how I eat. I stopped eating late at night, I stopped eating foods with added sugar and dessert, I haven’t eaten many processed foods, and I’m eating smaller portions at a time. The last month or so I lost focus and ate whatever, and gained weight back accordingly, so I went back to that improved eating pattern this week and I’m down 4 lbs. Go figure.
There are so many reasons why I gained weight after my car wreck, after my family’s illness and injury, etc. One is that I don’t work out at high intensity anymore, I can’t deal with it. Something about the high heart rate seems to trigger flashbacks and panic attacks, and the few times I’ve tried have not been pleasant. Even making efforts to build back up to it have been triggering, so it’s not the best option for me right now. I do yoga 4-5 days a week, and it builds muscle and strength, but it’s not a big weight loss tool.
That leaves me with how I eat, which is also challenging. On weeks that I stay on high alert especially, my brain craves carbs so desperately that it’s like fighting an addiction. I JUST NEED TO EAT CARBS, because my brain thinks it needs fast energy to burn in preparation for fighting or fleeing. I’m so much kinder toward myself now that I understand that’s what’s driving my compulsions for calorie intake, and it has helped a lot in managing it. I don’t always win that battle, but I am winning it a lot more now that I know what I’m fighting.
It’s an ever-changing process, and one that improves as I understand better what is behind how I feel. I’m really close to my first weight loss milestone, and if I make it quickly, great! If it takes time, also great, because just the knowing is progress.