New Year's resolutions - many people make them. I love the idea - a whole year, brand new, new energy, new possibilities. So, yes, I make New Year's resolutions. Unfortunately for many years my resolution was always the same. I was going to lose weight. I keep records so, for example, in 2014, I wrote Goal 40/10 which meant I wanted to lose 40 pounds with an initial goal of losing 10. I read a lot of books about lifestyle change and various approaches to weight loss. I think I have every book Geneen Roth has written. I still really like her, but after more than 10 years of weighing over 200 pounds, it should have been clear that her approach wasn't going to work for me. Nor were the other approaches I had tried.
Actually I weighed significantly more than 200 pounds - my weight was between 250 and 260, with 264 pounds as my highest weight. (In case you are curious I am 5 feet 5 inches tall.)
When my weight would reach 260 I would get scared and desperate and somehow lose 8 or 10 pounds which I would regain - sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. But in 2017 things changed.
For a few years I had been thinking about Overeater's Anonymous. I had haunted the websites reading things over and over. I had gone to a few on-line meetings but stopped. I really didn't want to commit to a 12 step program - it just seemed like too much. Surely I could lose weight some other way? At the beginning of 2017 I was almost ready to try Overeater's Anonymous. I had, in fact, considered going to meetings before Christmas but with all the bustle of Christmas that was easy to ignore. However, I had also told my husband that I was thinking of going to meetings which was the beginning of a commitment. I had found a meeting that I thought would work with my schedule. It took me until the end of February to get to that first meeting.
The final nudge came when I was talking to a friend. She was preparing to lead a retreat and getting ready for the first meeting with the people who would work on the retreat with her. She said, half joking, that perhaps I should lead the meeting for her. Then she said, "Kat, I've planned this meeting 5 times!" I have no idea what I said - I hope it was something useful. I know what I was thinking - 5 times, are you crazy? It doesn't need that much planning. Plus I knew she had the skills needed to do this. But she was very nervous so I hope I said something useful and reassuring. I was very nervous about going to my first OA meeting. So I thought, "Well if she can, then I can - it's a leap of faith." It was a leap of faith - scary but necessary.
For me that first meeting changed everything. I have been told that this is unusual. All I know is that going to the meetings and meditating helped me to stick to an eating plan
pretty much for the first time ever. The first week was awful - it was just very hard. The second week was also hard. The third week was easier. I don't remember how much easier, just that it was. I don't know exactly why or how OA worked for me when other plans had not. I think it has a lot to do with God's grace and a supportive community that understood eating issues. Here's what I do know. By the end of 2017 I was very close to a magic number which I reached January 12, 2018. On that date I weighed 199 pounds. No, it wasn't my ideal weight but I had wanted to weigh less than 200 pounds for a really long time. It was very exciting!
Over time I was able to develop habits that made it easier for me to eat healthier food and eat less food. Having successfully managed difficult times - Thanksgiving, Christmas, parties, vacations - has made me feel more at peace. I don't always feel comfortable with
my eating choices but I feel a lot better about them - the constant internal battle has been replaced with serenity. I currently weigh 172 and am still losing weight from time to time. So, for 2019 I can make a different New Year's resolution. I'm not exactly certain what that will be, but I'm looking forward to finding out.