Written by Liz S.K.
Having lost 75 pounds I know that I am getting closer to my goal, making me feel better, stronger, and lighter with each passing day.
Not unlike a legendary dragon slayer, I have been battling my weight related demons starting around the onset of puberty. Countless times I bravely raised my mighty sword determined to do battle with that malevolent, overbearing dragon only to find myself failing yet again. At each attempt I was quite successful at losing the weight; it was the maintenance that would leave me sitting high on my horse, holding a mangled sword, enveloped in abject defeat and disgrace.
The past few years have been very difficult for me, filled with much heartache and loss. My father passed away five years ago, and I lost my beloved mother and best friend twenty one months ago. There are no words that can even come close to conveying the pain and emptiness that overcame me after my mother left this earth. I felt helpless, hopeless, empty, and started to numb my pain with pastries and chocolates, which only proceeded to add twenty five pounds to a person who was already overweight, but did very little to help her move forward in her life.
Slowly, though, I did begin to notice a correlation between the amount of sweets that I consumed during the course of one day, and the severity of the panic attacks that would occur on the following morning. One afternoon, while sitting at the kitchen counter finishing a bag of chocolates, I noticed that I was completely devoid of all feeling, numb like a zombie. This was the first time that I consciously realized what I was doing to myself and I felt not unlike an alcoholic. A sobering thought that steered me toward a completely different path in life. I needed to do something to save myself from myself.
At the suggestion of my dear friend Agneta, I went to see her M.D., since I could not remember the last time I had paid one a visit. The session did not go well, but it was yet another catalyst for my change. After hearing that the doctor wanted to put me on three or four different medications, I went into full blown hysteria and ran back to Dr. Mao for help.
I have known Dr. Mao for close to twenty years, and he has always been there for me, guiding and helping me through all of my physical and emotional travails. On many occasions Dr. Mao would gently suggest that it would be good for my health if I would lose some weight, but I was not ready and did not listen. Both his and Dr. Chen’s hands were always outstretched to me, but I was not yet at the point where I felt comfortable taking hold of them. The best doctor, the best nutritionist could not do this for me. They could guide and instruct me, but the spark, the desire had to come from deep inside of me. Fear is a magnificent motivator, and so on Dr. Mao’s advice I went to see Dr. Chen who has been my wonderful teacher, guide and cheerleader over these past six months.
Exactly what or who has been the cause of my weight issues throughout the years is only now becoming ever so slightly perceptible through a thick veil of fog. Time heals, time reveals and I have faith that the image will eventually become unobscured, but for the present I knew that I had to focus every cell of my being on my rebirth.
I completely changed my perception of food and exercise, starting to follow Dr. Chen’s “grazing” meal plan which consists of three meals and two snacks per day. Following the plan has kept me satiated, and keeping a food journal has kept me focused and inspired.
An integral ingredient to my success has been exercise. I remembered the advice of an old chiropractor who recommended that any exercise program should start slowly and gently, as to prevent injury. Since I was suffering from panic attacks, Dr. Mao also suggested that I initially watch my heart rate so as not to exacerbate the attacks. I started with only ten minutes on the stationary bicycle, and would increase the duration by two to three minute increments every few days. I looked forward to my hour of yoga because it incorporates both relaxing stretches and meditative breathing. Later on I incorporated the treadmill into my routine, also starting at just ten minutes. Presently, on a “perfect” day, I happily ride my bike for forty five minutes, walk on the treadmill for fifty minutes, do one hour of yoga, and thirty five minutes of “conductorcise”. At the end of these days I feel a great sense of accomplishment.
There still remains an extant undercurrent of fear surrounding the possibility of a repeated failure, and a query as to the reason for my past failures. On reviewing my past attempts at weight loss, I believe the answer to my question is chocolate. I finally realized that the “all or nothing” approach simply did not work for me. Each time that I would completely deny this pleasure from my life, I would ultimately start binging and would spiral into failure. This time, I chose a different approach…moderation, allowing myself one square of high quality chocolate every evening after dinner. I no longer inhale the chocolate, but slowly savor its taste and texture, abating the probability of an ensuing overpowering craving. Each one of us is different and has to find a formula that will work for oneself. Thankfully, I believe that
I have finally found my recipe for success.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge that I was always aware that Drs. Mao and Chen were here ready to help me. It was I who was not ready. Now I would like to thank them for their patience, for their persistence and, mostly, for their loving, caring, masterful direction. Their assistance in my journey holds a very special place in my heart, and will never be forgotten. Thank you.