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Obsession with weight loss is really more mental than physical. Even when I was in my youth I was obsessed with it. But on growing older … and older, the body’s metabolism changes, your hormones wreak havoc with your life, and in my case there was the added disadvantage of taking out my gall bladder. That was a recipe for disaster. Add to all that was a rather frustrating, restricted and unhappy life, and I turned obese. Food was a refuge. I was hungry ALL THE TIME. And I did not stop.
So what happened? A lot.
First my health started to deteriorate, but the wake-up call came when I suffered a classic angina pectoral attack. Yes a heart attack. I was actually exercising at the time when I got this searing pain all the way down from below my jaw on the left side, down my shoulder and arm all the way down to the last two fingers on my hand. I was brisk walking at the time, practically jogging, luckily I did not come to a sudden and complete stop, it could have been fatal, I just slowed down and continued walking at a normal pace till I got home. Later the medical investigations showed a congenital condition that triggered this attack. I am under medication and am warned not to be under stress or raise my heartbeat over 100! How?
Most importantly though was the need to lower my weight. This happened three years ago. No matter how many diets I followed, no matter how much exercise I did, nothing happened. I sometimes lost a couple of kilos then very easily gained four! It was a losing battle and I didn’t know what was wrong and what to do about it.
Now my life has changed drastically. My Mom passed away. Her loss devastated me. I am still grieving her loss. But I am shedding the weight at a surprising rate. I am no longer on a diet, I only eat when I am hungry, and now become full very quickly. Over the past five months I have lost 11 kilos. In the general scheme of things this is not really much, but for me, when I am not even trying to lose, this is fantastic.
I started thinking about it to see what it was that I was doing differently that made this drastic change. I was shocked by my conclusion.
For the last few years of my Mom’s life, quality of life had been deteriorating so gradually I barely noticed. Very slowly I was becoming more and more restricted in what I could or could not do as the sole care and responsibility for her health and well being rested on my shoulders. I loved her dearly and did all that willingly, and more. But the quality of my life was progressively getting worse, and my latent unhappiness manifested itself in obesity. The unhappier I became, the fatter I got. A very vicious circle.
This might sound like a paradox, but although I am still grieving the loss of my Mom, yet I seem to be much happier than I was the last few years of her lifetime. I am no longer frustrated at every turn, I am definitely feeling more free. Although this is countered by more loneliness and still a deep sense of loss, yet I am now getting to realize the extent of the restrictions I had on my life and the responsibilities I was carrying. I no longer have set times for meals, I eat when I am hungry and only what I feel like eating and stop when I am full. I am starting to become intolerant of meat but crave fresh vegetables and fruit. I wake up very early but am sleeping much better. Another thing I discovered was my very bad sleeping pattern was because I was never fully relaxed while asleep. I was always subconsciously listening for her bell or her call. It is funny, but it is only just lately that I started having dreams. It seemed for the past few years I never slept deeply enough to have any. Or so it seems to me now. Although I cannot remember my dreams, I can remember fragments and know that I had them.
And I am losing weight. I shall give myself till the end of summer then go for a full check-up and see where my health stands. Although I am still easily tired yet I am doing so much more than I used to. My dogs are a handful, but they are also a joy. I seem to be reading more than writing these days, but am enjoying both very much. Even swimming with the dogs is hectic but a lot of fun.
The quality of my life is changing, it is now coming into its own. I remember my Mom one evening during her second stay at the hospital telling me that I must become more selfish. I think I now understand what she meant. Yes, I am now looking after me. For the first time in my life, now I come first.
13 August 2014

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