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    Posted March 25, 2014 by
    Everett, Washington
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    A Smarter Fight


    By the time I was 30 years old I knew that being overweight/obese was killing me. My physical decline and the adverse effects on my health weren’t total surprises of course. In a way I was prepared for all of that. It was the emotions, the internal struggle that included so much self hatred and shame, that really started to break me. As my body was getting larger, the real me seemed to be fading away.


    For as long as I can remember I assumed that I was always going to be “husky” or “big boned”. When I lost weight, on some level I knew I’d end up putting it back on. My method for weight-loss (exercising 3 times a day, starving myself, etc...) wasn’t something I could maintain. I always hoped that once I weighed X amount, I’d somehow instinctively know how to stay there. It didn’t work that way and after every round of self abuse I’d end up heavier than before.


    I was fighting very hard, but my efforts were misdirected. My plans and diets were always aimed at my own laziness and lack of self control. I though I needed to be “stronger” if I was ever going to be healthy. Otherwise, I didn’t deserve to feel better physically (or even about myself). Looking back now, what I really needed to do was to stop blaming myself. I was so convinced that this was all about my weakness, that I never even bothered to look for the real enemy.


    I have an intolerance to gluten. My mother has it, my sister has it, my nieces have it, and yet it wasn’t something I’d even consider. The way I saw it, I didn’t feel that bad, and it wasn’t as if I was getting sick all the time. I had no obvious reactions when I ate bread, etc..., and honestly, I would’ve rather jogged until my knees disintegrated before making a radical change in my diet. In my mind, feeling sluggish, sore, tired, and weak, well that was just part of the deal when you’re 100 pounds overweight.


    Eventually though, it became too much to take. The discomfort, the anxiety, and especially the self loathing became impossible to bear and I agreed to a blood test. The results were conclusive. My body couldn’t process wheat and gluten and that meant I had to make some major changes. And as strong as my aversion to overhauling my diet was, my desperation to feel better was even stronger. It wasn’t really a choice anymore.


    Like any significant change in someone’s day to day routine, it wasn’t always easy. The smell of fresh bread was close to knocking me down a few times, but I survived it, and after a few weeks (well maybe a few months), the temptations ceased. Once the gluten was out of my system, it wasn’t hard to get out of the bed in the morning. And my legs weren’t perpetually sore. I felt well enough to walk places, and then to start jogging again. Gluten wasn’t the only thing that contributed to my obesity of course, but it was the foundation that so much else was built upon.


    In addition to the knowledge that my weight was killing me, I was certain of one other thing, I thought I would always be fighting to maintain a healthy weight. And while I was completely right about the former, I’m thankful that I was way off on the latter. It wasn’t always easy in the beginning, but my weight isn’t something I have to fight anymore. My body and I have reached an understanding. I stop filling it with foods that it can’t handle, and it lets me enjoy my life again.

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