I’m making large strides just about every single day, now — including a return to my normal way of eating.

That’s right. After being off plan for roughly a month, and enjoying it at points, I’ve come to accept that I don’t feel mentally comfortable or physically right when I eat things that differ from the way I’ve been eating for the past nearly five years.

I’ve felt this way for a while; when I’ve gone on vacation, I’ve allowed myself to change what I eat. Those seem to be the real tests; when I come home, will I keep eating in a way that’s detrimental to my body? That’s the time I’m most likely to go off a diet and not get back on.

May this bridge burning be permanent!

These days, I think differently. I may deviate for a bit for specific reasons, but my normal is the way I eat when I feel my best, and that’s the way I eat when I’m actively pursuing health goals. My body feels better. I drop water weight, which is always a relief. This week, five pounds of water have vacated the premises. I still have a way to go before being back at my low weight, but I already feel much better after just a few days of returning to my normal.

It’s a crucial difference from my previous 50+ years on this earth. I always saw diets as temporary things, as punishment in a way, as something to get through and then, of course, stop doing at some point. Mind you, as many of you know, I was quite successful on a previous attempt; but instead of keeping the goal of health in mind, I finally drifted off course and gradually regained all of my weight, including an additional 35 pounds or so.

Failing on purpose is never the answer to finding success. Sure, we all fail, and those failures have something to teach us; I am glad I learned from that experience, so it wasn’t wasted, but we should never choose to fail. I was entirely too hardheaded and unwilling to bend, so I kept trying the same things over and over. And in my mind, my way of eating and my physical exercises were merely a way to get to an end, and I convinced myself I’d eventually be able to stop doing what I was doing.

That’s really not how this works, but it took walking this journey to figure that out. It took truly accepting that my changes needed to be both sustainable and permanent. My old normal was always moving toward how I had been living before whatever diet I was on. My new normal is being in command of my body, being in control of how I feel. It’s not deprivation, which is how I viewed every single effort before this one; it’s the fulfillment of goals, it’s the reversal of damage, it’s the mindset of success.

Over the last few weeks of recovery after knee surgery, it’s been easy to get lost in the process; I’ve been in pain. I’ve been dealing with all the things people deal with after a major surgery. I didn’t concern myself so much with what I ate, especially since I was at the mercy of hospital dining options and then in consideration of what was easy for my husband to fix while I wasn’t able to be up and about. Working through this has reminded me of how important it is to me, both mentally and physically, to be in charge of how I fuel my body.

In a little more than a week, I’ll have my follow-up with my surgeon — and will likely set the date for replacing my other knee. I am proud to have made it this far, and to have tackled the first surgery with gusto; while there is still plenty of healing to do, I think the second surgery will be less of a catharsis, and I’ll be meeting it head-on and strong. I’ve made myself promises I plan on keeping.

I’m over the bridge and I get closer to where I want to be every single day. I work hard every day to burn that bridge and never cross back over it to the other side.


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