As of today I'm two years into this love affair. Not to worry, my DH of 30 years and I are doing fine, and he wholeheartedly approves of this affair. I wasn't looking for love. In fact, I've known my lover all my life, and well, lets just say there were some years things didn't go very well between us. I admit it was mostly my fault, but it wasn't that I hadn't tried. And sometimes I had felt downright betrayed.
Two years ago, I decided it was time to give the relationship a new start. But I started from the basis of all love—wanting what is best for the beloved, in this case, my body. Learning to love my body wasn't about accepting my weight or looking for my strengths. It was truly about caring enough to do what was best, in the long term.
I had to learn a lot and unlearn almost as much. I had to learn from books, and from other people, but the most important things I've learned came directly when I paid attention. I learned that bodies are not stamped out of cookie-cutters when it comes to what they need for nutrition and movement. I learned, for example, that it's crucial my body gets some food that includes protein every 2-3 hours until early evening. I learned that while whole grains are very nutritious, my body doesn't respond well to whole grains in the morning; much better in the evening, and not as much of them as I thought. Ditto with fruit. It took a lot of experimenting, but eventually I learned that combining great taste (which my body responds to by sharing the pleasure) with good nutrition is really very easy and fun.
As with any relationship, trying to be the boss gets you into trouble with the other person. I learned that I was not “in control” but “in partnership” with my body. I started out with expecting to get to a certain point within a year. I had to learn that my body, my post-menopausal middle-aged, low thyroid body wasn't going to respond to a timetable. What worked had to work for both of us and be sustainable for the long haul.
That doesn't mean it was always easy. I discovered that after decades of misunderstanding and mistreatment, it takes a while to re-establish trust. Sometimes, of course, I did have to exercise some discipline. Not so much to resist eating the wrong things (the food I was making tasted much better than what I had been eating), but to get moving. I learned ways to coax myself into it. “Just ten minutes.” Or thinking about my sister, who's a quadriplegic, and how ecstatic she would be if she could work out. And my lover is more conservative than I, more interested in maintaining equilibrium and keeping things at their current state. It's trying to protect me, keep me alive. So I had to learn patience. In our go-go, hurry-up 24/7 world, learning to slow down is also precious.
Two years. Two wonderful years of more energy and life enjoyment. I think I've added more than two years to my life while I've taken off 50 pounds. My DH says I look like I've taken off 15 years, and I feel it, too.