I don’t often admit this, but when I hit my healthy goal weight four years ago, I was exhausted. Spent. Wiped out. Shattered. Very, very, tired.
I continued to walk my dog 2 miles every morning, to visit the gym daily, and even go for the occasional 10k run in Golden Gate Park. But I remember how hollow I felt and how each footfall cost me so much energy. I seemed weaker than I had ever been. A ½ mile walk to the grocery store loomed over me like a trip up Kilimanjaro.
The ironic thing, of course, was that I had lost weight in a healthy way, by focusing on healthy ingredients, making sure to get enough proteins, vitamins, high-fiber carbs, fruits, vegetables, etc. Every one around me was saying that this kind of weight loss would give me more energy and that I’d feel lighter and better.
I had the food journals to prove that I was getting proper nutrition, and I was definitely getting enough sleep. My body looked healthy, and I felt good about my appearance. I was just … so … tired. Several visits to the doctor ruled out any physiological problems – every blood test came back blandly normal.
But here’s the thing. I had been laid off (for the first time in my 18 year professional career) just at the same time as reaching my weight goal. I had signed up for unemployment, which overwhelmed me with shame and angst, and I had basically no prospects. My partner had been out of work (I was supporting the both of us) and I felt completely powerless and frustrated.
Only when I went into therapy much, much later, did I realize what was happening. My real, palpable lack of physical energy was directly due to the depression I was experiencing. I was scared by my lack of vitality and in the back of my mind I was concerned that my weight loss had actually ruined my health, rather than saved it.
So once I began to address my depression, I almost immediately felt a rebound in my energy level. I changed my morning routine from a 2 mile walk into a 2 mile run, and I began experiencing more satisfying workouts. It was a real metamorphosis.
I was reflecting on all of that this morning because I ran 9 miles in the beautiful San Francisco sunshine and it felt so amazingly good. I’m at my goal weight, and I feel strong, energetic, and powerful. After my run, I took Paco to the beach and we went for a leisurely two mile walk and it felt just great. At long last, I have proof that being at a slender weight doesn’t have to mean weakness, anxiety and depression.
I am eternally grateful to those who stuck by me when the chips were down, and who helped me get back on my feet when things looked so bleak. Who’d have thought middle-age could feel THIS good!