Today, I celebrate 12 years of sustained weight loss.  If you are new to this blog, after years of yo-yo dieting, I set out to lose weight permanently.  My initial weight loss of 74 pounds was an incredible journey for me, an education in life I never expected.

After losing that weight, I was determined to “keep” the results.  I knew from my research that permanent weight loss is defined by the medical profession as weight loss sustained for 5 years and more.  I also knew, sadly, it is very rarely achieved.

I had to keep learning and growing in order to maintain the weight loss.  In the last two years, I’ve lost more weight.  Today, I’m 92 lbs. lighter.

As I was thinking about this anniversary, it occurred to me that I got what I wanted.  How many times can you say you got exactly what you wanted (and more) in life?

I don’t call it amazing anymore, because I know the work that was involved.  It’s no miracle.  I literally “grew myself up” out of food addiction.  I found, for me, most addiction theories don’t work.  To me, they just get a person addicted to a program, instead of freeing them from the addiction.

In essence, the entire medical and therapeutic community says, “You are damaged and will always be addicted.  Here, be addicted to this, which we deem healthier, rather than that substance (food, alcohol, drug, sex).

That just didn’t work for me.

What I wanted was freedom.  Freedom was a huge value and driver of my behavior.  In fact, as a weight loss coach, it’s something I hear practically every day from a client, or two, or three.

“I just want to be free to eat what I want.”

It’s perhaps the most common derailer of the average diet, and why diets don’t work long-term.  When I was in the throes of addiction, the minute anyone told me “you can’t eat that” or “at your weight, is that wise?”, you could be damned sure I was going to eat it!  That’s the freedom value showing up.

Well, today, I am free.  I’m free of the compulsivity of addiction, feeling as though my actions are occurring without my permission.

I am free of excess weight, which hindered my movement, my self-expression, my comfort in the world.

I’m free of a host of medical problems.

I’m free of my excess weight making, refusing or coloring decisions for me.

Once I grew up, I discovered huge gifts:   Choice.  Opportunities.  Meaning.  Connection.  Self-esteem.  Love.

And true freedom.

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