It’s July, so in many ways, this is the anniversary of the “Super Shrinking Smiths.” Last July, based on a comment someone had made, I created a Facebook page to detail our story, and it ultimately led to growing an audience for a memoir-style book about our weight loss journey. That page is now called Unbelievable Freedom, the book we wrote is titled Unbelievable Freedom, the website where you read this blog post is called unbelievable-freedom-dot-com, and so on. It’s pretty much a theme.
Last summer at this time, Ryan and I had both passed our respective 1-year Fast-a-Versaries. We were cruising into the second year of our fasting journey, feeling amazing and reveling in the freedom. I’m pretty sure if I looked ahead to our 2-year Fast-a-Versaries, I was envisioning us continuing to ‘level up’, getting healthier, leaner, stronger, probably training for a marathon (or at least a 5K). I figured it would all continue to get easier, and we would just continue to get happier. This is what psychologists call “Affective forecasting”, projecting into the future to imagine how you’ll feel at some point down the road, and it can cut both ways. When I was in a negative place, I imagined the future as much bleaker as it’s ended up to be. Now I fall into the trap of the opposite.
Are we still happy and healthy? YES. Is it all easier and easier, more and more magical as time goes on? No, I can’t say that. It is real life so there are many moments of doubt and anxiety. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I suspect most people who overcome morbid obesity worry about regaining the weight. We have conversations about whether our eating windows are trending too long. We question whether we’re allowing too many multigrain crackers or sweet potato chips onto our fast-breaking snack plates. We turn sideways in front of the mirror, frowning, asking each other, “Do I look like I’m putting the weight back on?” We even make twisted jokes about whether anyone would read a book about us gaining the 200 pounds back again. Most of all, we wonder whether these conversations or jokes mean we aren’t *actually* unbelievably free.
Spoiler alert: neither of us have re-gained any weight. Neither of us are struggling with major cravings, temptations, or desire to stop fasting. We are living, we are enjoying the lifestyle, and we are tweaking as we go. We haven’t taken up running and I don’t think we will be offered a contract to do any fitness modeling. Making decisions about food and self-care are daily tasks, and we do a lot better than we ever did in the past.
So, when I project ahead to Year 3, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I do know I will carry the lessons fasting has taught: the facts that our bodies are amazingly capable and our mindsets are incredibly shapeable. It’s always going to be about remaining growth-oriented. It’s always going to be about staying in the fasting flow. Parts of the forecast are hazy, but if we can maintain the proper perspective, there’s a very high likelihood of freedom.