I’m still alive. I’m extremely discouraged right now. I started off the New Year being ill, then when I felt better I embarked on an effort to lose a few pounds and the first week I gained half a pound after doing everything right.
There’s a point, I’m finding, where you’ve stayed at the same weight so long that it starts to feel like defeat. Isn’t that weird? The whole goal of all of the intense, amazing effort of weight loss is to stay at the same weight and yet…you work so hard to lose – losing becomes almost an obsession while you’re doing it – that when you don’t have to anymore it’s hard to discard the shadow of the obsession. And then… when you don’t lose you feel like a failure. At least I do. I have been feeling that way, the last few weeks. Even though I’m still better than I was, at my highest. I’m healthier, I’m more mobile, I’m able to leap tall buildings in a singl…well, ok, I’m able to easily run 3-4 miles at the drop of a hat, anyway. Yet for all of that, my inability to drop something, even half a pound, over the first few weeks of January has felt like failure.
I worry, because I’m a worrier. I worry that I’ve lost the ability. That, even if I wanted to I couldn’t drop 20 pounds and that I may never be able to lose weight again. I worry that the 3 pounds I gained over the holidays are the inevitable start, the sign that all the garbage pop science I see out there on the internet might be true – that losing a lot of weight “ruins” your metabolism and that now – more than 8 years in – now I’m starting on the inexorable climb back up again. Intellectually that doesn’t make sense, why would it be possible at all, according to the junk science, for me to keep it off this long? I should have started gaining it back immediately if all the pop science lies were true.
So I take an inventory of what’s different – well, let’s see. Reviewing my numbers, I’m just not putting in the same level of effort to manage my weight as I used to. I used to get up and run at least 3 days a week. When was the last time I did that? Years ago. I used to avoid all treats, eat alone every night and head out to planned activities almost every night. I don’t do that anymore – a lot of it is due to having a partner that I want to spend time with now (the “golden era” when I easily maintained a weight 20 pounds lower than now was when I was with my first husband, and getting fed and out the door before he came home from work was a big part of my routine, or when I was single and could focus solely on my food and exercise routines). I enjoy evenings at home with my love now, going out isn’t much of a draw because I have everything I want right here. So we stay in, he likes to cook…. you see where this is going.
I find that my lifestyle is very different now than from when I maintained a lower weight. I wish it were possible to maintain that weight with the lifestyle I now enjoy, but I also find that I’m unable to bring it back down there without cutting out some of the things I now cherish. I make a compromise on my current weight, but I can’t shake the voice in my head that tells me I weighed less once, I maintained it for a while too – and didn’t I look good then? Didn’t clothes hang nicer on my body then? What’s wrong with me that I can’t get back there again? What’s wrong with me?
It’s the shadow of the obsession. It stalks me and tells me I’m a failure – over 3 pounds. It distorts the image I see in the mirror. It needs to be beaten back, and some weeks I don’t have much energy to do it. Some weeks, like this one, I have my hands full with work and living and back pain and rainy weather.