Is It Broken? Am I Broken?

I’m feeling a bit down lately about the whole long-term outlook for me and maintaining. I weighed in on Tuesday, after working hard all week, to find no change. It shouldn’t have slowed down, much less stopped, already – on week 2. I should still be losing, at least a half pound, according to my math.

And then I start to worry, and think that maybe these guys are right after all. Maybe fat is incurable after all. Maybe I’ve had a good run, but I’m seeing the trend now that’s going to be the rest of my life – a slow, inexorable climb back up to 300, maybe 400 pounds. Maybe I’ll have small phases where I can hold the line for a few months, but it seems like the last few years have been a slow climb that I’m powerless to stop or reverse.

I’m not sure what to do, starving myself doesn’t seem to work. Running 25 miles in a week worked a little, but that’s not a realistic long-term strategy for me.

Then I start to wonder if it’s stress. My job has been terribly, wickedly stressful these last two years. The time I took a year and a half off, living off of savings while I sorted some stuff out, I was in the best shape of my life – I could spend my day however I liked, so I made sure to get a good workout every day, including full-body strength training, I ate well, I was active, not sitting in a chair all day. So obviously if I could quit my job and focus on maintaining my weight maybe I could get things back where I want them. But who is going to be able to manage that kind of idle lifestyle? Rich people, maybe, of which I am not one. I am the middle class, and if I want to remain there and not fall into poverty I need to work for a living.

So I wonder if that’s the trade-off: Work for a living, or be in great shape. I want to be happy with my body as it is, even though I’m above where I would like to be. I’m not sure how to get there – to acceptance. If this is my life. I think step one is to continue to dress myself in flattering styles and colors, every day, regardless of the number on the scale. Step two is to kill off negative self-talk. This is the hard one. This is the mind-killer, for all women. How do you do that, when society tells you that to be beautiful you must be starving?

Yet I know differently, the most beautiful, strong, intelligent women I know don’t starve themselves, they have some padding and I love them for it. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, I know this and I firmly believe it – the women I find most attractive span the gamut but mostly fall into the “curvy” camp. So…why can’t I love and celebrate me with an extra 10, 20, or 30, heck someday 40 pounds? Why can’t I accept myself the way I accept other women? I wonder if they agonize in the same way?

How do I get there? Because dieting seems to be broken for me. Have I finally broken my metabolism for good?

I just don’t know.

What I do know is I leave tomorrow for Iceland and Greenland for 3 weeks on vacation. I guess I’ll see where I want to go with this after I get home.


18 Responses to “Is It Broken? Am I Broken?”

  1. Caron Says:

    I can’t answer your questions but I can tell you that stress kept me above my goal weight for a full two years. I did not gain back all the almost 40 pounds I had lost, but I was consistently seven to ten pounds over goal the entire two years. About six weeks after being laid off, I was back at goal. The truth is that I really didn’t connect the two things until I was off the job.

    Have a wonderful vacation and check back in when you can. We’ll miss you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Laina Says:

      That is actually extremely reassuring to hear. I guess all I have to do is start playing the lottery, or fix my broken work situation…
      Seriously, though, to know that I’m not crazy, and possibly not broken, just dealing with an extremely stressful situation and having a normal reaction to it is somehow reassuring.
      Thanks for your insight, I really appreciate the things you share!

  2. Karen Says:

    It’s hard when negative thoughts take over. Eat your favourite healthy foods, do things that make you happy..a favourite book or film. Think of where you started, you would have been thrilled to look as you do today. Be happy on holiday.

  3. Yoko Olsgaard Says:

    Read up on cortisol. Stress WILL keep weight on you. I think the vacation is the best thing for you. Have a great time, try not to think about anything negative and focus on having a wonderful time. Can’t wait to see pictures and hear about Greenland.

    Caron is right, my best weight loss was when I was unemployed. But, like you, I must work.

    Try shaking up your body with a low carb phase. That might help. I broke my plateau with it. I’m like you and am a volume eater and am trying really hard to not eat carbs – no bread (maybe a bite or two at most of rice or bread) and am eating fruit and beans only with the occasional corn on the cob (no butter). The weight is coming off again after a 2 month plateau.

    You are doing all the right things, actually. But your body is hanging on to the fat for dear life. It thinks it will starve and die without it. Most likely it’s the cortisol in your body that is telling your body that the saber tooth tiger is going to get you, AND there’s a drought, and famine coming. So, your wise body hangs on to every ounce of fat. Somehow, you need to turn off the alarms and tell your body that it’s all good and it’s ok to let go of the fat. I think that stress reduction will be the best thing. What better stress reduction than a vacation!!!

    Good planning, Laina!!!!

  4. Yoko Olsgaard Says:

    Oh, and I’m eating a TON of veggies.

    Finally, you are NOT broken. Your progress has just paused. That’s all!!!!!

  5. stephenedwards425 Says:

    “So I wonder if thatโ€™s the trade-off: Work for a living, or be in great shape.”…maybe that is not the choice you have to make…having had the “terribly, wickedly” stress for the entire 6 1/2 years I was in management with a Global 100 manufacturing firm…I was amazed at the difference when I left the job. Family and friends would constantly comment on how much different/happier I looked. Stress is a killer…any chance of finding or developing revenue streams that do not produce the anxiety of your current employer?…perhaps even moving to a different position within the same firm?

    I have a few other ideas regarding income that might work for you…no nothing to do with MLM…hahaha…you know my wife and I have co-founded a new company developing content for women’s motivational and professional development conferences…we could always talk.

    Be encouraged!

    • Laina Says:

      Well, moving to a new position in my company has proved problematic (I’ve tried, but possibly not hard enough – my current team doesn’t want me to leave so they promote me to make me harder to steal…but a promotion isn’t so great because it means MORE stress).
      BUT – your other idea – I’m intrigued. I would love to talk about it more. After I get home from vacation. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • stephenedwards425 Says:

        Thanks Laina…go on vaca, enjoy every living second of it…Susie suggests a day or two without makeup and Jake suggests long walks along the beach…me I just suggest you try not to think about your job…have some stupid, silly fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

        My private email is, just shoot me an email when you get back and I’ll flesh out our business concept…but just as a teaser…it involves complete transparency, a clothes dryer, and a Barbie doll…yeah I’m serious…

        Be encouraged!

  6. Shana Says:

    You are gorgeous at the weight that you are at; however, I think we all have expectations for ourselves that we don’t apply to other people. I can not lose weight when I am stressed out. my body holds on to every ounce like it is it’s last chance for life. I have left jobs because of the amount of stress they cause, but in this economy that isn’t a great choice. I hope that you can find a way to be happy with a weight that works with your life.

  7. Lyn Says:

    I am pretty much in the same spot. Sick of this, wanting to be lighter, wondering what is going to work. Wondering if something is broken. All we can do is keep trying. Don’t give up. The slow climb is NOT inevitable. I truly believe it can be stopped.

  8. Tracy Renae Cote Serros Says:

    Hang in there Laina! I know how discouraging it can be to expect a change and not see one… I swear sometimes all the math “science” feeds us about calories feels like BS…or at least something in the equation is missing! I know what you mean about wishing you could accept yourself where you’re at. That’s a hard thing for me to wrap my head around – I feel so uncomfortable at a higher weight, but I think what if I never lose this weight and I spend all my life obsessing about it?? What a waste of energy! But I’m still determined to lose it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s so tough as a woman dealing with body issues – even skinny women are struggling with them, which seems insane to me. But it’s true! I keep thinking what happens if I have a daughter? How will I teach her to be have a healthy body image? Especially when I haven’t figured it out for myself?

    In any case, I’m pretty sure you’re not broken! Hopefully 3 weeks of vacation (sounds wonderful!!!) will leave you feeling very relaxed and more optimistic!

    • Laina Says:

      I’ve seen references to it, but I hadn’t seen the actual synopsis you posted. That’s really interesting, I try to follow the low-glycemic option myself most of the time – no processed food, fruits, veggies and protein. Nice article, thanks for the link!

  9. Karen P Says:

    Hang in there. You may be going past a plateau and it could take a few more weeks. Destressing on vacation sounds great. Keep going and one you get back you can look at possible root causes and start trying different things. Maybe there will be some new weight loss tools to try when you return. Safe travels to you!

  10. Katherine Baluta Says:

    Here’s my vote to see you as a motivational speaker. You motivate the hell out of me, Laina. Just because I don’t comment on every post doesn’t mean I’m not reading them and taking something positive away from each one.

  11. Jen Says:

    The people around you count you as one of the strong, intelligent, beautiful women at any size.

  12. Karen Fox Says:

    You are amazing, beautiful and you deserve less stress, It is off the traditional path but how about seeing a counselor? or a hypnotherapist? or a life coach? Sometimes it is our perceptions that cause stress, anxiety, and self criticism and you can change those. Negative thoughts and ingrained dialogues can be changed just the way physical habits can.

  13. beanolc Says:

    I think you’re stunning, and I just saw you a couple weeks ago so you can’t say “yeah, but I’ve gained weight.”

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