4.30.2008

I can, and I do, and I will

I have reached a point where people in my office are starting to notice my weight loss. Folks that I haven't shared anything about it with them on a personal level. It seems a sticky wicket to ask someone about weight loss. Especially in my conservative office, but it is nice to know that people can tell a difference. Most of them are encouraging, although one woman said to me "You're like a normal sized girl, now." Hmm. I suppose that is a compliment, and I do want to be a healthy weight and a smaller size, but normal felt weird. (although I do confess to have referred to the under 14 section of a department store as the normal section.)

The most common question I get is "What are you eating?" and that comes from people who want to lose weight. (Healthy weight people will ask "What are you doing?") I think most people want to hear "Oh, just lemons and wheat grass, every day. And a little eye of newt if I'm feeling really decadent." and then they can say "Oh, well, I couldn't do that." and further feel as though weight loss is futile, a mysterious goal they can never achieve. So when I reveal that I am eating less, exercising more, and bonding with an online community for support, they sort of look disappointed. There's the part of them that was also hoping that I would reveal a new drug or that I merely eat a half a grapefruit before every meal. I know because I have been that person.

I have watched other people in my life lose weight, and there is a feeling of no longer being part of the same team. My best friend through grade school was always overweight with me. We were two peas in a pod, and then she lost her weight in junior high. I was so envious, because she kept it off, and has kept it off til this day. I felt insecure then that maybe she could no longer really be my friend. Or that she might be ashamed of being seen with me. None of that ever came true, of course. I've also spent my entire life being overweight and thinking about losing weight. I know it must be different for people who put on weight later in life. They don't understand why their body is betraying them like this. I have had a completely different experience. My weight is my shadow, literally. It has always been here, and has always been at the back of my mind. The one item on my to-do list that I couldn't cross off. To now become the woman who exercises on vacation, who is tracking calories and who has lost 60 pounds, and is determined to lose 80 more, is beyond significant for me.

So now that I am having snack issues again, and the scale is moving up, and the stress in my life keeps piling up, I feel I'm backsliding. I had been losing an average of 3-5 pounds a month pretty consistently, but now, not so much. I find myself feeling wistful as I did years ago - wondering if the "thin life" was ever really going to happen for me, or just a pipe dream. What if I never see a number under 200? I truly do feel like I have come too far to give up, and that new my reduced fat, increased exercise lifestyle is good for me, is improving my heart, lung, bone and mental health, and that is very important too. It's more important than the number on the scale, but I can't help but crave that tangible reward. This makes it all the more easy for me to identify with my overweight coworkers. I know that feeling of doom, that it just isn't possible to lose weight without feeling deprived, and that no matter what I do, nothing will change. The truth is that undoing a lifetime of bad habits is hard. And that's what I'm doing. Saying no to a second portion, choosing to exercise rather than collapse in front of the television, convincing myself to walk away from the bagels, counting every stupid calorie that goes down, all of it is hard work. And it will lead to a healthier lifestyle, a longer life, a smaller size, a boost in confidence, and a body that is strong and powerful.

I'm still guilty of wanting a quick fix, of feeling so impatient with my progress or lack thereof. So this post is to help me remember that I've come a long way, and it wasn't easy getting here, and so I shouldn't expect it to get easier now. But there's no way I'm going back to 290. Never. So there.

5 comments:

Heather said...

oh you know I can relate with those office comments! they drive me insane. how someone I dont even talk to can comment about my body is beyond me. but Im glad you are sharing with them that this is nothing magical about what you are doing, its mostly just common sense with some good support.

we all want a quick fix sometimes, but unfortunately its never that easy. but you rae doing great and obviously others see results so you should be proud!

Lady Vea said...

Oh you are totally going to get there. It is nice that you realize your situation and recognize your weaknesses and where they stem from. That is sooo important. You have lost more than my goal weight loss, that is AMAZING and commendable and when you start sliding down the hill just remember all those of us here looking up to YOU for our inspiration because you ARE inspirational and you are doing a great job and setting a wonderful example. And if you start to slip - we will be here holding your safety ropes and help you right yourself and keep climbing!

Sarah said...

Keep up the good work! The world needs more stories like ours... eat better, mover more. The look of disappointment when I tell people how it came off... I can totally picture it in your coworkers.

A lifer. That's what someone once called me. Those who had always been heavy.... but now to be "thin". It's a change. Sounds like you are well on your way. remember how this feels!!! There will be tough days to come (can you say plateau?) but you can get past it. The scale and the numbers should not be your motivation but instead maybe focus on how you feel about yourself and how you feel about yourself making heathy smart choices. That still surprises me, three years into maintenance, that a healthy choice can make my day. It's not always easy (I had a caramel scone and edamame for dinner) but I do continue to try and feel better for it.

And like Hilary, yes, yes you will!

Hanlie said...

So there! You will do this! Great post!

Cammy said...

Brilliant perception on the difference between those asking 'what do you eat' vs. those who ask 'what do you do'. I get both questions, and I'll have to monitor to see if it's healthy vs. hoping people.

You WILL reach your goals. You've come too far not to. Anne Lamott has a phrase she uses to describe the writing commitment, but I think it works well in this world too: a debt of honor. We have a debt of honor to ourselves to get healthy and fit. We owe it to ourselves to eat the right foods, to limit unhealthy snacks, and exercise regularly. NOT honoring the debt says we don't think we're worth the commitment. I'm worth it, and I know you're worth it, too! So there!