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.