Monday, January 21, 2008

if you could love someone like me

Ever have one of those mornings when everything seems wrong? That was the first few hours of my day. I used to have substantial headaches several times a week. Today was my first headache of the year. I was hoping that my new healthy lifestyle would make my headaches a thing of the past. So my anger/frustration/disappointment with my loss was really meant for my headache. But I took 2 Aleve, Nathan got me a Starbucks drink, I laid on the couch and watched X-Files, and all was fine by noon or so.

And you guys are right. I am proud of my loss. I worked hard for every ounce that I lost this week. I earned it! And I am not doing this for any number. I am doing this for me, and the way I feel.

Kinda along the same lines, I loved the sermon at church this weekend. He talked about how part of human nature is to ask "Why?" We want answers so we can put things in a nice little box and understand everything. He spoke of how Jesus didn't focus on the "why" but instead focused on what could be done, what needed to be changed. And then He did it.

I think I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out the "why" with my weight. I don't know how many of you are familiar with my history, but it looks something like this.

I thought I was fat in high school. I wore a 12. (I look back at pictures now and think I was so pretty!) Then I went to college and dated a runner. The one thing he wanted from me was for me to be athletic. I had no interest in that at all. We broke up, and to spite him, I began to run. I can remember visualizing his face on the pavement with every step I ran. I have no idea how much I weighed when I started, but I had to go out and buy new clothes by the time I was over him. I had this gray t-shirt dress that I loved. It was a large. (Isn't it terrible that I got healthy out of spite?)

It was at this point in my life that I started dating my husband. I weighed 175. I felt hot. Over the next 3 years, I got lazy. That's all there is to it. I moved to Lexington. I lived with my little brother and his best friend. I went to grad school. I ate a lot of foods that were horrible for me (hot pockets and frozen burritos), and I paid for gym memberships that I didn't use. And I was happy. I really was.

Then we get engaged. I had our wedding to look forward to. I went to Weight Watchers in March of 2003 and weighed 221. We got married in July 2003 and I weighed 199. For the next few months, I kept losing and my lowest weight was 176.

And then I hit a plateau. A plateau that lasted for 6 months, yo-yo-ing the same 4 pounds. And then life happened. I threw myself into a new job. We bought a huge old house. I started cooking convenience foods. Our elliptical machine started making terrible noises. I despised the Weight Watchers leader in our new town. I reverted back to old patterns - and the creamy, buttery foods tasted great eating them in front of the television again. I hit a weight of 239. Then I started to blog, made several unsuccessful attempts at Weight Watchers, got a new job and moved (again!) and a year later, I was still at 239. Through all of this, I was busy and life got kinda crazy, but for the most part I was happy.

And that brings me to ringing in 2008.

But getting back to my point. I don't have a big, all-encompassing "why." As much as I have tried to analyze myself over the years (and I am a therapist), I cannot come up with any trauma, or particurarly self-defeating patterns that have led to my lack of health. It has really made me nervous hearing things like, "You'll never keep the weight off if you don't have a handle on why you were fat in the first place." Like I won't be successful if I don't confront people who enabled me or if I don't deal with my deep-rooted psychological issues.

Screw that! I gained weight because I like butter, sugar, and fast food. I love food in large quantities. I gained weight because I like television and movies, and I like to eat while I watch. I like to lay around on the couch, covered in blankets, with my Scully cat on my lap. I became fat because I focused on what I wanted to do and eat as opposed to what I needed to do and eat. It's as easy as that.

It is okay that I don't have a specific "why" in my life. It is not imporant. What is important is the "what." What am I doing about my weight?

I am recording every-little-thing that I eat. I am trying very hard to distinguish between "hungry" and "munchy." I am only eating when I am hungry, and then I am eating until I am not hungry. I'm not eating to "full" just "not hungry."

I am exercising 6 days a week. I am exercising as hard as I can for as long as I can. When my body tells me to stop, I stop - unless it's in the first 10 minutes. Then I'm just being a whimp.

I have been given this body - it may be flabby, but it does what I ask it to do. It's a good body. It knows its limits, it knows its needs. I just need to get my head and emotions out of it and let it do what it wants to do, and it wants to be healthy.

I think a big part of the sin in my life is gluttony. Being content to be lazy. Eating way beyond the fuel that my body needs. The "why" isn't important anymore. So I'm gonna stop trying to figure it out. It's what needs to be done that I need to focus on.

And I'm on it!


Kim said...

What a wonderful post!! :) Thank you for the inspiration!!

Trisaratops said...

You're so insightful, my friend! I do know that there is an emotional why behind my weight gain, but I also know that choosing buttery cheesey great tasting foods is a large part of it too. Thanks for the frankness. And I'm glad that you are enjoying your big fat loss!

Mary said...

Thank you so much for sharing and for your great insight. I think we always want to blame our weight on something, anything else, besides our eating habits. Choosing the wrong foods, eating in those 'munchy' moods, when you think about it weight gain is inevitable. You are doing so well by analyzing your life and making the changes you need to. Very inspiring. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thank you for that. You gave me so much more to think about!!!
I love your honesty. I think some of us do know the answer to the why, but we're not being honest with ourselves. Well done!!

Hanlie said...

Mmmm, that's giving me a lot to think about! Thanks! And well done one the loss this week.

justoofat said...

Well said! Sometimes, I feel like focusing on the "why" makes it easier to blame someone or something else for what we do to our own bodies. And to me, that kind of blame game, negates us of our own role in how we got this way to begin with. Granted, for some people I think there *are* real and serious issues that lead to food addiction... but I think that no matter what your "why" is, at some point everyone has to take responsibility for what they do (and eat). I think you have to own the bad choices before you can own the good ones. That said, it sounds like you are in a truly healthy place. Bravo!


meredith said...

My "why" is a lot like yours... I ate because food was there, I ate because I was bored, I ate because I love food, and lots of it, and didn't stop to think about what I was doing to myself.

I am inspired!
I will be back. :)

Lidian said...

Great post as always - I am also someone who gains because i like to lie on the couch with a blanket and a cat and many snacks...

IAAdmin said...

Knowing the why is important, but putting sole focus on it defeats whats and the hows. And I totally agree with Mary's comment that many people tend to blame someone, anyone else. It's we who are to blame, and we who need to move forward.

Kudos on focusing on "what needs to be done"...........:)

Anonymous said...

You're on the right track.

holly said...

This was a great post and I am so glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I am a Graduate Student in School Counseling so I was even more excited when I found out you are a therapist. Is there a specific population that you work with?

Lora said...

What a fantastic post! You ar right on the mark!

And congrats on your job!! I've been searching for months now (since my long term sub job of 2 years ended) and am having no luck. So I know how happy you must be! What an incentive to keep going now - for that new wardrobe!

Heather said...

I also thought I was fat in high school and I also was a 12. how I would love to be a 12 now. but you bring up some good pts. I also made poor decisions in the past and thats why I failed. nothing is really different this time except for what I am actually doing that I never did before.

Scale Junkie said...

I was a size 14 in high school and I thought i was a cow. WOW what I'd give to be a cow again!

This is a great post, thank you so much for writing it!