This weekend it hit me that I am the size/weight I was during my summer of losing back in 2004, my “half-way” size/shape, if you will.
And while some might not be upset by this realization, I have to say, it was an unsettling feeling for me.
It goes without saying that I never want to go back to my unhealthy habits of chewing/spitting or excessively over-exercising.
But those ways weren’t how I lost weight in the first place, anyway. I did it the old-fashioned way: eating less, moving more, following WW Online.
It worked then, and it’s not working now and truthfully, that frustrates me. I wish it didn’t frustrate me or upset me, but it does.
Five years later, that equilibrium I sought and found seems completely messed up because I work out like a fiend, I’m strength training, I’m journaling and I’m still unable to lose weight — I’m eating too much (even with journaling/following WW) to lose.
I’m “overweight” again. I honestly don’t mean to sound like I’m beating myself up here, but it’s the truth. (Even if you ignore the scale, my BMI is above normal now, too, and I’m up a size in clothes from my leanest).
I think the only way I can lose weight at this point is by eating NO activity points at all … and truthfully, I have trouble doing that. I lost eating all my points, all 35 Flex points, plus all of my activity points (if not more). And I feel “entitled” to those activity points … something I have struggled with for years.
I know I need to reframe it, but I’m having trouble with doing it.
Anyway, as soon as my clothes feel tight (like they do now), I feel super-anxious and I have to admit, it’s downright scary. Especially when people you care about are succeeding at losing weight. I’m genuinely happy for them, but it makes me wonder, why can’t I? Especially because I did it before … so effortlessly.
(Granted, just not drinking a whipped raspberry mocha and sipping a kiwi-strawberry Snapple a day probably was enough to spur weight loss back then!)
I remember going to a neighbor’s 4th of July party that summer of slimming down, and everyone commenting on my weight loss (I was down about 15 lbs then). I remember how proud of my mom was of me, how good I felt about myself. Me, the chubby girl, was finally leaning out. I looked good, and I felt good. Confident, even.
(I believe my personal barometer, sense of self, was different then. I was comparing a heavier me to a newly lighter me; it makes sense I’d feel good at this current weight/size then, compared to my former self … and also explains why (in my head) my sense of self is skewed now.)
That year, I continued to lose, and got to my ultimate low … which didn’t last; it was too low for me to easily maintain and so I ended up maintaining about 8 higher than that for three years. And now, well, I’m about 8-10 higher than that. I’m basically a puffier version of that lean me, but not quite as puffy as I felt at my heaviest. I’m “half-way” me, caught somewhere between thin me and heavy me … and I do have fears about that. I’m not gonna lie and say I don’t … that’d be disingenuous.
I know it’s not all about the scale, and that ultimately it’s more about health than anything else, but I hate not being “healthy” or feeling my best.
Adding insult to injury, it’s really hard when your clothes feel tight instead of loosening as they did that “summer of thin.”
I remember I had to pin or alter everything, and then finally, just literally shopped myself into debt because I’d gone from a 12/14 to a 4/6 in the course of 8 months and as a professional, the pinned-up pants weren’t cutting it anymore.
I literally couldn’t wear anything I owned back then. I needed new everything: bras, underwear, workout clothes, jeans, tops, suits, dresses, skirts … it was a costly venture, for sure …
But I loved it. I ate it up.
It might sould ridiculous now, but I loved tugging at the waistband and letting my pants fall around my hips, or seeing how baggy tops and pants and skirts had become.
I loved slipping into 6s, and sometimes a 4. I felt empowered. Lean, mean …
I’d stare at myself in the bathroom mirror at work, shocked at my own body, running my hands over my (then-slim) hips and feeling like a queen. It was, as I noted in one of my first blog entries, addicting.
Now, five years later (nearly 30, vs nearly 25) I’m in my “half-way” body yet again, with the scale tipping in the opposite direction. I’m more or less the size/shape I was when I was mid-way through losing, halfway between my original weight and my happy, comfortable weight.
More fit than I was back then, sure … (and I realize that’s a big plus) but definitely puffier.
I hate to sound like I’m whining, or like I’m unhappy even though I kept off half of what I lost (research shows most people tend to gain it all back and then some), but it does feel discouraging to realize this.
I don’t know about how others in a similar situation feel, but I think I’ll always feel like I’m two steps away from going all the way back to my starting weight.
My anxious, controlling nature won’t allow me to go there (ok, with the exception of for pregnancy someday maybe) … but I’m definitely at risk for going back there if I’m not vigilant.
Even as a glass-half-full kind of girl, even with all the wonderful, beautiful people and things in my life — all of which I am grateful and feel blessed to have — I struggle with accepting this reality as my own.
I’m someone who always wants things RIGHTNOW, and I simply don’t have the level of patience I had back then. I think that’s primarily because when I was losing in 2004, I didn’t know where I’d “end up” size or weight-wise. Having been heavier my whole life up til then, I had no clue where I’d settle/even out.
And now I know what was … what could be, and it’s hard to accept that I’ve slipped up.
Even as I type this, I hate how that sounds; like I’m longing for the past, whining over the body I “lost”. But it’s not just about the body – it’s the mindset I had back then that I long for.
Deep down, I know this is me now and I should love myself here. Rationally, I know “that was then, this is now …”
But it still stings to feel so uncomfortable in my own skin sometimes. I want to be ok, happy, content where I am.
I’ve said before, and I stand by it today … recovery from those ugly habits is worth the 8-10 lbs I’ve gained this year; I’m so proud of how far I’ve come … truly, I am.
But deep down, even if I accept those pounds half the time, the other half of the time, I am mentally struggling with wanting them gone: wanting to feel good in my own skin, wanting to take pictures instead of being behind the camera.
I realize my weight gain is no one’s fault but my own, and that’s it’s a purely self-inflicted situation … and not an uncommon one in the slightest.
I also realize that it’s very challenging (and perhaps even irresponsible?) to be talking about weight loss and recovering from ugly disordered eating behaviors in the same blog … but they are intertwined in my world, and I struggle with separating the two.
I want so desperately to be happy with my body as I am now, in this moment, but I just want to share with all of you here that it’s a real genuine struggle. Some days I feel really ok … and other days, not so much.
I feel schizo/contradictory posting sometimes because I do see my Libra personality coming out — being unable to take a stance and stick to it, but rather seeing/feeling both sides of anything/everything, which can paralyze me.
Please know, it’s not about vanity, or even striving for a perfect figure… but rather getting back what I know I’m capable of. Therapy helped me see I don’t need to shoot for straight “A’s” but at least a B … ya know!?
This is a battle I’m waging in my head, which sometimes comes to fruition (however subconsciously) in my actions … and I wish it’d just disappear.
Some days I’m ready to declare victory and others … like today … not so much (which could be hormonal, now that I think about it …!)
Trying on clothes this weekend was particularly disillusioning. How can one not take it to heart when nothing fits right, when nothing lays nicely? I wish I knew; I wish I could let it rub off my back easily like so many women can.
I truly hope I can get there someday … but I’d be lying through my teeth if I didn’t tell you I’m just not there yet.
I am proud of the strides I’ve made in terms of my behaviors … but I’m not quite there yet in my head … and I don’t know I ever will be.
As my husband always used to say to me when we were long-distance international all those years, longing for one another and just wanting our life to finally be ours: “The only thing left to lose is faith.”
He’s right. I do have faith. And I don’t want to lose it.
How about you? How have you handled weight gain? How has it mentally affected you as you view yourself? Any advice?