Weighty Matters

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Adding Qualifiers

on December 17, 2013

In response to yesterday’s post, Lani wrote a very thoughtful comment that asked me to consider this:
If you never lose another pound for the rest of your life, how bad would that be, really? You’re active. You’re beautiful (you were also beautiful before, and you are still now, just beautiful.) You’re fun and smart and amazing.

She points out that I’m healthy, I’m living a great life. So, really, how bad would it be?

I don’t know. In the grand scheme of things, I am so, so SO much better than I was. I just know that it feels like it isn’t enough. It’s like I have to add qualifiers. In other words, I don’t feel comfortable calling myself healthy, but I am healthier. I’m not in great shape yet, but my fitness level is greatly improved. So, yes, if this was the end, I would be in a better, healthier, less obese state than I was and that would not be the worst thing.

But is isn’t enough. I don’t want to stop yet. Lani isn’t suggesting that I do, but offered the perspective that perhaps I should give myself a break for a little while, enjoy where I am while I maintain it, and breathe. Wisdom and compassion are in this suggestion, along with her belief that I’ll eventually get through the plateau. I wish I could take her suggestion, but I just don’t think I’m capable of doing so right now. Maybe for the next two weeks as I get through the holidays, but then it feels like something inside won’t let me stop hammering at the plateau until I finally break through.

At more than 200 pounds, I’m still obese. I’m okay with my goal weight being 170, which at least gets me to the merely “overweight” category according to the BMI charts. I don’t feel driven to go down to the 160s, 150s or 140s. However, if I don’t get to goal weight, I will feel that I’ve left part of this undone. I won’t go so far as saying I will have failed. That isn’t true. Lani’s right. I’ve made myself healthier and more sane so to that extent I have won. It’s just that if I stop and don’t get into One-derland and then my goal, it will feel like I won second or third place instead of achieving the top prize.

I’ve come a long way in dealing with the emotional issues too, but I’m not at the point where I’m completely serene. I realize that I cannot let go of the fear that this success is only temporary. I am afraid that if I do not keep pushing, I will lose the motivation — that switch will flip to Off — and I will backslide. The possibility of backsliding out of control and regaining the weight terrifies me. Been there, done that, more times than I can remember.

The best deal that I can make for myself is to take it easy for a couple of weeks and not stress about it so much. While it might not be acceptable to me to never lose another pound, I can give myself permission to not lose anything for the next week or two. That’s as much of a breather as I can handle, but it should be enough.

4 responses to “Adding Qualifiers

  1. Hope says:

    You can bike 20 miles! You’re fit!!!!

  2. Lani says:

    I completely understand what you’re saying, Mary, and I support you 100%. A couple of weeks is a good middle ground, a good starting place, and you can breathe. I do believe it’s just a plateau, and I realize that your doctor means well, but it doesn’t seem reasonable to cut the calories down any more than you have.

    You simply can’t continue losing at the rate you were at. If it takes a year to take off those last 30 pounds, okay. I think that what’s underserving you now isn’t your body; it’s your thinking. A failure metaphor isn’t appropriate, and you’ve acknowledged that, but you’re not in second place, either.

    Your reward has been equal to your sacrifice so far, so it’s been… well, not easy, I won’t say that, but those numbers sliding off the scale provided a comfort and emotional hit of happy that replaced the food. And now that the numbers aren’t there, the food is calling.

    What you need right now is every form of non-food comfort you can fit into your life. Think of everything you love, and surround yourself with it. Spend time with yourself, and with your emotions and with your fear. Have you been seeing a therapist? A good one could help.

    But going down to the that number of calories a day doesn’t seem reasonable. You break through a plateau by staying where you are and telling your body it’ll be okay, you’re not going to starve. Further starving it is going to just make things worse. Your body needs comfort, and reassurance that everything’s okay. It’s lost a ridiculous amount of weight in a very short time, and it’s freaking out that it needs to hold onto that fat because there isn’t much left. Be kind to it. Reassure it. Give it comforts. Cozy sweaters and regular activity and enough food to let it know it can relax and release. It will.

    I’m not a doctor, and your doctor knows more than I do, I’m sure. But this sounds like terrible advice to me. Unhealthy advice, as though the only thing that affects your quality of life is the numbers. This isn’t about numbers now, at least I don’t think so. This is about your body’s need for reassurance, and your need to deal with the fear. Are there support groups for people who’ve had weight loss surgery? Have you been to Meetup.com to see? I’m just shooting from the hip here, just advising on instinct. Those people will really know what you’re going through, and sometimes just not being alone can help.

    Anyway, again, I know nothing about what I’m talking about. But I know you, and I have absolute faith that you can do this. No one’s saying give everything up and go face down in Christmas cake. Just don’t cut the calories again; not yet. Maintain for a while, and comfort yourself, and maybe find a support group. You’ll get through this, you’ll be on the other side, and it’ll be okay. 🙂

    Big love, baby. You’re amazing.

    • Mary Stella says:

      You’re on target with everything, Lani and Skye. I so appreciate it. I’m seeing my primary care doctor today and am going to speak with her about it too.

      There are support groups but they’re two hours away at night once a month and tough for me to get to. I have an online forum where I can go and ask too.

      I agree completely that further reducing my calories is not the solution. Being good to myself with healthy nourishment in appropriate quantity makes more sense. Continuing my active lifestyle goes with it.

      Thank you again for the loving support everyone. It’s helped so much to come here and process.

  3. Skye says:

    So I went back and read Lani’s comment and it is beautiful. I can see what she is saying. I also understand what you are saying also. Because, for you, this isn’t just about “weight loss”, it’s about overcoming your eating disorder, or controlling it, or however you think of what you are doing. You are dealing with more than most of us deal with in our weight challenges. So your issues are more tangled up in the numbers.

    i think that you will get to a point where what Lani said will be just right for you. I’m very glad you have chosen to cut yourself some slack for the next two weeks. And I’m so very sorry that your eating issues make it impossible for you to follow Lani’s suggestions right now. I wish you had the ability to just let go for a while, to relax, but I think I get why you can’t. It sucks. But it’s great that you have a support network of people who all want the very best for you.

    That’s all the wisdom I have to impart today, even if it isn’t entirely coherent. Be well. Be happy. Take good care of yourself.

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