Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What Am I Afraid Of?

I’ve been plagued by this nagging feeling for a couple of years now that I’m terrified of losing weight.  To people who’ve never had a weight problem, that sounds ridiculous.  But to those of us who have (and I have spoken to and read things written by other people to this end) it’s very much a reality.

So what is it about losing weight that I’m so afraid of?

That I’ll fail.  I’ve lost and gained and lost and gained all of my adult life.  Going back to 11 or 12 years of age, I remember trying to lose weight and going on one diet or another.  So why would this time be any different?  Since the weight came back on over the past 3 years, I’ve made attempts at losing again.  I’ve probably started somewhere in the vicinity of 50 times in the past 3 years to get back on the wagon.  The most I’ve lost is maybe 15 lbs, then I throw in the towel and gain it all back and then some.  I’ve done this before.  It was hard.  It took a long time.  Doing it again overwhelms me and is daunting.

The commitment.  Weight loss is a commitment.  It’s hard work.  It takes planning, it takes time, it takes patience.  It takes self-control:  that ability to step back mentally from that giant container of ice cream and say, “I think I’ll just have one small scoop right now, instead of the entire thing in one sitting.”  I’ve never been fully able to grasp the whole “lifestyle change” concept.  I understand it.  It makes sense.  It looks good on paper.  But putting it into practice, for me, has not been fruitful.  Yet.

I’ll lose my excuse for not living.  “I can’t do that.  I’m too fat.”  It’s the refrain that plays in my mind over and over again.  Like going to a special salon for a haircut.  I’m too fat to go there, so I don’t have to.  Trying a new bar?  Forget it.  I’m too fat.  Lounging by the pool.  Oh, hahaha, don’t be silly.  I can’t do that.  I’m too fat.  The list goes on.

People will see me.  This is the biggie.  This is the one that hits the bull’s eye.  I won’t be invisible anymore.  My fat is my shield.  It keeps people at bay.  It’s my excuse for not allowing anyone to get too close.  Most of this, I know, is in my head.  Such as this list of why fat is my shield from people:  It’s the reason my girlfriend will leave me, instead of leaving me for any other reason.  My fat keeps attackers away.  My fat keeps people from wanting to get to know me.  My fat keeps new friends from asking me to go places. 

There comes a point when you have to take a risk with all things in life.  If I fail, so what?  If people see me, that’s okay.  Living life is why I’m here.  I’m ready for a change in the way I do things with food and exercise.  In the grand scheme of things, there are far more valid reasons to be afraid.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Why

I am a completely ADD person.  I spontaneously started writing this as I flipped back and forth on my computer between my two favorite weight loss blogs, a scrapbooking workshop PDF and a chat window I have open with my girlfriend.

Friends (or folks, I hope to one day call “friends”), I have no idea what my actual weight is today.  I’m sure it’s hovering somewhere between 330 and 340 pounds.   I feel completely complacent, depressed, overwhelmed, saddened, frustrated, and angry (amongst other assorted emotions) over my weight.  No need for anyone else to beat me up over it all, I do more than enough of that on my own.  I can’t help but going back 3 ½ ish years in my mind to when I was really feeling strong and closer to my goal than ever before in my life.  And then came the great fall from atop the summit…

I was vegetarian at the time and had decided to vegan challenge myself.  I was working out 45 to 90 minutes a day.  I’d lost 89 pounds at that point in my life (I now weigh pretty much exactly, if not more, than I weighed at my highest weight when I started), I was embarking on all sorts of new, scary, and exciting experiences.  Then I did something stupid and mishandled a crate of water bottles and herniated two discs in my back. 

Now if I had really been the strong person I thought I was, I wouldn’t have let it deter me.  But it did deter me.  All I could do for close to a year was go to work, come home, eat something I didn’t really have to cook, then go to bed around 5 PM, because even sitting on the sofa was too excruciating.  As my mom very succinctly put it one day a few months into that experience, “D, I think you’re eating your pain.”  Yeah.  That’s exactly what I did.  There was the physical pain and the emotional pain that came along with all that was happening.  Now these 3 years later, I’ve become a statistic with what I affectionately (and denially, if you will allow that to be a word) refer to as my “sciatica weight”.

At the conclusion of this sob story, I could now launch into the entire history of my issues with weight and food, but I’m not going to do that right now.  If you stick with me, it’ll all come out in good time, but for now I’m going to leave it there. 

And I say all that to say this….

I’ve had it. 

I’ve had it with myself, the crap processed sugar coated deep fried salted diet I’ve been feeding my body for most of the past several years.  I don’t want it anymore. 

I don’t want to turn 40 nearing or surpassing 400 pounds. 

I don’t want to stand after a couple of hours of sitting and feel like I’m a 90 year old who has to take a few tentative steps to get going again because my body is so ravaged. 

I don’t want to dread all the times my sweet little 2 year old niece asks me to get on the floor to play with her, because it’s so awkward trying to arrange this large body in such a small space and then to get myself turned around well enough to the point where I can get back up again without the screaming pain in my knees. 

I don’t want to dread getting on an airplane to see my girlfriend in Ireland, worrying that the person next to me will complain that I’m taking up too much of their space; worrying about getting the seat belt extender out of my bag and across my lap before anyone sees what I’m doing; worrying about the searing discomfort I will feel from being crammed into a seat too small for 10+ hours. 

I don’t want to constantly fret about the state of my arms (or legs or butt or stomach) to the point where I feel like I can’t leave the house in any piece of clothing I currently own.  Or probably in any piece of clothing that exists anywhere in the world, save for a giant bed sheet fashioned into some sort of circusesque tent dress.

I don’t want to be terrified of going to a bar or nightclub with my girlfriend or friends, because I’m so worried that someone will make fun of me or call me names (oddly enough, I think bars and nightclubs are one of the only remaining places I haven’t had someone make fun of or comment on my size). 

But as much, if not more than all of those things, I don’t want to feel unworthy of living any longer.  I feel less than human.  I feel less than a woman.  I feel inconsequential. 

I have an amazing girlfriend who loves me just as I am.  I have the most incredible family a person could ask for.  I have good friends.  I have a job I love most of the time.  I have a roof over my head and a driveable car.  I am very blessed and fortunate.

But I still don’t feel like I should be allowed to be happy.  Is it the cause or a result of my weight?  I don’t know.  But I am ready to find out.