Friday, January 23, 2009
I don't like motivational slogans. They make me feel like I'm in fourth grade with posters all over the walls that my teachers bought in bulk. "Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars!" "The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step!" I feel pandered to. And as a lit geek of monumental proportions, I have to say that my tolerance of the cliche is close to zilch.
The only one I really have use for is more tough love than gushy emotion: "Unless we change direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed." It's so deliciously Yogi Berra in nature. Something that is so true that we've never stopped to consider its implications.
Look, I've tried losing weight before. I've done Weight Watchers (two incarnations), Atkins, and South Beach. I've done low-fat, low-carb, Diabetic, and even working with a personal trainer. I've tried the stair-stepper my parents bought, DDR, the work-out rooms at two universities, and the one in my apartment complex. I've tried movivating myself with thinspiration (although less anorexic and more LiLo circa Mean Girls). I've tried putting notes for myself on the fridge. I've tried putting post-it notes all over the walls in my room featuring all the terrifying health problems I'm set up for: amputations, blindness, heart attack, infertility, even things like anorgasmia (OH MY GOD NO.)
I've even tried SparkPeople before.
I don't have a sob story. I didn't get fat after five babies. I wasn't raised on deep-fried bologna in mayonnaise. I haven't suffered from, or seen a loved one through a debilitating illness that took its toll on my body. I wasn't abused as a child. I wasn't raised to be this way. My mother has always been obsessed with cooking healthier, since her mother struggled with her weight her whole life. I had a delightful childhood. My parents are still together and have always been so supportive of me. Even though I hate my body, I love myself. In the right light, I sometimes think I'm hot. I had self-esteem issues in 8th grade, but I'm one of my biggest fans now (Narcissistic or healthy? You decide.)
I guess I can blame my genes. My Dad and his father are (/were) heavy. My maternal grandmother was enormous before she got so sick that she accidentally dropped 70 lbs. I don't know if compulsive overeating is genetic, but I do it and I'm pretty good at it. When I'm depressed, it's time for a snack. If I'm happy, it's time for a snack! Bored? Must be hungry. Sometimes I'm so excited about going out to eat that I'll read the menu online to figure out exactly what I want. It's like porn for fatties. When I started sneaking snacks at night at home so my parents wouldn't hear, I knew something was wrong. Eating when you're bored isn't abnormal. Eating in secret is a big f*cking problem.
It's not like I don't have a balanced diet. I've always loved fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, health foods like kale and tofu, healthy fats like avocado and olives and almonds. The problem is that I *also* love junk food. I am a potato-chip junkie. I love cheese sauce and ranch dressing and real mayo. Anything deep-fried, all white starches, anything sweet and chewy. The other problem is the sheer quantity. Eating whole-grain pasta is no good if you eat half a box at a sitting.
First I wanted to lose weight before my Bat Mitzvah (age 12), then before I went into high school (age 14), then before I went into college (age 18). I always wanted a chance to begin anew, somewhere where no one had ever known me as The Fat Girl. (Although, at my 8th grade reunion last year, I realized, I'm not The Fat Girl anymore. After puberty, college, and even a couple of babies, there are a LOT of Fat Girls in my graduating class.) But it's ten years later, and the scale keeps moving the wrong way. I kept justifying it by hovering between 195 -199. "Not 200 lbs, yet!" For some reason, 200 lbs was my threshold.
I'm 22 years-old -- officially a 20-something. I am also officially 200 lbs. I am graduating college and going to look for a real job -- and whether people admit it or not, they are biased against fat girls. I have a boyfriend of nearly four years with whom I want to start a life, and I don't want to do some horrible crash-diet before my wedding (not engaged yet, just planning...) And I don't want to be a pregnant fat girl. Right now, being fat is only hurting me. But being pregnant with my body would also hurt my child.
So, I'm determined. When I move into the real world, I want to be smokin' hot. I want to be healthy for the rest of my life. I want to live a long time with my remarkably slender boyfriend.
That said, I'm not going to smother myself with crappy nuggets of "inspiration" until I can't breathe. I might feel better physically, but I'm not going to try to kid myself into thinking I'm enjoying what I'm about to do. And I'm not going to make myself miserable. If I want to go to Marble Slab with my girlfriends, I'm going to go to Marble Slab with my girlfriends. I just won't have cheese fries the next day. If I make this too hard on myself, I'm going to quit. I should know. It's what I'm good at.