Yeah, what a cliche. I was doing So Well, and then, well, I wasn't. A couple of injuries, a different job schedule, a busier life, a lot of stress. And after declaring that I had changed my lifestyle forever, I now weigh exactly 10 pounds more than when I started my weight loss journey. My body, true to cliche, has succeeded in returning to its former cushy state, with a little extra cushy just to be safe.
And, not to be overly simplistic about separating my mind and my body - my mind succeeded too, in its own way. As annoyed as I am about the extra weight, it really is nice and cushy. It really is safe. I don't ever, ever have to worry about drawing unwanted male attention. I am again invisible as a body, leaving my nice overachieving brain to shine all on its own. I've been here before and it's very safe.
But I've also been more alive than I feel now. More confident. More energetic. Less concerned about my health as I get older and this weight takes its toll on my knees, my feet, my heart, my kidneys. And so the question is, am I willing to sacrifice this shielded comfort for that energetic aliveness? Am I willing to inhabit my body more fully again, for the promise of a longer and more independent future?
Yes - with caveats. I made a few promises to myself in the past year, and I intend to keep them.
One is that I have promised myself I will never subject me to another diet again. Ever. And with all due respect to my former weight-loss-success self, counting every single calorie every day is not a "lifestyle," it's a diet. It just is. That's how I lost 70 pounds before, and it was very empowering and educational to live through that process. But I won't be doing that again.
I have also promised myself that I will actually deal with my issues rather than bolting from them - with food, with exercise, with distractions of any kind. There is something very dysfunctional going on when a person (that's me) consistently eats in response to emotional overload. That's why I am where I am today, and why no temporarily imposed structure of calories in/calories out will fix it. Perhaps there are people out there who are willing to count every calorie, every day, for the rest of their lives. I am not one of them.
And finally, I have promised myself that I will listen closely to my body and give it what it needs. I will learn its language more fully, so that I can tell the difference between "I'm anxious" and "I'm hungry." I will feed it when it's hungry and stop feeding it when it is satisfied. And when it is crying out for something else that food won't truly satisfy, I will keep listening until I figure out what that something else is.
This is not going to happen quickly. I am not going to lose 50 pounds in 6 months, like I did 4 years ago. I am not going to set any weight loss goal at all, actually. I haven't thrown away all those nice clothes I bought when I lost weight, and I'd love to be able to wear them again. But when and if it happens, it will happen in its own time. The goal this time is to be a whole person, healthy of mind and spirit and body. I don't know yet what she will look like, but she's calling to me.