Sometimes these bizarre concepts pop into my head and I do my best to try to write it out in a blog and put into words. This is one of those times. (Warning: philosophical outpouring is coming forth!)
As the scale drops, I keep hitting milestones of "I haven't been this weight since _____." I visualize them weekly to keep my focus. Until I got into the 170's, the milestones weren't as exciting, because I had seen various weights (mostly over 200) between my start weight down to around 185, within the last three years - i.e. recent history - and again about seven years ago when I briefly got to around 180 for a few days (LOL). Once I got to 178-179, I was excited because it had been about fifteen years since I hit that weight, shortly before I started dating my current husband. Since I was in my late thirties at the time, things were much more taut and I felt pretty good at that weight...for that short period of time before I started to gain again.
Now I'm in the low 170's and the 160's are feeling pretty close. And suddenly I'm at a weight I haven't seen since 1990, before my last pregnancy. That is pretty exciting all by itself, but I'm actually more excited by the fact that I feel I'm at the "living weight" of 173 instead of the "diet weight."
What do I mean? I was at this weight when I got pregnant with my last DS at age 33, having been on a diet and gotten to a low of around 165 before I crashed and burned before reaching my goal (of course) and immediately started gaining weight. So the pregnancy happened while the scale was climbing UP. The scale number - whether it was the 165 for a week or two, or the higher numbers before and after that point - was a "diet weight." It's as if it wasn't real because it wasn't stabilized and I had not changed my lifestyle to support any realistic long-term ability to keep that number visible on the scale. It was not a "living weight." I had no idea what number the scale would read each morning as my diet wavered, and I felt that it was totally out of my control. I depended solely on the whims of the diet fairy who was in control of the numbers on my scale.
Until Spark, I would go on a diet every few years after my mid-twenties, religiously sticking to whatever program I chose, awaiting the day when it was "over" and I could...um...well, I wasn't sure what I could do when it was "over" because the concept of reaching goal and being in maintenance terrified me because my dieting did nothing to prepare me for that eventuality. I hadn't changed my eating habits - I'd only put them aside for the course of the DIET. I wasn't exercising - it was something I planned to do in the future because I knew I'd need to address this somehow "once I got thin," but felt it was a waste of time until I got there. So I self-destructed. Each time. Any new, lower "diet weight" was akin to hanging onto a branch at the top of a cliff to keep myself from falling. I couldn't realistically expect to keep hanging on - I knew my arm would weaken, my sweaty hand would fail, and I would fall from the cliff to reality.
"Living weight" is like standing at the top of the cliff instead of dangling from the branch. I've got both feet planted sturdily and I'm breathing easy, secure in my understanding of what it takes to stand here. It's not hard to stand up here when I'm not hanging by my arm. There's no reason I have to get fatigued, fall off the cliff, and see my weight go up, because I'm LIVING at this weight now instead of being granted permission to see the number for a brief moment on a doomed journey.
So: When was the last time that I saw 173 on the scale as a "living weight?" Zoom back another ten years to 1980 (!) before I got pregnant with my first son. I was only 23 years old, and this weight was my normal weight (too heavy for my then 5' 9" frame, but not obese). I didn't have to work at weighing 173, because it was just how much I weighed. I didn't have a lot of experience with dieting back then, as my weight during college went back and forth between around 155 and 175 by making small changes. I wasn't happy with my body image as is typical of so many young women, but had good self-esteem and enjoyed life. I was moderately active, but did not exercise regularly beyond the "activity" that was part of my daily life. Neither my nutrition nor fitness prepared me for what was ahead and how ill-equipped I'd be to survive.
I feel like I'm at such an advantage over my prior life right now. I'm living my weight. It doesn't feel like a stop at a train station, to be regained as soon as I go back to normal eating...because "normal eating" is what I do now! I've changed the norm. I don't have to worry about how to become a daily exerciser once I've hit my goal weight, and whether or not I'll accomplish this...because that has become my fitness norm already. Although I get most excited over SCALE (I know, non-PC) victories, the true value of my nine months of effort has been the transformation of my habits. I'm realizing that things I've only dreamed about - eating a portion size that's actually normal, and feeling uneasy or anxious until my daily fitness is complete - have become my reality.
So - it has been 21 years since I last saw this number (a "diet weight") on the scale and rejoiced. It has been 31 years since I last saw last saw this number on the scale and paid no attention because it was a "living weight."
Next stop: 160...I don't even like to call it a goal because that represents something to be reached - like just crossing the finish line counts and that's the only focus. No, I look forward to later this year when 160 is my new "living weight." And I WON'T be hanging from a cliff when I see it. I look forward to a year from now, when I'm still living that weight - and not even thinking twice when I see that number on the scale.