Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I have a small purple notebook I received just before I turned 8. My first entry was written in a messy, large, loopy cursive, that I imagine I had just learned how to write. Throughout the next 20 years I wrote in that notebook off and on, a sporadic, random diary.
I was looking back through the pages just the other day and saw an entry from when I was about 12 years old. "Dear diary," it began, "I can't believe it! I just weighed myself and I weigh 143 lbs!!! How did this happen? Starting today I'm going to exercise and only eat healthy food..."
I realized that had become the recurring theme of my life. For literally the next 15 years it was the same thing. I can't believe I weigh this much! How did this happen? That's it, I'm going to do this and that to lose weight.
And yet here I am. It seems every time my weight is higher, my outrage and disbelief is greater, and yet I can't get out of the cycle. At first I wanted/needed to lose 10 pounds, then 15, until it ballooned and now I need to lose 30 pounds... and it just Won't. Come. Off.
Why isn't that enough to motivate me? How can I sit here and watch myself sink lower and lower and do nothing? No, not nothing. I complain a lot. I berate and belittle myself about the weight I've gained, and mourn over the closet full of clothes I used to wear. I make excuses about how I'm too tired to work out, or I deserve a break or a high-calorie "treat".
All the while I know I have the ability to change it all. I have the physical ability to work out. I have the choice of what and how much to eat. I decide how to use my free time, and I make or don't make things a priority. Me and me alone.
And yet... somehow I think this will always be a struggle. A juggling act of good and bad, workouts and channel surfing, healthy meals and overeating, motivation and laziness.
When does the cycle end? Does it ever stop for those of us that have been doing this our entire lives? Will I ever desire to workout, or stop craving unhealthy food? Will it ever come easy? Effortlessly maintaining a healthy weight?
Over the past year I watched a "spark" friend change her struggle into sucess. She diligently works out, and works out hard. She looks like a completely different person, and is still going strong. Of course, there's no magic answer. She can't tell me the magic words to make it happen, or bottle her motivation and drive to share. You just have to do it.
So even though I struggle, even though I haven't found unflappable motivation, or unwaivering self-control, I will keep trying. I know I will never be perfect. I will still have good days and bad days, but that's no reason to give up. I will continue to search for what works for me. I will continue to take it one day at a time, one step at a time, because honestly that's all any of us can do. And I hope one day I will step on that scale, or zip up that dress, and know that I did it.