When Feeling Light Gets Heavy
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I felt lighter this morning. I noticed it as I rolled out of bed to get ready for physical therapy. I felt it again as I stepped off the sidewalk after my appointment; that lightness of step, that quickness of muscle response to my mental command. But I know that one day of logging my food, sticking to my plan, and seeing the scale move in the right direction doesn’t make these things happen. I logically KNOW that these changes cannot occur overnight. Maybe it’s a little bit like when you wash, wax, and detail your car then take it out for that first drive and it seems to run smoother?
I’ve spent the last 4 months not doing the best for my body. I’ve been taking care of some injuries, doing my PT exercises, seeing improvements in my daily pain levels, increasing my run distance, all the while stuffing my face with unhealthy foods. I’ve just been eating like it’s not going to show up on the scale, but it did. As of last week, I found myself sitting 18 pounds above my lowest low of 2 years ago. I knew what was going to happen, you can only eat so many bags of chocolate chips or bowls of ice cream before you start going in the wrong direction. Despite several attempts to turn this boat around, I find the natural current has carried me back to fat.
I felt like once I hit that 199.9 mark that there would be no turning back. One-derland was this magic place where all the thinner people lived. Somehow being accepted into that club would give me immunity from the chunky 200-something life I’d lived for almost my entire adult life. I felt like I would never-ever-ever want to see 2## again, and the sheer desire to stay onehundredsomething would overwhelm any past life-long behaviors that I had. But then, poof, I was 201; I didn’t fall over dead or suddenly revamp my routine to lose that 2 pounds. I spent a half year bouncing between 200-203, the next year it was 204-206, then I spiked to 210, and quickly got down to the low 200s again. This goes on and on to give me a “weight loss” report that looks like the foothills of Kilimanjaro on an ascent.
Last week I weighed in at 215, I stepped off the scale and felt a new reality set in. There is no weight that I will ever reach that will keep me safe from the weight I’m at now. No amount of months, or workouts, or healthy meals, or food-logged days will insulate me from weight gain. Even if I reached my goal by year-end, and maintained until 2023, I would still be just as at risk for ending up here at 215 as I was a couple years ago.
This disease I have will never be cured, I will battle it my entire life. There will be times when the battle is in my favor and the road is smooth, and then there will be times like this, frustrating and embarrassing. If I’m lucky and get the upper-hand with this disease, perhaps I will avoid a long list of other obesity-related diseases. That is my greatest desire. I sometimes envision a doctor diagnosing me with something terminal for which obesity is a risk-factor. It would surely be the moment that I would be the most mortified of my entire life. To not honor my body enough to give it the most awesome shot at life? How could I?
I often throw a critical eye to my dad, who is obese and has always maintained a moderately high level of activity and strength despite his heavier weight. But his late 60something body is now telling him, “No.” He’s actually trying to sell our vacation house in the mountains because he can’t navigate the stairs well (there are 49 of them). His knees are in bad shape. I’m very hurt by this because I grew up going there, and now my kids enjoy it. I don’t want the house sold, but he can’t maintain it the way he wants to. I feel like he should just lose weight and his knees would be so much better. Sacrificing some portion size means he could enjoy the house again. Why would he choose overeating rich food at every meal over the chance to feel great again and enjoy things that his knees stop him from doing?
But here I am, in the same boat, that damn fat boat to fat land. Grrrr. I have repeatedly made poor choices for the past couple years that have led me to gain 18 pounds back. And there is no way that my knees and hips aren’t feeling that weight when I run. It’s got to have a tremendous impact on my joint health, and since I’m my father’s genetic doppelganger, I can see how I’ve made the same choices he has. I’m eating what I want now, and not feeling how I want to later.
I am going to feel the shame of this moment, the embarrassment of ending up in a place that is causing my joints to hurt, and I am going to turn this boat around. I will enjoy every moment of lightness that comes my way in the weeks and months to come. As I navigate this course back into familiar territory, I know it will be filled with smiles at the scale, higher reps in exercise, faster times on runs, and clothes that don’t pinch or bind. I will embrace the successes the come my way, but I will also know that they do not give me immunity from ending up right back here in the 2-hundred-teens.