Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Today I ran across a journal I used to record my adventures in weightloss. Remarkably, none of the entries addressed my thoughts or feelings. They were simply numbers – body measurements and whatever the scale said.
The first entry was dated 6/30/99. I weighed 175. It was eight months after my daughter’s birth. I didn't write anything but I was probably horrified that I hadn't lost the baby weight. No doubt, the journal was going to chronicle my road to thin-hood. Pages of entries detailed the ups and downs (pretty consistently I might add) of a two-year span. I ended my initial journey on 2/3/01 at 187.5, a 12.5 lb. gain. Clearly that is not the road to thin-hood.
In 2002, I started a new round of entries. I began in April at 193.5 lbs. and ended the year at 191.5. I achieved a net gain of four pounds.
Spring arrived in 2003. I weighed in at 198 lbs. and by July I was at 196. In August, I abandoned the scale and diligently recorded my measurements every two weeks through February 2004.
I was five years into my journey and had achieved a net gain of 21 pounds.
2004 to 2006 were really difficult years. My father was seriously ill, my brother died and my husband was out of work for a while which prompted us to sell our home and rent until things got better. It all culminated in a move to another state. I am not surprised there are no entries for that time period.
I picked the journal back up in February 2006 when I weighed in at 192 lbs. I dutifully recorded my measurements and successfully lost 14 lbs. I stopped recording when I reached 178 lbs. in August.
I have no idea what my weight was in 2007, there are only three entries. Judging by the body measurements, I was probably back in the 190s.
Another year, another New Year resolution and I started 2008 at 198 lbs. I was now nine years into my journey and had gained 23 lbs. I didn’t write this down but I remember my feelings clearly: I was defeated, devastated, ashamed.
In January 2008, I began to watch The Biggest Loser. I found the contestants’ stories inspiring. If they could work that hard, then surely I could make a few changes and lose 40 lbs.! Biggest Loser advertised their online support system, so I paid the fee and signed on. I began to track my food. I posted to a few threads. I signed up for my first 5K as a goal.
In an interesting twist of fate, one of the threads I posted to mentioned Sparkpeople and what a great site it was – free, lots of tools and support. I looked into it and within a week abandoned the Biggest Loser site. I became a Sparkpeople member on 1/12/08. By October 2008, I weighed 164, the lowest since before my first child in 1996. I ran my first 5k and was training for my first half marathon. I was on top of the world. I remember that time well.
My journal tells me that I maintained my weight fairly well throughout 2009 (probably due to training for half marathons and other races). I added a few pounds in 2010. In 2011, I added a few more, renewed my focus and got back down to 164 lbs. by late fall 2011. A new low.
There are no entries for 2012. That was another difficult year. We had a foreign exchange student living with us and my husband moved to another new job which meant a move to another new state.
So here I am in 2013. I started the year @ 190. The same old feelings rushed in with the New Year – defeat, devastation, shame. I had allowed myself to regain nearly 25 lbs. in a little over a year. Who does that?! The good news is that I have lost ten pounds since December and am back on track with my eating and exercise. The bad news is I have a ways to go.
My journal of 14 years shows me that my body really likes being overweight. It shows me that I have to be vigilant and make lifelong changes for this to work. I gave up soda years ago. The same goes for fried foods, desserts and other calorie-dense foods. I don’t eat sugar-coated cereals. I rarely eat dessert or fast food or greasy burgers.
My diet is actually okay. I exercise on a consistent basis. But I have to acknowledge that more is required. I have to do more. That is, I have to do more if I want to lose weight and keep chipping away at the healthier body I know is inside me.
I watched Biggest Loser last night. The episode centered on the contestants’ week at home, away from the security of the ranch. One young man was out with his friends where the cheesy pizza, wings, fries, beer and burgers were in plentiful supply. He said how his friends are thin and for whatever reason, they are able to eat those foods. He used to eat them but now he cannot. Not even a tiny bite. That’s just the way it is. I guess that’s the realization I need to make for myself. While I am not eating calorie- and fat-laden foods like that, there are foods that I should not eat. Ever. They lead to a slippery slope. My body cannot handle them. I cannot handle them.
I SHOULD eat more vegetables.
I SHOULD eat more fruits.
I SHOULD drink more water.
I SHOULD spend more time meal planning.
I SHOULD put certain foods in the “never” category.
I am not other people. I am me. And “me” is still working to find the right food balance. I have made a lot of progress but have a ways to go. For whatever reason, my body likes to be fat. Whether it’s due to years of eating chemical-laden foods or hormones or genetics or a combination of all three, it doesn’t matter. My body likes to be fat. I have to feed it the right foods. I know what those foods are. Now I just have to do it – consistently. And I have to say goodbye to the foods that keep me fat. They aren’t foods that keep most people fat. But they are toxic to me.
That’s just the way it is. It’s time to turn the “should” into “do.”