Force of Will.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
I have found I have an incredible ability to will my body to keep going. I can't necessarily will it to go faster, or harder, but I can keep it moving, even when it doesn't want to. I put my head down, grit my teeth, and make it happen. I have not tried a marathon or anything even close to that, but I'm sure I could do it, because not quitting when my body feels like quitting is what I do. It's what I'm good at.
I'm not a quitter. Even when I should be. That's why I stayed in an emotionally manipulative relationship for almost 9 years before walking away. That's why, this past year, when it became clear to me that the new relationship I was in wasn't going to work out, I had a *really* hard time letting go. That's why injuries plague me for months (and sometimes years). I don't believe in quitting, even when it's the best thing for me.
I have always quit my attempts at losing weight, though. I quit them over and over again. The only times I have lost weight and kept it off for any length of time, really, have been when I wasn't even trying. With trying to lose weight through exercise and food-tracking/caloric restrictions, I managed to lose 5-8 pounds that I put back on as soon as I relaxed on my calorie counting.
What finally dropped me from 130 to 120 was a combination of going off the pill (no more hormones = massive change in my metabolism), and emotional stress. I have always tended to stop eating when I am depressed or anxious, but the last relationship I was in before this one, I was so head-over-heels happy and giddy that I actually lost my appetite. I barely slept, I barely ate, and I felt incredibly exuberant and joyful and energized. I had crazy amounts of energy, despite the lack of calories and rest. I felt great.
When that relationship ended, of course I didn't feel great - and I dropped more weight - I never weighed myself then, but I would guess I was something like 115...I don't think I could realistically lose much more than that - I weighed that much in junior high school! But, even though emotionally I was a wreck, I had no problem pushing my body when I worked out - it felt good, actually - one of the few things that did, at that time.
I spent the past year recovering, emotionally and financially, from the huge hit I took on both fronts, dealing with the relationship fallout. Now, I am in a MUCH better place. I am enjoying a new relationship that is better than I could have ever hoped for, and financially I finally have my feet on the ground. BUT - I've gained back nearly all the weight I lost. Some of it is muscle weight; I know that I have gained a good bit of muscle, and I'm fine with that. I don't want to go down to 115, and even 120 may be unrealistic given the amount of muscle I am currently carrying. But I need to be able to fit into my clothes, and not in a gross, stuffed sausage kind of way. I need to lose 5 pounds, at least, and then I will re-assess.
Since I have injured my shoulder, and since I already work out 2-3 times a day, 7 days a week, I have decided it is neither feasible nor practical to exercise more. I mean, I could, but I would probably hurt something else (like my knees) before too long. Plus, I wouldn't have time to do anything but work and work out. And, in all honesty, my weight has very little to do with how much I exercise. If I look at when I have lost weight, outside of the hormonal effect of the pill wearing off, the PRIMARY factor in the weight loss was how much I ate.
So. Here's where force of will comes in. Most people give up on dieting (sooner or later) because they get hungry. They get tired of the deprivation. I am no stranger to that state of being. I HATE feeling hungry. But I am going to force myself to learn to love it, at least a little. There's nothing wrong with feeling a little hungry. I reach for food the instant the thought crosses my mind that I might be just the teeniest bit hungry. I need to remember how great it feels to run when I am lighter; how painlessly my knees can work, how much faster I can go, how much further I can go, when I'm 5-10 pounds lighter. 5 pounds makes a HUGE difference! I need to put my head down and grit my teeth and make this happen. I don't want to weigh 129 pounds. So I need to suck it up and be a little hungry. That feeling means I am working towards my goal. I'm not talking about glorifying starvation or anorexia or anything - I am talking about putting my caloric needs into perspective. I CLEARLY do not need to be eating as much as I have been. I'm not trying to whittle myself down into a tiny, wispy waif of a creature - I'm trying to lose that little bit of weight that is standing between me and the most slammin' body I have ever had. If I have to feel a little hungry to get there, so what? It is worth it. But I have to do it, and not quit.