The illusion of control..
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I was having a chat with a friend of mine the other day. This is no ordinary friend, this is a guy who has lost 179 lbs in the last year. Can you imagine?? I mean, I've lost lots of weight before, but 179 lbs is a good sized person!! Anyway, he did this by joining a program where he went for weekly classes and weigh-ins, ate some of their prepared meals, exercised most days of every week for about an hour. Most of us who have been on the weight loss roller coaster know that "ready" feeling that we can't really explain but that is the difference between one more unsuccessful attempt and the one that works for the next 6 months or the next year or years...well, a year ago he got that feeling and, to his credit, he has ridden it all the way to losing all that weight.
Anyway, the reason I'm talking about this friend is that he said to me the other day he was almost ready to stop taking the weekly classes and couldn't wait to only weigh in once a month, that he knows what he has to do and will never go back to what he was before his amazing weight loss...
I am so afraid for him. I wanted to scream to him DON'T STOP GOING!!! I have had that feeling..that, I'm never going to be fat again feeling. I've had it several times in my life, and yet here I sit, weighing more than I ever have and discovering that all those people who used to tell me how much harder it is to lose weight at you get older were absolutely right. It is harder and, looming ahead, should you be successful, is the ever bigger hurdle of keeping it off.
When you lose weight in a healthy manner, one to two pounds a week over a long period of time, it isn't easy to gain it back. This should be good, but it isn't, because it lulls us into that false sense of security that we can have this or that and the scale won't move...then we've thissed or thatted our way to gaining a couple of pounds, then 5, then 10....and so on.
The issue of weight loss and overeating is so incredibly complex. It's a lot like any addction...alcoholics who think they can have just one drink fall off the wagon, ditto for drug addicts or smokers.. But it's a worse addiction and here's why: you can live without drinking or drugs or cigarettes (even though you don't always feel that you can, you physcially can!), but you simply cannot live without eating. So, you must eat, but you must watch what you eat. And that is what makes losing weight so much different and more dificult to manage than overcoming any other addiction.
I don't really have answers for any of this... For me, if I'm ever lucky enough to get to a healthy weight again, it will be to never stop doing what got me there, to never think that I've gotten to the point where I'm in control, because I will never be in control of this enough for it not to be a threat to me. Mind you, I'm not giving up nor am I giving in, I just recognize that the more "in control" I think I am, the more likely I am to lose control. So I won't get cocky ever again, I make that solemn promise..
Here's to getting through this day with reasonable success...