Honestly...I'm Exhausted

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Truth is, the people I meet throughout my daily activities don't know me. (I sound like one of those girls on Maury now...) They don't understand my struggles or that I've actually lost over 150 pounds from my highest weight. What they see is the "after" picture from Phase II that is only a "before" picture of me starting Phase III. While most times this is just how I want it, it has its downsides.

I doubt they'd look at me that way...if only they knew. Knew that I could probably run circles around them in the gym. Knew that I eat more reasonably than they do about 85% of the time. Knew that I do all this while under extreme pressure and pain from my back and hips and pelvis and foot, which, ironically, I've been told is not from carrying the weight and is more likely caused by losing it (or from my pesky kids who may have made a mess of me while finding their way into this world).

I also doubt they'd stare and gawk and make jokes and point and laugh if they understood the struggle I face every day.

Yes, it is still a struggle sometimes to pass up McDonald's after a 10-hour work day, 2 hours driving and an hour in the gym to go home and spend another hour or so in the kitchen whipping up a delicious and healthy meal that fits into my daily calorie allowance.

Sometimes I worry. I worry that I've become so damn obsessed with counting calories that my life has become consumed by it. I worry that I am slowly starting to develop an eating disorder - for don't they mostly come down to a mental need to control what you're eating because the rest of life is impossible to control?

I don't think I binge more now than I ever did. I've just become more aware of it and own up to it when I do it.

I do think I'm exhibiting signs of addiction to exercise, and total mental breakdown when I'm unable to do so.

All of this worries me on an almost daily basis. I spend countless hours of each day worrying about what I'm going to eat, what I'm going to have to avoid, how many cups of water to drink, how many pushups/situps/crunches I can do, when I last worked out and when I need to again.

And then I get that stare. Anyone who has been morbidly or seriously (or whatever they like to call it) obese understands the stare. There's usually a smirk or some disgusted face that comes with it. I remember two that I got from some kid and her mom at the Tennis Clinic at the Resort this weekend. In fact, I got more stares and glares there than I've gotten in a long time and it set me back about 2 years.

It's no secret that I still have body image issues. Who wouldn't when my entire body, when naked, looks like it's frowning.

And no amount of exercise is going to solve all these problems. I realize this. I know what happens when you drop 200+ pounds. I don't care how young you are or how many crunches you do, the damage is done, and the only way to undo it is through surgical means. And, let's face it, I'm still working on saving up money to buy a house...I really don't have the money for surgery. And I doubt with the decline of coverage from most insurance companies these days there will be any way to convince the a$$hats over at my insurance agency that it's needed.

And while I'm struggling with all of this mess of weight loss, or as people like to call it - "getting healthy" - I'm also struggling with the emotional battles that continue to rage on in my head. The struggles of every day life seem to consume me at times, making it hard to focus. My brain shifts from one thing to the next without ever taking a break. Even my dreams are filled with impossible decisions and tasks that will only get me halfway to where I want to be.

But every day I push it down. I push down the fears and uncertainty and just keep going. A kind of "cross that bridge when you get there" way of thinking. I have to get there first to even begin to figure out where I'll go from there.

And that road ahead of me looks daunting too.

I started this journey with a bunch of seriously overweight people who were great friends. And I've watched with joy and, yes, sometimes jealousy, as they've hit every goal I've had and made it to maintenance mode. I've watched them go from Lane Bryant to the Gap, and while I feel extremely happy for them, it makes me very sad.

I just keep thinking...

"It took me almost two full years just to get where they started."

THAT, my friends, is sad.

I keep telling myself not to think that way, but sometimes it's unavoidable. I listen to my best friend talk about her struggles to lose 25 pounds and I have a million tons of advice for her, which she may never take, but I also realize that she could start two years from now, or maybe four, and would likely get there before me. And when she gets there, she'll look amazing and get tons of praise. And I'll be left with mountains of saggy skin and that sad face naked body.

I must say that I am extremely grateful for the people I know in my life who understand this feeling. Okay, so maybe there's only two. But at least there are two. Every woman wants to have that one friend they can turn to and not say a word but know exactly the feeling...and laugh our a$$es off because we know that people don't fully understand, as much as they want to and try, they just can't.

Let me tell you honestly. We all have that moment when we're teenagers or whatever when we think nobody understands us. Some of us carry that into adulthood. And when you find that one other person who just seems to "get it" feels so validating - like you can finally take a deep breath and let it all go.

I see people all the time touting mantras about loving your body and all that.

Sorry, I don't.

I haven't loved my body...well, I don't think I ever did. I was always overweight and I knew that. I never liked how I looked and did my best to hide it. Later in life, I tried accepting it, but it's hard to accept yourself when you feel like you constantly have to defend yourself to the world at large. I'm sick and tired of defending myself. But I still feel like I must.

Because they don't look at me and know that my abs, thighs, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and forearms are so sore it almost feels like the muscles are detaching from around the bone and are going to fall apart. They don't realize that soreness isn't from trying to walk from the car to my office, but from 45 minutes spent doing no less than 80 squats, 40 pushups, 80 reverse crunches, russian twists, high knee runs in place, ski jumps with a medicine ball, alternating step-back lunges - and doing them to the point of failure.

They look at me and see a morbidly obese woman (still!). One that winces in pain which, they assume, is from inactivity.

If you don't know they feeling, just settle back and imagine it.
You've lost 165 pounds.
No surgery, no magic diet pills. Just hard work - healthy diet and exercise over the span of the past 8 years.
And you're still seen simply as a morbidly obese (read: fat and lazy) woman.

It's infuriating at times.

I went from Super Super Morbidly Obese (that's super super stupid, btw...) to Morbidly Obese and I still feel like I have nothing to show for it.

Because I may have another 8 years ahead of me.
It will take me another nearly 50 pounds to even get down to the Severely Obese range.
When I finally get to 230 (my current goal), I still won't even be in the simply Obese range.
(And, yes, I know BMI is crap...I'm just using this as an example.)

*bangs head on desk*

Yes, yes, I know what I'm fighting for.
No, I have no intention of giving up.
Yes, I realize things could be worse.


I'm sick and tired of this bulls-hit!

Because the God's honest truth is - this is mentally and physically exhausting. Not the eating right and working out part. Yes, that part gets hard sometimes. But I've become used to it. It's become part of my life now. I miss working out when I don't get to. I like the taste of healthy food over greasy nasty food. Got it. Good. Great.

But what's exhausting is the mental struggle. The constant worry about my calorie counts, that I'm just not doing enough, that I'm never going to get there, and that when I do it won't be enough. And those flippin' looks. Those are the most exhausting. Feeling the rage that burns inside of me when I get that look and know that I've been pre-judged based just on how I look. GAH! Will it ever end?

In 50 pounds.
Or another 100.
Or another 150, maybe.

...or never.

Honestly, when I take a break, sometimes it's just a mental break from the nonsense. From overthinking it. From trying too hard. From constantly feeling like I'm failing because nothing is good enough.

It's time to plan another month of workouts...and all I can think is how I've failed myself this month. How I skipped last night's workout because I was so comfy (and sore) on the couch with my boys just sharing the time with them. How I went out to eat (again) and ate to just over full (even though, honestly, it didn't kill my calories for the day - I was still in my ranges so I should be okay with it ...but I'm not, because I could've done more, been better, and I'm up 3 pounds from Monday's weigh-in at the gym and I constantly feel like the battle is neverening).

*shoves down the fears*
*plans anyway*
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD4764832

    I think you are such a strong person, and what an awesome attitude that you will never give up! But you are right to feel tired, frustrated and all those things! We are human beings first and have feelings that are valid, sometimes they are positive and sometimes they are negative! Whoever says that they never have down moments and thoughts, in the immortable words of Gregory House, are lying!!!

    You keep as strong as you can, and just worry about you!
    3435 days ago
    I could no way no how do the workout you've described.
    My hat goes off to you.
    Love the idea of the BEFORE photo AND the T-shirt, maybe with the photo you posted with the boxing gloves. And maybe the finger beneath it, on the back...
    but then I am always thinking of T-shirts to be in people's faces about something but I never get them made...
    3437 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7009225
    Esther, right there with you. Well not quite. I started at somewhere around 420, lost 90 gained 30. Which was really stupid but life messed me up. And I am still at it (as I was then, just not paying enough attention). And what I am learning is that this is exhausting. The workouts are awesome. Eating well is awesome. But the planning, the paying attention, the commitment every single day, every single moment, is exhausting. And I have to say exasperating. Because I am learning that I want this healthier feeling. And to have that, whether the scale moves or not, is still going to be exhausting. And this is my life. For the rest of it. And the looks. Oh the looks. Sometimes I kid about wanting to wear a t-shirt that says "Lost XX pounds" and on the back "Bet I can out-lift you!" I want people to see me for what I have and am accomplishing. I know how it feels to let a look affect you in that way. But, I/we can't let that happen. We are working hard. We have worked hard. And, yes, we have a long way to go (and for the record you are one of the people that I am envious of). But, we will get there. And I worry I am becoming addicted too. But, like you said here, I will have to worry about that bridge if and when I get to it. Right now. I am hoping to get out of the 300s this year. Just like you. And you are way closer!! And I am here cheering you on and hoping it happens before the end of January for you!!!
    3437 days ago
  • _SASX_
    E, I have to agree with my doppleganger with a different spelling, Katie makes perfect sense. F@*$ the haters. they don't know what you've been through. No one knows what others have been through. They don't realize that you have a wonderful supportive family, and that you are bending yourself over backwards to be there for them and try and carve out some time for you to make sure you are healthy and are there for your family in the future.

    There is no advice that I can give you that you have not already heard, so I won't. just know that you are not alone, ever. That your friends here are not going away, we keep coming back for more, really. LOL

    I know that you are tired, you said that and I can hear it and the bone deep frustration that you are feeling. So when do we get to see your plan for the next month? are stickers involved? or stamps? cause I like stickers. put your schedule in your office and at home. not to fuel your exhaustion, but instead, to fuel your determination. You've promised your body and mind that you are taking this time for yourself. I know that I'd love to spend more time reading or spending time with my boys (DH and DS) but that I have tp put myself as a priority at least once a day. And that time is the time I use for my workouts and Spark.

    Food wise and calorie counting, you've done this for so long that you probably know how much you eat even when you don't physically track it. Don't let it consume you. I have time to only track food once a day, so I'll do it all at once, right before or after dinner, and if Ive gone over...I forgive myself and try and figure out what it was that did it, if I'm under, then I decide if deserve a little treat...more chocolate chips with my almonds? an apple? I try to make it a good choice, but even if it isn't, I'm not going to worry. I've found that one day of over isn't going to derail me, cause I won't let it.

    You have the tenacity and strength of will that has made you lose 160 pounds. Damn, girl. That's a whole other person. if you can do that, you can do it again.
    3437 days ago
    My heart goes out to you because I truly know and understanad how you feel. I'm well aware of the "looks" we get from being morbidly obese (I truly hate that word too, morbid) and even after we lose the weight our bodies dont just snap back into place. It gets better just not what our minds picture our bodies to look like after the transformation takes place.
    I've never loved myself (body or otherwise) so its been a constant battle and one that I can say I'm much stronger for fighting.

    Keep those blinders on deary and only pay attention to the things that can help you reach your goals!
    3437 days ago
    Even though I can't say that I fully understand, I definitely do understand to a degree! I've lost about 70 lbs, but it's been such a long journey...and I've been at the same weight for several years with no forward progress, most of the people in my real-life have either a) forgotten I looked the way I did or; b) never knew me when I was heavier. I almost want, at times, to run around with a shirt that has my before picture on it and says "I used to look like THIS". Not for the recognition or praise, well, maybe just a little bit, but so they would know that I've been working REALLY, REALLY freaking hard just to get to where I am and to stay here even if I'm not still currently losing! Because, like you, no matter what the scale says, my body is a sad face and bears the marks of many years of eating abuses and child birthing. It will never be a cute body no matter how much I lose. And that is what is HARD.

    My hubby reminds me all the time that I'm blessed with an overly optimistic and positive mindset...and he's right. I watch his struggles and I wouldn't want to have a brain that rehashes all that it's done wrong and all it will never do right. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that you have accomplished so much - don't forget where you started even if everybody else has!!! Yes, the road is long, but you've already traveled it and have learned a lot about how to navigate it!
    3438 days ago
  • ERIN1128
    I'm wondering if it might make sense to put up a "before" pic of yourself in your office. Not only would it make you feel good, as a reminder every day of how far you've come, but then your colleagues would look at it and go holy cow, you've lost so much weight, that's amazing! and admire you for how far you've come, instead of just thinking that you're letting yourself go and not doing anything about it. Just a thought. Hang in there, babe.
    3438 days ago
    I can't begin to understand your situation.

    I come from generations of eating disorders, though. I got 2 overtraining injuries a while back, when I discovered the HIGH (endorphins but also CONTROL!!!!) I had when burning 900 calories a day (and I have a small body). I binge. I had never purged til I got on that kick of "exercise abuse." My body (I have lupus) can't heal as well as other people and those injuries cost me $5000 or I would be running right now.

    I haven't fixed myself. I could be so much physically healthier (can't control the lupus and various other things "wrong" with my body, though) and yet, if I don't get a handle on my emotional health, it'll never be "right." I'll always be a "repeat offender" or I'll continue to beat myself up with impossible comparisons and "caring" (deeply) what others say (or I even imagine due to their looks) about me.

    I've recently had a bit of an awakening about this. It's not that I've figured it out. It's not that I've mastered that self-love or stopping caring/ obsessing what others are doing, saying, thinking, look like.

    I've been blogging on my personal blog about it some.<
    I don't know if that jives with some of what you're thinking or not. I know it's not what you're FEELING right now but your blog resonated with some of my feelings and those are some of my reflections that came from them.

    3438 days ago
    I wish that there was something for me to say that would be inspirational and such. I understand where you are coming from. I am awed by what you have accomplished so far and continue to accomplish each and every day.

    3438 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8301081
    3438 days ago
    This comment may not be 100% appropriate so if you are easily offended you have been warned to stop reading... F@*$ them E!! You are beautiful no matter what your weight... it's only snotty, inconsiderate, self absorbed, superficial witches that think otherwise. I know how you feel. The trainer I go to trains Miss USA girls... the looks burn through the back of my head the whole time I am there. I find myself putting on extra make up and buying expensive gym clothes to try to make it stop but it won't. But you know what, I seriously doubt any of them can do this "45 minutes spent doing no less than 80 squats, 40 pushups, 80 reverse crunches, russian twists, high knee runs in place, ski jumps with a medicine ball, alternating step-back lunges - and doing them to the point of failure." My body hurts just thinking about all of that and if you can do it and move at all the next morning you are my hero! I have noticed a bit of obsessiveness with my workouts and food lately too and my boyfriend actually called me out on it. He tries so hard to be supportive but it has pretty much taken over my life. There needs to be a balance. You have an amazing family and finding more time with them is going to help tremendously with your mental well being... and if you're thin and unhappy what was the point of all this hard work anyway!? Big HUGS. I heart you and it hurts my heart to know it is this kind of day/week/month/ whatever for you.

    3438 days ago
    emoticon I can't imagine the mental exhaustion you must feel at times but I'm always encouraged by the fact that you are a fighter. My wish for you is strength on your journey!
    3438 days ago
    You had a lot of great things to say about your feelings & what you have been through,sometimes it helps to get your feelings down on paper. I'm right there with you in a lot of the things you say but don't put yourself down. You sound like you have accomplished a lot &maybe it's slow for you but remember "YOU DID IT!" So never give up on yourself & never let someone else put you down, just keep strong & you will be at the Gap before you know it.
    I don't usually take time to read long blogs but something in me said to read yours. I was very moved with reading what you had to say! Thank you for taking the time to write it all down.

    3438 days ago
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