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2nd Year Revelations

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'm rolling up on my two year maintaining anniversary this Saturday, my weight is right on track, and I have settled into a workable routine and schedule. Looking back on my first year of maintaining I find I used that time to puzzle out what habits I could sustain and needed and which ones were unnecessary to keep a physically healthy body. But there are two sides of the coin and physical health is matched with mental health.

To that purpose, I have spent much of my second year in reflection, seeking an understanding of my goals and my purposes through both good times and bad. I have had a number of profound revelations along the way that I'm still working through, but all of it is necessary for the continued maintenance of my healthy body and life.

1) Willpower fades.
This was a challenging concept to accept. When I fell and could not regain my footing this past spring and summer, I struggled to understand that I couldn't just keep going as normal. It is depressing to know there would be and will be moments when I do not have the willpower to stay healthy. But at the same time, knowing that willpower is scientifically proven to fade does allow me peace of mind for those times when I will fall, that it is something beyond my control. And when I fall I can study how I react. Then I can find the precautions I need to make sure that next time the fall is not as hard, or deep, or long. I can spring back sooner, reenergized to get back in the game.

2) Hunger is debilitating.
It was hard to differentiate between thirst, cravings, urges, and true hunger. But now I do undertand because hunger is debilitating. I start to shut down mentally, to the extend that I can't participate in conversation, I can't mentally function, I can't even warn my friends and company that I am in the process of shutting down and needing food. I can follow through the motions that are required physically and my communication is shortened to abrupt, angry, inarticulate reactions. When people say to wait to eat until you're truly hungry, they've obviously never understood what it actually does to your mind. Instead, I found it works best to create a rhythm to each day so I can both expect food at certain times and allow myself the time necessary to prepare it or to find it. I always need to adjust my social calendar around my eating schedule, and I can't say I am immune to cravings and urges, but I am at least able to squash most hunger related disasters or misunderstanding before they pop up.

3) The American Dream is not my dream.
I've spent much of my time since graduation in denial of my shortcomings and my career failings, but this year I've been able to face those truths I've been avoiding. I wanted to be an illustrator and I can produce amazing art, but I am poor at fulfilling the work requirements of professional artist. In regards to my body, I focus obsessively on the long artistic process at the sacrifice of my own schedule and health. This is not a manner in which I can earn a living in combination with healthy living. That said, I now see my strengths as a person and an employee. The roles in my life may not be glamorous or profitable or what I thought I wanted to be, but I am happy and satisfied with the work I accomplish and I have confidence in my abilities to do my jobs well. Now I can hopefully also achieve a little job security.

4) There is always a reason.
Even as I came to terms with the lifestyle changes necessary to maintaining my new healthy weight and body I have never felt there was a reason for my prior adult life of obesity. I listen to the podcast The Daily Dose with Jillian Michaels and she always insists to callers that there is a reason. I firmly thought I was an exception, that I was just negligent and uneducated about nutrition but it turns out she was right. I kept rolling it over in my mind, wondering and questioning, and this Christmas the connections fell into place. I found that I used food as a coping mechanism against a lifelong fear of being broken, when instead I am simply asexual. It is a shame that I did not have this knowledge before I developed a serious eating disorder, but now I can prevent further erasure of the underlying reasons.

This year was by far more productive than I realized, in different ways than I was expecting or seeking. I feel like the journey I began with weight loss is continuing along and expanding, helping me both heal the damage of the past and improve my life. It's not just about the physical, it's about the mental, the emotional, the financial, the home, the relationships, and more. It's about building the life I want and need to be healthy and happy forever, one piece at a time.

What next year will bring I can only imagine.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ELLIE381
    emoticon blog. You make me THINK which I admit I don't do a lot of. emoticon
    1916 days ago
  • BILL60
    Great blog!!
    1916 days ago
    1916 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    Two years of maintenance! Congratulations! ( I feel a sense of achievement and I have only done 4 months!!!) Thank you for being here on SP. I feel that I have learned a lot from you and am still learning a lot about myself along the way. Great blog with great insights! emoticon

    1916 days ago
    Thanks and congratulations!

    Your considerations about the “willpower fades” reminded me a fundamental rule of risk management in modern enterprises. In order to prevent that a risk materialises, first it is fundamental to identify the causes of risk and effect. Second, cause by cause, the manager decides how to mitigate them.

    I also appreciated your analysis about “there is always a reason”. It reminded me a famous Albert Einstein quote: «a man should look for what is, not for what he thinks should be». I suppose it applies also to a lady … :)

    1916 days ago
  • KANOE10
    That is great that you have kept your weight off for two years. You are a success. Your blog has excellent insights. There always is a reason behind wieght gain..either emotional or physical. YOu are finding away to build a healthy life in all aspects of your self. Good for you.

    My husband is an artist and an musician. He also could not make it financially in those fields. He still does them on the side. I like your comments on the American Dream and hope you find satisfaction in your work..and financial success.

    Hugs to you. You are insprational.
    1917 days ago
    Congrats on 2 years of maintenance! We both struggle with so many of the same pitfalls of weight maintenance. But we are figuring it out as we go along, and sharing with others who are just starting out on their weight loss journey.
    1917 days ago
    2 years of maintenance is so amazing! You have accomplished a lot in simply maintaining. That is huge. I applaud you :) Cheers to continued maintenance success (even through the downfalls).
    emoticon for all the rest.
    1917 days ago
    Wonderful blog as usual. Great reflections and insight. Regarding the "American Dream", I see your point but maybe your American Dream is just a little different. Some people see the American Dream as wealth and prosperity but to me it is being able to be what you want to be. It sounds like you've found that. Best wishes for another successful year of maintenance.
    1917 days ago
    Tina it sure sounds to me like you have your head on straight! You should be very proud of the changes you have made and will continue to make! Best wishes to you on your journey!
    1917 days ago
  • KIMBERLY19732
    It's inspiring to see someone with 2 years of maintaining their weight! Helpful to know that the journey doesnt stop, it just changes!
    1917 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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