Long Overdue Update: The good news and the bad news...trying to figure out next steps
Saturday, February 22, 2014
This is a long, long overdue update about how I am actually doing with my weight. I am struggling, at a stuck point and doing a lot of soul searching. This is probably going to be a long, rambling blog. Please bear with me.
There is some good news and some bad news. The good news is that I have maintained my weight loss (As of last weigh in, 54 lbs...it had been 58 lbs) for over a year within a 5 lb range, which I have never been able to do before...when I have lost weight in the past I always gain it back, plus more.
The bad news is that I am still 10-15 lbs from my goal and have not gotten any closer than the 10 lb mark. I have figured out how to maintain the weight that I am at now but do not know what to do to get to my finish line that I set 3 years ago. There are still a lot of issues. I would think that after this much time, I would have it all figured out and under control. I don't.
I am very good about exercising, and feel like this is how I am able to maintain my weight, because my eating is not always great. Between the daily exercise and the fact that I eat within range enough of the time (but not enough as I want) I've been able to maintain my weight.
I hadn't thought about it before today in these terms, but I had a major life change this year that has required a LOT of adjustment. Let's just say that my SO moved in with me under less than ideal circumstances....I blogged about it at the time. Not everyone would have made the choice that I did, but a year later, I feel at peace with it and feel that for me, I could not have made another choice. And it has gone a lot better than I expected. But diet wise.....it is harder living with him. He is ALWAYS eating, and at night it is really hard after dinner when I am trying NOT to eat....it makes ME want to keep eating! However, for the first time since I have known him, I am sure that I weigh less than he does! But I can't blame him for my stuckness.
So I have been doing a lot of soul searching about what is making it so hard for me to get to my goal of 165. Here are some of my thoughts:
I am not dissatisfied with how I look anymore. I feel like I look normal now. Because of this, I have a hard time getting and maintaining motivation and momentum. It is easy for me to lose focus and get off track, and hard for me to keep my eye on the prize and stay focused like when I was heavier.
Because I have not been able to get below 175, even when I was being really "good", part of me wonders if I have a set point, and if it is even POSSIBLE for me to weigh less than that. But then, on one of my walks at lunchtime at work this week when I was thinking about this, a little voice said to me that maybe I had to persevere longer than I did and whatever plateau I was at would eventually end and I would FINALLY get below 175, if I AM PATIENT.
PATIENCE. Another big epiphany I had this week was that when I started this journey 3 years ago, I was the girl who was going to be patient and not feel like I had to do this in a set amount of time, because it seemed like it was going to take forever. But when I got to 175, I was no longer that patient girl. Plus, I felt some pressure to get to goal, only 10 lbs, ...my class reunion was coming up. I do not do well with weight loss under pressure. So I didn't really lose any more weight...as it was, the formal reunion in Oct. was cancelled, but a bunch of us were determined to have one anyway, so we had two events that weekend in my home town, and I showed up the first night in my size small jeans, and everyone raised a huge fuss all weekend about how I looked, which reminded me how stupid it had been to pressure myself about getting to goal by then, because I was probably about 70 lbs lighter than my last reunion!
Then came the holidays...the holidays per se were not what caused me trouble this year, but the fact that I was given a huge new project at work in November-December, working for new people within my company doing a type of distance training I had never done before, and it was scary. Happily, it went really well, but I was putting in really long hours and that type of exhaustion is a trigger for me....I get to the point where I almost do not care what I eat! And after the holidays, I struggled to get back on track with food. (Happily, I still kept up with exercise...since the beginning of 2011, I have exercised EVERY DAY for at least 30 minutes. But there were a number of days during that time that I did not get the 10000 step minimum that I wanted to get)
So I know some of my triggers but still can't always stop myself from eating ANYWAY. And I sometimes still have binges, although I always make myself write it all down. Being exhausted is a trigger. Being bored is another. Or having things to do, but being bored with them! Work has been hard lately. The nature of the way my job is, I seem to be either overwhelmed with work, or am not as busy as I would like to be. It is hard to find a happy medium. And now I sit near another 2 departments that are CONSTANTLY talking about food! They order lunch every day and spend a lot of time discussing what they are going to get, and it makes me hungry!!!! I rarely order with them...first of all I could not afford to do that, and I almost always bring my lunch, but also, calorie wise, it would be a disaster. It is not always bad though...in the few weeks before Thanksgiving, we had 3 weeks of no-junk food, not that I eat that much junk food anyway. And of course, I was the ONLY one who did not lose weight, I stayed exactly the same, which was really frustrating, although one of the woman thought that I lost inches. Anyway, the other day I was feeling bored and anxious and also listening to all the food talk, and I just made myself sit for a moment and acknowledge my feelings, and then drank some extra water and tea, and I got through it, but it was hour by hour some days this week. Another trigger is being in an unusual situation, like going away, or having to stay in a hotel near work 2 days last week because of snow. I wasn't awful, I tried to plan food as much as I could, and used the hotel gyms, but still, the whole thing made me want to eat, and it was not all my usual food.
Speaking of hour by hour, I have found that if I can just ask myself "Can you do this today" the answer is usually yes, it's when I have to think about being good for months it is harder.
I also feel like I still have issues below the surface that I can't quite get at that contribute to all my weight issues. I would love to figure it out, and I have some ideas, but it is still under the surface and hard to get to, and has never come out in any therapy I have had.
Part of me wonders if I need to find a way to make this new again, do something different, try something new. I don't want to do anything extreme, because one of the things I said at the beginning was that I didn't want to do anything I could not keep up with long term. I have a male friend who is about 10 years older than I am...he joined Weight Watchers not quite a year ago and has already lost 60 lbs and is at his goal and weighs several lbs LESS THAN ME! He went straight down to his goal, in less than a year. I am happy for him but also jealous that it was so easy, not that it was totally easy, I mean, I KNOW that he worked for it, but it did not take him several years to do. He and I were IMing each other last week about this and he is encouraging me to join WW. I am considering it but also have mixed emotions about it. I did it years ago, the program has changed since then, but it was good. I am sure that they support and camaraderie would be good...that's why he is encouraging me, he likes this particular group of people and thinks that I would, too. The parts that keep me from doing it...being that my weight loss is so slow, I do not like the idea of having to get weighed every week, I think that would only discourage me, and that's why I do not do it on my own. Also, financially, not sure I can do it now.
I am actually wondering if I should STOP weighing myself at all for a while to take the focus totally off the scale and just put it on what my habits are. At the very beginning of this, I did not weigh myself for a while, but estimated what I was when I started. I wanted to just do it without the pressure of the scale until I had momentum. Not sure about that now, either. But I do really think that motivation comes from momentum.
In the search to make this new again and to try to figure out what I was thinking, I was reading my very first journal from when I stared this latest journey...I tracked my food and progress there and also did some journalling about how I felt. (I still do all my tracking in a paper journal) Here are some things that I said early in the game...food for though now.
1. First thought: I said something about my weight loss being slow, but my only other alternative was giving up and accepting being where I was. I couldn't do that then and I can't do it now, either.
2. Even with slow weigh loss, I was still headed in the right direction. True then, and it would be true now.
3. Getting into better shape felt good. True then, and now, too.
4. I was proud of my discipline. And when I wake up now after a good day, I am always happy that I made it.
5. I thought for a long time that it was impossible to lose weight at my age, and even though it was slow, I was still doing it. Now, I don't know if I can lose any more, but I guess that if I don't really try, I certainly won't.
OK, I will shut up now. Thoughts?