Before I begin I have to warn you that this post might be long and scattered because I have a lot to get off my chest today, and I’m not sure where to start.
I could never put into words how much I appreciate the unwavering support that I receive here. Many of you have been here since the beginning waiting to see me reach my goal, encouraging me to keep trying. I love you for that, and I hope you never stop. But right now I need to start digging out of this rut of complacency that I have been in for a lot longer than I want to admit.
Losing 100 pounds is often enough to dramatically alter the lives of those who lose it, but it’s not enough for me. I have experienced so many positive changes, but this is not a post about that. Right now I need to figure out how to change my mindset, how to make myself move forward again in a strong, steady and powerful way.
I don’t know how to climb out of this proverbial hole that I’ve been living in. I’ve been living comfortably with the fact that I’ve lost so much weight for so long now that it feels like I need to start over. My past accomplishments don’t need to be forgotten, but they’re old news…really old news. And I want to bask in some new accomplishments.
Before I continue, I’m going to ask that everyone refrain from telling me that I’m more than a number on a scale, or that I need to love myself so others will, or that I won’t be happy when I get to my goal if I can’t be happy with myself now. I’ve heard all of that, and I understand most of it. But let’s face some facts today.
When I look at my life I see some things that I like and some things I still want to change, but everything is overshadowed by a giant dark cloud that is the number on the scale.
I used to encourage others by saying that you don’t have to reach your goal before you start feeling good about yourself. You just have to start. And it’s true. I know it’s true because when I said it, I was feeling it. Right now, what I accomplished throughout the first part of this journey is simply not enough. I’m still obese.
I could make a list of reasons I love and respect myself today, and that list has grown more in the last year than it has at any other point in my life. I know that I’m a good person, and I have been working through emotions that are difficult to face because I’m trying to become a better person. There’s a lot of work going on inside my head, and that’s important to recognize (even though most of it is far too personal to discuss in such a public forum.)
But the fact remains that when I look at myself, I see the number on the scale. We can say it doesn’t define me, but the truth is that it is me. My body grew to its largest size because of what I did to it, and whether I like to admit it or not, my size currently defines who I am above everything else.
Look, I have a host of other imperfections as well, but my size haunts me. It’s the truth, my truth, and the things that led me to my extreme obesity (and the snowball effect it has had since) are not easy to face. It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, but I’ve been wrong a lot. I made some pretty incredible mistakes. I mistreated my body and my loved ones, and in many ways I led a life that could never have been happy and free if I didn’t begin to face those issues.
Before I started losing weight I would always say that I was a “good investment.” I wanted to believe it was true because surely I’d eventually mature into more than I was – a grossly overweight, unhappy, unmotivated, unsuccessful shell of a human-being who didn’t value herself enough to create any positive change in herself. (Yeah, the truth hurts, and it’s still not easy to admit now.) But that’s how I viewed myself.
When guilt set in I told myself that I’d do better tomorrow. I told myself constantly that the future was filled with hope, yet I failed to give myself any reasons to be hopeful.
Fast-forward to the present: I can’t say that I’m as horribly unhappy or unmotivated now as I was prior to 2009. As I said, I like a lot of things about my life these days, but there are still some major things I need to change.
I need to change my environment. I prefer living alone and in a city so I am planning a move into a cute little apartment in downtown New Orleans in the Fall. Living alone will be good for me. Controlling what is in the pantry and the refrigerator will be good for me. I know that, but I also realize that everything I eat now is a choice. It’s my choice, and it’s up to me to make better decisions. One thing I’ve noticed spending most of my time downtown is that I’m more likely to go out for food. It will be easier when I have my own little kitchen, but I will still have to make choices. Living alone won’t solve everything, but it will be a big leap in the right direction.
I also need to claim what I really want. I mean, I wish I was fit and trim, but we all know that I have to do a lot more than wish to be at goal. It looks like I’m going to have to fight a hell of a lot harder than I did when I started my journey, and I have to accept that. End of story.
I need a routine too. I’m always on the go, and I don’t spend a lot of time in one place. Just in the last few months I’ve been in Colorado, Virginia, D.C., New York, Houston, etc. And over the next couple of months I’ll be in New York again, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Dallas (maybe Oklahoma too.) Traveling a lot means that I have to have a different game plan. I lost weight when I traveled before so I know it’s possible, but I have to be mindful.
I’m also lacking accountability. I left Weight Watchers again recently after another bout of frustration with PointsPlus, and now my meeting no longer exists. Say what you will, but weighing in at meetings every week changed my life. I need to find a new meeting and make it my highest priority again.
I’ve gotten lazy with my workouts too. Sure, I do them occasionally, but I love working out. I crave endorphins nearly everyday so why the hell am I not doing it? I don’t have a gym membership anymore, but there’s nothing stopping me from joining another one. I’ll work that out this week, but until then I will do 30-Day Shred at home at least 5 times over the next 7 days.
I could drone on for hours about why it’s hard and how it’s not fair that I have so much further to go than the average person who loses as much as I’ve lost, but lamenting the work I have to do will not bring me closer to my goal.
I still say no to myself a lot more than I say yes, but I’m not doing enough. I know that, and I take responsibility for that.
The fact is that my actions don’t help or hurt anyone except me. I’m surrounded by people who love me and want me to be happy and healthy, but I have to get there on my own. I’m happier than I was at 400+ pounds, but I’m not as happy as I’ll be at 150 pounds. And it’s not because I don’t think I don’t deserve to be happy now. It’s because I know that I am capable of so much more.
I’m preparing a life for myself in which obesity will no longer define me. I’m in school studying Public Relations. (Yep, I declared recently.) And I’m dreaming of a day when I can claim what I want for myself in my career and in relationships without the worry that my body is keeping me from fulfilling my desires.
This is my reality, friends. This is my struggle, and no one can fix it except me. Last week I admitted that I don’t know how, and sadly, I have not found the answer yet. The truth is I can’t imagine stepping on the scale and seeing 275 or 250, or 199. (I could see the first number in the next month or so, but it feels as far as Mars!)
I don’t know how I did what I did the first time. I don’t know how to wake up every morning with purpose. I don’t know how to convince myself that today is the day (not tomorrow.)
I feel an utter lack of confidence and an overwhelming amount of insecurity, but I know what I want today. I know what I want for my future, and I know that it’s mine for the taking. I also know that I don’t have to get to my goal before I can start feeling on top of the world again. I know I just have to start moving toward it.
This is my journey, and I’m doing things on my time. I just need to turn the clock on again, and I need to remind myself that I’m worthy of it if I’m willing to work for it.