And then I thought about some of the comments on her blog, how they said maintaining is so much harder than getting to goal because the motivation to see the number in the scale isn't there anymore, and how you always have to keep adjusting your caloric intake and some even stating that measuring and weighing and calculating is the only way to achieve lasting "success". And I realized that, if dieting truly made us happy, we'd never fail at it. So that being said, there was a part of me that wasn't happy being restricted. I am not discounting the things that were great about it, I just think that if I were to try again, I'd have to do it a different way, and I don't have that new way figured out just yet.
Part of my progression in this journey is in reading books about the psychological aspects of emotional eating and mindless eating. I am currently reading two books.
I will be turning 44 later this year, and already I feel old, tired, achey, stiff, and unhealthy. When I think ahead to how I imagine myself at 50, I can see three distinct posibilities: that I am making healthy choices most of the time and doing things that make me feel good like stretching and strength training; that I will continue to eat whatever soothes my soul and will be racked with more pains and problems, or that I will have had a heart attack or stroke. If being scared about my health were enough to motivate me to change, it would have happened when I was 18. Before I turned 40, losing weight was always about looking better, stopping the feelings of shame and guilt I had for being so disgusting and such a burden. The last time I was successful was more than a year ago, in the spring of 2015 when my knee was hurting so bad that I decided to try getting rid of the sugars to see if it would help my knee. It did. A lot. And it gave me a lot of energy, which I used to take long walks. But because I had unresolved self-esteem issues, my small-but-mighty weight loss ended up turning me into an attention-seeker, which put stress on my marriage and I nearly lost one of the best parts of me. So, there was a big problem in my thinking that was unearthed through all of that, equating my attractiveness to attention, and the attention to my self-worth. Deeper issues that both of the above books are helping me with, but I am not there yet.
I think the best I can do at this point is to make feeling good a priority. All week I have been stretching, everything from my eyebrows down to my toes. It was a remarkable experience that made me amazed at just how much of a stiff zombie I usually am. Little changes like this make a difference in my mood and even in my energy and they actually feel good and don't make me feel like I am doing it because I have to do it in order to fit into a size 4 dress for some event. I have never been a size 4 and don't intend to. Size doesn't matter so much, being able to move and breathe well and not break my hip if I trip on the curb (or not tripping on the curb to begin with). These things matter. And maybe that's why my path is not a hard and fast diet path. I do care how I look, and I do feel bad sometimes, but I also realize that those are someone else's ideas that I have been buying into. At my age, if vitality comes at the cost of looking good, I consider it a more than fair trade. I don't fault anyone who diets or has weight loss surgery, if that is what makes a person truly joyful inside that is absoulutely what they should do. For me, I think, that's just a cover for a bunch of deeper issues that have been kicking around a little too long inside my head, and I'm happy I became aware of it while there's still time to examine these things further. More time, more learning, deeper processing, less reacting, more mindfulness, more light. I wish all of this for everyone no matter the path they are on. We all deserve it.