Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Staying the Path

Something I read yesterday got me so inspired and fired up, it's been a really really long time since I felt that way about weight loss to be honest.  A weight loss blogger I've been following for years has been up and down the scales, and if so fed up with it all that she's considering weight loss surgery.  She is a very intelligent person whose tried everything including Medifast, low-carb, counting calories, even counseling.  When she blogged about it, she got a ton of support, alternative ideas, and only a few people that discouraged it.  She said she was going to give it one more year of trying on her own before seriously thinking about it.  Between the post where she admitted this and began trying really hard to make it work this one last time, there was so much spark, drive, energy; it was really inspiring.  People were commenting on ketogenic diet, such as the restrictive phase of South Beach Diet, and how, in the absence of sugars your body burns fats, and how getting off sugars makes you feel fabulous!  I started thinking about how easy South Beach was for me and how just by taking the processed sugars out of my diet I did feel fantastic.  And before I knew it, I was feeling like I should jump back on the diet wagon.
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 actually started reading the one on the left in springtime.  It is an easy read, with exercises, and focuses on how to fix coping skills that were either never there or were broken by things that happen in the past.  Using food to cope with feelings (or numb them) is a sign that at least one coping skill is not working properly.  The book then, shows you skills in how to self-soothe without food and how to cope with things that come up in a logical way instead of using food.  The book on the right is somewhat related, but it goes way deeper, to how our family and the events/traumas they incurred, continues to effect us in our own life.  That book is not about food or weight but about how we react to things in our past without thinking about it, and often this rote thinking is not correct.  It is a heavy heavy book to read, and the exercises sometimes make me choked up and leave me feeling dark, despite not having anything terrifically horrible in my family past.  Trauma doesn't have to mean death or murder or disease, it can be something as simple as feeling abandoned or ignored.  I have had some aha! moments reading both of these books, and I think it is going to help me when I try to get things back under a certain level of normalcy. 
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.

2 comments:

  1. oh, haha, I think I recognize that blogger ;) I thought I would stop by and read your blog today. I don't read blogs much anymore but I'm glad I did this time! Thanks for the compliments. I am trying SUPER hard right now to avoid WLS. I totally agree with you about getting off sugar helping the joint pain go away... that is a good motivation, too. I have come to the realization that I could feel so much better and be fine at, say 190 or 200 pounds even. But at this weight I feel sluggish and achey like you said. Hopefully I can do enough to improve my quality of life before I hit 50!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I feel like we are part of the same sea of people trying to figure this whole thing out! And maybe in the end, it really is about feeling better physically as we age. I think you are going to find your groove, then you'll have to write a book and we'll all be showing it on our blogs!

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