Thursday, September 25, 2008

Evolution of a New Me

I've been thinking even more about how we really have to change who we are (in our heads) in order to lose the weight *for good.* I mean, after all, if we DO everything we are supposed to (exercise, lift weights, eat healthy, avoid junk food) and lose all the weight but our heads are still thinking the whole time, "this sucks, I hate doing this, I want cake," then what are the odds we will be able to do it for a lifetime? How can we stick with it and keep the weight off unless we really change ourselves from the inside out?

Now, I am not saying we should sit around eating Cheetos on the couch waiting for the motivation bug to hit us. Hey, if I waited until I *felt* like doing it, I would be 300+ pounds right now and still eating batch after batch of cookie dough. Obesity is no picnic (well, uh, maybe it is, in a sense...) but for some reason it is more comfortable emotionally for some of us to stay there.

Take me, for example. I got down to 214 pounds, and I freaked. I never mentioned this on the blog, but part of me was REALLY feeling anxious about being that "thin." Of course I felt great and I loved it. I looked fantastic (comparatively speaking). But part of me was just terrified. Of what? I dunno... maybe being fat has been my excuse for so long that it's scary to face life without that excuse. Maybe a whole new world was available to me and it made me want to shelter in place. Or maybe it just takes awhile to get our heads around the new selves that we are evolving. So it's easier to maintain, or gain a little, to get back into our comfort zone.

I think that a lot of changes have to take place for anyone to evolve from Morbidly Obese Person to Normal Weight Person. At least, for me, the changes are dramatic.

Morbidly Obese Me:
tired (exhausted 24/7)

Healthy Weight Me:

I am in the middle of this transformation right now. I am already much more energized, active, happy, strong, and proud. I have to fight off the old traits of laziness and anger. I still have to force myself not to hide. And I really need to work on my confidence and personal connections.

The old me sat and ate tons of junk food without any worries about the consequences. The only vegetable she ever ate was a plate of iceberg lettuce drenched in ranch dressing, or maybe some cheese-covered broccoli. Fresh fruit tasted sour to her. Her dream meal was Pizza Hut Pan Pizza and a DQ Blizzard. She never thought she would escape from her fat prison. Her brain was always thinking about what yummy treat she could buy or bake next. Nothing was too rich. A whole cheesecake or box of chocolates in one day was no problem.

The new me actually cares about what she eats. She tries to fit lots of fruits and veggies into her meals and she ENJOYS them. She wouldn't eat a piece of Pan Pizza if you PAID her too... it's sickeningly greasy to her now. She is always thinking about when she can exercise and how to fit new activity into her day. But you know what? She still thinks about Big Mac meals sometimes. She still stuffs a couple of candy bars into her face on a bad night.

I'm a work in progress. I am really hoping that someday, this stuff will be my nature. That I will just do it without much thought. I hope someday, a Big Mac will taste so nasty to me that it makes me sick. Hey, if it happened with Pizza Hut, it can happen with McDonald's, right? I hope someday I will pay more attention to how my muscles feel after I strength train and worry less about the loose skin that hangs in excess on my body. It's not too bad now, but yikes, I hope it does not get WORSE.

Every day I am focusing on getting my footing back. I weigh every single morning. I drink tons of water and green tea. I try and take good care of myself. I really do love myself more than I ever have before, and that's not because I am thinner. It's because I just care more about ME now.

I wish there was a way to lose weight fast. Just drop the pounds without exercise or diet. But there isn't... because anything that works that way is a short term fix that does not address the core issue of a person *needing to evolve.*

When I get thin, I do not want to be a Fat Person in a Thin Body. That's why these changes are so important to me.

Now, watch me fly. And don't trip over the fat chunks laying around on the floor as I shed them from my body! New Me, here I come!


ryry the adventurous said...

I find myself saying the same thing, about myself... that I am a thin person in a fat body or that I dont want to be fat person in a thin body... I think what I need to focus on is that I am ME. I AM my body, and not a fat or thin stereotype. If my body is not functioning correctly (aka I am gaining weight due to lack of wanting to exercise or bad food), I need to focus on it like a machine, which of the parts need adjustment? My attitude? Stress level?

lol not much to add there just random thoughts to add to your post before bed. :D It made me think! said...

I so so hear you. It's that real mental shift that I think is so critical.

I've heard so many people talk about freaking when they get thinner. I've heard all kinds of things. I did the same myself long ago. Not sure what that's all about for me yet.

Ranaesheart said...

You have just made the realization that will bring you to success. Mine came at 220 lbs and I was terrified to succeed and yet I couldn't go backwards either, which briefly manifested as binging and purging.

Keep up the self talk and your focus on the underlying issues and trust me, the Big Mac's will taste greasy!

I'm in the obese range now at 178and a long way from my 330 morbidly obese start weight. Normal range is in sight (24 more lbs) ... I'll meet you there!!! (((Hugs))) Ranae

Ceres said...

"I am a work in progress", ha ha! What a great post :-) Such great personality changes do not happen overnight, so hang in there, Lyn, you're doing great! The slower the weight loss, the greater the chances that it's followed by a mental shift as well!
What you write in this post sums up nicely all the things I was thinking when I commented on your previous "When's it gonna get easy?" post. I love your attitude!

Karyn said...

I know people say it to you all the time, but....were you reading my mind? I've been thinking all day along these lines, planning on making a post as soon as I get enough minutes strung together!

You are finding the key to your ultimate success, keep going!

Ginne said...

I read somewhere that a fat person only lives from the neck up. We are never really living inside of our bodies. Maybe there are too much pain inside our bodies that we don't even want to go there. A thin person would pay more attention to her whole body as she is living in it, she knows how to appreciate every single aches and scars; loving her body for what it can do for her and treating it well.

It's really not an easy thing for a fat person to do, she hates her body for what it cannot do and all the shame and embarassment it brought her.

It's hard, but not impossible, you have proven that to me.

deniz said...

Hi Lyn

You mentioned 'I got down to 214 pounds, and I freaked'.

Don't worry - I think we who read your posts and take inspiration from you can see that you really will get through it. You've made such fantastic progress since you began and are such a positive lady, you WILL get to where you want to be. This is just a pebble in your path.

That really shows up clearly when you say 'The new me actually cares about what she eats' and 'I just care more about ME now'. If those ain't big-time positive, I'm going to make it, statements I'll eat my (calorie-free) hat!

Zen hugs from the UK.

moonduster said...

I'm glad you have stopped freaking and are getting back on track!

I really hope I have gone over all of the reasons for losing this weight enough in my head that I don't freak.

I started at a weight similar to your starting weight (272.5), and, although 32 weeks pregnant, I am down to 235.5. I am hoping that once the baby arrives and takes even more weight off, I can continue on this path to even more weight loss, more fitness and more good health!

Good luck to you!

MizFit said...

it is amazing how the weightloss is, in the last analysis, the smallest part of the puzzle (piece I guess I mean).

I had more than a few clients lose weight and regain in a deliberate manner because they were afraid they wouldnt like their thinner self.
they were nervous (and I heard this a number of times) that they'd like themselves TOO MUCH and not be the same caring selfless friend/sister/mother/wife etc as before the loss.

You nailed it with the taking a bit to just wrap your head around the new you...

awesome post as always.

new*me said...

cute post!! And Lyn, you have no idea how loud your cheering section is right now!! We are ready to see the progress again and the awesome pics.....maybe one day with a head :)

Weight loss does have a huge connection in the brain. I hope you are feeling the happiness and love for yourself all day today!

nicole from portland said...

I totally get what you're talking about! I just got down to 167 lbs from being 235+ and every day I catch my reflection and its just weird and kinda freaks me out that I'm so much smaller then I used to be. I think a part of it is that I used to envy/despise/worship skinny women and always had such a unhealthy realtionship with them. Even when my skinny friends tried to be nice to me about my weight I would automatically assume that they were just being polite. Now I'm becoming that skinny person and while I love how it feels I still have those weird feelings associated with it. I suspect time and effort will fix this. I know it sounds silly but fake it until you make it! just keep at it and one day you will find yourself craving something and, surprise surprise! it won't be fast food. Don't give up! Keep moving forward!

Lynna said...

Hi Lynn,
You listed alot of negatives associated with the old weight, and all positives associated with the new.

I wonder, though... what were the positives at 275 pounds? (For instance, perhaps a positive might be that painful emotions could be medicated with food. And what are the negatives now? Perhaps having to grieve the loss of old friends, such as DQ Blizzards. Another negative might be adverse changes in relationships with people who preferred you to be overweight.

Sarah said...

I wish there was a way to lose weight fast. Just drop the pounds without exercise or diet. But there isn't... because anything that works that way is a short term fix that does not address the core issue of a person *needing to evolve.*

That is so key! It takes time to change your life and adjust to it.

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Fantastic post. From my perspective, I think I've seen "being skinny" as the thing that'll change my life and everything that's wrong with me will be made right. So as I'm losing weight, and those other things aren't changing, it freaks you out. Like you said, there is so much more that goes into changing from a morbidly obese person into a healthy weight person. You really do have to change who you are. And I think you're soaring already :)

Sheri said...

Exactly, exactly, exactly! That fear factor is in me too, and I’ve no clue what I’m afraid of. This response ended up as a blog post today. It was too long for comments. However, you mentioned excess skin. Do you know that is also one of my demotivators? The thought of loosing all this weight and then dealing with hanging flubber linen is part of what I’m afraid of. I do like your whit Lyn (“obesity is no picnic… and fat chunks laying around). Well, if they’re laying around, then they’re leaving you alone! If you get a chance, see my blog for the full response.

elife said...

This is something I'm working on, too. One of the things that helps cement change in me is seeing other people mirror my changed self back to me. (For example, when I wrote about deciding to hate fast food, what sealed the deal was other people believed me to be a person who hated fast food.)

I think this is harder for you, because you're in a more isolated situation; you don't have a lot of friends/family nearby to affirm who you are becoming. You are an extremely busy mom who is focused on her kids, and kids, by their nature, are focused more on themselves.

So as your on-line friend, let me tell you that when I think of you, I always think of you as a healthy person who is in the process of "maturing" and refining her palate. (for full explanation on "Maturing" - read my July 8th post re Dr. Oz. But basically it means, growing into what were historically adult taste preferences, and giving up the kiddie crap).

I think that unlike most "dieters," you've done the hard labor to changing yourself. You figured out that you have to eat f/vv every day to become healthy. And to eat them every day, you have to enjoy them. And then you doggedly kept at it -trying new veggies, new recipes, again and again until you got there.

I learned more from you, than from anyone else, or any book, on how to do this.

As for your recent struggles, you're reacting as ANY person would to the tough situation you're in right now. Some people would overeat, some would sleep too much, some drink too much, some would lose their temper, some would have an inappropriate relationship.

This is not your old self coming back; she doesn't really exist anymore. It's just your new self struggling with very, very difficult circumstances.

Hugs, e

Thinking Thin said...

I found your blog via another blog (geez, can't remember where) but I enjoyed this post immensely. I have always wondered if I would have issues with myself when I start to get to where I want to be. I have never been thin so I have absolutely no idea what thin feels like. Seeing as my progress has been extremely slow, I believe I have made progress in the mental department as well (boy that sounds bad) but your post really was a great post! Thanks for sharing!

Lyn said...

Thanks everyone!! For those of you who have asked questions in the comments on my last few posts... I am saving them and going to answer them shortly in a future post!

elife... thank you so much! That was just the encouragement I needed today. I appreciate it so much :)