Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Levels of Satisfaction

Back when I weighed 280 pounds, it was really difficult to enjoy much of life. Even when things were going well, I wasn't happy on the inside. The fat acceptance people would say, "let it go. Just accept yourself and enjoy life at the weight you are. Stop trying to lose weight because THAT is making you miserable." But I couldn't *enjoy life* in that condition. I'd wake up every single morning in pain, hobble to the bathroom and in my early morning, half-awake fog, my first thought would be, "I hate my life."

I didn't really hate my life. And I felt terribly guilty for even having that thought. I hate lots to be grateful for, including my wonderful children, my home, and my lack of *worse* medical conditions. But I *was* suffering needlessly, because it was something I could control... and that made it even worse. I knew that all the missed playtime with my kids, the sedentary lifestyle, the vacations where I was merely an observer of family fun (if not a hindrance to it) was MY fault.

Now listen, I am not being hard on myself. True, I have some kind of wacko binge eating problem. True, I needed to learn how to eat. I had knee problems aside from the weight. But it was still in my control all the time. It was still me making the choices every day, every moment to give up life for a Twinkie. It was me who was shoving Kit Kats in my mouth knowing full well that I would not be pleased with the consequences. I was trading a real LIFE for a piece of cake. Or, more accurately, 4 pieces of cake.

When I lost weight, I was happy. When I got down to 230 pounds, I was satisfied. NOT satisfied in the sense that it was enough and I could just quit losing weight, but satisfied with my quality of life. I could walk, I could move, I could clean my house. I had new clothes to wear that weren't 26/28's with bursting seams and holes in the thighs. It was a new level of joy, waking up, feeling great and optimistic and energetic.

But today, I realized that that level of satisfaction is gone. In fact, I woke up this morning, hobbled to the bathroom, and heard the faint whisper, "I hate my life." I stood in the bathroom and thought, "when did it go back to THIS? when did this happen?" I am still about 230 pounds, but frankly, I feel 280 again.

I'm not depressed. I do not hate my life. It's weird, how that voice whispers in my head in the morning when I am unhappy. After I wake up and start going about my day, I'm not sad or upset. But you know what? I'm not energized anymore. I feel like the same morbidly obese slug I was 2 years ago. WHY?

Because I've been eating crap. I haven't been exercising. I stopped doing the things that contribute to good health for me. Oh, sure, I have maintained most of the weight I lost. I'm not on the verge of regaining all that weight, because I truly changed my life when I lost weight. And I have kept up a good part of those changes because they were not part of some fad diet. They were REAL changes, like drinking lots of water, eating smaller portions, enjoying more produce, and cooking with healthier ingredients. And they were enough, even without any more effort, to keep me at this level of weight. But I'm not happy at this level anymore. I want to reach a new level of satisfaction.

I want to feel energized again. I want to wake up and hear the birds singing and see the sun shining, hop out of bed and be eager to greet the new day. But that ain't gonna happen by buying a tub of frozen cream puffs and eating half in one sitting. I may weigh less than I did 2 years ago, but I am still doing the same mental battle as I was when I was morbidly obese. I'm just doing the "I'm Trying" dance between 220 and 230 pounds rather than 270 and 280. And it's not making me happy.

Last night as I stuffed those cream puffs into my mouth I thought, this has got to stop. This is ridiculous. It's the same old game every fat dieting person plays with themselves. Get up, declare you'll eat healthy today, do fine for half the day and then see some yummy food you want, so you eat it and think, "Oh, I will start over tomorrow" and you eat some more crap for the rest of the day. Then tomorrow you do the same thing. It's ridiculous! I played that game for ten years and I'll be darned if I am going to let myself slide back into THAT mindset without a fight!

It's a gorgeous day outside, but those cream puffs are coursing through my body, causing aching joints, making my belly bloat out like I'm 9 months pregnant, and fogging up my brain. It's not just about sugar or white flour or South Beach... it's about giving my body what it NEEDS to function well.

It needs a lot of vegetables, fruit, and lean protein to function well.
It does not need processed junk, 100-calorie packs, Splenda-sweetened cookies, and diet sodas to function well.

I need to reach a new level of satisfaction. I'm going to be forty years old this summer. Enough is enough with this game playing. It's not even about WEIGHT as much anymore as it is about quality of life. Weight does play a part... my knees need to be carrying less. And it's frankly astounding the difference in my body and abilities when I weigh 214 pounds rather than 234 pounds. That twenty pounds makes an absolute WORLD of difference in my quality of life. But it's also just about feeling GREAT instead of lousy because of the things I am putting into my body.

The time is ripe, the Farmer's Market is opening very soon, and the weather is great for outdoor activity. I'm going to make this happen, for me. Starting now.


Rebekah said...

I love your blog, I have been following it for a while now. I feel compelled to share the book I am reading now. its Called the Beck diet solution (no its not a diet) Its cognitive therapy to go along with whatever you are doing. I have realized that I need that positive communication between myself and I. Anyways I am sure lots of people recommend whatever they are using, but if you happen to see this book at the library I would give it a chance.

Thank you for continuing to post, I really enjoy your blog :)

PatriciaW said...

Isn't it amazing how those same things that so easily made such a big difference in the beginning are the same things you have to maintain to keep feeling good, only moreso?

Weight loss is hard! To keep moving forward, you've gotta keep tweaking and increasing the effort to keep making a difference. We all hit points where we start to slip, and slippage in one area--less water, not enough veggies/fruit, too much carbs--can make you feel like crap all over again.

Right now, I'm stuck at 17 lbs off, and 60 to go. But I'm drinking my water again, which I had slacked off from, and increasing my exercise, which I was still doing as frequently but not with the same intensity.

For me, the turnaround always begins in my head. I have to consciously tell myself I can do it, and then make good choices until they once again become second nature. Every good choice raises my "feeling-good" quotient.

Andra said...

Great post! You (me, anyone who is fighting to make a change, make a better life) can't ever stop. Can't stop moving and can't stop eating clean. For the rest of our lives we need to keep doing right by our bodies and our bodies will keep doing right by us. Enjoy the sun, today, go make some Vitamin D. :)

Ria said...

Great post, and just what I needed to read right now since I'm having some trouble maintaining my motivation to keep going!

Here's to both of us finding our mojo again.

Anonymous said...

Very cool blog! You can do it- I have no doubt. Continue using this blog as a tool to motivate yourself. I'm proud of you!

GastricGirl said...

I was going to recommend the same book that Rebekah did. It is a wonderful book that helps you change the way you think about food. It is truly wonderful, and she doesn't tout any diet, just whatever you are currently doing.
Enjoy the beautiful weather and the Farmer's Market! :)

♥ Dee ♥ said...

Lynn, read this with the love it's intended. We've blogged back and forth enough that you know I would never attack you in anything but a positive way. So here goes.

STOP IT. Stop eating that junk. Stop BUYING that junk. Stop "trying". You have the tools and are choosing not to use them, and you are killing yourself. Physically and emotionally. You are purposefully getting on that roller coaster of anxiety and strapping in. But you do know where it will lead, and you are doing it anyways!

I'm not going to be one of those people (no offense to the other messagers here) who say "it's hard" and "just try". It is hard, yes. But it's doable. And it's one decision at a time.

You need to stop and ask yourself as you are reaching for that unclean crap "what do I want more? this cake? or to walk with my kids in the park without pain?"

Hey, I still have binge moments, too. I'm not perfect, and I don't expect perfection from you. But lemme tell ya, I'm seeing a LOT of negative thoughts coming from you lately, and I'm concerned for my friend here. Okay, I'm a cyber friend, but I care none-the-less.

You HAVE the tools. Now get out there and use them.

You are loved. Completely and forever, no matter what you do. You are loved so much that I'm willing to take the risk of getting knocked off your planet for kicking your ass.


Risa said...

I just started reading your blog and your words have really hit home with me. I know exactly what you mean about feeling the funk you were in when you were at the heavier weight even though you have not gained any weight. You are definitely not alone out there.

moonduster said...

You can do it, Lyn!

Fat[free]Me said...

I feel that all the bad stuff is poison to you and like a lot of poisons, you also crave them. I think you may have to stop having them anywhere near you as they seem to do you no good whatsoever.

Treat your body as well as your body deserves to be treated and get your zest for life back.

You have done brilliantly so far and can do even better from this minute on.

Go for it!

PS: looking above at Dee's post - you are a true friend - hugs x

Anonymous said...

You go to the Farmer's Market, I'm off to have your quote "it's about giving my body what it NEEDS to function well." tattooed inside my eyelids!

Thanks again!


antgirl said...

One of the things I did to reprogram myself this go 'round, I take the time to enumerate all of the things I have to be grateful for before I get out of bed in the morning. I also reiterate why being healthier makes me happy. Soon it became habit and I generally start the day happy now. Believe me, that's new. LOL

Helen said...

So, I really needed to read this today. I am actually at a place where I'm comfortable but still overweight. I have been screwing around for a couple of weeks because it's easy and I've been excusing myself.

I also love Dee's comments. They are spot on. In fact, I'm copying the blog and her comments to a Word document so I can print it out and read it - a lot.

Ceres said...

Please get out of the rut. One day at a time, remember?

Christine said...

Hi! This post was interesting for me to read because I am new to your blog, and have started with your archived posts--I am still in October 2007. I know I have many more posts to read, and I am sure it has been a long and varied journey for you, and how you got to today will make more sense to me!

hang in there. It is just a bump in the road. Ride your bike right over it!

Mike579 said...

Finding the inner fire is like awaking from delusion. Not the other way around. It's not being fat or fit, it's about working towards our true destiny! Your true destiny is to be fit and active and eating healthy for your children! RIGHT?!

Lyn said...

Thanks all for the comments/love :)


thanks for being willing to step out on a limb to try and help me. You are a true friend!

It is one choice at a time, moment by moment. And you know I know what to do. If love could stop binge eating... or alcoholism... or depression or drug addiction... for sure a lot of suffering would be avoided. Not making excuses for the behaviors/conditions... just sayin', there's a lot of people doing things to themselves, causing needless suffering. I don't really get why, but I am never giving up on the changes I am making. Every day I'll stand up and battle for my health! And I am proud to have such devoted and kind friends here to help me along the way.

Vickie said...

I do NOT consider you on a plateau (and you do not consider yourself on one either - or at least I don't think so) - but when I read your posting - I immediately thought of this old posting of Jonathon's and went and found it for you:

‘When you are experiencing a true plateau –that is, you are not gaining, and you are not losing– it is the result of the fact that your desire to change is exactly equal to your desire to stay the same.’

Here's the rest of it if you are interested:

And NOT that I think you are in denial - but I LOVE this one (Jonathon too):

If you are ever looking for these again - the links to both are on my side bar.

I think there is a HUGE difference in physical/body stuff about every 15-20 pounds - all the way down the scale to goal.

Lyn said...


GREAT quote! Thank you for sharing that!

Yeah, I agree I am not on a plateau, but I think that quote applies.

Twix said...

I appreciate your sharing your story. The thing I could relate the most to was this,

"Because I've been eating crap. I haven't been exercising. I stopped doing the things that contribute to good health for me. Oh, sure, I have maintained most of the weight I lost. I'm not on the verge of regaining all that weight, because I truly changed my life when I lost weight. And I have kept up a good part of those changes ......I want to reach a new level of satisfaction."

This is I can totally relate to! Time to break out and make a change! I'm looking forward to Farmer's Market, also. And the warmer weather. :D (((hugs)))

MargieAnne said...

I can identify with everything you say.

After years of being concerned about what goes in my mouth I'm still learning to adjust to life without the things that make me fat.

I read something recently that set me thinking. It's not the food thing although that's bad enough, it's the knowledge that I will have to exercise discipline around food for the rest of my life. That does not delight me. I rebel against that idea. Yet unless I come to terms with the need to be disciplined every day for the rest of my life without getting a bad attitude about it I am always going to have major struggles. (I've kept this to write up in my blog as it deserves more in depth thought).

Heather said...

I definitely have felt that way before and in the past, it was hard to pull myself out of it and actually do the things that would lead me to be happy. I think its great that you can recognize this and are pulling yourself out of if. you deserve to be happy and healthy!

Anonymous said...

It doesn't have to be so all or nothing. It's 85F here, nobody has air conditioning, it's too hot to go to gym or ride bicycle or eat, so I walked 1.5 mile for an ice cream cone, and I will have a big green salad when it cools off enough to make it. I may go for a better walk after dark. And I'll consider it an appropriately healthy dinner, and go to bed happy. Tomorrow will be in 70s, which I can function in. I do the best I can, and I really don't a problem with ice cream and salad in this heat. What else is possible?

Amy Jo said...

Just a thought; I know you've mentioned how little time you have, and what a struggle it is to wash, cut up, etc. veggies and fruit. Have you thought about buying the pre-cut stuff? Cutting some corners? It is more expensive; but is it more expensive than the unhealthy stuff? Speaking from experience, I've had more than my share of times where I bought celery, peppers, apples, etc. and they sat and got bad because the chips or granola bars were faster. But if I buy pre-washed baby carrots, pre-washed and cut spinach (which I still rinse..), etc., I actually use them all!
I can tell you are struggling; I've watched your blog for a long time. But at least you are in limbo, not gaining. The weather is beautiful, and today can be the day to make more changes. You have been such an inspiration to me; sometimes, you seem like Superwoman! I think sometimes it helps if you can FEEL like superwoman. I know there are many of us who would vote for you :)

Anonymous said...

Lyn, I think if your insurance covers it, you should look into seeing someone to help you with your bingeing problem. You can remotivate yourself over and over but until you find out exactly *why* you overeat, I think this inner battle is going to continue. Getting a bit of help is a good thing either way.

Lucrecia said...

I had a similar moment this morning. I woke up and thought "I feel just as fat as I did 3 months ago" . We just have to keep on keeping on!!

maggie said...

Lyn, thank you oh-so-much for posting even when you're in a rut. It gives hope to me and other people, I'm sure.

Hopeful said...

Great post. Thanks. I know how you feel.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. I just found your blog and want to thank you for being so honest in your postings. I, too, am a single mother (of three), turning 40 this summer, slowly untrapping myself from my high of 325. I recognize a lot of myself in your entries. I want to say "Good luck to us both!" but I know it is so, so much more than luck. "Good determination to us both!" -Vy