Monday, June 22, 2009

Mitigating the Damage

Good morning! Yesterday was a pretty good day (as you can see on the left side of my blog, I posted my menus on Twitter). I need to up the protein and vegetables, still, but I stuck *completely* to my plan until after dinner, when my sugar desperation led me to whip up a pretty strange concoction. I don't keep white sugar in the house at all anymore because I have the urge to bake or make batter so often, but you'd be amazed what you can whip up with an 8-month-old tub of frozen Cool Whip Lite and a dusty can of Eagle milk. I don't buy THAT stuff anymore either....

Regardless, the 3-pound bloat I'd seen on the scale the day before has gone this morning, so that makes me happy. But not happy enough. Today I will add exercise to a good meal plan.

I was lying in bed this morning feeling my fat (you probably know what I mean... sometimes, you just have to run your hands over the fat and get a real sense of what is hanging off your body). I was thinking, gosh. This has to go. But it'll never be the way it was when I was 20...

I think part of my resistance to just pushing through and losing the weight FAST... besides my desire to change my whole attitude so I can KEEP it off... is the realization that at my age, I am going to have some collateral damage to the body for having been morbidly obese. I really did some harm to the ol' skin. It makes me sad and I wish I could go back and tell my 25-year-old, 168-pound self, "Don't let it happen. DO NOT let the weight get out of hand. Do it now before 15 years pass and you've missed out on a huge chunk of life. Your skin will snap back if you lose it now, but lady, you don't want to see what happens when you hit 40 and have weighed near 300 pounds for years." I wish I could've known and avoided the damage I've done. And I wish I could reach through this screen to anyone who is in their teens, twenties or even thirties and say STOP NOW! Do it now! Don't get any fatter! It is SO HARD to be turning 40 and see stuff hanging off your body and know you really can never 'take it back.' Please. Please don't let it happen to you, too. You do not want to be lying in bed 10, 15 years from now and feeling mountains of fat and rolls of skin. You do not want to be utterly COVERED in stretch marks... not the 'normal' kind from giving birth but big, long scars on your thighs and arms and hips that will NEVER go away, from eating too many brownies. It is not worth it! Stop now. If just ONE young person listens to me right now and stops and doesn't let themselves get morbidly obese, this whole blogging thing will have been so worth it. I know if you're young and only "overweight" you don't think it will happen to you. When I hit 199 pounds back in 1994, I was aghast with horror. I never, NEVER wanted to hit 200 pounds, and that motivated me to drop over 35 pounds by walking and counting calories. And I NEVER would have believed you if you'd told me then that I would end up weighing 280 pounds in my 30's. NEVER!!! NOT ME! I was not a "fat chick." I'd just gained a little weigh is all. Oh man, let me tell you. It can happen to anyone. Even you.

And if you're already there with me, you know the pain. But it IS escapable. Of that I am convinced. It takes more work than I've been putting in lately... which is why I lost weight and then stalled, regained some and sort of stopped. It is taking moderate effort for me not to regain back to 278 and beyond, and it takes a LOT of effort for me to lose. I've just not been exercising much... not enough... not really focusing on the weight so much. I HAVE been doing the mental work that I need in order to stop the binge behavior. I think people underestimate the mental/emotional work that has to be done with weight loss. We didn't get this fat because we are emotionally healthy. Food's been a crutch or a cover or a band-aid for SOMETHING. Bad habits got formed. And all that has to change to keep the weight off. You see people come crashing down the scale in record time, sometimes, which is great, but a LOT of people don't keep it off. I think that's because of the "skipped work" while losing. You gotta work on that stuff... whether with a therapist, on a fat farm, with your best friend, or with directed workbooks... or even on your own if you're an insightful, reflective type. But it has to be done. If you ignore it then the issues will surface in some other, unpleasant way.

So anyway after a morning of fat-grappling, I am ready to take on another day. I can't "fix" the body damage, but I can mitigate it. I can repair what CAN be repaired and I can be the healthiest me I can be. Gotta look at the good. I feel so much better now than I did 40 pounds ago, even with the body damage. It IS worth it.

Watch for more updates via Twitter, to see how I am doing real-time. I *will* have a loss for June!

32 comments:

ctina said...

Lyn -- Again! A great post. Just as you wish you could talk to the younger, thinner you I wish I could go back-- and talk to the younger, more obese, me. I want to tell her to get her act together sooner... don't waste your 20s being unhappy and perpetuating her own cycle of misery. DON'T MISS LIFE.

I would tell her there is one thing in life that you can control, and that is what you eat. Take pride in your choices, don't run from them, or avoid them. Any of them.

Yeah, it hurts to look back at those photos - even though I have figured out the formula to my health, it's impossible to change time. You can only preach what you know and hope someone is listening.

So, right, on Lyn! I don't think the skin damage is irreversible or hopeless. I think the "extra skin" will be minimized as you lose weight slowly... but lost youth, well, we all lose that - the feeling is universal.

Annabel said...

Lyn -- this was SUCH an insightful post. I was nodding along while reading and totally empathizing. It's crazy how we can know what's best for us and yet never get to the point of following through on it.
What I loved most about this post was your advice to reflect on the emotional issues triggering the unhealthy lifestyle choices. This is key and you couldn't have said it better.
A couple days ago I wrote an article about the top 10 tips for losing weight and none of them had anything to do with the actual "physics" of weight loss. They were all attitude and lifestyle based. If you're interested, it's here: http://girlgetstrong.com/wordpress/2009/06/20/top-10-attitude-lifestyle-based-tips-to-lose-weight/

I often wish I could go back to my 15-year-self and tell her that she DESERVES to be healthy. We can't go back in time. That's gotta be the most painful thing to acknowledge and also the real motivating factor. There is no time like the present to fight tooth and nail for our best health.

Thanks for this Lyn.

Crabby McSlacker said...

That's a great point about how the psychological "work" has to happen one way or the other... and some folks who drop pounds quickly without grappling with all the other stuff end up putting the weight right back on!

And I think damage mitigation is a great skill to have for all aspects of life. Whether it has to do with food, relationships, work, whatever... we all mess up and need to figure out how to get back on track again, over and over and over.

Trainer Shauna said...

Ah, to be able to go back in time and have the knowledge we have now with the youth we had then! A lot of things would be different in this girls life, that's for sure! :)

LJ said...

I can relate so much to this post. I think back to my younger, thinner self frequently. How did I get here? Will I ever get back to the "real" me?

Great post.

Lynna said...

Great insight that the emotional/psychological (and I would add spiritual) work is just as key as the physical work (exercising, eating well, etc.). Sounds to me as though you are paying attention to all the componenents that will lead to ever-increasing wellness!

rachel421 said...

i like that word, mitigate.

isnt good to reflect on the process? so many changes all at once. it can get overwhelming sometimes. and then theres that tiny strike of offcenteredness , when i start to shrink and sometimes dont feel like myself. "is this really me in these smaller jeans?"

300ways said...

I know I have always had "issues" with food and that this comes from having other "issues". You are so correct in talking about the amount of mental/emotional work that needs to be done. I have been doing a lot of reconciliation with the sad, hurt teen that still hides in the back of my heart. By healing her, the girl I once was, I heal the woman I am now.

Megan said...

Lyn, What a great post. As a 199 pound 26 year old this may have been exactly what I needed to hear today. What I'm always struck by with you, Lyn, is how much you seem to genuinely want people to do well and benefit from your blog. It's so kind. Congratulations, it's working.
Megan

Becca55 said...

You always have wonderful insightful posts about life and weight loss. It is so true that alot of it really is mental and if you can't get past it then you will more than likely revert to your old ways. I was kicking butt for awhile but I had to take a step back and think about the mental aspect of it as things were getting hard. I hate the nasty loose skin and cellulite I have and am so afraid that it wont go away.

Cammy said...

Collateral damage? I call mine The Aftermath. :) I don't like the looks of it, but the whole time I was losing I kept reminding myself that I was gorgeous on the INside. I'm told that some of it will improve over time, but I'm still focusing on the inner me. It's safer there. :)

Continue focusing on the many GOOD things you're doing and you'll continue your journey in good form. I'm still cheering for you!

spunkysuzi said...

I truly believe that losing weight is 90% mental!! Without dealing with that as well as doing healthy things for yourself it's a battle that's very hard to win!
Loved this post as usual :)

Lolly said...

I wish I had heard that voice 20 years ago, but alas, here I am today. It is a struggle each and every day - sometimes every hour - but I have to remember that I am a work in progress.
Thanks for your honest blogs....they mean a lot.
Lolly

shy girl said...

Hi. Long time lurker here. Just want to say that I am one of those 25 year olds who is trying to lose the weight. I have been reading your blog for the last couple months and you really inspire me. You know my struggles because they are your struggles and it's great knowing that I have someone out there who "gets it". So keep writing, keep inspiring and keep losing.

Mama Bear June said...

Yes, it is not only what you eat, but WHY! Hope you reach out to young people who think it will never happen to them, just as you did.

And exercise is a very important component to the weight loss. It's so easy to get out of the healthy habits. I hate it when the doctor tells me to rest.
Path to Health

Sarah said...

I was never thin as a child, teenager or even in my early twenties. I lost my weight slowly but there was no way my damage could be mitigated.... I too wish I had known then what I known now.

Fours plus years into maintenance I finally took the surgery leap earlier this month and while it fixed my most uncomfortable problem, I am still left with stretch marks. They run down my thighs, my arms and breasts, and even the skin of my newly flat stomach is still covered with them.

But that's okay, it's just skin, it doesn't say anything about who we are on the inside. Keep at it Lynn!

South Beach Steve said...

Your post is right on target and it is a warning that should be heeded by all. Realize though, that the changes you make now will keep you from making similar comments in another 10, 20, 30, or more years.

wyndymoon said...

You are right on. If only we could go back. I would tell myself never to stop the workouts. Back then I was slim and trim. After baby #2, I was in the best shape ever as I exercised all through pregnancy, to birth a son that was born all MUSCLE. So proud! After baby #3, workouts just seemed to be too bothersome and time consumming. Boy do I regret those thoughts 200lbs later.

Lisa said...

Love this post!

Crys said...

This is such a great post! I have a few on my blog that sound exactly the same. Hindsight is always 20/20. I look at my body and wonder how did I get here (I started at 279) but when those negative thoughts starts to creep up, I just have to say, "You'll never weigh that again." I've said it so much now that I'm actually starting to believe it.

I've definitely added your blog as a fav and I look forward to following your journey! You can do it!!

anne h said...

Thought provoking, real life stuff. I know it can happen to anyone...it did.

a corgi said...

I totally agree with what you wrote; I am figuring that out this time around too; I'm great at taking weight off but not keeping it off; I'm 51; I'm tired of this up and down, up and down, worse yet it is true the older you get the harder it is to lose weight; got to adjust for the slow down in the metabolism. So I've been doing a lot of thinking about these issues you brought up and some prayer and coming up with ideas to help me keep the weight off and to eat healthy.

betty

Anonymous said...

Definitely don't worry about the collateral damage! Many of us who are older and have lost significant amounts of weight have something. It's the most wonderful thing in the world to not be fat anymore, I don't even mind the loose skin and wrinkles!

Larkspur said...

I don't know if this helps anyone else, but I don't look at it from a looks perspective at all. Vanity is clearly not a good enough motivator for me to lose weight. Health is. Now that I'm 42 and my blood sugar is getting high, I have a motivation that is pretty hard to push aside.

Big Momma said...

Hello! I'm Becky and just beginning my weight loss journey. I'm looking forward to reading more about your progress. It sounds like you are ready for this to happen, which means this will happen. Good luck to you!

rachel421 said...

i hate to double comment but these great comments caused me to realize what i would tell any young person struggle with obesity issues: dont stop trying new things!

i went from plan to plan, trainer to trainer, exhuasted all possibilities i thought, and then finally found my personal answer, or combination of answers.

dont be skeptical: if you havent tried low carb, try it.

if you stalled on low carb and havent tryed cycling, try it.

if you've walked a million miles, but havent attempted intervals, try it.

if weights make you bored, try compound exercises (kettlebell, club bells, sand bags, ect)

if i had given up trying to find that program or blend of programs that fit me, i would never have made progress at all.

the year i "gave up" and gave in, i went from a size 18 to a size 22, in one year. everyone has an answer somewhere, and all of us find different things that help us!

thanks for provoking my thoughts lyn! :)

Laurie said...

Thank you for this blog! I am just now admitting that I have a problem with food and am attending OA meetings. I am dealing with a lot of emotional crap right now and am delighted to find a lot of recovery blogs online. I look forward to reading more about your journey.

Back for Round Two said...

Oh my gosh... I just stumbled across your blog following a link from The Token Fat Chick's blog and I can't believe it! I know EXACTLY what you're talking about! I have such sadness and regret... I just started (again) 2 months ago and my blog doesn't have much positive in it at this point, but I'm not giving up :)

Rachel said...

Hi Lyn - I just stumbled upon your blog and was treated to a great post! :) I spent yesterday going through my photos and loading them into Picasa to make a slide show...and I totally get where you're coming from! I found pictures of me at 135, 145 lbs and remember feeling devastated that I was that heavy. Now? I'd LOVE to be that normal again! No matter where we are, I think the root of this process of getting healthy is accepting, loving and appreciating ourselves where we are now and moving on from there. Any time I start to feel shame, regret or guilt about my body it seems to trigger binginess.

Coley said...

Great post. I feel the same way, I want to reach out to these chubby teens and take them aside and say "Just do it now, just fix it now... it won't go away tomorrow or on it's own... it takes work, do it now." And yep, for the skin issue and also for just living years feeling like you're not living at your potential.
-
I am 27. I have spent years around 300 lbs... and have been pregnant twice around this weight, my weight reaching as high as the 330's. My skin is ... "ruined"... I mean, I know it's not, but it won't do any bouncing back. I have struggled with this idea... wondering why lose weight at all (silly, I know) - but my skin being smooth and full of fat, sometimes I think may be prettier than thinner and hanging off of me and terribly stretched out and scarred and wrinkled.
Sigh, it's getting me a bit down to even think about it.
I know this will be worth it. Maybe I can do a little something to help me feel better about the skin later.
I am bummed that it won't ever be smooth and lovely on it's own. But that's what happens. I wear and will always to a certain extent, wear evidence of my addiction and emotional weakness.

So be it. Maybe I will need that memory, eh?

Gets me thinkin...

Heather said...

very true about the fat - I have lost weight and a lot of that fat is still there. it definitely is not the body I had at 19 and then theres all the skin. so I think its good to be realistic about what you can expect when the weight comes off.

Linda said...

its worth it then coz im 22 and ive been reading your entire blog the last few days and it has inspired me so much and motivated me to keep losing weight.
whenever i feel like eating anything i just go make a cup of tea and come and sit at the computer and read a few more months of your blog lol. then im so motivated i go to the gym and make a healthy dinner.
:)
even though im still young. its been something since i was like 15 where i would say this is the year i lose weight. but never do! hopefully this time its different.