Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In the Grey Area

I have been floating for a long time in the grey area between thin and fat. Yes, I know I am technically still "fat," but I am talking about a mindset and a feeling and the way my body looks and acts. Look at the pictures there on the left... the ones I took when I reached 178 pounds. To me, that is my "thin" body. At 178, or 175 as I lost a bit more, I felt like a very "normal" weight person wherever I went. My weight very rarely impacted anything I wanted to do. I could fit into all my clothes and look pretty darn good and feel good about what I saw in the mirror.

Then there is my "fat" body. This is where I am more comfortable. It is more familiar to me to be "fat." I have realized that my body feels and looks "fat" rather than "thin" to me at about 192 pounds. When I weighed in the mid-190's (recently), I had extra padding all around my hips and middle. My clothes felt tight and I had a bulging muffin top. It was actually harder to move with just that extra 20-ish pounds on my body. Everything on me felt softer and squishier and when I looked in the mirror I saw bulges here and there. And I felt rather disgusted at my body and myself. And oddly enough, THAT is the feeling I am most comfortable with. Disappointment, disgust, and feeling fat and out-of-control.

I have noticed as I am losing weight this time that as the fat melts off my body once again, I get to a point where I am in the "grey area" between my thin body and my fat body. I reach this point at about 187 pounds. I lose the extra fluff. My clothes start fitting me better. The muffin top is GONE and my waist suddenly returns, giving me the hourglass curvy figure people admire. It is easier to move. I don't look like I've gained a bunch of weight. And the bones start to reappear... just barely.

I have written before about how I had an intense emotional reaction the first time I noticed my bones showing through my fat. I almost had a breakdown about it. Hip bones, wrist bones, and at 175 pounds, rib bones started to show and be able to be felt easily. Somewhere in the back of my mind, bones = death. I had to work through that association. It was causing me to regain/lose/regain/lose as my subconscious kept trying to get me to re-cover those bones in fat in order to relieve the intense distress and dying-person-memories they dredged up.

So now, at 186 pounds, I am in that grey area once again where I am not quite "thin" with bones poking out and I still might look slightly pregnant in the wrong pants, yet I am not bulging out of the seams of my shirts anymore. This is my comfort zone. This is where I have gotten stuck since last fall, losing and gaining 10 pounds on either side of 186 for months. Some people might call it a set point, but I think it is all mental. Change is HARD. Breaking though and leaving the old familiar 'self' can be scary. And if 175 is scary to me now, I can only imagine the feelings I will have to cope with as I reach lows I have not seen in 20 years: 165, 155, maybe 145. THAT is why the weight comes off slowly and in spurts for me. I am doing that mental work that is absolutely essential for long-term success, as I go down the scale.

I feel ready to finally leave this grey area and embrace my "thin" body. I am ready, finally, to say goodbye to that past version of Lyn that was hiding behind a pan of brownies and doing the best she could to cope with immense life stresses... using binge eating as a coping mechanism just to survive. Farewell, dear one, you did the best you could with what you had. I am stepping forward in courage *without* the fat suit.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lyn I just need to thank you for your blog. It's really helped me to identify a lot of the mental stuff that has been making it so hard for me to lose weight all these years. I recently rejoined Weight Watchers (for the last time!), and I've lost 5.6lbs in my first month. It's a good pace, I think, while I'm nursing my baby. I'm getting happier with *me*, and I owe so much of my new self-awareness and determination to the inspiration of this blog! Thank you!!!
-J

Tabitha said...

I am really enjoying discovering my bones again. I have spent most of my life overweight/obese on a small, 5'1" frame and sometimes now I wonder how in the world this body carried 204 pounds at one time. I admit it was a little disconcerting at first, when the bones started to become more noticeable. I have no fear of becoming anorexic as I like to eat too much, but I am learning to embrace my bonier self, LOL!

Dillypoo said...

I weathered a six month-ish plateau as my mind caught up with my weight loss. But once I embraced the smaller me, saying good-bye to my old fat self was a relief and I haven't looked back since.

You CAN do this!

Lisa said...

well said dear Lyn!

Leah (The Kind Weight Watcher) said...

YAY! You can do it. Think thin, it works. ;-)

Niecy said...

I love your honesty, Lyn. You are so correct. I have a question, however. When I hit 175 or more (have been up to 238), I don't like it, but my normal seems to be 180ish. I have spent many of my years as a child and adult around that weight. I can't stand the way I feel and I hate to see pictures of myself around that weight, but I have spent many years there. Does this make it my "comfortable?"

I am sitting at around 165 now and have been stuck here for about 4 weeks. I would really like to see 140 again, and I'm working on it, however, it's tough, as we all know.

I can say that my attitude and feeling about myself is getting better. I wonder if that happens because I've lost some weight or before that, hence, helping me lose weight.

I hope I'm making sense with my rambling, but this is all part of my mental work! Thanks for your wonderful posts.

Justin said...

I read your post. I am not even sure how I found your blog. You can do it! I am in a similar situation. I feel off the wagon! I haven't lost nearly as much as you have! I have a long way to go. But you have came this far, and you can do it. I think we need to teal ourselves the same thing. Just gotta get back up and keep trucking!

Jennifer said...

I have been in the grey area for a while now too and I am ready to leave it behind!

JEnnifer
http://www.wecanlosethepounds.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Everyone has different builds and I totally get that, but I think you might be exaggerating the bones that "stick out" on you since you've been very overweight for so long. Years ago, I weighed around what you weigh, and I'm a bit taller than you, and there were NO visible bones at all. Again, I know builds/frame size/etc all come into play, but this is my experience. Keep the final goal in mind and don't look back, and don't become comfortable with where you are because you've made it clear that this is not where you want to be!! It just worries me a bit when I hear things like "thin at 175...bones showing..etc" because I know that's not where you REALLY want to stay but it almost seems like you're making up excuses...sorry if I am wrong on that. I dont mean to offend, just something i cant help but wonder. But you've been doing SO well lately, keep at it and keeping being honest and you'll be unstoppable!! :)

Lyn said...

Anonymous~

well, I guess if I were eating junk and saying that, it could be an excuse, but not sure how it is an excuse since I am on plan and losing weight.

Anyway, I have never been one for excuses, and I maintain what I have always said: my knees absolutely cannot tolerate this much extra weight, and even if I were satisfied with how I look at 175, I need to keep going for my health.

As far as bones, I am talking about them sticking out to where I can actually feel them. I went for so long NOT feeling a rib or a hip bone or a knee bone (all were padding heavily with fat) that it was rather shocking to me when I first started feeling them. I don't mean they are jutting out like cliffs :)

Debbie said...

I noticed that I too have been struggling to lose as I get closer to a "normal" weight. I'm still 50 lbs from my goal weight, but I think that I am a little afraid of reaching that goal. I sometimes wonder if it s because I used to think that my life would be so much better if I was slim, and now I'm afraid to find out if that is true or not. What if I lose all this weight and my life isn't any better? Does that mean that being obese wasn't the worst of my problems? I so appreciate he way you share the mental & emotional part of your journey, you really get me thinking about my own journey.

Linda said...

Great post, I am dealing with many of the same issues. It is MUCH harder to change our minds than to change our bodies. Thanks for the insights.

Anonymous said...

Maybe what you should do is let yourself stay in the 180's for a few weeks to let your mind catch up with your body. I'll bet you'll start feeling less comfortable at the current weight when it sort of "settles" on your body, then you'll be ready to take off another 10 pounds. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

oops-I forgot to sign that last comment! -Mary

timothy said...

i'm right there in the middle with you sweetie. i got down to 214 and felt thin, i'm back to 226 and i "feel" HUGE. you wouldn't think 12 pounds could make such a differenece but by golly it sure does! we'll whip this yet, i KNOW we will!

Anonymous said...

I was looking for recipes and found your blog. I am on MF and have lost 57.2 pounds so far. I have 45 more to go. Your grey area resonated with me. I have been there and it scares me to think about what and how I am going to deal with being at goal. My goal is 180 and I know that that still will have me at an overweight bmi. I am afraid of getting too small. My age and comfort level makes me think that 180 is the grey area and that is fine. But, I know deep down living in this grey area is not the right thing to do. Hearing that that is a real struggle is comforting. I'm not the only one...
tlhpruitt from my medifast

Deb Willbefree said...

So odd. I am doing the exact same thing--feeling the exact same thing, down to how the clothes fit, at the exact same weights.

It has been going on for a year, now, and is really quite apparent. I leak into the 190s, panic, get down to the mid-180s and then....it seems as tho a choice hangs in the air...

So far, I've chosen to bounde back up instead of facing the terror of seeing 175 on the scale. Really. What IS up with that?!

Deb