Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Big Picture of a Changed Life

Last night I went to bed and woke up an hour later vomiting. I will spare you the details of the rest of the night.

I was up at 6 as usual with the dogs and daughter, but after meeting their needs I laid on the couch until 9:30 when I finally peeled myself up and made a cup of plain ginger tea. I still feel rather unwell and drained, but I was able to keep down the tea and a piece of toast half an hour ago. I am just going to rest today. I have zero energy.

Last night before going to bed, I was thinking about the big picture of the last five years and how different that big picture looks than the smaller, more myopic view I often take. I have found myself grumbling about "still" weighing near 200 pounds and getting frustrated with myself at times. But stepping back and seeing the WHOLE picture of the last five years, it gives me a new appreciation for what I am doing.

My weight loss "journey" really is like background music to my life. It is *not* my whole purpose or existence. I know what it's like to only have 30 or 40 pounds to lose, spend a couple months doing it, and then being done. It's like a perfectly defined, relatively short stretch of time when your life almost seems to revolve around weight loss and dieting. It is a handful of weeks in your life that had a definite 'before' and 'after' both in feel and in pictures. You were fat, you lost weight, you were no longer fat.

That is not how my journey has been. And that's a good thing, for me, because if this entire past 4.5 years was all about losing weight, I would be insane by now. I'd have given up. No one can sustain an intense focus on weight loss for that long, and not be thin yet, without major frustration. When I start thinking in those terms... "I have been at this for how long now? and STILL fat!!"... it feels like I have failed. But when I step back and look at the five-year span, it is a joyous, triumphant, amazing thing! I see that I have lost weight in chunks, with plateaus in between. I see the growth emotionally and the big changes in my eating patterns over time. I see the weight loss as an undercurrent as I have gone about LIVING. And the wonderful thing is that as the weight has gone down, life has gotten easier and better even when I am 'stuck' and not losing very quickly.

Looking at the big picture gives me faith that things will just keep getting better and easier, as they have over the past 5 years. I have no doubt that I will make more healthy changes, keep losing weight (even if it is in 'chunks') and continue having a richer life as my health improves. That knowledge is enough for me to smile regardless of what the scale says this week or last week or next week. I *know* where I am going, and because it is the background music and not the primary focus of my life, it is a pleasant thing. I used to need immediate feedback from the scale, from my measurements, from pictures, that I was making progress. But lately, it is easier to relax and enjoy my life secure in the knowledge of the journey. I have faith in myself, backed by experience, and that is a very comforting thing.

3 comments:

purpleivy said...

At least you know you were going down with 'something' now and hopefully last night made it clear your system. Hope you feel better soon.

Dinahsoar said...

I've never been able to lose 30-40 pounds in a couple of months. This last time I lost thirty it took a year and a half. At best I can lose a half a pound a week. And I've never been 'done'. Losing and keeping off 30 or 50 pounds is a life long struggle for me and likely most people if the statistics are to be believed.

You've come a long way and have made tremendous progress. You are not 'there' yet...but one day you will 'ring' the figurative bell, and when you do, it won't be the end, but the beginning of life long maintenance.

The battle of the bulge is a war. And it never ends.

Your biggest strength is that you persevere. You will win because you are not a quitter.

Leslie said...

Love the big picture view - important to not get overfocused on missed moments, missed opportunities, and temporary setbacks. I needed this, Lyn. Thanks!