Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cleanup Time

I feel like I am starting over. But then, I feel like that often, and then I slide back into a complacent maintenance routine that's comfortable and familiar. It is easier to eat like I am used to eating, go about my day in the usual manner, and not *really* shake things up all that much or for that long. But then I don't like how my clothes fit, or how my knees feel, or how the fat has grown back onto my body. I look in the mirror, get on the scale, and see "obesity." Again. I had escaped, and then I slipped back. Not all the way, mind you, but a good 40% regain of what I'd lost. I try to turn it around and be happy I have kept off the 60% for so long. I try to look at the good habits I have kept that made it possible to maintain at a much lower weight. But I am not really satisfied with just that, so I keep trying. I keep working at it and writing about what I am doing so that I can look back and see what worked and what didn't.

The starting-over feeling is not a good one. It's not an excited "I am reborn!" feeling nor a "let's start fresh" renewal. It's an "ugh, I have to do this AGAIN?" thing, and I often wonder how many times I have to do this before it sticks... before obesity is kicked to the curb forever. It is doable; it is possible... my success has taught me that. But it is NOT easy and it is NOT simple, not for me. I am super glad there are people who can just say "I am sick of being fat" and work at it and hit goal and stay there forever, but they seem to be such a small percentage of the people who are actually sick of being fat. I am quite sure the whole thing is way more complicated than the doctor's orders of just "eat less and exercise," because if it were so simple there were be very few fat people among us.

But that doesn't make it a losing battle. Maybe my blog isn't a blog of someone who "did it" and "won" in a year, ending in silence forever after the goal is met, leaving the impression that after success one trots off into the sunset and never has to think about their weight again. But this blog is a good dose of the reality of weight loss. A five-year chronicle of the struggles... not only of losing weight, but of regain, reloss, and the longer battle with obesity... is important. I learn from it. I hope others do too.

There are a lot of components to the process for changing from a morbidly obese person to a healthy BMI person. It is not the same for everyone. I went from someone who ate fast food several times a week to a person who doesn't eat fast food at all; from sodas as a beverage of choice to green tea and black coffee and water; from sitting all day to being up and active in daily life. Actually, the biggest change is that I went from sad and trapped to joyful and free. A lot has changed in five years.

I first had to learn to eat correctly. I cut out the junk and learned to eat more lean protein and fresh produce.
Then I had to work through all the emotional demons... the reasons why I was binge eating.
I was able to stop the bingeing and compulsive overeating that was keeping me trapped in a 278-pound body.
I had to learn about portions and the timing of my meals and how much protein (and how few carbs) it takes to keep me feeling good and energized.
I had to become more active in my daily life, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator, making a habit of parking far away from stores, walking my kids to the park instead of driving, and raking the leaves instead of paying my kids to do it.

Now I am at the point of building a regular exercise routine, getting stronger, and working through these nagging injuries and conditions that have kept me from being more active. I also need to go back and "clean up" my habits a little bit. Sometimes I let things slide.

Just this one piece of bread with my dinner...
Maybe just a little sugar in my coffee...
A few cookies won't hurt...
I am too tired to walk the dogs today...
A few handfuls of almonds, no need to measure...

Those are the little things that can slip back in and that, along with lack of exercise and a few bigger "oh just this once" indulgences here and there are keeping me from getting back out of obesity.

So it's cleanup time and gym time. Kids are starting back to school this week. Let's see what I can do!


Karen said...

It's never EASY. Finding what worked for me took 40 years. I am only 46.

It is easier when I don't expose myself to trigger foods. I was sick of it. I committed to myself that I would transform and that I would find away. Failure was not an option. I read books, blogs, and chatted up long term maintainers, then made my own plan.

I continue to work that plan.
I work every day, EVERY MEAL, to maintain my loss. I can never forget what my root causes are. Because I will regain if I don't take daily, hourly action on my habits, thoughts, behavior.

I wish you the wisdom to uncover your own root causes and take effective action to loose and maintain. Hard work, but easier I find when I can string together what worked for me and what does not. Tricky, it changes as I get older. And I didn't do it alone either. I add support people/process and tools and techniques to my process all the time, as needed. Small gain and I get the tools I need and proceed onward to address it. Very quickly. That process is ever done .

Safe travels. Life sure is easier with food sobriety & fewer pounds. Never easy, always worth it. Because we are all worth it. Karen P

Anonymous said...

You do a great job in this post of capturing the feeling of getting one's act together...AGAIN. I'm in a similar mindset today. I have a wildly familiar story about food/weight loss/weight gain/obesity. That nightmarish merry-go-round, wherein I tell myself I'm actually riding a wild stallion to a new horizon, when I'm actually headed right back where I started. Currently, I'm hovering on the border of "simple overweight" and "obese." Fourteen months ago, at 236.5 lbs (barely 5'5")I threw in the towel and attended a 12-step meeting for compulsive eaters. That was a real act of desperation, but it did open a new door for me. I've lost 48 lbs and have actually come to find some peace in the knowledge that, for me, the tendency to eat compulsively will always be there. It sounds odd, but I actually feel BETTER knowing that. It means that I can't ever again fool myself into thinking that "Yippee! I'm cured! I'm just a normal eater now, like everyone else who can have an occasional dessert and not fall into a mental abyss!" :) I no longer attend the 12 step meetings, but I carry in my heart the understanding that I gained there that this is just the way I'm wired; I can either fight against that fact and make myself suffer, or I can surrender to the knowledge and make my life choices accordingly.

Kind of a long, rambly post, but thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

It has taken me ten years to get where you are now. My starting weight (292) and current (223) are very similar to yours. I don't think people understand how much work this requires on a daily basis.

Queen of Mental Vomit said...

Yep, I'm back on it again for the 3rd time. And you're right, it doesn't get any easier; it's gets a little harder. There's so much more work involved in the maintaining than in the getting to the goal. Those little moments where we let things slide are potentially our undoing. So here's to you in lacing up those shoes again and getting back on track. Best of hard work to ya!

Lori said...

I'm in the same boat. That thinking that just a little bit won't hurt has really tripped me up. A little bit, far too quickly turns in to too much. I have to draw some pretty strict boundaries with myself.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes your posts just tell my own story. :{ Maybe it's an improvement that the whole fresh start enthusiasm isn't quite there.

Perhaps if we skip the unsubstantiated euphoria, we'll also skip the let down failure.

Perhaps this time of starting over will just be a steady slog to the finish line.

Yes, let's go with that. :)


Hey. I changed my URL to If you're following me, you'll have to redo. sorry.

Vickie said...

To be very honest, I had to change nearly everything about my life (but did stay married to my husband!), but it did not all change on day one. It has been a lot of little changes that I figured out and then applied and kept at/kept applying.

To this day I recap my week every Sunday so I can see what I did. This allows me to go back and take a look when I need to.

I also am very good at using my post labels so I can go back and look for specific things. I am at a lot of posts now, so being able to use my data is important.

I have a lot of little habits now that make it much easier to keep on track. I don't count/track, I use my habits so I don't have too think so much. I have simplified hugely. In the beginning it was like a full time job.

I have worked with an eating disorders therapist and a psychiatrist for years now. Really makes a difference in changing the neuropathways/habits/loops that kept dragging me back down. I needed an objective eye and someone to help me learn.

When I learned what I was doing, and what to do and how to think instead, it became a lot easier to help myself instead of self sabotage/sucking vortexes. I honestly think of it as raising myself. I had missed a lot of important stages in childhood, I think you will understand that feeling, because you had a pretty mixed up childhood too. Some of us were really raised with the odds stacked against us, I feel like I have restacked my life.

i should be full said...

Everything you say always rings true for me. I lost 90 pounds and thought it was gone forever. For me, I got pregnant again and was never able to get back off the weight. I'm now approaching my pre-pregnancy weight, the lowest I've ever been in my adult life, and I'm scared. I know that it's going to take the whole rest of my life, every day of the whole rest of my life, to keep it off.

I think that's why this is working for me this time; it's not a temporary project anymore, it's just working out my abstinence for the rest of my life, one day at a time.

Thank you for the continued inspiration!