Friday, July 13, 2018

A Different Journey

You know what's interesting about being back in the 180's again after seven years of regain? A lot. It's a completely different journey this time, both physically and mentally. It has never been so clear to me *how* different it is until I went back and re-read some of my blog posts from the last time I was in this weight range.

This time around, I got into the 180's a little over 2 months ago. In fact, on May 11 I weighed 188, and this Monday I weighed 188. You know how I feel about that? Great! Successful, happy, content, and proud. Two months, 188. No net loss. And I am so pleased! But when I go back and read my posts from the summer of 2011, when I was in this *same* weight range, all I read is frustration, disappointment, and anxiety. I was literally pacing around fighting with myself all the time... trying to ward off obsessive food thoughts, pushing away the urge to eat compulsively the things that were "off plan" for me, and pushing myself to work harder and hurry up and get the weight OFF. The level of frustration I read in those posts over months of trying to stick to a restrictive plan and FORCE myself into a thinner body is astounding to me now. SO MUCH emotion... stress... and anxiety over food, my body, and the number on the scale. I could not accept the amount of time that was passing without big drops in my numbers. I felt like a failure. I sometimes thought I would never make it and was hanging on by my fingertips! Granted, those posts were near the end of an 11-month stretch of staying mostly in the same range I am now: the 180's. Maybe even now I would start to feel annoyed if 11 months went by without any significant loss... or maybe not. Maybe I would be fine with it this time, because I know from experience now that sitting in the 180's for a year is a heck of a lot better than slopping around in the 250's and 260's again. That was hell, it really was. Once you know what you had, what you could have been... yeah, then it hurts even more.

The other thing about this journey, aside from the peace, calm, and contentment I now have about maintaining, is how I feel about my body. There was *so much* chaos last time about my loose skin, hanging mooshy fat, ill-fitting clothes, batwing arms etc that it was actually distressing to me. If you've never read my Melting Body post from 2010, I don't know where you've been! I quote it often, and link to it frequently, because it was such a key part of why I regained and how getting fat again "fixed" something that I was just not able to cope with in any other way at the time. I have known that doing that part differently... addressing the anxiety the 'melting body' caused me... is essential to not having a regain again. I *had* to find peace with this and learn to accept it, TRULY accept it and be okay with it. If looking at my smaller body causes a physical sense of stress, panic, and fear, then obviously my subconscious mind is going to push me to "fix" it... by gaining the weight back. And yes, for some reason, a fatter body with firmer, smooth skin was easier for me to accept and more comfortable for me than a thinner body that made me feel deformed and ugly.

Interestingly, the Melting Body post was written when I weighed exactly what I weigh today: 185 pounds. And I vividly remember how much the state of my body stressed me out back then. Yet now, I look at my body at the same weight and I don't see it that way at all! Yes, there is some loose skin, but not nearly to the extent I describe it in those posts long ago. Has my body shrunk that skin over time? Oh, maybe a little, but let's be real here: about a year ago I was almost 260 pounds. There hasn't been a lot of time to really shrink anything that much. So perhaps it is my attitude that has changes. It is my eyes. My vision. I see my body and it is not distressing to me. I don't feel anxious or panicky about it, and part of that *has* to be because I am not pushing and berating myself to lose more weight NOW, get thinner NOW, hurry up and become "normal"! Another part of it is that I accept fully that I am not comfortable showing my upper arms to the world, so I wear sleeves to the elbows when I go out. That makes it a LOT easier to not obsess over the arms! But I look at them every day. I wear short sleeved shirts around the house sometimes. I put lotion on them, I hold them up and see and touch the hanging, loose parts and examine the wrinkles or bumps until I know those arms really well and am accepting and comfortable with them *myself.* I never got to that point last time. I was too busy being horrified every time I caught a glimpse of them, and trying to avoid looking. Look away, look away. Do not accept. So you can see how this time is very different.

Well, this has gotten long, but I hope it has given you a sense of how and why the journey is different for me this time even though I am at the same weight. I have had a wonderful week with a couple of birthdays, some slices of cake, and some barbecued meals. This week I've had smoked ribs, potato salad, and fried chicken with friends. I've shown on my Instagram a couple of meals I've eaten in the car since I was busy. I had a "no sugar added" scoop of ice cream from Baskin Robbins one afternoon and a couple of Oreos one evening and ate at Arby's on another night. But I've also had plenty of salads, local fresh fruit, lean chicken, plenty of water, and long walks. I am happy and content. My 'plan' is so flexible that it is utterly stress free. My body makes me happy. The other day a friend, who had seen me just 2 weeks prior, stopped in his tracks and said, "are you STILL losing weight? You look great!" That made me feel so good. Even though my actual weight has remained in a ten-pound range for over 3 months, I look better, clothes fit better, and of course a smile makes everyone look healthier and more beautiful, right?

Thank you for being here for this whole journey... especially now as the excitement of quick weight loss and progress pictures has waned and I am into the calm sameness of maintaining. I appreciate your support and I hope what I am sharing helps just one person understand that it's not just about getting the weight off. It's so much more than that.


Jaxx said...

I used to read you years ago, and only just found you again a couple of weeks ago, so catching up. Congrats on your weight loss up to date and looking forward to see what has all been happening in-between :).

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly you were eating Medi-fast and practically starving yourself last time around too. I have looked at your Instagram pictures and what you are eating this time is extremely different. It's almost hard to reconcile all of the non-diet food you picture with your weight loss so if you can eat this much more and not look like starvation then I agree your metabolism is fixed. p.s. the brownies look amazing.

Gina Loya said...

So grateful you have kept blogging all these years. Always could identify with your frustration and depression. I find your recent posts inspiring. Blessings

MaryFran said...

You are in such a good place. I read your posts now and they are awesome for me because a while back I decided that I had to do this ‘weight loss thing’ again. But I decided to approach it sooo differently this time. Which is how I see you did fact, it seems very similar to my plan of attack. :-). Thanks for shows me that my plan WILL work!!!

Janet said...

I'm so with you on this, Lyn! I'm beyond thrilled for the peace you've found and the contentment you feel in your own skin.

I just recently arrived at the same place. Down 50 pounds since leaving a wellness spa and retreat on 05/27 - Completely confident in my ability to eat real food (and still lose weight) and with such gratitude for this body, which frankly, has put up with so much, I'm often surprised I'm still here.

Like you, I lost over 100 pounds, freaked out about how my body looked (so wanted to throat-punch everyone that disagreed and said I looked amazing) and promptly set out to gain the weight back. After the weight was back on, I realized (just as you said) what was possible and how much better being thin really way - loose skin and all!

Someone recently told me that one bad meal cannot derail your progress, just as one good meal won't make you thin - I've learned how to use food as fuel (not comfort), how to forgive myself for the slips, how to get right back up (instead of allowing a slip/bad choice turn into six days, six weeks or six months of binging to punish myself) and best of all, just be nice to myself. Self care is something I've completely embraced and I truly enjoy taking care of myself now.

I'm often asked where the motivation to take control came from - for the longest time (the year and a half it took to gain the weight back) I felt as if I was sliding down a greased pole; just not being able to get ahold of that "thing" that makes losing weight possible. Today I tell people that motivation comes from action and action is possible through simplicity. Just do it - do anything to get yourself moving, eat one completely healthy meal and enjoy it, walk barefoot in the grass, check in with yourself - ask yourself "how do I feel and what do I need in this moment" whenever cravings strike. And, make whatever you do simply. Simplicity makes action possible and action leads to results that foster the motivation we need to just keep going - keep taking care of ourselves.