As I was catching up on other blogs last night I came across a post written by a blogger that resides pretty close to my heart. She is a special one, Teresa is. Always supportive, always thinking of others needs – even when she herself is struggling. I noticed that she hadn’t posted in a while. When that kind of thing happens to a blogger I value, I both worry and talk myself out of worry. “I hope she’s not sick. No, she’s just terribly busy, that’s all. It’s fine.” Finally a post popped up in my reader and as I read, I realized, at least partly, what had been going on. She’d gained 12 pounds and avoided writing about it on her blog. I could feel the frustration in her words, the disappointment she felt in herself, and finally, her determination to get herself back on track. Her commenters were loving, kind, and supportive as they always are within this community.
That post immediately transported me back to the time when I could have been the one writing those words. I’d finally broken from the 200’s and slid into the 190’s seamlessly. I had a little help breaking through that barrier, though: stress. My first marriage was failing. Consciously I didn’t know what was happening, but deep down I must have been aware of the affair. I kept myself busy with diet and exercise and that became my focus. If I look better, I can save my marriage. The weight continued to drop and I made it down to the 180’s.
I don’t quite remember what triggered my sudden reversal, but I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that since my weight loss didn’t affect how my husband felt about me, I kind of gave up on it. Becoming healthier wasn’t going to save my marriage, so why bother? (as I write this, I wish I could speak to that girl and give her all the wisdom she would ever need to know about putting herself first. It kind of breaks my heart to see myself as that person but in retrospect, I needed that experience to happen in order to save myself.)
What followed was depression. Depression and overeating go hand in hand with me and so I ate, while watching the scale rise, rise, rise. I remember continuing to weigh myself even though I knew I was gaining. I think it was probably some form of self punishment, because it only made me more depressed. And yes, then I would eat more.
It wasn’t until one morning when I weighed in at 199 that something ‘clicked.’ You hear people say that a lot….. I don’t know what happened. Something just clicked…Sometimes we can explain it; sometimes not. For me, it was like I’d finally had my fill of self abuse. Suddenly, I was done abusing my body for an action that wasn’t even mine to own. I was angry, and sad, and determined. And it was enough to turn me in the right direction once again. Yes, I was losing the same 15 or 16 pounds that I’d already lost, but it was my life and I had three choices: to continue abusing myself, to stay the same, or to regain control of my life.
When reading weight loss success stories and seeing the before and after photos, it’s easy to forget how much time has passed between Point A and Point B. Many of these stories are just snapshots of what was in reality, many months of denial, bouts of depression and then finally, clarity. Every day provides us with some kind of challenge. Maybe today it’s the decision to have a hysterectomy. Maybe tomorrow it’s trying to figure out how to deal with the constant fear of that post-menopausal weight-gain that one keeps hearing about. The point is, today is all we have.
We do what we can do today.
We find the strength today.
Life is going to roll on as she pleases, and sometimes she’s going to roll right over us, like it or not. Maybe next time when she’s in her foul mood, we step a little faster; maybe we get lucky.
I feel terribly lucky right now. For years I chipped away at my weight alone, not realizing this community even existed. It’s only now, in maintenance, that I feel truly home with all of you, wherever you currently are in life.
I wasn’t really sure where this post was going when I started it this morning but I guess the bottom line is this: please don’t consider yourself a failure when you don’t meet or exceed your expectations. It may take 4 or 5 ups and downs before you hear that ‘click’. It doesn’t mean you don’t want it badly enough. It just means that you’re still learning how to get there.
Have a great Thursday.