Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Journey So Far

It's nearly June 2007 and I'm waking up from a long hibernation. I've been in a fog of re-evaluation and denial since my last major attempt to lose weight. That makes it sound like a simple journey though. I don't want my life to be a series of nice little diets (although that is what this post is going to break down into). I want it to be a lifestyle change.

I've been through the gung-ho route of weight loss before. I'm not into gung-ho anymore. Or at least I'm going to assume a false attitude of "no gung-ho" because I don't want to get my hopes up. Or, more accurately, I don't know what to get my hopes up about.

Okay, anyway, back to the task at hand. The journey so far. Well, here are the stats as they stand today:
Height: 5 feet 7 inches
Weight: 355ish lbs.
Goal Weight: 145 lbs.

Weight in February 2005: 209 lbs.
Weight in January 2004: 315 lbs.
Weight in September 1998: 230 lbs.
Weight in September 1997: 185 lbs.
Weight in February 1996: 240 lbs.
Weight in July 1995: 290 lbs.
Weight in June 1993: 290 lbs.
Weight in June 1992: 230 lbs.
Weight in June 1989: 145 lbs.
Weight in June 1988: 185 lbs.
Weight in August 1986: 125 lbs.

I'm sick as I write these numbers. I'm not sick because of the numbers. I'm sick because I'm not sure I should be reducing this whole emotional eating/healthy lifestyle/binge-eating/glorious, rich, full life/journey to numbers. They are so cold. The sad thing is I remember them all so well. The other sad thing is that they lead me down a path of certain destruction.

Let me explain: In October 2003 I decided I was going to lose weight, no matter what. I officially started on a program in January 2004. It was a great program. It had a lot of great fundamentals: eating six times a day, lots of water, fresh, whole foods, etc. I thrived on the program. It was hard at first but I got on the chat forums for the program and I went to town with other people who were following the same program. I spent half my life online chatting up "the program" with others. I had a fairly successful time of it too. I lost 75 lbs. within five months and I was feeling great. I went to Europe and indulged in chocolate and all my old cravings/issues came back with that indulging. I decided the only way to answer that was to become even stricter on "the program." Which I did. Which worked for a while.

At my fifteen-month mark in February 2005, I had lost 105 pounds, weighed 209 lbs. and I was approaching "onderland" as everyone called it on the chat forums. My maternal grandfather passed away that month and I went to his funeral. I knew I would see many, many members of my family and I was very nervous. Why? Because so many members of my extended family had weight problems as well and I knew I was going to be evaluated, scrutinized, and interrogated. I also wanted to show off.

That funeral marked the biggest nose dive of my life. For two weeks previous to that day, I had received bucket loads of compliments on how I looked. Every compliment ratcheted up my fear. Could I keep doing this? Would I fail miserably? I must have looked terrible before if so many people were commenting now. The more compliments I received, the more obsessive I became about my weight loss. Suddenly I was preening for compliments and digesting them like a crack addict. How much more weight did I have to lose? How long would it take me? Could I do it? Could I do it? Could I do it? Now instead of being addicted to sugar and carbs, I was addicted to numbers. How low could I go? It was diet mentality to the extreme.

I made an unconscious decision to get off the freight train of my diet that day. The compliments came pouring in as I expected, as did the scrutinizing and interrogating. I swallowed every compliment whole and went ravenously looking for the next one. I had become an attention addict. And all the attention was focused on how I looked and how amazing I was. (At least in my mind. I really should/could have been thinking more about Grandpa and what a great life he had lived. But as self-focused as I was that day, his funeral was all about me). Between the service and the burial, I snuck away to the church kitchen to eat one of my prescribed snacks that I had brought and I tried to find a quiet corner to consume it. As I was doing so, one of the ladies working in the kitchen came up to me as I was choking down cold chicken and sliced apples and said, "You really look amazing. You've done such an incredible job," (Or something like that) and I nearly gagged on my food. I wanted to say "No, I haven't. You don't know me. I'm not this good. It's all a front." What I did was put down my food and leave the church kitchen.

I began bingeing immediately. The funeral luncheon was my first return to the land of sugar-and-carb feasting. And I didn't stop. It was like all the oomph went out of me and I gave in completely to the siren song of chocolate, fast food, and no-diet mentality.

The fallout from that high-octane day lasted nearly a year. In that time I gained weight faster than I had lost it. I gained 130 lbs. In less than 12 months. Yeah, let's talk about a little emotional eating.

I don't know what to say about the next year, this past year. Only that I was confused/am confused. I had taken a class on Intuitive Eating in winter 2006 that verified for me the insanity of a diet mentality. It helped explain why I had gone so berserk after fifteen months of eating healthy--because my focus wasn't on the food but on the weight. I'm not sure I know how to separate one from the other.

So here I am. Pretty banged up, soft to the touch, and bruises still smarting. I think of this not so much as beginning again but only continuing the journey with the knowledge I've accumluated so far. We'll see where it takes me.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Single Step

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Here's my step.


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