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.

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