Tuesday, June 15, 2010

There is no finish line

This is something that is striking me more and more. I have written about it before, but dealing with the underlying issues I have with food and its undeserved elevated status it has had in my life is really underscoring, italicizing, bolding, and highlighting that -- as far as I am concerned -- there is no finish line in this weight loss journey.

Part of me doesn't like the idea that this finish line is imaginary only. In some areas of my life, I am very goal oriented. In most areas of my life I am competitive like none other. On this journey, however, how will I know when I am "there"? Is making it to goal weight getting there? As I've written before, I don't think so. And even if it is, I don't think I even know what my goal weight should be, as I believe the recommended 164 is too low. (Another person told me today that I should stop losing weight, a full 70 lbs above my WW recommended weight -- I won't listen, obviously, but this external pressure will probably intensify as I continue to lose weight)

Food and weight will always be issues in my life. I believe these issues can eventually become part of my habit and my routine, but I think a part of me will always feel like a fat girl and I know I will always love cheese. Learning to live in moderation has been a process, and one that I still work on.

As frustrated as I am and have been with this lack of ability to exercise because of this back issue, I am pleased to report that the scale continues to move downward. This morning I was at 233.2, just under 4 lbs from my lowest adult weight ever. I have not counted or tracked anything in weeks, and I have worked to rely more and more on my internal signals -- hunger, pain when I am overdoing it, tiredness, fullness, what I want to eat -- and darned if it is not working. I feel satisfied, healthy, and strong (exception: back/hip pain). My skin is really great right now too -- so much more vibrant than when I ate the stuff I used to eat. It is truly amazing.

Now that's not to say I am not still struggling sometimes. Sometimes I cry the whole trip through Walmart because I want junkfood so badly (although this is rare). Sometimes I buy and eat an entire large pizza at once (that is always a bad idea) - but I rarely get hungry for a long time after that. Sometimes I just want to eat donuts that are around the office. Sometimes I say yes to the decisions that aren't ideal, and sometimes I don't. And I think that as long as it is a calculated decision -- not a fleeting moment of weakness or an "oh eff it" thing -- that is ok from time to time. Learning to trust myself and my judgement in such areas is a process, and one that I am starting to gain confidence in. I feel like *this* I can do for the rest of my life, whereas counting and being obsessive is hard for me and something that would get me to a "finish line", but probably wouldn't help me stay across the finish line. For me, I don't believe that is sustainable.

Although I have written about things that I love about the Biggest Loser and other reality/public weight loss fora, the emphasis on an arbitrary finish line drives me insane. Getting to a goal weight is only part of the picture -- staying there is going to be hard, but I feel up to the challenge. Time pressure is ok to a point, but I'm of the school of thought that I would rather this take 2-3 years and work out the issues along the way than propel myself to my goal in 1 year and deal with the emotional and environmental issues at a more shallow level or, worse, not at all.

I have really been getting more and more comfortable with this idea. Although I am so frustrated about this injury, I can recognize that parts of it are really helpful for my journey. I need to know I can face and conquer adversity in life. Although this is nowhere near as bad of an emotional blow as it would have been if my dad died or as it was to watch my grandma get sicker and die, I feel like this is a training wheels situation for the adversities that will inevitably come in life. I can weather the storms; excessive amounts of unhealthy food will numb the pain but it will leave the underlying issues unresolved and leave destruction in its wake. No bueno. It does not serve my long term goals, and will make me feel badly about myself. And my head and my heart and actions are getting closer to agreement on this, and it is great. I am hopeful that someday it will be as natural for me to realize food is not comfort as it is for me as it is to eat breakfast. I'm not there yet, but I'm inching closer.

I see weight loss bloggers who started their journeys much later than I did who have blown my numbers out of the water. Part of me is jealous of them. Part of me wants to be much further down the WL road than I am.

But I think a bigger part of me is proud of what I have done. WL and food issues are such an individual, highly personal thing. I believe there should be limited or no no competition. There are times when I peace out from WW. There are times when I know there is a huge issue that I need to deal with. For example, shedding my mental fat girl image and dealing with the emotional trappings of food are the current focuses of my journey. I continue to lose weight, yes, but that is really just a result of dealing with the other issues and isn't so much the focus right now. This approach is working for me. I've lost 65+ lbs in 14 months, and that is not bad. I am closer to the unknown number where I will be at a healthy weight, but I recognize this work I am doing will help me stay the course more successfully than waiting until I get to the "finish line" and then dealing with these issues.

For me personally, I cannot exchange my passion for and obsession with food for a passion for and obsession with losing weight. Because, when the weight loss is done, then what? What will I have to obsess over? This is why eating healthy food and making healthy decisions just needs to be part of what I do, like taking care of my hair and riding my bike to school when I am healthy.

Thanks for letting me process out loud. I appreciate all this blog is for me -- an encouragement, a record of where I've been, a place for accountability, and a sounding board. Knowing that people read this is just so neat for me. I can't even explain why, but I appreciate your readership.


  1. That's such a good thought...sometimes I think the idea of a finish line is the very reason so many people gain it all back. I have a weight goal (ok more of a size goal) but I feel like keeping the weight off is going to be an issue the rest of my life! And that's ok because hopefully it will get to be less work, but it won't ever really be done, you know?

  2. SO TRUE its a marathon not a sprint and a never ending one at that :)
    In a great way as at least this misfit doesnt want an end :)

    have a great day.



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