Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Where Did It Go?

So, I've been looking for my motivation for a while. Last year I had an abundance of it. I don't know where it came from, or where it went, but I miss it. It was the first time in my life that I really had the drive to do something that I cared about. I guess you could say school was like that, but school was just something I had always known, something I was good at, something that wasn't nearly as much of an effort for me as it seemed to be for others (and something else that I sorely miss . . . but that's a topic for another day).

If there's one thing I've learned in these past two years, it's that motivation has to come from within. Right now, I have two pretty big reasons to get serious about losing weight again. One is health-related (possible surgery coming up . . . again, more on that later), and one is completely superficial (high school reunion next month), but neither is giving me the motivation I need to make me make the right decisions. Whatever it was I had last year came from somewhere inside me that had nothing to do with the outside world.

We're coming up on the anniversary of our trip to NYC last fall, which is when things started falling apart for me. I was on vacation, and for the first time in months, I wasn't worrying about every little thing I was putting in my mouth. I wasn't stuffing myself, but I was enjoying myself. And, if I recall, I came home and had gained a grand total of five pounds, which for me was just a drop in the bucket. A couple days later it was gone, and I was back to losing weight.

So, as the holidays approached, and life got harder, I wasn't so concerned with staying on track. I'd learned that it's okay to let go for a little bit, because as soon as I rededicate myself, I'll be right back where I was. A couple days, even a couple weeks, of not stressing over it . . . it didn't seem like so much in the long run.

But -- as probably anyone but me would have guessed -- a couple weeks turned into a couple months, and a couple months turned into almost a year, and the weight kept coming back on. I know that plenty of women (and men) have gone through this time and time again, but it was new to me. Last year was the first time I'd really lost weight, and this was my first relapse. And every time I thought about it, it made me so mad. I knew all I had to do was get serious about my habits again, and I'd start moving back in the right direction. I just couldn't seem to turn the knowing into doing.

So finally, after months of completely ignoring the problem, I decided I needed to do something, and that something starts with accountability. I can't change my habits if I'm not even paying attention to what my habits are. I decided it was time to get back to tracking, the good and the bad. And for two months now, I've been making daily notes regarding my food and exercise, and weighing myself every Monday and Friday. Even diligently tracking those numbers, and seeing that I'm eating more than I should ("but I'm HUNGRY"), and not exercising as much as I should ("but the HEAT WAVE"), I can't seem to get myself back on track. 

Let's recap:

January '11 to September '11, 9 months, 60 lbs lost
October '11 to June '12, 9 months, 20 lbs gained
July '12 to August '12, 2 months, 5 lbs lost

So, yeah, I guess I'm moving in the right direction again. Except, no, not really. I'm more just maintaining. I go down a pound, then up two, then down a couple, then back up, and just because my first weigh-in and last weigh-in happened to be five pounds apart, it really isn't progress. It's just dumb luck.

I can see what I'm doing wrong. I can see that it's not working. I'm miserable. So why can't I change?

I've gone back and read my old blog posts. Reviewed what worked for me and what didn't. Looked at the pictures. Tried to recapture whatever it was that I had that made it easy for me. Because it really was easy. Compared to this, anyway. Compared to the previous ten years when I would occasionally think, "I should really try to lose weight," and it would last a day and a half before falling back into my comfortable habits.

Don't get me wrong, there were times that it was really fucking hard (sorry for the language, but I think it gets the point across more clearly than any other words could). There were times that I would break down crying because I felt I wasn't strong enough, physically or mentally . . . and certainly not emotionally. I was pissed that I had to put in so much effort, that I had to sacrifice so much, that my one biggest supporter could never truly understand what I was going through. But, as hard as those days were, they were the exception. Most days, it was actually pretty easy to make the right choices. Some days I was even happy about it. The days I wasn't happy about it, I usually still did it anyway . . . because it was a habit, because I was seeing results, whatever the reason.

Now, EVERY day is a battle. And most days I lose that battle. And every day that I give in to that voice in my head that says "screw it," I'm basically saying that all the struggles I went through before . . . all the effort, sacrifice, frustration, and eventual triumph . . . that none of it meant anything.

It's true that I'm healthier and happier with my appearance than I was two years ago. So even if this is my new normal, I guess the struggles were worth it because they brought me here. But it still pisses me off because I know I could do better. I KNOW it! And yet . . . I'm not. And the bigger part of me just doesn't seem to care.

I know this isn't very inspiring. Maybe someday, looking back after I've successfully lost another 30 lbs, it will be. Because this is where I was, and I was able to get past it. But right now . . . I don't have it in me to be inspiring. Right now, the best I can do is just pour it all out, and grapple with it, and try to come out on top. And hope that I won't look back on this someday, after having gained another 100 lbs, and think, "I had the opportunity to make a different choice," and know that I failed.


  1. I can totally understand the frustration. Maybe not from a weight-loss standpoint, but from the standpoint of working so hard and feeling like you're not getting ANYWHERE. And for that, I will say a few words of wisdom:

    1) You are MILES AND MILES ahead of where you were when you first started. To say you still lost 40 pounds is incredible. AND you looked fantastic this weekend. I honestly didn't notice you put weight back on, I just know you're still so much skinnier than you were 2 years ago.

    2) I can be way off on this, but I think just getting the momentum back is the struggle (if you're truly working exactly as hard as you were before). Let's say like a being on a swing... when you lost the big 60, you had already pumped all that energy to go full swing and to keep going full swing is easy. But, since you let it gradually get back down to a standstill, it's hard again to get it going again. It's even harder though because you don't have that initial weight that will shed easily just from a few simple changes... you are now (still) in that "hard weight to lose" phase.

    3) It sucks to always make the right choices, and I'm glad you're treating yourself every now and then (e.g. Cheetos for dinner... ok maybe not that extreme). It's good for sanity. With the balance, it makes you feel you are working hard, seeing results (eventually), and can still have a good time.

    Keep at it... you're doing great. :)


    1. It does suck to always make the right choices. I think last year I was probably doing about 95% right choices and 5% splurges. I'd be totally fine with 80/20 or even 70/30. Unfortunately I think right now I'm doing about 30/70.

      (Oh, and I first read that as "Cheerios for dinner," and I'm like, "Well maybe it's not the BEST dinner but I don't think it's EXTREME . . . oh, Cheetos, that makes more sense.)

  2. Oh, it's SO FRUSTRATING, isn't it? When I'm successfully managing things, I think "Oh, THIS is how you do it: you just keep making certain choices every day!"---and it seems so OBVIOUS. And then when I'm NOT successfully managing things, I remember that "This is how you do it" thing and I think "Whuh? But HOW??"---it just makes no sense to me at all.

    1. Yeah, it's just crazy how our brains work (or don't work, as the case may be...)

  3. Don't be so hard on yourself! Everyone feels like this at some point in time. You've done wonderful and I'm sure you'll get your groove back. It's not a matter of "if" but when. Life sucks sometimes and we have to do whatever we need to do to cope. At some point you've got to put on the big girl panties and say, "Enough is enough." You'll be fabulous. All of your friends already love you, the rest is just icing on the cake :)

    1. Yeah, I have to believe that one day it'll just all "click" again like it did before.