July 6, 2012
Today is a pivotal turning point in my weight loss endeavor. I've now lost (according to my home scale...not sure how much I trust it!) 22 lbs. Yes, this is great and I am thrilled! However, I'm also freaked out. The 20 lb mark is and has been a gigantic speed bump for me. I told myself when I started this that when I hit 20 pounds, it would mark a turning point for me. That I would *know* at that point that I was really doing it. That I was truly losing weight. That I was (dare I say it?) succeeding. Because I haven't gotten past 20 pounds lost in a long while.
You see, I've lost the same 15-17 lbs for years. Each time I lose that amount, something happens...whether it's consciously or subconsciously I'm not sure...and the wheels come off my wagon and I backslide, fail, jump back into old habits.
Never in the past 5 years have I lost more than 20 lbs while on a diet. But now in the past three weeks I've lost 22 lbs. That still boggles my mind! Twenty two??? Seriously? Me? I am celebrating, but I'm also nervously reserved about it. I'm scared that I will fall back into old habits and gain it right back. When I have hit this point in the past, I've allowed my fear to stop me. I have tried to look at this fear and figure out exactly what it is that I'm afraid of. Am I afraid of failing? Yes. Am I afraid of succeeding? Yes. Am I afraid of letting other people down. I am afraid of letting myself down. I am afraid of this being just another failure. I am taking steps to prevent the backslide. I have talked to my husband about it, made friends aware of it, my family is very supportive...but I'm still scared. I don't want to fail again.
Why am I afraid of succeeding? If I succeed, so many things will change for me. I will feel better. I will look better. I will be able to go into a store and buy clothing off the "normal" size rack, not have to search for the largest size in the plus-sized section. I will be able to do the things I want to do without constantly needing to stop and rest or be doubled over in pain. I will be able to walk. I will be able to run. I will be able to ride a bike again. I might even be able to dance! I will be able to go to the Renaissance Faire in costume, something I've wanted to do for years! I will be able to go swimming without feeling and looking like a beached whale. I want to get dressed to the nines and go out on the town with my husband. I want him to be proud to be seen with me. I won't be "the fat friend". I will possibly be able to carry a baby to term and actually give birth to a real-live-take-home-baby at the end of the pregnancy. So why, WHY am I so afraid???
The fear of success for me lies in part in one simple (or not so simple) fact. I have NEVER been thin. I was a chunky child, I was an overweight teenager, I was a fat young adult, and I am a morbidly obese adult. I don't know what a "healthy weight" me looks like. What a healthy weight will feel like. How to operate in the world as a person that is not obese. I've navigated my entire life as an overweight/obese person. I have the emotions and social reactions of the "fat girl". I'm so used to being viewed as a fat person, I don't know if I will know how to operate in the world as a person of normal weight. If you've been overweight your whole life, it's challenging to change your thought processes and reactions. At my weight now, as over the past 20-25 years of my life, I've constantly been subject to "the looks", comments, laughter, jokes, and rejection due to my weight. If I, at a normal or "closer to normal" weight, don't get these looks, laughter, jokes and rejection...what will I get? How will people treat me, and how will I react to that treatment? Will I be resentful that people that now don't give me the time of day lavish attention on me in the future? Or will I be able to graciously accept the attention and simply go on about my life? I'm not sure. These are the issues that trip me up when I feel the momentum building and I start to see that big billboard of success at the end of the road.
And yes, I know that all of this is my skewed perception of how things could "possibly" work out. I know that this is not necessarily rooted in truth. It is simply how I'm feeling right now, and something I need to work through as my weight loss continues. I am very happy about my successes, and have celebrated every pound I've lost. And I'm not quitting. If anything, I'm more motivated to keep going and get to my goal. I just have to voice these issues. Maybe if I actually speak them, give them a space of their own outside of my mind to dwell...maybe then they won't haunt the dim corners of my mind? Maybe they won't lurk in the shadows waiting for that one moment of weakness to pounce and derail my motivation train?
If anyone else has gone through similar emotions in their quest to lose a lot of weight, do you have any advice to share? How did you get through it?