Saturday, March 15, 2008

Worth and Weight

It feels kind of weird when I don't post for a day. Yesterday was weird, though. Aside from my changes in lifestyle, I have other potential changes going on that have been sort of throwing me off a little, adding a bit of stress (but in a mostly good way). I hesitate to post about that stuff here, so I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that it definitely has affected my mood. On top of that, add on my interesting "female" issues (um, I still have my period going on the 9th day, ugh!), and you have a week spelled like D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R.

Fortunately, I've been dealing with it all pretty well considering. That is, I'm not dealing with things by comforting myself with food. That's a big coup for me, most definitely. As a result, I saw an overall downward trend on the scale. I hit a surprise low early on, and then body decided to adjust itself a little which resulted in a small spike and then and decline again. It's actually pretty interesting to see how the body loses weight when you graph it out. I can just hear my insides going, "Oh wait, WOW! we're losing weight too fast, let's adjust a tad... OK, that's more like it..." I'm still on average dropping two pounds a week, which is fine by me.


One thing I realized this morning reading through boards was that I am extremely lucky to have the circumstances I do in which to live a healthier lifestyle. I realize that many people have it really tough trying to effect a positive change in their lives – having a spouse and/or family members who are not supportive, overly critical, saboteurs, etc. I am fortunate enough to have a boyfriend who a) loves me at whatever size, but also loves me enough to worry that my eating a whole pizza and a big bowl of ice cream every other night wasn't good for me, b) doesn't care that I am eating different things than he does sometimes (though this is less an issue now that he has gotten on the bandwagon), and c) acts as a backup conscience without berating or belittling me if I am having a hard time resisting making bad choices. And, despite my family being rife with weight obsession and equating body size with self-worth (my mom, mostly, sadly), we all love each other unconditionally, are aware and supportive of each others' efforts or non-efforts to eat more healthfully. There is NO judging whatsoever based on size, which is wonderful. It's true that my mom has the most issues where this is concerned, but it is directed completely inward, not toward others – I'm not sure which is worse.

I'm not blaming my mom for my issues with weight. I know that she probably didn't help much, directly or indirectly, but I know that anything that she did, she did out of love for me. I think that, when I was 9 years old and much heavier than 99% of my classmates, putting me on a diet seemed like the absolute right thing to do. Maybe it was, who is really to say? But I do know that from that point on, I was obsessed with the numbers on my clothes and on the scale, and constantly comparing myself to my much smaller peers. I have distinct memories from 4th and 5th grades wishing I could be as small as my friends in their cute designer jeans. This was back in the late 70s and early 80s, even before we had the so-called Obesity Epidemic.

After that first diet, any weight loss efforts were initiated by me, but dieting was always a big component of daily life, from women's magazines with the latest way to drop five pounds in a week, to Richard Simmons' "Live It!" and his books and exercise videos, to Weight Watchers and back, ad infinitum.

It was probably back then that I began secret eating, too. Not that I would get in trouble for eating something I "shouldn't", but probably more out of shame or embarrassment. It usually involved things like cake frosting and ice cream, things that could be eaten out of the container one precious scoop at a time. Over the course of a few days, there'd be nothing left, unbeknown to my mom until it was time to use said item. It was something I was never scolded for; it became a bit of a joke after a while.

In high school, the reverse was true. I became a secret non-eater. I wrote down every morsel of food that went into my mouth and recorded it, along with its calorie count, in my journal. (This was way before the internet, of course!) I'd limit myself to 500 calories a day. I became quite thin and people, even the popular girls, noticed and gave me positive reinforcement. This was really important. It was something I got from my dad, too, who lived far away. To me it always seemed like looking good (i.e. thin) was really important to him, so when I'd lose weight, I thought that my dad might love me more. Conversely, I was afraid that he'd love me less or not at all if I was fat. (Unfortunately, I still have this fear even though it is something I have talked with him about and he has assured me that that is definitely not the case – I just always have in the back of my mind the last time I lost weight, he said: "Oh, you got your figure back!")

I mean, we all get this positive attention, these compliments, when we lose weight. We get nothing if we don't, or if we gain weight. No wonder so many of us have grown to equate our body size with our worth! This is one of my biggest issues that I try to actively buck against all the time. Of course, it is easier to rally for someone else (like the way my mom does), but I really try hard to direct positivity and body love at myself, too. That's what really important, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Do you find that it's harder to lose weight now than when you were younger? I just turned 38 and it seems like I used to be able to knock of 20-30 pounds without much effort but over the last three or four years it's been slow and frustrating and I've given up after a few weeks. This time I've been at it for more than six months and I do feel like I've made permanent changes in my eating habits, so it's not difficult to maintain (except the week before my period...) but I've only lost 25 pounds in six months. Every time I look at the scale it says a little less than the last time, so it's steady progress, but really really slow. It was so much easier in my 20s!

Sherri L said...

My monthly time is my downfall in terms of eating healthy.
People always talk about wanting chocolate during PMS, but *during* the actual time is when I am really out of control. 9 days? Eeugh.

I just went on Yaz. I'm finding it not a miracle cure, but somewhat helpful.

40 by 40 said...

Hi there! I saw your blog on the HYC blog roll and thought I'd pop over and say hello. I wish I would have started @ 37 instead of 8 mos to the big 4-0! I have 5 mos as of today. It sounds like it's going well for you..I only read today ..but glad you have support and are working it out. Good luck. You will be there by 40!!

radiosilents said...

anonymous: I guess I don't really notice too much of a difference; in a way it's easier now that I am more mature, really focused, and really ready to do this. I might not be losing quite as dramatically, but it is more steady, and I am doing it by still also enjoying all the foods I love and not depriving myself at all. I've lost 25 pounds in just over two months, but when I started this I would have been as thrilled to know that within six months I'd be 25 pounds lighter, too -- that is no accomplishment to sneeze at, my friend! :) Just keep plugging along, and you'll get there.

sherri: I think it is my worst time, too. I get really depressed and anxious during my period which is usually my trigger to eat, not to mention the physical cravings that come along with it.

40: Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I am glad I started now, and it gives me something to really look forward to as I hit the age that most people seem to really dread. I don't mind getting older at all anyway, but it will definitely be more tolerable if I get older and get BETTER, too. :)