29 April, 2010

The longer you run away, the longer it'll take you to get back to where you started.

[warning: rant ahead. I need to figure some stuff out and be held accountable for my actions.]

I actually need to change that to a responsible pronoun: The longer I run away, the longer it'll take me to get right back here where I'm standing. Here's the difference between someone who loses weight and then gains it all back, and a person who does not gain it all back: stopping yourself. It's the hardest thing I can imagine right now. I have a huge hurdle that I'm dealing with right now, the hurdle that comes when I've "fallen off the wagon" or "had a cheat day" or whatever your other dieting friends call it. Gone "off program" is one of my faves from Weight Watchers, as if when I'm being good I'm following some sort of internal robotic program and it's as easy as following steps 1, 2, and 3. It is never easy, people. So I was all set to blithely continue on this numbing two-day binge that started with the nasty leftover pizza squares I was handing out to the after schoolers and that has included 3 brownies, a gigantic chocolate peanut butter muffin, more pizza, more cheddar cheese squares than i care to think about, pita with cream cheese, Cheez its, Dove dark chocolates, an entire tin of wasabi almonds, and countless string cheese sticks. I started running away. But I'm hungry, I said to myself when I had eaten the day's allotment of calories, and doesn't hunger justify my actions? Don't I deserve to eat anything I want? And then begins the slippery slope of crazy irrational rationalizing. I think of my naturally slim friends and think, "well, she wouldn't think twice. She'd just eat it. La la la, I can be carefree and skinny and just eat like she does!" This is the grown up equivalent of a first grader sticking her fingers in her ears and running away from whoever is talking to her. It doesn't work. I have to claw my way back again, because I do care. Like it or not, I am someone who has to watch what she eats and exercise all the time. I can't pretend not to be. Or rather, I can definitely pretend not to be, and then I can be back at 191 lbs and feel terrible and guilty and ugly again. And trust me, I know, I know-- it's not that fat = ugly, it's that my ignoring what i know I need to do = me feeling like a terribly irresponsible and weak person for not buckling down and doing it already. Continuing to eat like i was, long into the time when I had realized I needed to turn my habits around, now that felt weak.

Calming Down
Okay. So. This has been a 2+ year journey. It's been a lifelong journey. But I've been writing down my foods, counting calories, weighing in weekly (sometimes daily) for more than two years now, but with a few "la la la" fingers-in-my-ears blackout periods. Here is one thing I am learning from this: no matter how good it will taste, no matter how comforting and numbing it is to stuff myself silly, no matter how much fun it would be to just not have to think about it all the time, I just can't take the guilt. The weight on my shoulders, no pun intended, that I carry knowing the only thing that made me mess up was me. My brain. It's like I'm experimenting with responsible eating: let's see if the world notices if I sneak away and wolf this entire thing down. Did my pants immediately rip at the seams? No? Hmm... okay, let's have another one. Now let's see what happens when i write down my calories, think before I bite, and just say no to the junk food. Did my pants automatically grow too loose and fall away from my gorgeous flat stomach? No? Hmm... screw this. Why am I so enamored with the instantaneous results? They do not exist. I am the sum of all my small decisions. Right now I am stuffed full of mediocre sushi and stir fry, which I ate to try to make myself feel better after the gigantic muffin. At 1pm today I had already eaten the day's calories, and I told myself I would stop there and not eat anything else until after my evening gym session (at which point I could have just gone to sleep, I was sure, because it really does work for me sometimes to just stop eating after lunch and let myself digest all day. Seriously, and trust me, I'm not anorexic at all, I have a very slow metabolism). Of course I didn't stop there, even though I had my gum and my water and my White Strips and my knitting (all trusted fallbacks to keep my mouth & hands busy), but something happened. Hmm. What happened? I was feeling a little stressed during afterschool, but I started my "binge" (what i call thoughtless eating) before the kids even showed up. Hmm. I need to do some emotional sleuthing to figure out the why.

Assessing the next step
Because I know I often fall prey to the "all or nothing" school of thought, I knew what I would try to do: i sat myself down on the couch with the bowl of dark chocolates, got out a DVD, and settled down to continue the binge. Then i went onto my Google Reader, saw that shrinkinginthecity had posted, and sighed. Because I knew that whatever she had written would begin to bring me back to the land of the thinking, and sure enough, what she wrote inspired me to start this post and journal it through. Thanks, girl. You're such a valuable voice, even though I think you've reached your goal already and for the love of god you are 20 years old and a size four and you can run eight miles at a time so please just enjoy your dinners out in Manhattan!!! But it's not my journey, it's hers, and I know she'll settle in a happy place soon. And just because this post is not long enough already, sheesh, here is what I read just now that helped me make up my mind to-- wait for it-- GO TO THE GYM TONIGHT ANYWAY, EVEN WITH TWO DAYS WORTH OF CRUD IN MY BELLY:

Pauline Nordin | Wednesday, 28 April 2010

- If you dream about having a perfect body it’s time to stop dreaming and act on making the dream come true. Every
day. It means you will not be a member of the “I occasionally visit the gym” crowd anymore, you will team up with the
loyal league of gym rats who are the gym franchises worst customers because we USE their equipment HARD. When
you want to get lean so you can feel your abs under your shirt you will need to treat the cardio machine like your car:
it will TAKE you places.

- Getting a perfect body means you will go to the gym and workout because you planned it. If you don’t feel like it, it
does not matter. You know you cannot love every workout and it’s ok. It’s ok and mandatory to be a bit worn out from
time to time, it’s just a sign you are working hard.

- Getting lean means stepping out of the comfort zone where it’s ok to cheat during weekends and work your way up
again during the following week.

- To reach your goals you must accept you will need patience. You will need dedication. You will need discipline.
None of them you can find anywhere to buy. Can you imagine, the only things really stopping you from achieving all
those goals with your physique are inside your mind?

- Accept and acknowledge that YOU are the only one who can whip your butt in shape. No trainer can push you
through workout after workout, you must be the driving force, the trainer your helper. Not the other way around.

- You will need to create your own super human. Your super human YOU. There are no excuses, nothing is too hard,
it’s only a matter of how much you want it. Do you want it enough? Ask yourself daily. When you see that donut or
cookie on the shelf, before you just drool away, ask yourself if that taste of it for a minute is worth 3 more cardio
sessions on top of your daily routine of double sessions 5 to 6 days a week?

Feeling Better
(Is anyone still reading this?!) Okay. You know what? I had a bad two days. It happens. Here's what I can do: I can go get some exercise, because even if I can't burn off the calories I know that the endorphins and the sweat will help me think more rationally about it all and give me some perspective. I can congratulate myself on how far I've come (I mean, 158?! When I left for the Folk School I was 175! I remember writing in my journal and warning myself, "when you get down to 170, you'll start feeling that hunger every day, but do not succumb!" Now I can't imagine how I let myself get up to 170, let alone the miserable 190 I was at before). Also, i have fabulous motivation directly ahead of me, because LEAF is next weekend! I'll be twirling and whirling and sweating in the most luxuriously fun community that I know of, to the Duhks and Lift Ticket (yay yay yay) and on the very same dance floor where i first learned to contra in 1999. Oh my god, i am so ready to be there. Plus, Ozomotli, the Sim Redmond band, local pals Sol Driven Train and Rising Appalchia, plus Ken's favorite, the Blind Boys of Alabama-- all while camping there with friends and enjoying being back in western NC. This is going to be a great week! It's all leading up to LEAF! Now I want to go exercise and eat right! Thanks for taking this frighteningly bipolar journey with me tonight. I'm going to go change into my biker shorts. :)


cate said...

Hi Jess! Just wanted to let you know...I'm still reading! You are an inspiration. What you are going through is real and dirty and difficult, and I thank you for journaling about it here. I've been there, sista, but I've yet to find (or generate) the persistence you have. Stick with it.

Charlene said...

It's a constant battle that I have been on my whole life as well. I'm about 65 lbs lighter than I was at my heaviest, and I would still like to lose another 20. I have gained it back in between a few times, and I'm determined not to do that again! You look great, and thanks for the inspiration! :)

Anonymous said...

"Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels." Kate Moss said that, I think she might know.

I'm on Flickr a lot.

Jessica K.. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr