So yesterday I said I wasn’t going to talk about my diet situation, because it’s depressing and pissing me off.
But the truth is, I always feel a bit better about that kind of stuff after I’ve hashed it out with pen and paper (or keyboard and computer screen), so I apologize in advance, but here goes another one of “those” posts.
There are several things I’ve learned since making my weight loss/maintenance journey public over the past year and three-quarters. One is that, in the early stages, having cheerleaders and a strong support system is crucial. As I slowly made progress and reached small little victories and goals, having friends there to share it with was wonderful. They’d pat me on the back, cheer me on… and I have to admit I kind of thrived on that. I’ve always taken well to praise, so hearing the, “Way to go!” “You’re doing awesome!” “You’re so inspiring!” messages made me feel good. It made me want to keep going.
Another thing I learned, particularly around the time I was realizing my BIG goals – hitting my goal weight, reaching “the magic number” - was that making a journey like this public also opens the door to harsh criticisms. For some reason, I hadn’t expected that. Luckily, I didn’t face much of this – only a select few who were brazen enough to say it to my face. “You look like a skeleton. You look sickly.” Hardly. But I did let those words gnaw away at me. They bothered me. Eventually, though, I turned their words into fuel for the fire. I wasn’t going to let those voices drag me down. Haters gonna hate. They made me just want to keep going.
And I did. Nobody was gonna stop me. Full steam ahead!!!
This past year I’ve considered to be the “maintenance” phase, and as I’ve documented here time and time again, it’s been a struggle. In fact, on many days, I consider it a battle I’m losing, as I’m constantly being tempted by “bad” foods and treats, and the pounds have crept back on. I’ll go on a two-week tear and lose some of those pounds, but then a weekend of poor eating choices comes around again, and I’m right back to square one. Back to trying to lose “that 10-15 lbs” that keeps pushing me away from my goal weight that I was so excited to reach around this time last year.
I always knew this might happen. As a foodaholic, I know that this battle will be never-ending, and I have to work hard to get through these periods of struggle and despair.
And whaddyaknow… that support system I was talking about?? Well, it is rising up again. Even if I’m reluctant to look them in the eye right now. Even though I’d rather they turn their heads and ignore me as I stuff my face with chips and cheeseburgers and ice cream.
They are crawling back out and saying, “Hey, c’mon. You can still do this. We’re here to help.”
I have my mom. I have an accountability partner. I have a group of like-minded people on Facebook, where we post our victories and struggles. I have family and friends.
And to be honest, I really do wish they’d all just turn away and leave me alone. When I’m in a “food funk”, as I’ve been calling this, I’m not in the right frame of mind to listen to the cheerleaders. I’d rather run and hide and continue making bad choices rather than listen to encouragement and advice and supportive “you can do it!” comments.
Yet, still, they keep coming at me. Last night, it was a chance encounter with a friend at the post office; a friend who has had struggles similar to my own. We were comparing notes – asking each other about programs we’d been doing lately, and how it’s been going with the diet. I had to admit that things haven’t been going so well for me, especially in the food department. She said something that resonated with me: “I need to just do this. Make healthier choices and really make this a lifestyle change. Because that’s totally what it is.”
A year ago, I truly thought I HAD made my lifestyle change. But what I had been doing was breaking it down into “projects” and “challenges” for myself. Once I’d reached the big goals I’d set for myself, there were no more projects or challenges left to complete, and that’s when the failures started piling up.
This isn’t about a project or challenge anymore. This is my life. I worked hard to reach these goals, but it’s equally important now to keep it going. To stay on the right track. To continue on being the healthiest, happiest version of me that I can be.
There isn’t really any big goal to set or list of things I need to accomplish now. It’s simply a matter of applying all the things I’ve learned over the past almost-two-years. They worked before. They will work again. I just have to quit hiding from them, and embrace them all. Make them part of my life.
I was thankful to her for making this all clear to me in that moment.
As she was about to drive away, she called out: “Let’s keep checking in with each other, OK? Maybe we can keep each other accountable.”
Another link in that support system that I just can’t seem to escape from.
Thank God for that.