Alternative title: That Time I Basically Started My Weight Loss All Over Again…
Every now and then I read a blog post and walk away thinking “Oh my god, that could have come straight out of my brain?” Well, that’s basically what happened when I read Gretchen’s post The Slow Gain. (This is a really great post so I suggest you go read it if you haven’t already. I’ll wait…)
So, confession time. I’ve gained some weight: a fair amount of weight, about 25lbs of weight, enough weight to make me really uncomfortable with my body, and enough weight to put me almost back where I started in 2009.
Now, the end of 2014 was a busy and stressful one for me. I mean yeah, the holidays are always a busy and stressful time for pretty much everyone, but I decided to add to it by getting married at the beginning of December. And just as things were settling down, my grandfather passed away further adding to the usual end of the year stress and chaos.
As much as I would like to blame the weight gain on the last couple months, I would be lying if I did. Realistically, I’ve been slowly gaining over the last couple years. If you look at my weight tracker, it’s been steadily increasing since February of 2012.
It’s always a half pound here or a pound or two there. Followed by several (admittedly half-hearted) attempts to get back on the weight loss wagon which would always result in two or three weeks of dropping pounds before I put them back on again. I’d talk a big game about how I was ready to get to that healthy weight, but there was never a real committment to weight loss like I had in those first two (or three?) years.
Because since the very beginning, I’ve maintained that, for me, it’s not about the weight or being skinny, but rather it’s about about being healthy. My goal weight was my goal simply because it was a healthy weight not because I wanted to be skinny or any silly, vain, unfeminist thing like that. And despite the weight gain, I am still much healthier than I was when I started this weight loss thing back in 2009. At that time I was eating fast food on the regular. I was spending a ton of time playing video game and zero time working out. My blood pressure and cholesterol were not okay for a 25 year old. Now we do usually eat out at least once a week, but the drive-thru is a rarity. I actually kind of like vegetables now. Working out regularly is still a struggle for me, but I’m still stronger and in way better shape than I was 5 years ago. I can still go out and run a 5K without trouble. My bloodwork is all still in the healthy ranges. (Well, my choleterol is still high, but that will probably always be the case, thank you very much genetics.)
In her post Gretchen said,
But, as much as I truly do believe in self-acceptance, body-positivity, and loving yourself no matter your size, weight, or body type, what I think the whole “me not caring” thing really came down to is that I just didn’t want to TRY anymore. Losing weight is easy but it’s hard. The theory is simple but the practice takes dedication and willpower…
And it hit me like a ton of bricks. When I look back on everything, I realize I let the idea of only being in this weight loss game to get healthy really overshadow the weight gain. The fact that I was still healthy is what I used to justify overlooking pound after pound until it reached a point that I started to feel physically (and mentally) uncomfortable with myself in a way I never really had before. Because telling myself, “But I’m still healthy” gave me a reason to stop trying. It made it east to give-up when losing weight got hard. Because dropping those last 10 pounds is hard. It requires discipline and sacrifice and committment. Oh and maintaining weight loss is hard too. In fact, maintaining is arguably more difficult than losing.
Ultimately all this has made me really sit down and rethink my motivations for losing weight. Just wanting to be healthy isn’t enough anymore. I didn’t start my weight loss journey because I was uncomfortable with the way I looked and felt, but being 3/4 of the way back to my starting weight, I am uncomfortable with the way I look and feel. And being uncomfortable with my appearance while still considering myself healthy has made me take a step back and really do some soul-searching. It’s made me be honest about why I haven’t been losing weight, and why the hell I’m still sticking it out (no matter how half-hearted my attempts have been) Here are the conclusions I’ve reached:
- I do want to be thin. I don’t want to be (and realistically never will be) supermodel thin, and I don’t want to be thin for the sake of being thin. That is, I don’t want to be skinny-fat (Hahaha, who am I kidding? I do not have a body that will ever be skinny-fat, just fat-fat!), but I do want to be thin. I want to be comfortable in my clothe. I want to rock a bikini when we go to Mexico in April. It may be silly and vain and unfeminist or whatever, but there, I said it.
- Health, and being healthy, is no longer a goal for me and hasn’t been for years. Rather it is one of my values. It is certainly something that is important to me but it is something that is important for me to uphold, not necessarily work toward.
- I need to up my fitness game. Or more accurately, I need to find the right approach to fitness for me so I can a) establish a routine and b) start marking fitness a priority. Fitness has always been a struggle for me. Working out is almost never my first instict. I’ve had periods of excellent fitness habits, but ultimately it’s the thing I drop when things get busy or a better option comes along.
I’ve actually been quietly working on getting serious about my weight loss again since the beginning of the year, and I’m happy to report it’s going very well so far. I’ve been consistently tracking my points. I invested in a FitBit to help keep me motivated to stay active. I started the year at 179.6lbs with a goal of being at 175lbs by the end of the month. As of last night, I’m at 175.6lbs with another 10 days left in the month. Right now my goal is to be at 155lbs by April. It’s a pertty aggressive goal (and it may very well change), but I feel like an aggressive goal is what I need right now in order to stay focused.
I don’t know how much I’ll focus on my weight loss on the blog, because I’ve also realized I have a tendancy to self-sabotage when I make big sweeping declarations and public goals. I think I’m afraid of possibly failing so rather than allowing myself to possibly fail or possibly succeed, I make sure I fail on my own terms.