Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh Internets! Part II

If you've read my blog you know that I pretty much went up and then down, then plateaued, then down again.  It took over four years.

I'm about to climb up on my soap box.  I know my way isn't everybody's weigh but it did work, so draw your own conclusions.

It's actually pretty easy to lose weight right?  I had success in high school losing 40 pounds over a summer but eventually it came back on and from there it was just up and up.  No secrets to that one regain, I just wasn't ready.  When I had my ah-ha moment in 1999 I was in college and had no real stress in my life.  Sure there was "drama" but nothing like what would come in 2007 and nothing like what had caused me to gain even more weight starting 1997.

All life has drama and stressors though.  At all times.  It's just relative.   I find that when people perceive their life to be stressful (wether or not it actually is I don't think is terribly important) or when everything is a major catastrophe then weight loss becomes a way of feeling in control. With everything else spiraling, changing yourself for the better is so appealing.  So righteous, "Look what I can do even though my world is falling apart."  But what happens when your world is done falling apart?  (Admittedly for some it never does, there is always more drama.) You are left with this foreign body and nothing to motivate you. Maintenance is not about control, it's about living.  If you don't give yourself the tools to keep it off along the way then why even bother?

On the other hand are people who are just sort of bumping along with no real hindrances.  Their weight loss is only sustainable as long as life keeps it nice and easy.  They are also in control but like the above it's an illusion.  As soon as they must cope without food, they often can't and the weight comes back on.  

So what is one to do if they want to lose weight and keep it off?

Realize that this is not a zero sum game.

When things are overwhelming the best thing that you can do is take care of yourself.  This does not mean starving yourself to keep on losing weight.  Or jumping into a bag of cookie head first and saying fuck it. MODERATION is required.  This is not easy to learn and comes only with much practice.  Weight loss is about patience and making peace with ourselves.  The end will come someday when you get to a happy weight and the tools you acquire along the way, especially when life is beating you down will be crucial in maintaing a loss.  Getting to goal shouldn't mean you start living then.  You should be doing it all along.


bbubblyb said...

Good post Sarah, I know for me it is about having peace within which gives me peace with food. I don't have it everyday but definitely more as time goes on.

purple_moonflower123 said...

Love this post Sarah. I know that the "end" (although there is never an end, just a new beginning). I'm taking my time, learning and growing on my journey. I have come to terms that I'm not like those people who can lose weight quickly. This is my journey and I'm rolling with it.

phelpsvj said...

thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is a fascinating and insightful perspective on using restrictive dieting to create a false illusion of "control" when one's life feels extra stressful, and also creating "loss of control" to explain a return to overeating when life goes from regular stress to hyper stress.

For me, the temptation to "control" arises when I go through a phase during which I am not trusting that my body will *do* what it is *supposed to do*, most especially when I decide that its job is to lose weight! (You know, right NOW! Lol.) The whole illusion of control through restriction is so seductive because it feels like you are gaining power when you are really just covering up for feelings of vulnerability (powerlessness)that are going to keep returning, and eventually will overwhelm. So the restriction is a temporary fix (like a drug) that cannot last.

It helps me to see the desire to control (either by restricting, or by overeating) as a normal human impulse, but not a healthy option for me for the long term. It can't increase my trust in my body, can't repair my painful feelings, and can only reinforce the false beliefs that my body must be manipulated, abused, or tricked in order to get it to perform properly.

In other words, creating an illusion of control merely perpetuates the beliefs (and behaviors) that resulted in me getting fat in the first place.

As your blog often reminds me, it takes time and patience to create a trusting partnership with my body rather than a battle ground of domination. This is my LIFE, after all, not an arena performance.

Thanks for another thoughtful and provocative post!


Starfire said...

This. Seriously.

Diving into calorie restriction and crazy exercise-land when the stress has has started up in my life has been a pattern I've seen myself repeat over and over and over again. And while short-term, I love the results in the mirror, I always know - even as I'm doing it - that it's not sustainable and it's NOT good for me long term.

I'm trying really hard to stay balanced this time around. To eat in a way that nourishes myself. To exercise to the point I feel like I'm pushing myself, but not to the point I start risking injury. And to deal with my stress by... actually dealing with my stress. Not by controlling what I eat, or by exercising every hour of the day the gods give me.

Thank you so much for this reminder :-)