Friday, October 1, 2010

The Thing About Weight Loss Is…

Reading blogs about the ways in which weight loss/maintenance are integrated into everyday life never fails to inspire me to keep going. And I know that’s why many of you read my blog, too. You expect me to be honest with you about my perspectives on weight loss and maintenance. So with that in mind – the honesty part – today’s blog comes from the center of my life as it is right now.

Over the last month, I’ve instigated some major changes for my life; painfully necessary changes that will take me away from many of the comfort zones in which I’ve cloistered myself since losing weight. But why I’m forging ahead into this unknown is because if I’ve learned nothing else in the last six years it’s that the person I am inside – at any size – is the person most in need of my love and protection.

I believe this is true for everyone, even those of you who have children or other family or friends who you say “come first.” I used to feel that way, too. I used to put everyone and everything else first and me somewhere way down the list. But the only way I could start this path – this time – of weight loss was to accept the fact that if I didn’t acknowledge, value and protect my self-worth, I would be perpetually…in a word…screwed.

Every time I lost weight in the past, I thought when I got to goal, my problems would be solved. And every time I was wrong. This time was no different. I readily admit that I wanted to run away from 300 pounds as fast as I could; leave it buried somewhere in my past. But 300-pound me tagged along, and it was around 200 pounds that I learned that life was what I made of it, obese or not, and I couldn’t run away from 300-pound me, or the me who weighed 139 pounds for five minutes in 1990, or 170 in 1987, or 120 in junior high school. I was all of those weights yet only one person. Me.

When I was 300 pounds, I took comfort in the fact that no one really looked at me – not “that” way, anyway. I didn’t dress to impress, and the expectation of me stemmed usually above the neck. I was smart, I loved what I did for a living (I was an antiques dealer as well as being a writer), and my family loved me for me. Then I lost weight and people DID start looking at me “that” way, and for awhile I allowed the expectation of others to become my expectation: stay pretty and happy because that’s what thin is all about.

Wrong. Thin can solve or prevent a lot of physical ailments, but thin does not resolve issues of self-esteem.

For example, I still apologize excessively, and sometimes I feel I don’t have the right to ask for what I need. These behaviors stem from deep-seeded, long ago issues that I chip away at resolution year after year, the ones that can’t be solved in a few sessions with a psychologist or through ice cream or retail therapy.

And so here I am in 2010, thin and still chipping away at the me underneath.

But, as Martha says, “It’s a good thing.”

I’m not the keeper of the keys, or have all the answers for weight loss, maintenance and life. But I will continue to share here what I observe and know to be true for myself. I will also continue to do my best to stay at this weight because it feels like home to me, which is good because I’ll be moving soon and I need the comfort of the way I feel about myself in this body. We are one, after all, my body and my mind, and while we’re far from perfect, we’re all I’ve got.

From the outside, and even to me sometimes, it seems like I have everything I wanted at the beginning of my journey. But I don’t and that’s OK.

Maintaining this latest and largest weight loss is part of my life, but it is not my life. My life is me, and I’m taking care of me, even though this new path will be bumpy as hell. But it’s with a smile and only a little timidity that I say to the uncertainty of the next few months, “Ready or not, here I come!”

And I promise to take you all with me.

20 comments:

  1. Beautiful!! Lynn, I used to work in an emergency room and although I knew what to do and had all the right instruments, for years I was scared. One day an "old" lady came in via ambulance with oxygen in her nose and panicky because she couldn't breath. As we all started working on her,starting IV lines and taking blood tests and hooking her up to the EKG machhine, etc, she kept saying I can't breath, I can't breath. There were about 4 nurses and techs and 2 docs around her. I [being the youngest and newest]finally looked up and said, honey, stop talking and concentrate on breathing. This was a "moment" in my growth as a clinician. I knew what to say to this women. It was little and not much, but it helped all of us. It gaver her something to do, and gave us ER people some quiet to work and discuss what needed to be done. What I said may not seem like much, but one day when you are in the store or doc's office or in a hotel and want something and they are giving you a hard time, without thinking, you will know what to say and do, and say and do it. I know this for a fact!! Growth happens, for some of us, slower than others. You're the best!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful blog and totally on point as I am struggling with the same issues..sigh..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Lynn, your hoensty and wisdom are just the bee's knees. Wishing you all the best for these months coming up :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I relate to this posting. Not only are the same things there that have always been there (and perhaps we were avoiding), but now we are facing them 'naked'. No more bad habits. No more hiding behind that very protective layer(s) of fat.

    two of my favorites:

    "A journey of a thousand miles starts in front of your feet."
    and
    "It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized."

    ReplyDelete
  5. That was such a strong post. Thanks for sharing! I'm kinda at my goal weight, but necessarily 100% happy so I appreciate what you had to say.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You write with such honesty and yet in such a beautiful way. The desire for weight loss can be an obsession (before we lose it) that it crowds out other issues. I know it's that way for me. When the weight is lost, we can feel exposed and vulnerable, and I know from past experience how frightening that can be. Sometimes I think that's why I have gone up and down the scale so frequently. Through your journey, you have learned who you are, and that has given you courage to move ahead. Wishing you the best...

    ReplyDelete
  7. This post could have been written by me. It is the hardest part of my weight loss journey at this point. I know how to diet. I know to get up off of the couch and move. But living in the now, inside of my head, is hard. The 370 lb me is still largely in control and not letting her have it is terrifying because I was protected by her when I was invisible. Now that I am no longer invisible it is hard to step out of her shadow and take the chances that are now afforded to me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Lynn, that's so true. I found when I was slimmer I still had the same problems and sometimes additionally different ones relating also to poor self-image despite actually achieving quite a lot. :D re apologising and using too many words self-esteem issues: I'm looking forward to reading the post entitled, "I said my mind in one sentence!"

    You're a fabulous strong woman, and you've achieved so much, and are bringing inspiration and a great example to lots of others. In my book you're definitely Queen of the Castle!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, Lynn, overtones of monumental here. I wish you blessings on your mystery move, physical and psychological.

    I resonate with the line about apologizing too much. I have been accused of that. It's hard to break.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lynn --

    I wish you peace and strength as you move through this latest struggle in your life. I will be thinking good thoughts (as I have been all week during your radio silence) as you sort things out.

    When I lost major weight, it was certainly an adjustment, mostly because of how people reacted. The whole getting-treated-better-in-general thing was fun but the novelty quickly faded. My transformation was harder for some of my old friends to accept. How they reacted to my weight loss was unexpected and it really hurt, and the subsequent depression and disorientation I felt (because weren't we supposed to be having a lot more fun together now??) led me to some serious backsliding, the consequences of which I am reversing. Which is all to say that the more inner power we feel (a huge benefit of the work of major weight loss), the more demanding we can become of ourselves and our circumstances, and this is a good thing.

    Don't apologize, and don't settle. I thought I learned this already, but I'm learning it in spades now.

    Take care --
    CK

    ReplyDelete
  11. You know I loved this post. And I'm glad you are taking us with you on the next steps in your journey.

    ReplyDelete
  12. PinkVision, I love that: "I said my mind in one sentence." I will one day post that I did. Some day...

    Bobbie, I love that story. I need to heed that advice actually. Just breathe and let others help me. Not so easy to do, but I'm trying.

    What I appreciate so much about the feedback here is that so many of you get what I'm saying. We've been up and down the scale, trying to resolve what weight loss cannot resolve.

    This next part of my life's journey is a little scary but mostly exciting. I'll be more forthcoming in future blogs, but for now I'm glad you trust when I say this is a new beginning and I'm glad you're all along for the ride.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear Lynn --
    So true. I know that self-esteem in particular is an issue for me. I have been focusing a lot on that lately -- with the intention of progressing on that issue as I am progressing on weight loss.

    I haven't commented for a while but I want you to know that I always read and learn from your posts! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Breathing and letting people help us are things that do not come easy to the Haraldson family members. You're in good company as I'm I'm working on those also.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "the person I am inside – at any size – is the person most in need of my love and protection. "

    I love this so much I had to put it on my blog. I really took in what you posted today.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've derived much from reading your blog over the years. In particular, your words helped keep me on track when I thought I would be derailed by despair, and I thank you for that. So I hope you understand that I don't mean to be unkind when I say I don't know what you're talking about in this post--and I read it through twice! I hope that whatever is on your mind gets resolved enough so that you will be able speak in concrete terms instead of abstractions. It's what you're good at.

    Cheers,
    Shelley

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Lynn!

    I've been away from dieting/blogging for about half a year, and I've returned. I was going through all of my links, found your blog again, and was so deeply affected by what you posted. I look forward to following you along whatever journey your life takes you on. You, as much as anyone, have most deeply inspired me to be a better woman. God bless you in the upcoming trying times, whatever they might be. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think you plucked the thoughts right out of my head, Lynn. I always thought that if I just lost the weight, then everything else would fall into place and my life would be perfect. Once I reached my goal weight it was very sobering to find that I was still me, just in a thinner body. Acceptance really is key and I think self-awareness is half the battle. Thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lynn,
    I've had many of the same thoughts. Fabulous post. Thanks for being so honest and sharing your journey with us. Can't wait to hear what's coming up...

    ReplyDelete