Monday, January 14, 2013

The Mental Price of Skinny (and how I’m finding middle ground)

It felt good to write and publish my last post, “Intentions and Confidence.” It feels right to have my voice out here again, even though it is a somewhat changed voice. But isn’t that what our voices do? Change, grow bolder, and perhaps wiser?

Ever since first grade, I’ve been honing my voice. (Read “The GleefleThat Sneefed” from my ZenBagLady blog.) I can shut it up for awhile, but it doesn’t take long for it to start knocking in my brain, “Let me out, damn it! I’ve got something to say that you (meaning me) need to hear!”

And so last week I let my voice out of its mind cage and resurrected Lynn’s Weigh. You see, months ago, I thought I’d written the last chapter of my weight-loss, weight-maintenance journey. I thought I had nothing thoughtful to say anymore. I wasn’t losing weight. Hell, I wasn’t even maintaining! I am 20 pounds heavier than my goal weight – weight brought on, in part, by arthritic and personal issues. But the biggest reason I’d gone blog rogue is, quite frankly, I was ideologically exhausted. I didn’t know what I believed anymore.

For six years I was a food purist. I became a vegetarian along the way and I ate a salad every day and two servings of fruit. I limited my carb intake, and shunned white sugar, white flour, white rice, white potatoes, Splenda and Tofurkey. I weighed myself every morning, naked and evacuated. Every point-something number mattered and was recorded. When the scale read between 128-132, I was happy. Anything more than 132, I panicked.

I ate, drank, and slept weight. I wrote about it, talked about it, and even got on camera a few times to show what losing weight looks like. Weight was a full-time job that didn’t pay the bills and left me emotionally drained.

Then I got divorced, and for the last two years, life has morphed into something very unlike the life I lived in the comfort zone of yore. Weight used to be my purpose. For the last year, it’s been more of a backdrop. It is my Intention to find a middle ground. A place I can lose or maintain without losing perspective. A place in which I can walk and chew gum at the same time.

This doesn’t mean I’ve changed my belief that good nutrition and balanced food choices and portions are essential to weight loss and maintenance. And I still believe in the power of exercise, both on our minds and bodies. Those themes will remain the same here. What I’m learning is how to set my train back on the tracks when I get derailed by physical issues and emotions beyond my immediate control. I listen much more closely to my body and treat it with even greater respect than I thought possible. I’ll share these insights with you along the way, as I’ve always done, but with less absolutes than before. Balance, I’ve learned, allows for some wiggle room.

I’m also back because I have the best readers in the blog-o-sphere! Readers who aren’t afraid to speak up, share, ask questions, and support one another. Call me selfish, but I need y’all (or “yinz” if you live in Pittsburgh). Thanks for sticking with me, and if you’re new here, welcome! I’ve posted 400+ blogs here in five years, so start reading! There will be a quiz on the material in a few weeks. Oh wait, that’s MY life. I’LL have a quiz on material I’ve read over the next few weeks. I’M the one in school. Everything gets so tangled up in my head sometimes :)

As a quick update, my daughter, Carlene, was married in October.

Luca is 3 1/2. Claire is a squish over 5.

Maelie (AKA MaeMoo) will be 2 in four weeks!
And my grandchildren keep growing like weeds!

Grandbaby #4 is due the end of February. My daughter, Cassie, amazes and inspires me every day. She teaches spin and a strength training class several times a week this late in her pregnancy. When I had 6-7 weeks left of my pregnancies, I went to work (in an office), came home, and plopped in front of the TV. I’m still guilty of that, and I don’t work in an office and I’m not pregnant! I have no excuse! 
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Congratulations to MariankaK for winning Carla “MizFit” Birnberg’s book, “How to Build Muscle and Lose WeightWithout Losing Your Mind.” As I mentioned last blog, I’ve been reading Carla’s blog for years and her down-to-earth approach to life, fitness, motherhood, you name it has grounded me many times, especially those times I didn’t realize I was ungrounded! Give her blog and book a look-see if you haven’t already. 

20 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, Lynn, we are so on the same wavelength! I JUST wrote a post called "Stop acting like eating is your full time job." And then I came here and read your post and got chills. Very cool!

    So glad you are back :)

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  2. Cute, cute grandbabies! Congrats on the 4th. Your daughter is inspiring! Super inspiring. Shoot...you both are!

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  3. So glad you are back. As you well know, you were the inspiration that got me started and I will always be grateful. I am maintaining, my blog has gone in all sorts of directions and I'm trying my best to follow the guidelines you are talking about starting with a constant reminder to self that life is a lot more than food!

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  4. Thank you for coming back. Just.....thank you. It means more than you know.

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  5. I can relate (totally)! I initially lost my weight, about 30 pounds in 1986, kept it off for 20 years and gained 25 back when I hit menopause. I can't remember a time when I wasn't 100% focused on the number on the scale and what I put in my mouth. Three years ago a nutritionist told me I was "gluten intolerant," so I gave up gluten and my beloved bread, something I can't believe I've done. I'm so tired of watching, obsessing and giving up everything that I love to eat in the name of being skinny. I am also in search of balance, but I'm not sure what that means. Perhaps we can figure it out together :-)

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  6. Glad you are back. I get where you are. Our weight would so often define us or the weight loss defines us. Now it is not our sole purpose in life. There are other things more important than the number on the scale. Not that that means we don't care, but I think real maintenance is not clutching to weight with white knuckles, but learning to live with the ups and downs that come with it.

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  7. What Lori said. Losing weight was such a big part of our lives - how could it not have been, when there was so much to lose - but eventually, hopefully, we move on...just a bit...to where it doesn't remain the ONE BIG THING to focus on. So glad you're back writing - I've missed reading your stories!

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  8. Glad to see you, Lynn. I never left. I've always come back here as a jumping off place to other blogs. You were one of the first points of inspiration for weight loss that I discovered years ago...and I've hung around.

    We're all works in progress, the uncarved block that is carved by the experiences and people we encounter.

    I've recently lost 50 pounds by "fighting the white" so to speak...and today I had a big bowl of pasta and a handful of oreos and wonder if there is a middle ground between paleo and junk food junkie. And I know there is. Your post of today was spot on for me. Thanks and welcome back!
    Dina

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  9. I won't lie. Today when I was on my way to the gym I felt 33 weeks pregnant. But then, when I walked into the spin room, there was a full room waiting for me to push them.

    And push them I did. I love teaching and I don't care how pregnant I am, I won't stop until I have to. My members inspire me to push myself as I push them. When I yell, "Don't slow down," little do they know I'm yelling that to myself.

    I love you so much and I'm glad you've found a middle ground. Sometimes it's good to be just a little off center as opposed to right or left.

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  10. Welcome back. Here's to finding that middle ground. I've resolved that I'll have to manage this for every single meal , for every single day of my life. The good news? It's not too much. Just finding that balance is key-IMO Onward on this phase of life. Every day we have is a gift.

    Love your family photos. Very special. Welcome to the next steps. We are stronger as we go together. Glad you are back posting again. :). Karen P

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  11. It is so important to find that healthy balance between life and weight control. I also know that is easier said than done sometimes. I really enjoy your writing and have for quite a time. Glad to see you are back :)

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  12. This Minnesota girl (well...woman) understands everything you say. My blog has been struggling with the same issues you speak of, and I guess I could call it "burn-out." This weight thing is overwhelming and has always been for me and for many others. No, that doesn't mean that we should be satisfied with being obese, but along with lost pounds, many of us are also seeking to gain some peace of mind. So glad you're back, Lynn.

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  13. Glad you're back too. Life is complicated and evolving. My weight creeps on me too if I don't keep after it, but I don't think we're unusual at all in that.

    Glad you're finding life in long-term maintenance is different from early maintenance, and still honest, and still figuring it all out.

    love you, Val

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  14. My circuit instructor is due in March/April and can still make it all the way around the circuit, showing us all the moves, at the start of class. I have huge respect for those women who have a baby bump and then get back in their regular jeans in a short time.

    I CANNOT BELIEVE THE NEW BABY IS TWO!

    Glad to hear your voice.

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  15. I had really just started getting into your blog and then you left. But I'm glad you're back. You've got a paragraph smack in the middle there that completely describes where I'm at, even though I never quite made it to maintenance. All I know is there has to be a better way - here's to us both finding it!

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  16. Thanks for the warm welcome back! I wish there was a way I could take you all with me into the kitchen when I need/want to eat and to the gym when I don't feel like going :)

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  17. Like Dina, I usually start with you to see if there is a new post. I think your blog was the first I ever read and I love hearing about your ever evolving perspective.

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  18. I am eager to hear/read more since I am new & found you thru Carla! We both love her!

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  19. One of my goals for this year was to give myself some more wiggle room. I made goal last year and have been in maintenance limbo since then. I'd stress if I was 2 pounds over, but now I've got to back off.

    Good for you for realizing what's most important!

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  20. SO SO happy you are back to posting Lynn! I am late to leave a comment because I would only check in once a week or so to see if you were back!
    I have a milestone birthday coming up the end of this year. I need to find balance within. I typically set myself up such that in the end I can't get out of my own way and then throw in the towel on everything as it relates to weight loss, exercise, being healthy or whatever it is.

    I cannot get over how quickly time passes the older I get. Since I can't stop the clock, I need to find time for myself and be more mindful. This will also be a gift to my husband and children.

    Here's to MIDDLE ground!

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