The skinny

You may have noticed—or not—that I’ve shied away from writing my typical “Fat Tuesday” posts the past week or two.  It was all spurned by a comment that the sweet, lovely, supportive Jaka left me, asking why on earth I continued to call myself “fat” in posts.

This touched a nerve, not in a bad way, but it did get me thinking.  I thought about it in yoga class that weekend, as I tried to bend and contort my body into the proper pose and found myself looking at my body in the mirror and thinking, “You’re disgusting! Fat, gross, lazy, ick, you shouldn’t be here…”

I began thinking so much about my body’s journey from a chubby kid in high school, to scary-thin in college to where I exist currently: heavy and unhappy.  It completely ruined my yoga class, because every time I found myself in the mirror to check my form, I’d find my eyes welling up with tears.   I hated my body—and myself—so intensely at that moment that I thought I might burst.

The past few weeks of my weight loss journey had been hard.  I found myself weighing in obsessively—upon waking, after peeing, before work, right after work, after dinner, after the gym, before bed, in the middle of the night.   I counted calories, found myself tempted to skip meals, craving foods I wanted and deying myself even the smallest of treats until I’d want to gorge so much.  I was pissed off about food, dreaded the gym, and was so, so, so sick of counting points and logging in and tracking every single morsel I put in my mouth.  I would cry if I gained even half a pound, and get pissed off at myself.  I had a constant stream of negative thoughts in my mind about how lame I was for not being able to do this.

And then I decided I had to stop the insanity.

The facts are these: I love food.  I love baking, sharing in treats and enjoying delicious things.  I will never be the girl who can, or wants to, turn down a cookie that looks delicious and is chock full of chocolate chips.  I love baking so much, and get pleasure out of the entire cooking process.  I also love salad, fruit, vegetables, sushi, fruit, chicken (when it’s not dry and gross), steak, pizza, pasta, smoothies and just about every other food.  I don’t like being told I can only eat fruit after 5 pm, or nothing after 7 when I don’t get home until then sometimes.  The other fact?  I’m not ever going to love working out.  I don’t enjoy running, or step class or anything else.  I do, however, like spin, swimming, hot yoga and a bit of cardio before a lot of weight lifting.  I like taking walks with Andrew.  I like working up a sweat.  And more importantly, I know I have to in order to feel fully alive and happy. 

I’ve lost weight before.  I didn’t do it with any special method.  I ate a healthy breakfast.  I didn’t really eat a huge lunch, preferring instead to graze on popcorn, carrots, sliced turkey, yogurts, etc.  Then, I’d eat a sensible dinner.  If I went out to dinner and wanted something “bad” I would have it occasionally.  I went to the gym most days and did 30 minutes of cardio and some weights, and if I didn’t go?  I let it go.  And over the course of a year, I lost 50 pounds.  Later, my eating grew more obsessive and disordered, but for the first year, I was happy, healthy and content with what I was doing to be healthier.  The gym wasn’t an obligation, but something I looked forward to doing, because I wasn’t on a strict schedule.  I weighed myself, but I also measured myself, and mostly based my judgments on how clothing fit.

I want to, need to, get back to this style of thinking.  I’m working on it.  While the gym is still a non-negotiable and something I don’t love, it’s easier to go when I do it in the morning, and I get it out of the way.  I’ve got a mini-fridge filled with healthy stuff at work, and have been finding my old “grazing” pattern of eating a little bit while hungry to make me feel so much better.  And yes, I dropped Weight Watchers.  I am not going to ever really love tracking food. 

I think that after struggling with this for so long, what I’m realizing, over and over again, is that what I want/need most is a healthy relationship with food, working out and my body.  I want that little voice in my head that tells me that I’m fat, ugly and not okay to go away.  I want to feel pretty in pictures, but I also want to feel strong and healthy.  I want to come to enjoy what I do to work out, and to put good things in my body.  I don’t need to follow a plan or a schedule or anyone else’s rules.  I need to listen to myself. 

So, I am.  And the best part?  I’ve already seen a difference in my body: my waist is slimmer, by legs are becoming more defined, and I’m sleeping better.  I feel happier.  And I’ve been eating healthfully for the most part.  I didn’t want to work out this morning, but then I thought about how happy I’d be if it was done, so I went and swam for 30 minutes. 

This feels like a good change for me.  Here’s hoping that it is successful for my body, too.

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14 Comments

Filed under life with titch

14 responses to “The skinny

  1. Wow. I am so totally WITH YOU! I have tried many diets, including WW. WW seemed to work the best for me (and my mom lost 80 lbs using this program) but I got to the point where I was paying $40 a month to maintain my weight. I wasn’t losing and wasn’t fully involved.

    And now I’m on a different weight loss challenge. It’s more of what you’re doing – living a healthy lifestyle. And, I’m sorry, but I am NOT going to be counting calories/points for the rest of my life. So I want to start making healthy choices. It’s slow and it’s hard but I think this is the best way for me to lose the weight and keep it off.

  2. Katy

    Good for you! About 5 years ago I weighed about 25 lbs more then I do now, and I hated it. I obsessesively excercised and counted calories (sometimes I went to 24 hr at 1 AM because I hadn’t “gotten” my workout in for the day) and it did nothing. I was so obssessed that all I would do is think about the next time I would get to eat, what I would eat, ect. Then something life shattering happened to me, and I stopped giving a shit. Although that life-shattering thing was difficult to deal with, it taught me to eat when I’m hungry, not eat when I’m full, and eat the thing that I’m craving when I’m craving it, instead of wandering around eating EVERYTHING ELSE. Eventually the things I craved became healthy (this morning I could not get vegan morningstar sausages out of my head… to me, they are the yummiest), so the cravings aren’t something i have to “control” anymore. And if I have a cookie, or two, or three, who cares? Because most of the time, I eat fine.

    So I guess what I’m saying is, you’re on the right track girl. We (humans) aren’t made to be this way. We all need balance.

  3. chasingparadise

    Oh honey, I identified with so much of this. Everything you said about how you felt about yourself is how I spent all of 2007 feeling about myself.

    Then in January of 2008, I picked up the South Beach Diet book at a bookstore and never looked back. I learned how to eat right. I started paying attention to what it felt like to actually be hungry and not just bored. I discovered how to stop eating when I felt full. I was taught, as a child, to clean my plate. Oh, if my parents had just never said all of that to me.

    In the process of all of that, I lost 42 pounds. I’ve never felt better, physically and emotionally.

    I wish you all the good thoughts in the world on your weight loss journey. And for the record? I think Weight Watchers is crazy! You can eat Taco Bell every day if you wanted to so long as you don’t go over your points? That’s crazy talk! Those foods are meant to be an occasional treat!

  4. I didn’t realize that my comment had made such an impact on you, but I’m glad you understood my meaning. I’ve been on that same emotional rollercoaster, too; I’ve cried in public because I felt out of control and disgusting in my own skin, and I’ve starved myself in punishment. The day that I realized none of that was making me happy was a truly amazing day. From sound the sound of it, you’ve had your epiphany, too. And I’m so very very very happy for you.

    Reading this post choked me up and got me all misty-eyed – I’m so excited for you and moved that you were able to come to these realizations. Positive is always more powerful than negative. Happy thoughts for you. ❤

  5. kel

    You sound so much like me, except I do love exercise.

    Start with the affirmations and stop with the negative shit.

    It has worked for me.

  6. That’s such amazing insight. I was so sad at the beginning of this post, thinking about what you were putting yourself through. But it sounds like you’re on the right track now, so keep it up!

  7. Juley Robarge Woods

    Good Job Amy.
    I think your attitude will help you get far

  8. I’ve been on my own case lately about my eating/gym habits as well. To the point where I was about to start logging every calorie I consumed and burned again. I feel like such a potato. I know the problem isn’t so much what I’m eating or how much – it really stems from the fact that I am very inactive these days. With work being so busy, I just don’t get around to moving about, and that’s bad! I have a really unhealthy relationship with the gym…

  9. The line between being mindful and being obsessive is so damn thin. I wish I could find it and hold on to it. Thanks, as always, for being open about this.

  10. Sometimes, seeing the words—our truths, really—written plainly and unapologetically and without judgment is just the thing we need.

    For me, every day marks a conscious effort to eat well, be active, and encourage positive self-thinking. But, it’s *effort*. None of it is easy or free or without sacrifice.

    It sounds like you’ve rounded a corner, and I am so happy for you, my dear.

    And the next time you catch your eyes in that mirror at yoga, please, please, look closely and gently, and honor the hard, good work you’re doing, forgive, love, let go. It is why we are there in the first place. And e-mail me afterward to discuss. 🙂

  11. I’m really struggling with the same weight things you are. I just love food! I love to cook, I love to try new things an a good meal is one of the best things in the world. I love healthy food too and I love to work out, I just am having some knee problems. I gained weight in college and am having a hard time getting rid of it.

    I love that you have such an open and honest dialog about weight. It is nice to know someone else is out there struggling with image and weight and love of food.

  12. Pingback: Jaka's Tea Party - Dress up. Get down. Speak out.

  13. Good on you! Sounds like you’re well on the way to having a positive attitude, which will surely lead to results without fancy plans, points and forking out $$. I’m personally still keen on the potatoes not prozac type thing. I have a very unhealthy attitude to sugar, so it’s something I need to address, but I liked the way the book was leading you to have the sort of attitude you do, and to eat properly, no points, no low-carb, no crazy stuff. Just need to get back to it once the crazy month of October is over.

  14. Pingback: On those pesky body issues once again « Just A Titch

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