Wednesday, July 23, 2008

All the titles I've tried are melodramatic or uncomfortable

Yesterday, I was chatting with a friend about my weight loss. Or actually about my lack of weight loss. I've been watching my diet and attempting to exercise for the past several weeks. My weight has more or less stood still. I know that I need to cut or spend 500 calories per day to lose a pound a week. If I walk (200 calories), cut out the sweetened iced coffee (200 calories), and cut out a snack or two or eight, then I should ever so slowly be dropping weight until I hit my goal sometime early next summer. People who can do basic math will figure that I've got about 50 pounds to lose.

I was very frustrated on Monday when the scale still said 190 pounds. Then I was heartened on Tuesday when I weighed in at 188 pounds. That's when my friend wisely told me to back away from the scale lest I damage my sanity. For once, I was completely honest about myself. On this particular topic, my sanity is already damaged. If I am trying to lose weight, then I am Trying To Lose Weight. I don't starve myself or do ten hours of aerobics or swallow uppers. What I do is weigh myself obsessively, keep a constant running tally of caloric intake/expenditure, and feel like an all-around shitty failure of a person because I'm fat.

When I am not trying to lose weight, I do not think about my weight at all. I feel good about myself because I only consider the me of me, my consciousness, my personality, my soul, my whatever-you-want-to-call-it. The status of my body is completely boxed up, buried, and covered with daisies. I am happy and I feel good and the world is a shiny, shiny place. Until, of course, someone goes and digs up the daisies.

I always start out sane. "Oh, right. That whole weight thing. Well, let's nip it in the bud, shall we? I'll just start walking and food journaling and then I'll be skinny and beautiful and we can just replant those daisies. Tra la la la la." I lose a pound or two, then stall out for unknown reasons. Then I start obsessing and weighing myself every day, twice a day, three times a day, every time I walk past the scale. After a while, I realize that I'm hurting myself so I just stop. I stop thinking about losing weight, stop trying to lose weight, stop worrying about that whole body thing at all. I go back to just being the me of me and I wear my body like a particularly unattractive outfit that I just haven't bothered to replace yet. I'm sexy, I'm healthy, I'm attractive and well, it's just that I'm temporarily inhabiting flabby, jiggly, messy body.

So right. The need to weigh is a symptom, not a cause. I am realizing that I can't afford the luxury of pretending that everything is aok so that I can be blissfully happy with myself. My blood pressure, while still safe, is edging up. I am also seeing the unpleasant results that years of morbid obesity can wreak. My father is struggling to avoid diabetes. My mother is retiring early because her body has been worn down and broken by the weight that she carries. This time, I am going to find a way to deal with my weight in a sane and practical way. I'm not going to give up on being healthy nor am I going to give in to being completely fucked in the head about it. I suspect at some point I might need to talk to someone about this, some professional sort of someone. Perhaps I'll buy an ad. Mostly sane, grounded woman seeks therapist to deal with minor mental health issues regarding weight. Must not blame morbidly obese mother, no matter how clear the connection might seem. Waiting room should be stocked with chocolate.

3 comments:

Katie Alender said...

I can totally relate, Christy. When I'm worried about my weight, I feel awful about myself... and then to take the pain away, I eat. Wonderful cycle.

Kelley said...

When you find that therapist (the one with chocolate), give him/her my number, okay?

I'm in a similar place (not currently weighing myself after every glass of water, but I've been there), and it's really a self-defeating hamster wheel, isn't it?

Katherine said...

I'm a random lurker, but perhaps the plateaus from previous efforts mean you want to keep changing your food and work-outs so your body doesn't get used to them. The new challenges might also make exercising more enjoyable. Try swimming, www.shape.com/workouts, hitting up friends for free passes to classes at their gyms...