Sunday, 3 May 2009

I Don't Want To Be A Loser

I've spoken before about how I find it hard to believe in weight loss- how as long as I'm not gaining weight, I think I am maintaining. To avoid the weight gain I fear, I err on the side of caution and end up losing. I'm finding it really hard to get my head around the fact that I want to REALLY maintain- ie, NOT lose, and just hold my weight where it is. I weigh myself every day to check that I haven't magically gained Xlbs overnight, one part of me secretly hoping the number will be lower than yesterday. Lately it's hovered around the same number and there is always an initial disappointment (along with the relief that I haven't gained) that I am the same weight as the few days before. I have to keep reminding myself: that's now what I want anymore.

This is completely new to me. I am used to losing weight and I am used to refeeding/gaining weight. Maintaining is not something that comes easily to me- to be honest, I'm not sure HOW to maintain. It's more complex than losing/gaining (both of which take quite big jumps calorie-wise in one direction or another). To just stay as things are is a 'novelty'- one I worry that I am going to get bored of. To grasp the concept of never losing weight again seems... I don't know. So final. I don't WANT the life that losing weight is going to give me- I want so many other things that don't mix with the energy I would need to devote to restricting, but the idea of NEVER going back down that path again feels terrifying right now. It feels like I am maintaining for now. That I am delaying the inevitable and meanwhile seeing what other things I might accomplish. I guess my hope is that during this "experiment" I'll find enough things I enjoy/am passionate about that losing weight/relapsing would be primarily inconvenient if nothing else.

I don't want to DO that anymore.

I don't want my life to shrink to nothing more than number and calories. I don't want to eat the exact same things at every meal. I don't want my days to revolve around exercising and grocery shopping. I don't want to lie awake all night, too hungry and cold to sleep. I don't want to feel that gnarling emptiness in my stomach that aches, my muscles aching as they struggle to perform the little tasks required like climbing up the stairs to my apartment or brushing my hair. I don't want my hands and feet to contort into painful spasms.

I want to have energy to jump out of bed each morning ready for the day ahead. I want to sleep peacefully at night. I want to eat a variety of food and enjoy it, then move on- not immediately start watching the clock until the next "allowed" meal/snack.

I don't want to go down the road of my previous attempts at "maintenance" because I inevitably get hooked on the ensuing weight loss and just carry on down that path. Because it's so easily done. It comes so naturally, it's so familiar, it's so predictable, it's so addictive...and it's so horrific.

I don't want that anymore. I need to somehow get my head around the choice I am making to commit, unconditionally, to never starve my body again. To give it the fuel it needs for the life I so desperately want. I still have yet to figure out what that life entails exactly, but I need to keep reminding myself that a REAL life is only going to be an option for me if my body and mind are nourished properly...

It feels like a loss of 'purpose' in a lot of ways- so much time and energy has been dedicated to either visibly shrinking or visibly recovering...who am I if not a relapsing/recovering anorexic? Obviously this is false and recovery is far more about what's going on inside, but for someone so used to using my body to articulate what my words never will, this is terrifying to me. It's hard to switch from the default mode you have been in for more than half of your life.

Hard, but I don't think it's impossible.

Defaults can be changed the same way beliefs or ideas can be changed- as we learn and we grow, we change and our thoughts and actions follow.

"You change for two reasons- either you learn enough that you want to, or you've been hurt enough to have to..."

...or in some cases, a bit of both.


Onto some food, right?

I actually cooked a "proper" meal last night!

Quorn fillets in homemade tomato sauce w/ laughing cow cheese melted in, mixed with pasta shells and baby broccoli trees so I can pretend I am a giant (kidding- these were at the bottom of my bag of frozen veg and I thought they were cute!). Yes mom, I COOKED! I don't know if it was partly psychological, but this meal (although calorie-wise equivalent to my usual dinners) was incredibly filling. In a NICE way- an "I'm satisfied/content" way as opposed to "OMG I just ate 3 lbs of broccoli and my stomach is about to burst" way.

I had set a goal a while back to read for 30 mins each evening, and last night after dinner, I curled up with a new book and read solidly for almost three hours. That is a RECORD for me in recent years. I used to spend entire days reading when I was little, but my concentration/focus has made that impossible lately. Proper food = decent brain functioning?..

I slept really well and started off my Sunday with a delicious breakfast...

Bran flakes, cheesecake fage cherry twin pot and raisins.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!


Lexi said...

Great breakfast! I really liked this post, a lot of what you said really rang true with me too. I get so nervous about maintaining that some of my behaviors get a little out of control sometimes. It's really great that you've recognized this. It's awesome that you know what you want out of life. Keep striving for the life you love.
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I can completely relate to how you feel about the idea of maintaining. Like you, I just don't know what it's LIKE. For 4 years, it seems like I've been on a quest to either gain or lose...nothing in between. And here I am now, and it's just beyond terrifying.

Cacti Don't Cry said...

I know exactly what you mean about maintaining... I'm convinced that my body just doesn't DO that. It can gain, it can lose, it can't stay the same. I think there's a lot of black-and-white thinking involved there, though... "maintaining" DOES mean a couple of pounds of leeway in either direction, and we just expect it to be the exact.same.number down to the very hundredth of an ounce.

Hooray for cooking!! :D


Anonymous said...

Am I really weird for thinking that those little broccoli spears are kind of cute? Oh dear, I need to get a life :P
I relate to your problems with maintaining too - I don't really know where my 'set point' should be, having had an eating disorder since early adolescence, and I always underestimate the amount of calories it takes not to lose weight. Of course, once you start losing weight accidentally it becomes so much harder to get back on track too. Bah, this is harder than physics! I don't think it's impossible either, for any of us. Terrifying, uncharted territory, frustrating and very difficult, but other people have done it so it's definitely possible. I hope you have a good bank holiday Monday and that Edinburgh isn't too jam packed with tourists! People always seem to go a bit nuts on bank holidays, especially drivers :P

Thinspired said...

I know we have had completely different journeys but I find myself relating a lot more than one would think to your feelings about weight loss and dieting. Food has consumed my life, too, and I'm so sick of it! And now I see that maintaining is hard for just about everyone. Coming from the perspective of needing and wanting to lose weight in the past, it is still very hard to wrap my head around NOT going up and down anymore. This is it. This is my new happy weight. Get used to it. These are tough concepts! You're doing great, Ellie. It will get easier with time, I hope :)

Lauryn said...

what a lovely dinner creation! i'm so impressed =)

i'm maintaining right now too, and though i dont weigh myself, i get really worried sometimes that i'll just stop maintaining and start gaining out of no where -- totally irrational! but i'm finding out more and more as time goes on that a couple of pounds up or down is part of life, and that's fine with me!

hope you have a great night!

Anonymous said...

Yummy pasta meal.