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A Year Ago… (aka Living Maintenance) May 8, 2010

Mother's Day dinner, 2009

I’m at my daughter’s annual big crew race this weekend. I think about last year. I went running along the lake during down time at the races. Many people were beginning to remark about my lost weight, and I was wearing new shorts and tank tops for the first time. I was moving close towards my goal weight and really feeling like it was going to happen. (and it did: in June? July?) It was all so new then. I had completed my first 5k race and was feeling pretty giddy about the whole thing.

But also I had no belief it would last.

I feel like when I’ve said “a year ago…” it was a way of demonstrating how far I’d come. But now “a year ago” does not look dramatically different than where I’m at right now. So this must be maintenance! and in a way it’s even more stunning to realize that I’ve been in this place for almost a year, than the fact that I made the change(s) in the first place.

Recently in WW we had a meeting topic about habits.  There was a chart about the “Stages of Change” with a series of nested circles. On the outside was “Environment” which is the most superficial thing to change, and the first way we make a change. We clear out our cupboards, we start purchasing better foods. We join a gym. The next circle in is “behavior.” Because it’s one thing to change the food in our kitchen, and another thing to actually behave differently in relationship to it. In and in and in and in, and the innermost circle is “Identity.”

A year ago, I felt like my identity was A Person Who Had Lost Some Weight, for like a minute. I had NO experience or belief that it would endure. In fact I used to have feelings of deep sadness and grief/loss for that person, whom I was sure was going to vanish at any moment. Well, I’m amazed that I’m still here. But my identity is gelling, and I’m beginning to believe that it’s not as transient as I’d feared.

May I have another year like this. And another.

(photo above from last year’s Mother’s Day dinner – that’s my cute Mr. McBody!)

 

Putting On the Brakes June 18, 2009

I don’t want to make it seem like I am complaining about something great that I have been hoping for, but this post is about the weird/unsettling side of losing weight, which I don’t see written about very often.  At the risk of seeming complainy or ungrateful, I want to write about some of the more unnerving parts of weight loss.

Today I went through my closet (again) and tried on a bunch of clothes.  I have a fun party for one of my closest friends coming up this weekend, and I thought, YAY I can wear something cute! Remember my nifty Cleopatra dress? I just bought that in April. When I tried it on this morning, it hung on me like a loose sack. The armholes are huge and it just doesn’t look right anymore. The only way I can wear it is if I get it professionally altered, which is what I guess I am going to have to do. I know, maybe some of you are saying POOR BABY, I WISH I HAD YOUR PROBLEMS! but this was the first time in my weight loss that I have felt weird and unsettled. It made me feel sad and suddenly like everything was shifting and that I was somehow not holding on to my image, or something. It’s hard to explain.

I feel in a way like things are moving more quickly than my psyche can keep up with. It’s like every few weeks I am a different size and while on one hand this is very exciting, it’s also strange. Like the ground is made of jello.

After I tried on the dress, I went to the kitchen and ate a little leftover bowl of mac and cheese that my daughter made a few days ago. I have not eaten any mac and cheese since January- it was my one go-to comfort food, and it just has a tinge of danger for me. But in that moment I was feeling like I needed to be grounded in something familiar, and I thought, I need to put on the brakes.

Let me say right out. I am not “skinny” by any stretch. I’m not like falling into anorexia or anything. I’m just venturing into a physical territory where I have not been in probably 20 years and that is disorienting and strange. Like I’m in some sort of Alice in Wonderland funny mirror shapeshifting place.

I do think it is time for me to halt the loss and maintain for a while. Maybe a LONG while. I need to get used to this, and stay here for some time. I can’t be buying new clothes every four weeks.

(NOTE: I almost deleted this post. I don’t want people getting mad at me for a “problem” they WISH they had. But I’m going to keep it up.)

This reminds me of many writer friends of mine, published writers who get flak for expressing a hard time they might have in the publication process – it’s lonely and hard to be on book tour. There’s “too much” attention. They have to deal with book reviews or readers who might not like their book.

The thing is, with any success there also comes some kind of loss: a loss of identity that has been familiar for a very long time. For a long time, I have comfortably lived in the role of Overweight Person. (as well as Unpublished Novelist, but that’s a different story) Even though I didn’t like much about it, I was USED to it. I am not used to this. I feel like I am stepping into the big unknown – exciting but also terrifying on some level.

BTW, it was good to have that little foray into the mac and cheese. It gave me a stomach ache, and didn’t really help me feel any better. A good reminder.

 

 
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