“I do not yield. Not one second to you. Not one second!”

Negative thoughts get in your head.  They eat away at your self-confidence.  I used to watch this phenomenon with interest as a cheerleader on the sidelines during football season.  I could tell when we were going to lose a game when the psychology of the team “turned.”  It was weird.  It was like an uncontrollable social contagion.  No matter how hard the coaches tried to pump up the star quarterback and all the athletes, if the team was spooked, the game was over. It was a sixth sense, and I could feel it every time.

So, when I saw that recent uptick on the scale, I was worried.  That’s why I blogged about it.  Thanks loyal readers for giving me some confidence.  I hunkered down this weekend and flushed out my system.  Drank a lot of water, swam, and I think I should be okay.

Here is some reverse psychology:

This morning, I happened to peruse my “Memories” tab on Facebook to see what I was doing last year.  I found this photo of me and my friend Jon: 

Of course, I had carefully cropped it so as to not post my gigantic self in the photo.  I’ve posted this photo before on this blog.

I think this dinner was the final straw, however, when I realized I had to do something about my weight.  That I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the rest of my life that large. Again, I have to make the point that I am not shaming anyone who makes that choice for themselves, and who knows, maybe some day, I will be okay with it again. 

But, for now, I still want to do things that I can’t do as a large person. So, the trek to lose weight began last year at this time.

I decided to go to that same restaurant tonight.  I asked the waiter to take a photo of me. The photo’s not great, and you really can’t see much of a change in my weight, but I have lost over 50 pounds since that dinner last year.

So, in the words of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, (thank you ma’am), “I will not yield one second” to those negative thoughts.  I have made a lot of progress.

And I’m still in the game.

Update: Lost those 2.2 pounds plus .2 more this weekend.

down

 

The Long and Winding Road

Photo credit: Marc https://goo.gl/WAva8b

The weight is coming off slowly now.  Every week, fractions of a pound. Sometimes, I gain a little, and that can be frustrating, even if it’s just fluctuating water weight (I’m measuring everything now).  But I’ve taken care not to fall into the trap I fell into before and to become obsessed with losing weight, to let it control me and let the manic desire to be thin and “normal” to take over my everyday life.

I want to adapt to a new way of living.  I read a great article in the New York Times a few months ago that explains what I’ve been doing more or less.  I have a new relationship with food.  I changed the way I eat.  This, more than anything else, has made the difference.

I’ve lost about 53 pounds now.  Yes, I still have a long way to go.  But the difficult part ahead will involve some more introspection, psychological commitment, and good old-fashioned, patience.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. The excess weight that I wrapped around myself served as a fortress that shielded me from male attention.  It rendered me invisible so that I could ward off any possibility of romantic entanglements by making myself as unattractive as possible.  It was safe in that space.

I could start working out more rigorously and attempt to lose weight more quickly at this juncture.  But this would not serve me well physically or mentally.  First, on the physical score, it would be punishing on my body.  I do not wish to punish myself.  I deserve to be fair and kind to myself at this stage of my life.  I don’t hate myself for being fat.  I don’t even hate that I gained so much weight and feel fairly certain that anyone else who endured the shitty circumstances that I did would have found themselves in a fat suit too.  Second, on the mental considerations, it’s kind of the same deal.  I don’t need to shame myself into faster weight loss.  This is where I got into trouble before and eventually gave up because it just wasn’t worth the effort. Additionally, I am not conjoining my self-worth with my body image.  Something very important, and I’d encourage anyone who’s going through a similar journey to view these two as distinctly separate.  It’s unfortunate that society isn’t as enlightened, but so be it.

My only regret about this slow path is that it will take a very long time to get to the weight I want to be to do the things I want to do, such as ride horses.  But as I was discussing with my brother over the weekend, because it’s just one day at a time, one step at a time on a long road, at the point of my arrival, I won’t have to change a thing.  I will be “there.”  I will have literally changed the way I eat, sleep, exercise, meditate, process stress, etc.  There will be no interest in going back to the way I used to live.  In an odd metaphorical way, it’s like I’m walking down a very large mountain path with a slight slope that extends for miles and miles.  It may take years before I get to my destination, but when I finally arrive, it’s almost as if I will be arriving as the young woman I used to be before all that crap happened at the top of the mountain.

Hey! I lost 30 pounds. Can’tcha tell?

Atlanta-home-pool

So, no one has noticed I’m losing weight.  That is so sad.  I told my trainer today that if he lost 30 pounds, he would be dead.  More on him later.

I’ve also said, when I’ve tried to do this before, that when you’re my size or larger… it’s an extremely slow process to lose weight.  I’ve used the metaphor that it’s like “emptying a swimming pool with a tablespoon.”

Of course, I haven’t broadcasted this news on social media like I did the last time I tried to do this.  I realize it’s going to take over a year to re-learn a new way to live in the new (old) skin I want to inhabit.  The first person who notices I’m losing weight may prompt me to post more publicly about it. We’ll see.

But I’ll tell you who does notice: ME.  Everything feels better.  I feel stronger, lighter.  My clothes definitely fit better.  I’m much more confident.  I’m not exhausted the same way I was.  My energy level is up, and walking up a flight of stairs does not ruin my whole day.

Even more than the physical change is the mental transformation.  As I said before when I started writing here again, I just decided I don’t want to be fat anymore.  Maybe it’s due to all the wonderful talk therapy I’ve been doing, I’ve realized I’ve been carrying this “extra person” around with me for way too long.  My trainer told me today that fat on a woman is designed to protect her.  I told my therapist recently that where the fat has always been a shield of armor– ensuring I would keep men away, being unfuckable and all–  I’ve realized it’s also a cage.  It’s been keeping me contained in a controlled, angry world of my own making.  I may have been keeping myself safe, but living in hiding or camouflage has served to perpetuate my own victimization and repressed hostility.

Unlike so many women who were always overweight and always were rendered invisible or déclassé in society, I was not always overweight.  I was once a hot cheerleader and even hotter twenty-something in business.  (Oh, the stories I yearn to write…)  I was one of those women who’d turn heads when I walked into a room.  That kind of power goes unchecked in the universe.  It’s a heady thing.

So, as I’m gaining a lot of ground with my new business, I’ve realized I need every tool in my tool belt to be successful with my ambitious goals.  I know a woman’s looks are a weapon of mass destruction, and I intend to deploy what I have left of them strategically to reach my objectives.*

Pretty women have been doing this since the beginning of time.  Don’t hate.

On my trainer.  He’s such a nice, young man. Funny too!  It’s reminded me that I long for a man to touch me in a caring way.  (Don’t go there.)  I’m talking about the way he gently presses his knee between my shoulder blades and stretches my arms backwards.  He cares about what we are working on.  He is encouraging me to be my best self.

#onwards

*I updated this post as a result of the prevailing #MeToo movement on social media.  Don’t conflate a woman’s focus on maintaining her image with anything sexual, especially as it relates to power grabs.