Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Maintenance: Weightloss' Dirty Secret
There seems to be a groundswell of weight-loss bloggers in the same boat – those of us who have been successful at losing weight, only to run into difficulty when trying to maintain. Now Oprah has just said how embarrassed she is about regaining her weight. Boy, do I understand this. It feels like such a failure – thinking one has finally solved the problem to much acclaim only to have to “eat crow” when gaining the weight back. I almost feel like I need to go to people and give their support and compliments back to them. “Here, please take this back; turns out, I don’t deserve them”. It’s like having to return wedding presents if the union ends in divorce. Even if the statements were made in truth at the time, they become bricks in your backpacks as the weight comes back on.
Some say it’s hard to feel sorry for Oprah – she’s got the money, power and influence to structure her life just right. She’s got no excuses, but I say this only proves how difficult this really is. If she can’t do it, it just shows how damned difficult it is. If she feels like blowing off a taping session because she feels like a big, fat cow, imagine having to deal with that in front of millions of people who constantly look at and comment on her weight. I have the luxury of dealing with my demons in private.
This weight loss journey began ten years ago next week. I say THIS because this one has been different and more successful that the many attempts that preceded it. But the issue was always the same – I’ve always been good at taking off large amounts of weight; I’ve just never been particularly good at keeping it off. If I was, I’d have solved this problem in 1981 when I went on some 800 calorie a day deal, drinking two shakes and a tiny meal. I think I lost 53 pounds that time. I think there was another time I lost 50, one other time where I lost 40, another 50 +, all culminating in me weighing 257 in the fall of 1998.
I started this journey on December 17, 1998. My then-husband and daughter were away on a ski trip and I’d just heard about low carb eating from a friend of the ex’s. I decided to give it a try. Over the next six months, I lost 75 pounds. Over the next few years, I dropped another 20 pounds or so. By November of 2005, I’d lost 100 pounds and I’d just taken up running. By July 2006, I’d lost over 120 pounds. I’ve now gained back 24 pounds, which if that was all it is, I’d be okay enough with. But I’m afraid that it won’t be.
I feel like I’ve given back all those hard-fought losses - that I’m back in 2005, only instead of feeling happy that I weigh 162 pounds, I feel like a failure. Intellectually, I know it’s not true and I struggle to try to find a way to make the size of my ass not the bellweather on how my life goes. That would be stupid. Except that if I don’t make it all about my ass, devoting myself heart, soul and sweat to keeping it my number one priority, then it gets away from me. And that’s not right either. It’s finding the balance that’s difficult.
I don’t have the answers, obviously. But I will watch and try to learn from others. It’s great to be athletic and fit and strong. I could have never imagined ten years ago that I would be participating in a half-marathon, even if walking it. I’m nearly 50 years old and for the last few years, I’ve been in better shape than I was two decades ago. I’m hale and hearty and strong. That’s got to be enough.