I keep thinking back to what was different about this last time trying to lose my excess weight and why I’ve been able to maintain it for going on 8 years now.
Sure, it’s a good thing that I reached my initial physical goals: smaller pant size, normal body weight for my height.
You know, the superficial ones that get us started.
It got me to thinking about what it is that keeps me going now, now that I’m pretty much where I’m going to be.
My goals changed remarkably over the years, and the goals now I wouldn’t have even known to verbalize them almost ten years ago. Back then all my mental energy was spent worrying about my weight and my size.
I’d wake up each morning wondering if I was going to fit into my clothes and what I was going to wear if I didn’t.
Every day it was the same thing – I’d literally think about my next fix of junk food all day long.
I’d wake up planning on leaving the house early enough to swing by Mickey D’s to get breakfast sandwiches, made sure my meetings were set up so I could have time to go to the vending machines mid-morning.
I’d leave the office at lunch time to grab an Ultimate Cheeseburger or some other similar health-wrecking meal, and then try to stop myself from stopping on the way home to pick up a snack before going home to fix dinner because by this time I am disgusted with myself.
I’d lay around after dinner because I had absolutely zero energy to do anything else, only to go to bed and promise myself that I would start my diet again tomorrow.
Same thing day-after-day-after-month-after-year, all of my mental energy was spent thinking about my weight.
I had no energy and no wish to concentrate on anything else. My weight was my focus. It was the reason I couldn’t do anything else, whether I wanted to or not.
I couldn’t do what I really wanted to do unless, and until, I was thin. And that wasn’t happening, so I had a reason to not strive for anything better.
Heck, I didn’t even know what else I wanted! I didn’t allow myself to think that deep.
Don’t get me wrong – on the outside my life wasn’t horrible. I was (and am) married to a good man, have a child, a home, a job with great responsibility – but I hated myself for what I was doing to myself.
I was digging my grave with my fork, to quote the great Porter Freeman.
I now realize that part of the reason I kept the weight on – and it was my choice, I can see that now in hindsight – was because if I didn’t have the weight to focus on, I would have to focus on the other areas of my life that needed work, and that I just wasn’t willing, or able at that point, to undertake that work.
I would not have the reason of “I’m too fat to do anything about that” any more if I lost the weight. I would not have a reason why I wasn’t pursuing the dreams I really wanted in life but was too afraid to go after.
The fat served a purpose. It kept me from moving ahead and it gave me a reason to stay where I was.
It was a hundred pound excuse – and who could argue with something that big?
As I started to lose the weight, my security blanket became smaller and smaller. With my biggest excuse for not taking responsibility for my life starting to fade away, I was out in the open.
I was terrified.
I had to learn that if something didn’t go right (defined as the way I wanted), I couldn’t just crawl back into my shell (binge) and say forget it and I’m just not going to deal with it.
I had to deal with it if I wanted to keep the weight off. I had to go forward and keep trying. I had to take responsibility for my life and what I did with it. I could no longer use the pounds as the reason for not trying.
And you know what I learned?
That failure – or what I would consider failure – wasn’t fatal.
And that the more I tried different things the better equipped I was to try even more.
The more I dealt with from my past (and there was a lot) and the present, the easier it was.
I even started to intentionally do things I was scared of. That’s worked out very well for me.
So, what I’m wondering is this: What is it that you are avoiding dealing with?
Why are you focusing so much of your mental and physical energy on losing weight, over and over again? What could you be doing if this wasn’t your main energy focus? How much bigger would your life be if you went after what you really wanted and didn’t use your weight as an excuse for staying put?
P.S. We all need a little help sometimes. If you find that you need someone to be there with you during the journey, call me. I’m always here for you.