I’m always amazed at how I can feel so convinced that I’ve learned something important, something life-changing (!) one minute, and then the next minute feel like I don’t have a clue about anything. Sometimes I really dislike keeping a blog! How often have I written about a victory only to find myself wallowing in failure just a few weeks or even days later? How often have I thought I’ve learned something, written about it like I really know what I’m talking about, only to discover that I’m just as ignorant as I ever was? This is one of those posts. Last time I wrote, I was practically euphoric about how great it is to be releived from this need to be “good enough,” and how that has had an extreme impact on my weight loss. Today I’m writing a post detailing a virtual panic attack I had a few weeks ago because I was so worried about not meeting expectations (mine or those of other people) and how miserably I’ve been doing with my eating habits.
But such is life, I suppose. And the lessons I’m learning are real, even if I’m having to learn them more than once. :) It’s been a rough few weeks here with the weight loss goals, and I want to try to explain what has been going on as best I possibly can both for my own sake, as I feel I’ve been learning more valuable lessons that I don’t want to forget, and for the sake of anyone who might be reading. Perhaps it will help someone, somewhere.
It started a few weeks ago, when I got sick with some flu-like illness. At that point, I had lost a total of 50lbs since the birth of my daughter, 40 of that being lost over the previous two months. Before I got sick, I was 11lbs away from being the lightest I’d been in almost 10 years.
After about 5 days of my illness, I’d lost another 10lbs, bringing my total loss to 60lbs since the birth of my daughter. At that point, I was only one pound away from being the lightest I’d been in 10 years, one pound away from the weight I’d reached before gaining it all back again and then some two years ago. That night, lying in my bed, I panicked.
A few weeks prior to that moment, I had been reading a book called Shrink Yourself, a book about weight loss. In it, the author talks about how dieters sometimes sabotage their own weight loss because subconsciously they are hiding behind the weight. At one point, he writes:
“we’ve discussed the fact that others don’t demand as much of you when your fat, but there’s also the reality that you might not demand as much of yourself… again, it makes no logical sense to allow your weight to make you suffer just so that you can avoid the suffering that you might experience if you were to tackle life’s challenges. And yet, somewhere in the hidden caverns of your consciousness you’ve convinced yourself that the pain of being fat pales next to the pain of discovering your limitations.”
When I first read this, I mostly skimmed through it quickly because I didn’t think it applied to me. But on that night, I realized then that part of my struggle with losing weight, and possibly one reason why I’ve always gained it back, is that there is a part of me that doesn’t WANT to lose the weight. There is a part of me that DOES hide behind it, never expecting much from myself and hoping that others don’t expect much from me either. I’ve written before about my perfectionist tendencies and how I’d often rather not try at all than try and fail. I had no idea that my weight was tied into this, as well, In that moment, I was really terrified and didn’t have any idea how to handle what I was feeling. Part of me was glad I wasn’t feeling well, because my illness prevented me from raiding the refrigerator in that moment.
Once I got over the illness, I started dealing with a lot of physical and emotional issues related to both the weight loss and the simple aftermath of being sick (being too weak to exercise, for instance.) It felt like Satan turned to all his demon buddies and said “hey, yall, watch this!” and proceeded to dump a ton of stuff on me that I just couldn’t get out from under. Within a very short time, I gained back 10lbs and no matter what I’ve done, I couldn’t seem to stop overeating. I’ve felt so incredibly defeated, I just didn’t know what to do. I felt that God had taught me all of these wonderful lessons, and now I was right back where I started with no idea how to get back. But last night, I was speaking with a friend and he said something that was incredibly encouraging. He said: “What I’m hearing you say is that you’ve failed. What I’m afraid you’re beginning to think is that you should quit. There is a difference between failure and quitting. Failure isn’t a setback. QUITTING is what will destroy you. Fail all you want. But don’t quit!” As he was talking, I was wondering what “fail but don’t quit” would look like, wondering if I had already quit, or if I was just trapped in a cycle of failure. Then I considered the fact that there HAVE been times when I’ve made good food choices, although I didn’t want to. And there have been times when I’ve exercised even though I’ve eaten horribly the whole day. I think it’s safe to say that is, in part, what “don’t quit” looks like.
So today, I’ve been making an effort to do things that can be defined as “don’t quit.” I’m not ready to make any kinds of predictions about how things are going to go, or to say that things have turned around, but for the first time in a few weeks I have a lot of hope. And I’m thankful for that.
So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs and mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet. (Hebrews 12:12-13)
Category: Weight Loss