Tired as this maxim is, it’s been stuck in my mind. Particularly in reference to my health.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that since February I’ve lost the extra 20lbs I’d regained after moving back to the Midwest. Overall, I look good. I feel good. I sometimes get more attention or compliments than I even know what to do with. I’m back to having lost a total of 80lbs. For the most part, I’m eating reasonably well. But I’m still carrying about an extra 30 unhealthy pounds on my frame. No matter how good I am at hiding them, they’re there.
Writing blogs last week about how to get motivated and stay motivated in one’s weight loss journey for Frank I couldn’t help but feel a little like a hypocrite. Though I’ve slimmed back into all of my smallest NYC clothes, all my size 10s and 12s, I’d stalled at the same weight I stalled at back in New York.
Even though Christa, my skinny little sister, gave me some goal clothes to slim down into (which was a very big moment), I hadn’t been motivated to. Finally I asked myself why.
I’ve known that I have a whole stock of reasons, okay, justifications, for staying at this size but I hadn’t asked myself why I was letting them completely block my way forward. Last week, I journalled it out.
Underneath all those justifications (and besides the fact that I haven’t evolved my goals enough after having already accomplish most of them and have spent way more energy coming up with reasons why I should stay at this size than why I should slim further), I discovered that it all boiled down to one simple, sort of strange truth: I haven’t wanted to face or accept that I’m in fact rather small.
As you all know, I started getting heavy very early. I’ve never known myself or seen myself skinny. I grew up with my normal being in the 200lbs range. Though, of course, I knew I was overweight, I thought I was also big boned. I’m tallish for a girl, 5’7.” I’ve got big feet, 9.5 (at my heaviest I wore 10.5). I figured that, like some of my college friends, my healthy would be between sizes 8 and 10. I figured a healthy weight for me would be in the mid to high 100s.
The more weight I’ve lost, it’s seemed like the more I’ve discovered I have to lose. Even Christa has commented that the skinnier I get, the smaller we realize I should be. I’ve discovered that a healthy size for me will be about the same as both of my sisters, between sizes 4 and 6. I should weigh in the low to mid 100s. For about half a second that knowledge was exciting. Once it really sunk in…I wasn’t thrilled.
I know, don’t most girls want to be small? Maybe most do. Not me. I’m the girl who used to carry around a notebook with the bumper sticker “Fat people are harder to kidnap” on it. Remember how neurotic *ahem* paranoid I am? The idea of being smaller than a size 10 or weighing less than 175lbs makes me feel terribly vulnerable.
That last line really names the core reason I haven’t liked the idea of being smaller: I hate feeling vulnerable. Physically and emotionally, I’m constantly trying to get around the problem of vulnerability. I’d like to be completely impervious or, at least, very well armored. But the reality of being human is that we’ll always be susceptible to being wounded. Acting as if having an extra layer of fat on me is like wearing chain mail is…well…just kinda silly.
Looking this fear in the face, finally, drained away all its power. Without it, all of my other rationalizations for staying at this size crumbled.
Following my own advice about getting re-motivated, I wrote down a list all of the things I can look forward to about losing the rest of this unhealthy weight. I was surprised by how long the list was. I set some realistic goals for myself, timeline-wise. Then I tweaked my Weight Watchers daily points value so that I’d be able to move from maintenance back to weight loss.
This morning when I stepped on the scale, I saw 173 for the first time. I’m feeling like less of a hypocrite now that I’ve set back out to finish this quest I started four years ago to actualize my actual size.