Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Truth is, the people I meet throughout my daily activities don't know me. (I sound like one of those girls on Maury now...) They don't understand my struggles or that I've actually lost over 150 pounds from my highest weight. What they see is the "after" picture from Phase II that is only a "before" picture of me starting Phase III. While most times this is just how I want it, it has its downsides.
I doubt they'd look at me that way...if only they knew. Knew that I could probably run circles around them in the gym. Knew that I eat more reasonably than they do about 85% of the time. Knew that I do all this while under extreme pressure and pain from my back and hips and pelvis and foot, which, ironically, I've been told is not from carrying the weight and is more likely caused by losing it (or from my pesky kids who may have made a mess of me while finding their way into this world).
I also doubt they'd stare and gawk and make jokes and point and laugh if they understood the struggle I face every day.
Yes, it is still a struggle sometimes to pass up McDonald's after a 10-hour work day, 2 hours driving and an hour in the gym to go home and spend another hour or so in the kitchen whipping up a delicious and healthy meal that fits into my daily calorie allowance.
Sometimes I worry. I worry that I've become so damn obsessed with counting calories that my life has become consumed by it. I worry that I am slowly starting to develop an eating disorder - for don't they mostly come down to a mental need to control what you're eating because the rest of life is impossible to control?
I don't think I binge more now than I ever did. I've just become more aware of it and own up to it when I do it.
I do think I'm exhibiting signs of addiction to exercise, and total mental breakdown when I'm unable to do so.
All of this worries me on an almost daily basis. I spend countless hours of each day worrying about what I'm going to eat, what I'm going to have to avoid, how many cups of water to drink, how many pushups/situps/crunches I can do, when I last worked out and when I need to again.
And then I get that stare. Anyone who has been morbidly or seriously (or whatever they like to call it) obese understands the stare. There's usually a smirk or some disgusted face that comes with it. I remember two that I got from some kid and her mom at the Tennis Clinic at the Resort this weekend. In fact, I got more stares and glares there than I've gotten in a long time and it set me back about 2 years.
It's no secret that I still have body image issues. Who wouldn't when my entire body, when naked, looks like it's frowning.
And no amount of exercise is going to solve all these problems. I realize this. I know what happens when you drop 200+ pounds. I don't care how young you are or how many crunches you do, the damage is done, and the only way to undo it is through surgical means. And, let's face it, I'm still working on saving up money to buy a house...I really don't have the money for surgery. And I doubt with the decline of coverage from most insurance companies these days there will be any way to convince the a$$hats over at my insurance agency that it's needed.
And while I'm struggling with all of this mess of weight loss, or as people like to call it - "getting healthy" - I'm also struggling with the emotional battles that continue to rage on in my head. The struggles of every day life seem to consume me at times, making it hard to focus. My brain shifts from one thing to the next without ever taking a break. Even my dreams are filled with impossible decisions and tasks that will only get me halfway to where I want to be.
But every day I push it down. I push down the fears and uncertainty and just keep going. A kind of "cross that bridge when you get there" way of thinking. I have to get there first to even begin to figure out where I'll go from there.
And that road ahead of me looks daunting too.
I started this journey with a bunch of seriously overweight people who were great friends. And I've watched with joy and, yes, sometimes jealousy, as they've hit every goal I've had and made it to maintenance mode. I've watched them go from Lane Bryant to the Gap, and while I feel extremely happy for them, it makes me very sad.
I just keep thinking...
"It took me almost two full years just to get where they started."
THAT, my friends, is sad.
I keep telling myself not to think that way, but sometimes it's unavoidable. I listen to my best friend talk about her struggles to lose 25 pounds and I have a million tons of advice for her, which she may never take, but I also realize that she could start two years from now, or maybe four, and would likely get there before me. And when she gets there, she'll look amazing and get tons of praise. And I'll be left with mountains of saggy skin and that sad face naked body.
I must say that I am extremely grateful for the people I know in my life who understand this feeling. Okay, so maybe there's only two. But at least there are two. Every woman wants to have that one friend they can turn to and not say a word but know exactly the feeling...and laugh our a$$es off because we know that people don't fully understand, as much as they want to and try, they just can't.
Let me tell you honestly. We all have that moment when we're teenagers or whatever when we think nobody understands us. Some of us carry that into adulthood. And when you find that one other person who just seems to "get it"...it feels so validating - like you can finally take a deep breath and let it all go.
I see people all the time touting mantras about loving your body and all that.
Sorry, I don't.
I haven't loved my body...well, I don't think I ever did. I was always overweight and I knew that. I never liked how I looked and did my best to hide it. Later in life, I tried accepting it, but it's hard to accept yourself when you feel like you constantly have to defend yourself to the world at large. I'm sick and tired of defending myself. But I still feel like I must.
Because they don't look at me and know that my abs, thighs, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and forearms are so sore it almost feels like the muscles are detaching from around the bone and are going to fall apart. They don't realize that soreness isn't from trying to walk from the car to my office, but from 45 minutes spent doing no less than 80 squats, 40 pushups, 80 reverse crunches, russian twists, high knee runs in place, ski jumps with a medicine ball, alternating step-back lunges - and doing them to the point of failure.
They look at me and see a morbidly obese woman (still!). One that winces in pain which, they assume, is from inactivity.
If you don't know they feeling, just settle back and imagine it.
You've lost 165 pounds.
No surgery, no magic diet pills. Just hard work - healthy diet and exercise over the span of the past 8 years.
And you're still seen simply as a morbidly obese (read: fat and lazy) woman.
It's infuriating at times.
I went from Super Super Morbidly Obese (that's super super stupid, btw...) to Morbidly Obese and I still feel like I have nothing to show for it.
Because I may have another 8 years ahead of me.
It will take me another nearly 50 pounds to even get down to the Severely Obese range.
When I finally get to 230 (my current goal), I still won't even be in the simply Obese range.
(And, yes, I know BMI is crap...I'm just using this as an example.)
*bangs head on desk*
Yes, yes, I know what I'm fighting for.
No, I have no intention of giving up.
Yes, I realize things could be worse.
I'm sick and tired of this bulls-hit!
Because the God's honest truth is - this is mentally and physically exhausting. Not the eating right and working out part. Yes, that part gets hard sometimes. But I've become used to it. It's become part of my life now. I miss working out when I don't get to. I like the taste of healthy food over greasy nasty food. Got it. Good. Great.
But what's exhausting is the mental struggle. The constant worry about my calorie counts, that I'm just not doing enough, that I'm never going to get there, and that when I do it won't be enough. And those flippin' looks. Those are the most exhausting. Feeling the rage that burns inside of me when I get that look and know that I've been pre-judged based just on how I look. GAH! Will it ever end?
In 50 pounds.
Or another 100.
Or another 150, maybe.
Honestly, when I take a break, sometimes it's just a mental break from the nonsense. From overthinking it. From trying too hard. From constantly feeling like I'm failing because nothing is good enough.
It's time to plan another month of workouts...and all I can think is how I've failed myself this month. How I skipped last night's workout because I was so comfy (and sore) on the couch with my boys just sharing the time with them. How I went out to eat (again) and ate to just over full (even though, honestly, it didn't kill my calories for the day - I was still in my ranges so I should be okay with it ...but I'm not, because I could've done more, been better, and I'm up 3 pounds from Monday's weigh-in at the gym and I constantly feel like the battle is neverening).
*shoves down the fears*