Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13: Epic Battle of Good versus Cupcake

December 13 Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step? 
(Author: Scott Belsky. Once again, a part of the Reverb10 project for December.)

I'm generally a doer. I decide I want to make something happen. I go and figure out how to do that. I have a decent track record of success in that realm. I don't think I would consider myself a dreamer. I think big. But I think realistic. I am generally risk averse, particularly without ample research, thought and time. But I find satisfaction in simple things done well and in setting and reaching small goals that lead to larger payoffs.  I get things done. I like lists and order. I have moderate amounts of willpower and tenacity combined with lots of organization and it works for me. Except. Oh, except this one thing. Have I mentioned this one thing? I have failed to make this happen over and over and over and over again. It embarrasses and humiliates me. I hate admitting this failure or discussing it. It's deeply personal and deeply common. And I fear it's the very first thing people think about me when they meet me. I've written about it off and on before. When I read this question I knew instantly that I was going to have to write about the topic that I've been avoiding for months. Even though I said I was going to use you all to hold me accountable. Can I blame you then? No. Crap. It's all my fault.

What am I talking about? What massive and unexceptional failure am I admitting to once again? The goddamn inability to lose and maintain my weight loss. There is some cruelty that dwells in my head. I have a voice in there, it is my own, that takes a tone with me that I wouldn't allow from anyone else. I've mentioned this venomous judgmental mean girl before. She is not my cheerleader and she is not my friend. I don't like her. I kind of want to kill her if I'm being honest. Yet at the same time I feel like I deserve her. It may be this evil little mantra of abusive self talk that keeps me in this predicament in the first place.   Let me refocus here and stop with any regrettable hand wringing and any semblance of open pathetic pity party festivities.  I hate pity parties.

I'm ok. I'm in good health. I generally like and appreciate my positive physical attributes and I feel deeply connected to the human shell I'm working here. I do not stand in front of the mirror degrading and ripping apart my every feature.  I don't delude myself about who I am or how people perceive me. I am fat. But my body is tall and though big, it's proportional. I have curves and good hair and skin, a bright smile. And all my limbs are in good working order. This shell serves me pretty damn well.  Even my doctor said that I carry my extra weight better than most people. But I'm at a loss for what to do next.

I want to be able to run up four flights of stairs and not be out of breath. I want to take more physical risks. Maybe snow skiing or rappelling, something with a tinge of danger. And I don't. Because of my weight. And I hate this feeling. This sort of incapable, trapped, scared feeling.  I have tried a lot of things. Since the age of fourteen I've tried Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem with my mother in high school, South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers again and then again, read self help weight loss books, some Dr. Phil crap, and Genneen Roth's books. I've talked to a therapist, my doctor, my friends. And I think my hesitation is I'm not sure what to do next.  I'm afraid of failure. Again. More failure. Piles of failure wandering around wearing my old fat jeans.

I lost thirty pounds this year. I've kept off twenty. But I could go through the last fifteen years and list many of those kinds of numbers. That's what I focus on. I count the times I've tried and failed. If I totaled up the amount of weight I've gained and lost in the last fifteen years it would probably equal a small skinny family. Instead shouldn't I be telling myself that over the last eight years I've lost and kept off about fifty pounds from my highest weight? That's a great accomplishment. I have never gained that weight back. But that's not what I tell myself. I say that I'd like to lose at least another fifty plus and what's wrong with me that I'm so lazy and gluttonous that I can't. And since that fifty pound loss, I've bounced around with the same twenty to thirty pounds, up and down, back and forth. I can't break the cycle that I've set up for myself. I can track calories and eat well and work out consistently for about two to three months and then I let old habits creep back in. It makes me want to cry to admit my own short comings and embarrassing failures. I think I'm a smarter, mentally healthier person than all that. I am fixated on the failure and my constant, impotent refrain that I'll get back on track. I'll get back on track and start working out again. Because it feels good when I do. I'll start eating more salads and fewer empty carbs. Because I feel better when I do. I'll get to buy new clothes and be stronger and more active. And I'll feel better when I do. Monday, I'll start Monday.

But there is a disconnect between intention and action. And I don't know how to bridge that disconnect. I just don't. I feel helpless. I'm discouraged and tired of my own empty promises that I'm afraid to try again. And I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't.

So I'm going to think about it. Not the weight loss itself. But what's blocking my path and what new methods and supports do I need to seek out to be successful. Not diets, but methods to change my inner voice and my relationship with cupcakes. And maybe some new advice? You got any tips, you skinny bastards? Doesn't everyone love to give weight loss advice?


AnnMarie said...

Maybe make it less of an epic battle. By no means a skinny bastard, I find "making a deal" out of something really works against me. Whereas just one small thing (a single blog post, a page instead of a novel, a meal)makes it so much easier. And a pat on the back for every small thing.

DanaCK said...

The only thing that has ever made me skinnier is anxiety and unhappiness—eating well and exercise didn't really do a thing. I looked good but felt like crap. I don't recommend this particular method to achieving thinness.

You are gorgeous, Kassie. I've *always* thought that...and I wish I could stab that mean girl inside your head, or at least tell her to shut the hell up. You have a meaningful job, a kick-ass relationship with a wonderful husband, a cutie-cute doggie, and a comfortable home. You are smart, funny, strong, interesting, and compassionate. If the world was populated with more people like you, it would be a much better place.

My suggestion? Hide your scale. Dance in your living room, walk your dog, go on an photography expedition with Joe, and have a cupcake now and again. Some people are naturally skinny, others just aren't. There will always be people skinnier than you, and there will always be people carrying more weight. Constantly comparing yourself to to an ideal will only make you unhappy.

You are beautiful!

kassie lou said...

Thanks for the advice, ladies. I'm going to try and take what you both said to heart, since it's essentially the same advice. And Dana, thank you for the compliments. You made my day. I feel the exact same way about you. And you and Paul are the perfect example of the kind of parents Joe and I hope to be one day.

Emily said...

I like the comments from AnnMarie and Dana. And I'll add this:

The thing that revolutionized my life last year was working with a personal trainer. It was expensive and a significant dedication of time...but the results were tremendous. She was an amazing professional and I learned so much from her. I still work with her through group fitness classes, but the one-on-one was amazing. Just in terms of the variety of exercises I learned...and seeing significant (though incremental) progress. I was able to do things I'd never imagined.

Though I've regressed some since the spring, I know that I can get back on track relatively quickly. And I still have the knowledge from everything she taught me.