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Stay the Course, or… March 26, 2014

Posted by J. in Genius.
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5 comments

Well, it’s here. Part of me knew it was inevitable. I have seen other people lose large amounts of weight and drop right down to where they want to be. Sure, it slows as the pounds come off, but it keeps going, the numbers keep falling.

Me? Not so much. I plateau. I am the queen of the plateau. I spend so much time here I’m the Mayor of Plateausville.

I hit this plateau every time I lose weight. It’s right around this length of time and this amount of weight and general pound area. Usually I get a bit closer to 200, but considering I started higher this time, it all comes out in the wash.

By “hitting a plateau” I mean that my weight loss has slowed to the point of nearly stopping. I am not eating more, or less than I have been. My dietary changes have been minor. If anything, my workout intensity has increased, as has my fitness level. It seems impossible that those things would cause me to come to the dieting equivalent of sitting in rush hour traffic, but here we are. The car moves, incrementally, after very long pauses. As you try to relax and listen to some music, but the longer you inch along, the grouchier you become.

I’m trying to be patient, but I’m an Aries, and it’s not my strong suit to start with. But I can talk myself into patience. I can and do frequently remind myself that this is a long haul kind of thing and not a sprint to the finish. There is no finish. The course doesn’t ever really end. I can do that much.

Still, I am having a case of the anxiety/depression attacks that I know stems from the fact that this is where I’ve always dropped out in the past. I get to looking good, to feeling good, and then things just stop. I find myself still working hard, eating right, exercising, but it’s all just to maintain an unacceptable level of fat.

Yes, I consider myself very fat, and for me, it is unacceptable. I’m 220 pounds and that’s at least 70 pounds overweight. I think. Math is hard. I’m wearing a size 14-ish top and 18 bottoms. I know that my physical size isn’t the whole story…not how I look or how much the scale says I weigh. My ultimate goal is to feel good about how I look and feel, whatever that turns out to be.

But my friend Haley asked me the other day if I could be happy if my size turned out to be say, a 16.

The answer is no. I don’t think I can be happy at 200 pounds, mostly because it’s still too fat. I can do better than that. Can’t I?

What if I can’t get there? What if “less fat” is as thin as I get?

What if I do get there? What if I look at myself at 140 pounds and still see fat?

I haven’t been thin since I was in the 3rd grade.

I think a lot of the positive reaction I get is because the change in how I look is so very remarkable. Everyone I know has known me as a Very Fat Person. I don’t think they can imagine me weighing 140 pounds, even though we all know people who weigh that, or less, even. We’re just used to seeing them thin. Me, not so much. Fat is part of who I have always been.

Easter sweaters, 11 months apart.

Easter sweaters, 11 months apart.

So I sit here at 220 pounds. I’ve lost 1.5 pounds in the last 3 weeks. February’s loss was 4.6 lbs. Even losing a pound a week, that’s 70 more weeks to get to the high end of my weight range. I don’t know that it’ll pick up. I don’t know if I’ll be 200 pounds for the next 6 months. Or six years. Or forever. I was looking forward to the clothes I bought this winter not fitting me come fall. Needless to say, I won’t be tossing them in a bag as soon as (if it ever) warms up.

That thought makes me sad.

I know…I should be looking at it as it’s still losing. I will still get there, eventually. And I’ll have a better chance of keeping it off.

I keep hearing the advice, “Stay the course. You’re doing the right things, just keep going. Don’t be so impatient.”

But what if I’m not doing the right thing anymore? What if my body has changed and it needs something else? More food? Less food? More exercise? Different exercise?

I don’t know how to get through a plateau because I’ve never managed it. I have always gotten so frustrated with working so hard to maintain my unacceptable weight that my brain just caves. I try to do things to shake it loose, and when it doesn’t work, I give up. I figure if I’m going to be fat, I’m going to eat. I’m going to relax and not worry every day about if I can get to the gym or not. Or if this food or that one is bad for me. I want to go to a restaurant and order what I feel like eating, not what “fits into my plan.”

I know that stupid. I know I’m still better off maintaining this weight for the rest of my life than gaining it all back. I get it. I know it. But the way it usually works is you eat a deficit in calories to lose the weight, then to maintain it, you add some calories back in so that your weight levels out.

My weight has leveled out, but the math says I should be losing almost 2 pounds a week. So does this mean I have to eat this little food forever? Maybe that’s the case, and I have to deal with that sad knowledge as well.

I don’t know if this is my body making some adjustments. Maybe my metabolism is shifting in some way. Maybe it’s the running. Since I’ve picked that back up and it’s going well, maybe I’m trading my leg fat for solid muscle. Maybe it’s ramping up my metabolism and I need to eat more. It would explain why I’m always so freaking HUNGRY lately.

Maybe I’ve been eating too many carbs and my body is hanging onto them and turning them to fat.

Maybe it’s too much sugar.

Too much sodium?

I check my food journal and read labels. I’m weeding out the little bits of crap that have drifted back in as I attempt to feel a little more normal at mealtimes. I’m going to add free weights to my workout to build more lean muscle.

Beyond that…I don’t know what to do.

I know I should just keep swimming. But I’m just treading water, and right now, I’m scared to death of drowning. There are days that fear reaches near-panic levels.

And then there are days I feel good. I can run three miles at a go, and I do it once a week. I run every day now, usually only 2 miles though. Easier on the knees. I’ve increased my speed a little bit, and have determined that I probably won’t ever run fast enough to make racing worth it. But that’s okay. Being able to put my sneakers and earbuds on and head out for a run any time I want is plenty, really. I’m not competitive. I just like to do it. It quiets the demons for awhile.

Maybe it’s superficial. Maybe it’s adrenaline and endorphins and serotonin flooding my brain. But I don’t care. I run very fast because I desperately want to stand very still. I run to seek a void. The world around me is so very, very loud. It begs me to slow down, to sit down, to lie down. And the buzzing noise of the world is nothing compared to the noise inside my head. I’m an introspective person, and sometimes I think too much about my job and about my life.

I feed an army of pointless, bantering demons.

But when I run, the world grows quiet. Demons are forgotten, Krakens are slain, and Blerches are silenced.”

Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal, “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons I Run Long Distances

I have some pretty clothes and I’m confident that I clean up nice. Still not happy with all the hanging, flabby, saggy, blobby bits, which are getting more and more freakish by the day, but if I keep that shit covered, it’s fine. I can’t find pants to fit because I got an itty bitty waist and a big round butt, but I look good in skirts, so fuck it. Gives me an excuse to buy more sweet shoes.

There are always NSV’s and good days. Days I feel powerful, like I can do anything. There are days that the hard work isn’t all that hard. Sometimes it’s even pretty easy.

And then there are days where I’m acutely aware that my weight is going nowhere fast, and the notion that this level of suck is merely temporary doesn’t bring its usual comfort. ‘Cause what if it’s NOT.

You don’t know that it’s not. I don’t know that it’s not.

I have to stay the course.

Unless I need to change course.

I have no way on earth to know, and I’m scared. And disappointed. And today, I’m very discouraged. And on days like today, the victories have little soothing effect. I have to address the fear and disappointment over being stuck on this plateau. It is a lonely, painful, and demoralizing fight, and I can only pray that it doesn’t last for long, since I don’t know of any practical way to get past it.

The best I can do for today is try to outrun it, if I can.

 

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Something Sucks Around Here October 29, 2012

Posted by J. in FYI.
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1 comment so far

So, the opening of the last chapter of the Twilight Saga is just around the corner. And I have a confession to make.

I can’t WAIT.

Here’s what happened.

My daughter brought home the first Twilight book. I wondered if it was appropriate for a 4th grader to read. Sometimes I’m a dutiful parent. Mind you, I think I read The Thorn Birds when I was in fourth grade, but I was curious about it. I started reading, and about four pages in I got so mad I threw it.

I do not approve of that novel for any age level to read. It is bad. I washed my hands of it. I figured it was not up my alley because it’s a YA novel, and I am no longer a Young Adult. I’m an old adult and prefer to read something a bit more challenging. I let it go and figured Twilight was something I need never again worry my head about.

Then my friend Loraine found out I’d never seen the movies. “I don’t want to,” I said. “I have no interest at all.”

“You HAVE to. I have them on DVD. You will come over some morning and we’ll watch.”

She talked me into it. I brought knitting that I later had to rip out because my gauge was so tight from anger. She sat and laughed as the movie went on because I kept getting madder, and madder, and madder. I started yelling at the TV, and then at her. She dropped me off at home and I was PISSED. Super-pissed, even.

The story was already Not Great, so the movie wasn’t going to be Citizen Kane or anything. I knew Robert Pattinson wasn’t going to be the handsome, ruddy youth of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (rest in piece, beautiful Cedric Diggory). I knew whatsherface has one facial expression.

What made me mad was the fact that somewhere, the author of those books is raking in money hand over fist and is swimming in a pool full of gold coins like Scrooge Fucking McDuck somewhere. I could go off on a diatribe about what was wrong with the movie and the book, but I’ll let Matt Inman of The Oatmeal explain it. He does it so much better than I.

So when she asked if I was ready to watch New Moon while crouching behind the circulation desk at the library and well out of the reach of my swinging fists, I said yes, but this time I brought a big, honkin’ cup of coffee with a healthy dram of Bailey’s in it to take the edge off. And take the edge off, it did. Plus, New Moon had werewolves. Some very yummy werewolves. I was a little buzzed and liking the shirtless boys quite a lot. They weren’t so emo as all the vampires. It was a refreshing change. I found myself…enjoying it a little. I was not super-pissed when I got home.

Then there was another one, and I got me some coffee with a good, stiff shot in it and by this time I was rolling with it. I knew what was coming, and as it unfolded I just sat back and enjoyed it. It was hilarious. I was a little drunk. So when the first part of the fourth one came out, I was all over it. Now, up until this point, Loraine had seen them all. In the first and second ones, she sat and watched my reactions and laughed her ass off. She knew what stupidity was afoot and was wetting herself while fearing for her very life.

She hadn’t seen the fourth one. I hadn’t either, but I’d also watched three of these stupid movies in a row, fortified by Irish cream liqueur, and I was getting quite used to it. I was looking forward to what inanity they could dream up next, and I wasn’t disappointed. The first part of Breaking Dawn reached new heights of horrible awesomeness, but the best part was watching Loraine.

Rage face ensued. LORAINE SMASH. She was yelling at the screen. She almost stabbed the cat with a knitting needle. She was mumbling epithets about Scrooge McDucking in a swimming pool of cash.

When she dropped me off, she was super-pissed and I was the one laughing.

Honestly, for me the movies are like Rocky Horror. You know how the first time you see a cult classic like that you think to yourself, “This is the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Why do people like this so much?” Then you watch it again, and again, and before you know it, you’re hooked. You just get it. I will never understand why anyone is seriously in love with this franchise, but for me, it has all the appeal of a cult classic. The whole saga is so bad it’s actually amazing. It’s amazingly bad. But it’s serious in it’s badness and that makes it terrific.

And I can’t fucking WAIT to see the last chapter.

I’m dragging Loraine’s ass to the movie theater. No worries. Smitty’s serves alcohol. It’s going to be EPIC.