Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here Goes.

I get obsessive.  Anyone who knows me well will agree with this.  I just do, and I can't do anything about it.  It's hardwired into my brain, and rather than fight it I've learned, for the most part, to live with it and use it for the powers of good.

And right now I really have to embrace the obsessive side of myself, and give into it.  I might need your help along the way.

I have hinted over the course of writing this blog about how unhappy I am with the state of my physical health.  That's a very nice way to say I think I'm fat.  And to be blunt, I am.  I am overweight.  I am unhealthy.  I don't think it makes me a bad person, but it is something that I obsess about.  I live my life, take care of my kids, take (reasonable) care of my house, and wear a smile on my face when I can, but there is never a 60-second period of time in the day when I am not mentally berating myself about how fat I am or how unappealing I am.  Even though I know how unhealthy that is, how twisted, and I know enough to never allow my kids to know I'm feeling that, I haven't been able to stop it.  Lately, it has led me to a point where I feel like I'm allowing myself to enter a real depression.  Like the kind you need medication for.

Over the years, since right after I got married, actually, I have battled the bulge.  I have lost and gained over and over, each time gaining a little more, losing a little less.  It has spiraled to the point where I had almost given up.  Embraced the muumuu and tried to convince myself that I was meant to be chubby, there are lots of women heavier than me who seem to be pretty happy in their lives, even wearing clothes that I would never feel comfortable wearing, and actually looking just fine.  But I just can't reach that acceptance level, and I find myself just draping on baggy clothes (as if that makes people think I'm so tiny, that clothes must be just all too big for me--I have them all fooled!).

Now, I am not morbidly obese.  Although recently they (I don't know who "they" are, I just saw the story on the news) announced that guidelines have changed, and they are going now by percentage of body fat as well as overall BMI, so people that used to be considered "overweight" may now be considered "obese".  Great.  I do NOT want to know where I fall on the new, "improved" scale.  So even though I know I am not morbidly obese, and probably fall in the relatively "normal" range of American 40-year old women, I know I need to get healthier.  And I have got to find a way to stop beating myself up on a constant basis.  The only way I can see to do that is to get healthier, more fit, find some pride in something about myself.  By the way, this news came out on the same day that I got an e-mail from AARP about joining.  WHAT?!?!?  Good lord.

I joined Weight Watchers for the first time in the spring of 1998.  I had gained weight quickly after I got married, which I have been told is the sign of a happy marriage.  Mine must have been pure bliss, because it came on fast.  So I joined, and it became like a drug to me.  The counting points, the meeting, the weekly appointment with the scale, it fed into my obsessive personality.  And since my life was finally pretty easy, I think I was searching for something to obsess about.  I lost 35 pounds, rather quickly, and felt like I was on top of the world.  It felt sooooo good.  I was within 5 pounds of my goal weight when I quit.  I remember standing on the scale at a meeting, and my Weight Watchers leader saying, "you know, you could make this your goal weight."  Because it was a healthy weight.  And I had been stuck on it for 2-3 months.  She was trying to be positive, encouraging.  I quit.  I chalked it up to her not believing I could make it, so why bother?

Looking back, I know that the reason I quit was because I was weary of the obsession.  I was tired of constantly having to be aware of how much I was eating, what I was eating, how many points things were worth, how many points I had left to eat in the day, and on and on.  And I figured I already knew what I was doing.  I didn't need to go to the meetings any more.

I gained all the weight back.  Plus some.  Quickly.  And since then, I have been back and forth 6 or 7 times.  Had two successful pregnancies that tacked more weight on, and yo-yoed back and forth too many times.

Every time I go back, it's for the same reasons:  I'm fat.  I can't do it on my own.  I'm tired of obsessing about how fat I am.

Every time I quit, it's for the same reason:  I'm sick of the program, it's not working fast enough, I can do it on my own.

Recently, I had been playing with the idea of going back.  Again.  Hanging my head in shame, and walking AGAIN through those doors.  I have gone to locations all over the place, partially to find a fresh group or fresh leader, partially to avoid the shame of walking into the same meeting place with familiar faces, mine puffier than the last time.  I decided not to go, because I knew how obsessive I get about it, and besides--losing weight is just math anyway, right?  Calories in have to be less than calories out.  I have my treadmill up and running, it should be a piece of cake.

But a piece of cake turned into an entire cake, plus way too much other stuff, and I could tell I was completely and totally out of control.  It's that old spiral that way to many of us women have:  I feel so fat that I'm going to go hide in a pint of ice cream/bag of chips/pizza/hostess cupcakes (pick your drug of choice) to make me feel better.  Great.  Logical, though, especially during that one week of the month...

So I changed my mind.  I decided, over the course of a week, that I needed to go back.  I'm like an alcoholic, and the WW meetings are like my 12-step program.  And last Tuesday I went back to a meeting.  At my old meeting spot.  There's a new leader now, and only one remaining member from my old group.  I was nervous the whole way there.  I thought I would have that shame-y feeling, like "here I am again, a failure again".  But it felt good.  Reeeaaaally good.  The chairs felt good to sit in.  The people around me (who are now my new support group) were welcoming, and I felt like I was in the right place.  The program has shifted a bit, but that's good, because it feels new.  I even found out that I weigh 10-20 pounds less than I thought I did.  I do NOT step on a scale anywhere but those meetings.  Another obsession.  I even stand backwards on the scale at the doctor so I don't have to see the weight.  Denial, anyone?  Why yes, I'll have three helpings please.  And some more cake.

After the meeting I stayed for the new member orientation.  My leader asked me why I was returning.  I told her it was because I was tired of being obsessed with how fat I feel.  I also told her I have quit before because I get tired of obsessing over the program.  And then it hit me:  which obsession is better? Duh.  She asked how I was going to keep myself from quitting again.  My husband?  I said no, he would not be good.  Hubby is so sweet and careful, he would NEVER suggest anything about my weight.  If I want to quit, he'll just quietly support me.  Even though he's so proud of me right now for trying.

So there it is, people.  That's what I need you for, and hopefully this blog will help me too.  I've never done the program since I've had my blog until now, so it might be another tool to help me.  I can update my progress on here, and keep myself accountable.  And if I'm falling off the wagon, hopefully some of you will help me climb back on.

This is a big deal for me.  Not joining WW, been there done that, but putting it out there for all of you.  I've always felt torn about talking about it.  I've even tried keeping it a secret from my family before.  It's hard when you jump into something, and people know you're trying it, and then you fail.  I do that way too often.  I've tried to do it before without telling anyone, so that if I fail they won't know.  That seems counterproductive.  So I'm putting it out there.  Yes it may mean I will have to endure comments about what I'm eating, questions about my progress, and the uncomfortable once-overs.  But I have my group to whine about that to, and in the end, that's not a big deal.  I'm doing it for me, not them.  I need to grab onto something I feel like I can succeed at.  And actually succeed.  I want my hubby and kids to be proud of me.  I want to be proud of myself and not so hyper self-conscious.  I want to feel like when people see me, they don't notice my chub first.  I want to wear cute clothes and feel good about it.  I want to feel like letting my husband really see me.  With the lights on.  I know!

So can you stick this out with me?

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