One More time…..one pound at a time…..one day at a time

Dear Food,

I think this is a conversation that is long overdue, and should have been had a long time ago. I think it’s time you and I evaluate our relationship, or more importantly, the role you play in my life. I was hesitant to admit this about myself, but frankly, my family, my friends, pictures, and the scale can’t all be wrong.  You and I have a problem, or I have a problem with you. First, let me say that I love you. For 31 years you’ve sustained me, and satisfied my taste buds and filled my belly with your charms. But the problem is that I have relied on you way too much. Instead of using you a fuel to my body, I have made you a companion, and emotional outlet, and that can be deadly. So, this week, I visited some of our favorite places, and enjoyed myself, because things between you and I are going to have to change. It won’t be easy for either one of us, but it’s something that has to be done. We’ll be happier in the long run. You have to admit, wouldn’t you like to there to be some space between us? I’m not saying this will be easy, it will probably be the hardest thing I have ever done, but it’s what I have to do.

                                                                Ebony

“The only difference between a thin person and an overweight person is the thin person just tried one more time”

                This was the quote the nurse at the weight loss clinic I attended in high school told me when I was feeling discouraged about beginning another chapter in a seemingly endless novel in my life; my battle with my weight.  She used it to remind me that failure in life only occurs when you don’t try or stop trying, and to encourage me not to get discouraged or give up. It is in that same vein that this week; I will make one more attempt to make the changes on my life to become healthier. And another…and another, and it’s scaring the shit out of me.

                A lot of times when a person is obese (or morbidly so in my case), the question they are asked by people is “do you want you really want to lose weight?” I always thought that was a stupid question, because most people would prefer the number on the scale to be lower than higher. But, better questions to ask would be “are you ready to make a total lifestyle change and commit?” “Have you ever looked at patterns in your eating, such as emotional binge eating as a source of your problem?” because then, you are causing a person to think about more than diet and exercise, and that’s always scary.  It’s a lot easier to eat than to examine who you are, and determine that you’re eating to avoid dealing with other issues.

                Now, it should be noted that not every overweight person has a hidden childhood trauma or internal conflict they are trying to swallow. For some, they eat too much, move too little and it all added up. For others, cultural conceptions and attitudes toward food and meals play a role into things. Whatever the reason, the US has a big problem on its hands, and I am one of the people dealing with it.

                In looking at myself, I think that I have a combo of emotional eating/food addiction/weight as a defense mechanism at work here. I eat when I am bored/sad/stressed, and my fluffiness has always been how I describe myself, mocking myself when the need arose (humor, the go to weapon for every fat girl). And I even wonder could I see myself at a healthy weight, and function there. I’ll never know until I get there.  And then, there’s fear. Fear of failure, as well as fear of success. 

                The fear of failure is easily explained. I don’t like to fail, and every time I go on the cycle of weight loss and weight gain, I feel like a failure every time I regain weight I manage to lose.  You can say to yourself that it’s a slip, not a fall, and you get back up again, but for someone my size, with so much weight to lose, gaining back feels like an even greater defeat. So much so, that you may even give up. Or the total number of pounds you have to lose is so high; you wonder how you’ll ever get it off.  I feel that way about myself, and I know others do as well.  But for a lot of people, the catalyst to make change was simple; a 15 minute walk around their block (all they could do when they started), subbing their sweet tea and coke with water, asking for a salad with dressing on the side instead of a loaded baked potato at Longhorn. In other words, they took it one pound at a time, making the changes drastically, doing more when they could, until over the span of months, or years, they reached their goal. This for me will probably be one of the hardest because I am a very impatient person, and I like most Western-Americans I am used to getting things done expeditiously, I want to see results, and I want them NOW!! And I think this is where many people veer off track in their WL journey because they have a set goal in mind for a number of pounds they want to lose in a certain time frame, and when they don’t reach THAT goal in THAT time frame, they feel like a failure. When instead, they should look at the progress they made.  So , instead of celebrating the fact that they are healthier, can run and walk without getting winded,  and get compliments on how they look, they get angry and discouraged that they went from an 18 to a 12 by their class reunion, instead of an 18 to an 8, and they give up. I have done this too. So, I am going to try and remind myself that the journey to improve my health is not a sprint, but it a marathon. A lifetime of making better choices, some which will cause drastic changes, others that will be subtle. I will have plateaus, I will have setbacks, but I cannot give up. I have been obese for almost 32 years; I can’t realistically expect to turn it around in 6 months. It is a process, and it will come, one day at a time. The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step, and my journey begins with 20 minute walk, and pushing away from the dinner table.

                And when I reach my goal, the same process that I used to get there will be how I maintain. When I had a significant amount of success in my weight loss before, I remember being told what a good job I was doing, and not to get distracted and mess everything up. So, I became self-conscious, overly aware of what I ate, when I exercised, and ….screwed it up, gaining again. Wondering how I could diet the rest of my life. So, hopefully this time, I can say that just like I lost the weight one pound at a time, I can live a healthy life, one day at a time. One day of making better decisions after another. If I have a craving for something I want, have it in moderation, and then leave it there. A chic fil A salad with water instead of #1 with a large Arnold Palmer. One slice of Papa John’s veggie pizza on a whole wheat crust, instead of my spicy Italian large; a small coke instead of a 2 liter. Those moderations, day by day will keep me (hopefully) on track to a healthy lifestyle.

                Looking at myself in the mirror I even enter this journey with fear and trembling because I wonder how I let myself get this far, and if I can even do it. I am scared that I’ll fail; I’m scared that I’ll succeed and maintain. I’m even scared that it’s too late and the health problems I have avoided are already here. But even through my fears, my frustrations, my disappointing pasts, I am going to forge ahead. …One more time.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jessica (@TotesInapprops)
    Jun 06, 2012 @ 14:57:07

    I love this. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

    Reply

  2. essenseofebony
    Jun 06, 2012 @ 15:02:16

    Thanks a lot. Even now it feels like one step forward, 2 steps back, but I am going to try one more time.

    Reply

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