Here’s the thing. As you all know, I did really well last week. With all of the stress of studying and my total dedication to running, I managed to just count my points and do my thing which resulted in a 1.2 lb loss. But then, something happened.
At first, I thought it was just about my little brother and family being in town, however, as the week wore on, and said little brother, wife and baby left, I realized there was something else going on. I just couldn’t get my eating back on track. First it was the pre-GMAT supper, then the post-GMAT celebration. After that, Sunday happened and we had family dinner with my aunt, cousins and grandmother. Then it was Labor Day and Justin, Cherity and Tannon’s last day in town, which made eating out a requirement. Tuesday was the first day of the semester (an overwhelmingly crazy day at work), so I rewarded myself with dinner and ice-cream. And then I ran out of excuses…other than the week was already shot, so why not live it up? Which is how Panda Express and two scoops of ice cream happened on Wednesday. And today, well, I’m not sure what the deal was today. Maybe the knowledge that I wasn’t going to go to my meeting. Maybe it was knowing that I would be back on track tomorrow. In any case, today was quite the day, as well. Why must I love ice cream so very, very much?
I missed my meeting tonight because I had somewhere else I needed to be…and I’m out of money and I need to pay to be weighed. Torture upon torture. As expected, Jenny called and left a message (as I was indisposed) to find out how the meeting had gone (a conversation that I eagerly anticipate every week). So after I was done with my evening and on my way home, I called her back and told her that I hadn’t gone. As I was recounting the indulgences of my week, I came to an interesting realization…and that is why I love good friends and good conversation. It is often in moments of confiding in one’s friends that clarity comes.
Here’s the realization. Last week I dropped below THE weight. Now, this is not a weight that is significant to anyone but me…but in my world, it is a beast to be reckoned with. My whole life, there has been a magic number where my body really, really likes to reside. I hate that number, but it is comfortable. I know how to be that weight. I know I’ve talked about knowing how to be fat and the fear of being something different, but it is that weight, that number, that really embodies my fears. I have never maintained a weight below that one. I have been thinner, for sure, up to 25 lbs thinner, but it is always short lived.
I am scared. And while stress rarely induces eating, fear almost always does. And the fear of failure is probably the biggest fear that exists chez moi. I am terrified of failure. This fear has paralyzed me at different points in my life; it has kept me “safe” for many, many years. This year has been my year of staring fear in the face and telling it to eff-off. Yes, that’s how strongly I feel about it…which is why it took so long for me to realize what was going on.
If I were to stop the weight loss journey now, I know I could maintain this weight. There’s very little risk. Sure, I could gain weight, but chances are slim with as much as I exercise. But, if I continue on this path, then failure is a possibility. A very, very real possibility. And I cannot fail this time around. My entire year has been about success. I stared down my fear of being alone and called off my wedding. I decided once and for all that I was going to run a marathon, and I’m doing it. And, while I know I’m not in grad school just yet, I finally let go of my fear of it. I know this may all sound crazy, but as one who revels in the safety of certain success, I just don’t do things where failure is a possibility.
Epiphany! As I write! I have always succeeded at losing weight because I make that my goal and I know I will do it because that’s what I do…achieve my goals. I have never thought to make keeping weight off my goal. Something to think about.
Back to my point. I am scared of losing more weight than I have lost. It ties in to my fear of not being fat, but it’s a bit different. I still fear a world where I feel average in the weight department. I don’t know what it will be like. I won’t have the “filter” of my body. You see, all you beautiful, thin people out there, there’s something you don’t realize about those of us who aren’t so blessed…at least in my mind (I realize that not everyone shares my opinion on this one). We rarely have to worry about someone being after us for our bodies…well, unless that’s we’re the type they are attracted to, but I have yet to encounter one of those. Sure, people find us attractive, but it’s not usually the source of the initial attraction. I hope you are all reading this the way it’s meant. I do not mean that someone has to “overlook” my body to find me attractive, just that my body is not what is going to make someone interested in me. Does that make sense?
Anyway, I have a fear of losing the “filter”. I like knowing that when a guy is interested in me, it’s about me and not the way I look. But what I am afraid of right now is losing the weight…and then finding it again. And you know when hindsight is 20/20 and all of the pieces fall into place. That’s what happened during my conversation with Jenny tonight. My eating and lack of exercise this week (minus running 18 miles on Monday) didn’t stem from celebration or stress. The culprit was fear…fear of failure.
And knowledge begets choices. I can quit and be content to be the me I’ve always been. Or I can keep going, knowing that I am heading into uncharted territory, knowing that I have never been thinner than I am today without some kind of eating-disorder-induced weight loss.
Of course, you know what my answer is. I must keep going. I must sit with my fear and move on. This journey has been an absolutely amazing process so far. I have lost 25 lbs (well, perhaps a little less than that as of today, but since I no longer have a scale, I’m not sure), but more importantly, I have found myself, and my insecurities and fears and, like the Easter egg hidden so well it is only noticed once it begins to rot, I believe that fears and insecurities cannot be discarded until they are discovered.
I had no idea when I began Weight Watchers 14 weeks ago what I was in for. I thought that I would lose weight and finally do it in a physically healthy way. Had I realized the emotional ramifications at the time, I’m sure I would have managed a way to feign happiness with my weight in order to avoid the struggle. While physical pain has never bothered me much, I will avoid emotional pain at almost any cost. But it’s a little late for that. I am on the road and removing myself, at this point, just wouldn’t make much sense. My innocence has been lost and it cannot be regained.
And with that…GAME ON!
oh wow- i love that last line- it captures everything. i can’t really put it into words but your post seriously resonated with me- i have similar fears in terms of weight maintenance and really similar thoughts regarding emotional and physical pain (given my academic path, that is sort of ironic). way to let it rip in the face of fear. 🙂
I love your analysis. You are such a deep thinker. It’s kind of intimidating!
This is such an amazing post. It must be so liberating to understand so much about your relationship with food. I think it’s so hard to admit fears- especially fear of failure. I am much the same way- I avoid anything that has the possibility of failure. But you, I don’t know how you can say that. Hello, GMAT? Marathon? I think you’re doing quite well. BTW, last week I had the same experience with my food/eating habits and I got so mad at myself. Can’t seem to crawl out of the pit. I recently signed up on dietwatch.com. I like the menus, customized plans, exercise log, etc.
I think we might share a brain.
Great post… it’s an interesting thought to consider whether or not people are after your body, rather than the rest of you… but I think those kinds of people usually stick out pretty badly. YUCK.
I didn’t know you could dig so deep and come up with a completely new awe-inspiring expose each week. Truly beautiful. I have fear too and I think I need to pay to be weighed. You’re doing it and being incredibly real about it. Thank you.