Thursday, January 23, 2014
The motivation myth
For years I have been asked about how you get motivated enough to lose 200+ pounds. The Mr and I did countless diets over our lives both before and after we met. From Cabbage Soup to WW style programs to the low fat craze of the 90's. Dieting has been a part of my life since I was young. My mom was always dieting at one time or another and the smell of yogurt makes me want to barf because 1) it reminds me of the times that would be all she had for breakfast and 2) that chit is nasty. All I saw when she dieted was deprivation and I continued that train of thought because back then, none of us knew better than thinking 70 calories for breakfast might not have us become seething beasts by dinnertime. I had plenty of things that could've motivated me to lose weight over the years. In high school, just having a school boyfriend wasn't enough to kick me into gear after two failed pseudo-relationships my freshman year. When I finally got serious my Senior year is when I met the Mr and we both just lost about the same amount and even though we were still fat, we accepted and loved each other. Why keep dieting? We gained weight as the blissful dating period carried on and then came the engagement. Surely a wedding would be enough motivation to lose weight, especially when back at that time bridal gowns went up to 24 with one or two bland ones thrown in for the 26 girls. Well you know how gowns run smaller? Well I was a 26 and bought a 24 that fit like a 22 and with a 2 year engagement, surely I could get the weight off. Nope. I should've been at GOAL weight for my wedding and had to sell the dress to get another one but I was basically the same weight I was when I bought the dress which meant gussets and darts. For those not down with alteration lingo, that meant they had to add panels to the sides so my big azz would fit into it. I look at our wedding pics and I still see how ill fitting that dress was and it makes me sad.
After many family issues from diseases and deaths and eating our feelings...work stress and eating our feelings...had a good day, had a bad day, had a boring day...ate our feelings we got to maximum density. Even becoming a hermit and literally not being able to fit into society anymore at restaurants, first class plane seats with discomfort (don't be fooled, first class seats aren't much bigger than coach), not being able to fully enjoy vacations we paid stupid money for or feeling like people were staring even when they weren't was NOT ENOUGH motivation to lose weight.
The only thing that did it for us initially at 494 and 455 lbs was the Mr having a health scare and it was weight related. It finally caught up with us and because I loved him more than myself, I knew we had no choice but to do something. Was it motivating when the weight seemed to melt off and the compliments flowed like fine wine? Sure. Of course it would be. But then we "settled in." Life gets better, we can do things we never thought we would be able to do, we can walk confidently down a street without fear of someone yelling at us because we're not the biggest people there anymore and walking to the kitchen doesn't make us winded. Then the compliments stop and it's not like we need them to know we're doing the right thing but that "shine" of the journey has worn off. This is just life now and even though we want to be smaller, we say things like "I want to lose more but if I *HAD* to stay this weight the rest of my life, I could be okay with it." But it's not really okay. We went off the rails over the holidays and some of it I don't regret. I don't regret having an uber college football shindig with a friend where I made way too much food or going out with the Mr's mom mid week to a horrifically calorie laden meal and sharing turtles from a chocolatier from their old neighborhood. I don't regret the cups of hot cocoa while watching the Christmas lights every now and then.
But even after all of the indulgences comes that feeling of just being uncomfortable. Things fit tighter. The rings don't slide around like they usually do, the jeans fit different, hell...the underwear fit different, those more hollow parts of the body are now filled back in with bloat, inflammation and fat. I stuffed my face with every cookie, candy and sweet I wanted over the holiday season. No, I have no idea how much I really gained because we both knew if we weighed ourselves at the time we made a plan that it could send us into a spiral even further downward. We made up some rules about how we were going to approach Saturdays and the weeks ahead and we said he had to support each other no matter how ugly it got. Then we went all Nike and just did it.
We were not motivated to do it. Far from it. I actually resented having to do it. We might've exercised throughout the holiday season but my heart wasn't in it and I'll be honest, sometimes it rarely feels like my heart is in it. I try to catch myself when I feel like I'm half assing it and push a little harder because I know going through the motions doesn't burn crap. I get tired of having some of the same old dishes but I'm not always motivated to think of something else. I did do a new dish this weekend on the fly and we both liked it but it was out of using what we had left not because I felt creative. It doesn't matter that we have a vacation coming up within the next few months because do you know how many vacations we've tried to lose weight for? ALL of them. It doesn't matter that a decade ago I told myself that by my birthday this year I'd better have been at my goal weight for at least two-three years by now. I'm probably two really angelic years off from that and it sucks. But honestly, I'm at an age where I can't rely on cutesy things like looking good in a dress or a reunion or some crap like that. I mean, if that works for others, more power to you. You're better than I am. But don't wait around for some kind of motivation voodoo that they try to sell you to get healthy that likely will never show up at your door. You don't do it because you're motivated to do it, you do it because you're a grown ass woman or man and when you check off your daily box of "to do's", you should be at the top of the list. Because if you're worried about everyone else, you're not doing them any favors by keeling over and leaving them because you couldn't "find time" to exercise or eat better. If we can "find time" to catch up on the DVR, crush fake candy on the phone, gripe to a girlfriend or any of the other things we seem to make time for then we've got time to exercise or plan meals for the next day/week. Not because we're motivated and gung ho with pom pom's in our hands but because it's what needs to be done to get us to where we want to go.
I want to keep making good decisions and learning and improving this weight loss adventure and not give in to thoughts like 'it's not a race' or some other excuse we tell ourselves to justify how slowly we're losing because we're not really doing everything we can to get the job done. But I'm not getting any younger and just the regular affects of aging are starting to rear their heads here and there. I don't need to add still being 100 lbs overweight to that. If you told me 7 years ago when we started this whole thing that I still wouldn't be at goal, I probably wouldn't have bothered to start because that would just be depressing to be that long in and still not in a healthy weight range. For 3 years we've stayed relatively the same and last year I started the last month of the year at the same weight I came into the year.
That sucks. Period.
I used to wait for that motivation as an excuse to do something. It never came. Instead potentially life threatening repercussions started throwing pebbles at our window and that doesn't just happen to the super morbidly obese...it can happen to anyone choosing to not get committed to a plan and stick to it. I care about each one of you and I want you to put YOURSELF first. I care about the Mr and I living a good, long life together that is going to be fun to look back on when we're on the front porch resting after a kayaking session when we're 90. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some meals to plan and maybe some exercise too because I've slacked on pre-planning that and that needs to stop.
What steps have you/will you take to get on track and stay there? Are these just words or will you put them into action?
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