So, as happens on occasion, a comment on a blog turns into something I want to expand on. Charlotte talked about maintenance, and her great fluctuations. Before I started the great de-porkification in 2007, I was exactly the same way. I’d forget about veggies and remember more french fries and gain weight ’til I got the point of being unhappy with myself, then employ some ridiculous plan like the crackers and stress diet, or super caffiene pill diet to try to become what I was before. The difference is I never quite got to my low weight, so it was just this dippy little rollercoaster that would keep going down then up up up, then down a little then up up up, until I found myself at 265 lbs and was ready to finally go down down down. So I find myself now almost at the start of the ride again, hoping to get off for the final time, for good. I like rollercoasters but sometimes, enough is enough and you start to feel queasy at the thought of getting on another one.
So here is the challenge – I’m now at a weight that though the BMI scale says is still 10 lbs overweight, I definitely feel healthy. I no longer feel as if my weight is holding me back from doing any normal athletic activity. I look into the mirror most mornings and thing, “gee, don’t I look good”. I would not be embarrassed at all to run into any exes or people I knew from high school or whatnot. I can go into any store, pick up clothing, and it will fit. Sure, I might look ridiculous in super low rise jeans or a halter top, but size-wise, I’m set.
The problem is, I don’t feel like I’m done. I feel like I’m on the big side of ok. There are some mornings where I wake up, put clothes on, and I’m just like, ugh. I definitely still have some belly I can lose, as well as that annoying chicken wing meat, and I’d like to see a little more jaw bone. If I do decide to take up a serious athletic endeavour, I could definitely see wanting to shed some more weight for non-cosmetic reasons.
I’ve not had a history of any sort of eating disorders, beyond being young and stupid and thinking that I just wasn’t strong enough to be an anorexic. I might have eaten less or more than I should have at times in my life, but I definitely don’t exhibit tendencies of major binge eating or restricting my food intake beyond what is generally sane and healthy. I only throw up when I am extremely sick, I would never consider doing it for any other reasons. When I eat too much, it’s because it’s tasty. When I eat not enough (which is very rare), it’s usually due to forgetfulness, or a severe illness like the flu. I did previously have a little bit of a tendency of saying, “man I had a hard day, I’m going to treat myself to a cheeseburger and a beer”, but I think that’s *fairly* normal, right?
I lay this out because I realize, at this embarkation point, I need to watch myself closely. While I have no history of disorder, I definitely have the type of personality that could be pre-disposed to it. If losing 10 lbs is good, then losing 50 more is better, right? If working out 7 hours a week is good, working out 15 is better! More, more, more, I want it all! I have definitely made strides in being a more balanced person than I used to be, but as Ani Difranco says, “they say that alcoholics are always alcoholics even if they’re dry as my lips for years, even if they’re stranded on a small desert island with no place in 2000 miles to buy beer”.
So why can’t I just leave well enough alone and be happy? Maybe if I had always been fat, I’d be just satisfied being not-fat. However, I have this memory of looking extremely kickin’ when I was training in gymnastics. Like, I still had curves, but nothing else but the boobs on my bod jiggled AT ALL. I really and truly need to scan some of those pictures, but take my word for it. I hear that blah de blah, I’m 29 not 16, and I realize that there may be some loose skin issues taking myself down to half of myself from 2 years ago…but there is nothing unhealthy about the weight I was at, and while I don’t expect to be 8% bodyfat again, aiming for that healthy weight of 125 is not ludicrious-sauce, right? There is nothing wrong with a 5 foot 5 inch chicky-poo weighing 125, is there?
After the journey I’ve been on for the last 2 years, after all the work I put in to this, after all the mental and physical accomplishments I’ve made, don’t I deserve to see this through to an end where I am content on working on my fitness level only, and not worrying about the number being too high? Can’t I, for once in my life, get to a point where the back of my head is quiet and not saying “I wish I could lose 10 lbs”? I feel like there is this weight out there where all of a sudden, I’ll know it’s time to stop shedding. That I will be fully, completely, and totally happy with my physical form for the first time in about 20 years.
I’m just afraid that will never happen. I don’t want to be that person that is always trying to lose 5 lbs. I don’t want to get too skinny, but I’m not sure what too skinny is. I’ve never been there in my life. It might actually be enlightening to have a frame of reference for that. However, I’m envisioning 3 scenarios as end game for the losing phase of this journey:
1. Best case: I reach a weight where in my mind it clicks that I am fully and completely happy here. I wish to not lose any more weight. I rewrite my bio and update my progress page one last time, and I stop whining about anything weight related for the rest of my life.
2. Worst case: I get to a point where I have to either eat or exercise in a way that’s not comfortable to my lifestyle, I fight with it for months and make no progress, and just give up and decide that, to quote the cheesy phrase, things DO taste as good as thin feels and say eff it all.
3. What will probably happen: I’ll reach a point where I am mostly happy with myself, decide I am done for a while, maintain there and work solely on fitness and replacing lumps and bumps with sexy, sexy muscle, and then re-evaluate whenever I find a reason to do so.
It must be navel-gazing Wednesday. I know I have at least 10 more lbs to go, so it’s not an immediate decision to be made. I do very much realize now that being at the perfect weight is not going to suddenly make my life perfect too, but I’m a project manager. I like to check things off. Seeing charts with 95% complete bugs the crap outta me. I’m just wondering when it will be time to make that proverbial check mark on such a nebulous task.