I have to have this conversation with myself once every few months lately, so you get to get in on this one. Lucky you.
So it’s been another 2 months since the wedding, and just like every vacation this year, I was able to quickly drop the “bloat weight”, and then seeing the scale go down starts to get me excited. If I can drop the 3-5 lbs to get me right back around that 153-154 that I’ve been hovering at, maybe this is the time. Maybe this is finally that month where my body is going to start cooperating and we’ll see some low low 150’s, and then that magical day I’ve been dreaming of – when I step on the scale and see 149.something. And I’m not leaning on the counter.
And every time, I am doing great, I see a low 153, maybe even a 152, and then I GET STUCK. Here I am now, bouncing around in the low/mid 150s. Where I have been since about April. To give reference and numbers because I love that stuff, I am 5’5″ and 150 is the tippy top of normal range for me via BMI. However, when I was a serious gymnast at age 14ish, I was only about 30 lbs lighter and I was a muscle beast. The only difference in my body now (besides the extra weight which I am convinced is ALL in my tummy) is I’m a D cup instead of a B, which all in all, ain’t so bad. My
back then go-to size was 7. My now go-to size is 8 (which we all know is bigger because average sizes are bigger but still). I have once again become a muscle beast. I am a capable athlete. While I wouldn’t dream of being able to do a straddle press to a handstand, girlfriend back then wouldn’t dream of being able to run 13 miles.
So why isn’t that enough? Why is it absolutely imperative that I get down to some number that I’ve set for myself? What wonders is life going to hold 20 lbs from now? I’ve already had the reality check that life still sometimes SUCKS some days even when you are a healthy weight and for all intents and purposes financially comfortable. Removing those two worries from life does not guarantee happily ever after. Will I be able to run faster? Probably a little but I highly doubt I’ll be rocking 5 minute marathon miles. Will I finally love and accept my body wholly and completely and nary once look in the mirror ever and go, “ugh, that stomach is NOT hawt” and suck in my cheeks and wish my face looked more like that? Probably not. At about 120 and 10% body fat at 14 (you couldn’t pinch an inch anywhere, I had a 6-pack, the only fat in my body was in my boobs), I was still not thin enough as a gymnast compared to my 80 lb teammates. But without doing something drastic, it just wasn’t going any lower.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate where I’m at. I’m not discounting the work I put in to lose 110+ lbs. I appreciate how life changing and wonderful that is. The thing is – I got the ball rolling Sept 2007 with a 8 lb loss that month, and never stopped losing each week EVER until about a year later. So while it was effort, I already had the inertia. I knew in my head that it was going to be hard to get going again so I just kept doing it. I was very right.
I also don’t discount the work I put in within the last 20 lbs lost going from huffing and puffing through a 5k at around 11-12 minute miles, to now cutting that time to 8:30 miles and being able to go over 4x that distance. My body looks and feels and handles completely differently in the last year. Clothes that fit last winter 10-15 lbs ago hang off me. Every pair of pants I own fits, even the “skinny jeans” I bought myself this spring that didn’t quite work when I weighed a few lbs less.
But the scale just keeps taunting me. I’ve tried eating less, I’ve tried eating more, I’ve tried intuitive eating, I’ve tried strict calorie counting, I’ve tried rest weeks, I’ve tried everything that doesn’t involve giving up food groups or foods of one color, ie, things that to me feel like sane, reasonable eating I can do for the rest of my life. I’ve posted a week of my intake, and the comments were somewhere between “yum” and “I’m getting hungry just reading, eat more”. Sadly, the best progress weight-wise I seem to make are rest weeks from the gym where I barely do any working out and I restrict my calories down super low (1300). When I start working out more and thus eating more (even if the calories I take in are way less than the extra calories expended), I go back to 154.
It’s to the point where I need to make a decision – spend the few months between the next half marathon and when I start marathon training going back to baby workouts and a 1200 calorie diet to see if I can take off the last 20, or just take a stand and say this is it. I don’t know what else there is. My thyroid and all other tests came out fine. The numbers show I should be making progress. I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that I cannot eat as much as any of you out there and lose weight.
Option one sounds painful (I am so addicted to exercise I actually don’t feel right in the head after rest weeks), but so does option two, because it feels like giving up. I still have a dress I can’t fit in. I’m still “overweight” BMI-wise. My tummy still poofs out all funny under the belly button. I still have something I’m pursuing in my head and I’m not there yet. It’s not just a number. I just want to get to that point in my life where I don’t get up every morning wishing I was smaller. The sad thing is I have never been there, so I can’t say when it will be. I have always been the Merry Lou Retton in a world of Shannon Millers. Stocky, muscular, and powerful looking at our best. But you gotta wonder, did she ever just wish she had that typical, emaciated gymnast body? My theory is that at some weight, I have to lose the “stockiness” about me and just look badass. But how far do I have to go to do it?
It’s just part of my insatiable mega-manic personality. I always thought the line, “somehow I feel like I was destined to be more” seemed cheesy, because don’t we ALL feel destined to be more? I’m trying to think of a way to say this that doesn’t make me sound like a horrible, self-deprecating person, but every day that I am not extraordinary, I am a failure to myself. Can I add to that “in a good way”? Like, the drive in me to be more, do more, be something amazing pulls me along by the nose.
That’s the quirk that had me in the gym 4-7 hours per day 6 days a week, or got me mostly straight As in school, or had me working 100 hour weeks without prodding, or now that has me working towards running 26.2 miles. It hit me recently that no, not everyone feels “destined for more”. Some people are just continent to be themselves and live their lives and are genuinely happy. Sometimes I really am jealous of them. Most times, I cannot imagine not having this crazy drive to do and to be more.
But I have this crazy bail button that keeps me from completely fulfilling my evil genius tendencies. I cannot give myself over completely to the crazy. Too close to the flames and I start feeling the burn. Once I start getting too far gone I pull the crazy-chute. I quit gymnastics and spent the last 2 years of high school being normal (if you can call normal honor roll, various clubs and activities, varsity diving, and two part time jobs). I quit the crazy job and now work a 40 hour week unless I am required to work more. NaNoWriMo made me throw a tantrum and I haven’t opened up the document since.
That’s one reason I’m trying to take the running at a safe and sane pace – I want to continue for a long time. The 3 runs a week program is feeding both my mega-crazy side (I am positively shredded after each workout) and my eject button side (I never run 2 days in a row), and the time commitment is less insane than last time. So that is mucho bueno.
So in summary – I’m just feeling a little bummed about what the scale is saying to me, realizing it’s the last month of 2009, where I was damn sure I was going to find my goal weight and stick with it because I was impossibly close. I have surely found A WEIGHT to stick with, but not the one I was hoping for. I just need to figure out what to do without triggering the crazy – if 1200 calories is good then 1000 calories is better and 750 calories IS BEST and fainting while running means I’m working hard, right? (I’m not there at all, believe me, but I acknowledge that I can get stupid focused to the point of losing my perspective sometimes.) I also don’t want to trigger my eject – the fuck it, I am done with this healthy living bullshit, I am going to do something completely different. I don’t want to go back to stuffing my face and not leaving my apartment unless forced.
Thank you for allowing me to lay on the proverbial couch here and vent. Now, I wanna hear from you. What’s working for you right now? How do you know (or will you know) that you’re at your proper and happy weight? Has there been a time in your life where you were utterly and completely satisfied? Any advice? Since I am broke and can’t afford a nutritionist, life coach, head shrinker, or the like, I turn to you – internetties!
Rainbows and sunshine next post, I promise!