If weight loss is a journey, and it most definitely is, it’s one with an unpredictable terrain, obstacles you never expected, wrong turns, right turns, progression, and regression.
I ache for the days when I was 157 pounds (the lowest number I ever saw on my scale). The crazy thing is that even at that point I still looked in the mirror and saw a fat girl. Since the goal was always 130-ish, I was never quite able to look at my own progress and say “this is good.” Now, when I see pictures of myself at that weight, I realize that if I had never lost another pound, I still would have looked happier and healthier than I’d ever been in my adult life. Now I see it, but not then. Such is the pain of hindsight, yes? I’m not saying I should have given up before reaching my goal, but my gosh, why couldn’t I have relished and celebrated where I was, every step of the way?
Well, you live and learn. I started writing for this blog when I was in my mid-20s. Now I’m 30. A different perspective. A few more mistakes made. A little more life under my belt.
And speaking of my belt–well, that’s why I’m here, isn’t it?
Part 1: Reckoning
I can only deny the affect my weight and size have on my life for so long. It’s always been like that. I can hide behind dresses and cardigans for a while, but eventually it gets to the point where I see my own personality begin to wither under the shame of being overweight. I’ve always maintained that there are people in the world for whom this isn’t the case. Some folks aren’t bothered by their weight all that much. I’ve just never been one of them. Even if I wanted to be like that, I couldn’t. Like a millstone around my neck, I’m always painfully aware of the things my weight is keeping me from – athleticism (not graceful athleticism by any means, but at a healthy weight I do enjoy tennis, swimming, and running), clothes I want to wear, personal and professional relationships in which I’d like to invest. It’s as if all the best parts of me are trapped under a fortress of fat that I myself have built, and only I can deconstruct.
Like so many do, I’ve come to the point of reckoning. That bittersweet place where you realize you’re simply ready for a change. Where you bear up the courage to start moving in a different direction, despite the seemingly unstoppable momentum pushing you the other way. I don’t want to keep gaining weight I’ve already lost once upon a time. I want better for my life. It isn’t a New Year’s resolution. The New Year just happens to coincide with my moment of truth.
Part 2: Blogging
When PriorFatGirl came into my life, I suddenly has this amazing, dynamic, engaging outlet for my thoughts. I would cast out a net – woven together from my daily cogitations – into the ether and lo and behold the ether would respond! There were comments, suggestions, and thoughtful emails from readers who resonated with my experience. The back and forth conversation on the pursuit of healthiness was a wonderful thing. Until it wasn’t.
This is a difficult issue, and anyone who has shared of themselves in a public space knows it well.
I am nobody’s hero. I will absolutely be disappointing to you at some point. I don’t know everything. Were I to live to be 10,000 years old, I still wouldn’t know it all. I can’t even claim to be an expert on myself, because if I were, I wouldn’t still be battling my weight, would I? I am not after popularity or fame. I’m here to write. Writing is my best and favorite thing, my method for sorting out the spaghetti-like lump of thoughts that swirls around in my head all day and night. I’m doing it for me. Not you.
However. I really, truly, love it when other people come along side me on the journey. I so enjoy reading feedback and finding a “sameness” among the people who stop by here and hang out for a while. I like that this struggle, which can feel so deep and dark, doesn’t seem so isolated when a chorus of voices cries out “me too!”
There is an undeniable power in a woman’s words. She can build up, or she can tear down. One is really a beautiful thing to behold, and the other is so ugly. So I’m asking, help me keep the culture of PriorFatGirl in the “building up” category. There’s a whole internet full of places where people spew vitriolic hate at one another and exploit one another’s shortcomings. I don’t want that here. I’d rather have three readers who never comment than 100 readers who use the comment section as a weapon. It’s hurtful. It’s rude. It’s unnecessary.
By all means, have dialogue. Have a difference of opinion now and then. We grow from those things. Just, you know, do it politely. The way you would if you weren’t protected by the anonymity of a computer screen.
Part 3: Logistics
In 2014, I traveled to some places where people live a little closer to the earth. Portland, Seattle, and parts of France, specifically. In each of those locales, food and ingredients were much simpler than here in Texas where we batter and fry food that is already battered and fried, just to see if it can be done. In France especially, the richness of pastries notwithstanding, it was eye-opening to see how basic the cuisine was. People would share a piece of fruit for dessert. Cuts of meat were what we would call “child-sized” here in America. Coffee with cream was a perfectly reasonable breakfast. “Because,” as one man explained to me incredulously, “cream–this is dairy. It becomes solid in your stomach. What more room do you have for food?”
I’ve historically felt best and had the most success eating a basic (but not boring) diet. I guess I just forgot that.
So, it’s back to cleaner menu. Lean proteins, nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and a few carbs now and then to keep it interesting.
I’m doing Crossfit about three times a week. I’ve been doing it since this summer, and even though I am consistently the last person to finish the WOD (workout of the day), for me it is an essential key to pursuing healthiness. I’ve never been able to push myself at the gym they way I am pushed at Crossfit. It’s usually the most difficult, uncomfortable 60 minutes of my day, but the sense of accomplishment I feel when it’s over is worth the challenge.
I think PriorFatGirl Liz has done such a good job of establishing a rhythm to her blogging, so I’m going to follow suit. In the style of @LutherLiz, tomorrow will be “Week 1: Weigh in 1.”