Week 4, Weigh-in 2

Week 4,  Weigh in 2:

199 lbs

- 4 lbs total


The last two weeks have been a challenge. The sharp focus I had on my prize in early January began to blur, and my willpower was tested frequently by chocolate, carbohydrates of any kind, and ruthless woman named aptly named Ruthie who drags a red wagon full of Girl Scout Cookies through my office 12 times a day. Doubt, the anti-companion of any attempt I’ve ever made at weight loss waged its first attack in an all-too familiar internal battle: The part of me that thinks this is too hard and too overwhelming vs. the part of me that wants to believe it IS possible for me to reach a goal weight.

Monday night, my restlessness had reached critical mass and I knew that some kind of action was required. I took a long walk and weighed my options. There weren’t many of them.

1) Quit  2) Not Quit

As soon as I gave myself permission to think about it that way, like I had a choice in the matter, I knew exactly what I wanted.

wanted to wear any dress from any store of my choosing to this year’s Christmas parties.

wanted to know that my situation is not hopeless.

wanted change.

I wanted the self-assurance I remember feeling two years ago when I had lost 55 pounds.

A memory of that time cut suddenly into my thoughts and I remembered a day when I’d gone to Charming Charlie’s and found the perfect pair of boots to slide over my size 10 skinny jeans. I don’t even like selfies, but I sure did take one and put it on the blog that day. Then I’d gone to Whole Foods and eaten lunch from the salad bar. It was incredible to feel so at home and so free and so in control of my own body.

I clung to that memory for several blocks, running through it again and again, recounting the treasure of it, and each time different details came back to me and it would become more complete. I remembered that I’d found this joy over not needing unhealthy food. I really liked healthy food I and liked that I had become picky about what I put into my body. I enjoyed making sure vegetables were part of at least two meals a day. The discovery of what a healthy body feels like had been nearly intoxicating and vastly more enjoyable than any high I’d ever gotten from processed sugar. At that very specific point in my journey, I didn’t know what it meant to feel angst over food choices. That battle had been won and the temptation of overeating had lost.

The sliver of hopefulness that came out of my reminiscing was just enough, and in a moment of clarity I knew I needed to fast on Tuesday. It would be a chance to detach from the intensity of losing weight and get a change of perspective. So I did. It was frustrating at moments. At others, it was awesome. When I fell into bed that night having proved to myself that I am not a slave to food, it was well worth it.

So I’m not quitting.

Elle

Week 1, Weigh-in 1

Better late than never, eh?

New Year’s Day was a good kind of busy, but it didn’t afford me the time I had envisioned for writing my first post. Sometimes life is like that. We plan for a story, and in the end there is only time for a sentence or two.

But I made a promise to myself. So this is it.

Week 1,  Weigh in 1:

203 lbs

Tomorrow, I’ll be a little closer than I was today.

Elle,

A PriorFatGirl

Reckoning

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.”

Elle,

A PriorFatGirl

It’s the Other Part of Climbing

The words rolled off her tongue with such ease that I found myself quietly stunned in the wake of it. In the span of just a few seconds, I had become suddenly jealous that a another person could be at such ease, such peace, with  a concept I’ve struggled in vain over for most of my life.

“Falling – we have to be prepared for that right?” My rock climbing instructor nodded at the class before speaking again. She was a young 20-something with a slight build and unassuming presence that seemed deceptive, given the depth of her encyclopedia-like knowledge on everything from gear, to technique, to basic scrambling, to alpine ice climbing. She spoke as easily and confidently about building anchors into the side of a cliff as if she were telling you how to boil water or button your shirt. And it sort of made the rest of us feel like maybe we could be rugged adventurers someday too, even as we sat there struggling to figure out how to get into our climbing harnesses.

“Anyway,” she shrugged, as she informed us about the different strength levels of a climbing rope, “the rope is important because of falling.” So simple. Of course it is. “Because falling—that’s the other part of climbing.” And then she even sort of laughed. We’re talking about the potential of dangling helpless from a wall with muscles trembling from exhaustion and a high probability you won’t reach the top of your climb – in front of everyone, no less – and she just laughs it off.

She carried on with her instructions, but my brain was stuck on her words, no longer tracking with the lecture. Her simple logic was so affecting that it just kept playing over and over again in my head. You need a rope because it’s a given that if you climb, you will fall. It’s not for if you fall, it’s for when you fall. Be prepared for it. Anticipate it. And then keep going. 

I hate falling — or as I know it, failing. In fact, I detest it so much that it is often a good enough reason for me to avoid trying. And actually, if I dig a little deeper, I think the root of the problem is a lot of misplaced value on an ugly little thing called pride. Guarding that pride at all costs has prohibited me from growth. In terms of weight loss, I’m so terrified at the idea of having a “gain” week that I conclude it would be better not to make the effort at all. In terms of blogging, I’m worried that I won’t be able to express myself exactly right, so it’s easier to skip it. I get frustrated knowing that everything I write won’t be the best thing I ever write, so I just don’t write at all. In both cases, I’m cheating myself.

The argument goes something like this: If I don’t have a perfect success record, I’ll have failed, which will destroy my pride, which will destroy me. It’s a pretty devastating vacuum to live in–never try, never fail, but also never change and never get better.

You know who does falling well? My best friend Ashley, who has lost more than 60 pounds and spent more than a month between 188 and 192, but didn’t give up, and now she’s 10 pounds down from that and still going strong.

You know who else? Liz, Another PriorFatGirl, who gets on here and posts diligently every week, whether she is up or down.

To me, they are the bravest people in the world, and I want to be more like them. With dignity, they fall. They accept it, they let it go, and they keep on moving steadily up the mountain.

So I guess it makes sense that my instructor’s words were a refreshing spring for my soul. They were an invitation to return to the heartbeat of my character: I am a girl who likes to try new things. The thrill of the unknown beckons me, and spontaneity ignites a rush that finds me jumping on planes at the last minute and winding up in Seattle without my purse or packing for an unplanned camping trip in less than 30 minutes and forgetting essentials, like the tent.

But fear of falling has kept me from walking down that road for the sake of gaining personal health for far too long. It can be corrected though, I can be corrected. And it starts with daring to take the rope, because falling is just part of climbing.

Failing is part of succeeding.

Gaining from time to time is part of losing.

Elle-signature