Somewhere in the moment between sleep and waking, I understood why I was afraid

We can forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
~Plato


(As an aside,  I think lots of my realization has to do with some of the posts Tara has been writing in the past month or two.)

So I laid down to take a nap this evening (stupid uterus, stupid brain), and as I'm drifting off to sleepyland, I begin to meditate on why I've had such a hard time getting back into my routine:  I knew that I wanted to give myself a bit of a break during the wedding so I could enjoy being there, and I did; I knew that I wanted to give myself a bit of a break after the wedding to find a more sustainable exercise routine and diet; and, I knew that this "vacation" was going to be a finite amount of time.

While I have made a plan to get back into the swing of things, my actions are not consistent with those plans.

After 8 months of food logging (Feb-Sept) and being dedicated to my food plan, I backed off of food logging in October.  I'd like to say there was noble intent in there (such as to prove to myself that I could trust my hunger and my food choices), but I think it was more that I knew I had HUGE deficits, wasn't eating enough to fuel my 3500-4000 calorie burns, and felt like a bit of a hypocrite telling people the importance of food logging while not doing it myself.  More recently, though, my food choices haven't have been as meticulous.  I'm not binging, I'm not emotional eating, but I am letting my stomach be the guide.  If a hamburger sounds right to my stomach, I'll give my stomach a really good hamburger.  I even bought a half gallon of ice cream and it's in my freezer now.  **Gasps**  (And while I'm not logging, I feel like I'm eating a more balanced, healthy diet over all.  It looks and feels much different than the diet from a year ago.)

In September I ran 100 miles.  In October I ran 120 miles.  So far in November I've run 10 miles.  Granted these are 10 miles I would have never run a year ago, but it represents 2 days in the gym out of 17 days in the month.  I wear my BodyMediaFit device, but it's beginning to feel neglected.  "Oh, another Basal Metabolic Rate day, eh? Sure you don't want to go for a walk or something?"

Nope. I've pretty much been hibernating for the past 2 weeks.

So what gives?

Since this is my place to be honest, I have no choice to be honest:  I was petrified.

I forget where, but I saw a blurb that it's harder to keep weight off if you've always been overweight/obese than if you were thin, gained weight, and then lost it.  I don't know how true this is but it has been festering in the back of my mind.

I knew just how hard I worked to lose the most recent 29lbs (from February to November 1). I remembered the sweat and the miles and the feeling like I was going to die in a gym and I said to myself "WELL FUCK THAT NOISE."

Yep, there was a moment there when I wanted to abandon all of this.  I loved the compliments from people who hadn't seen me in a decade, but the other half of me was just so wrapped up in my own personal drama of "I really thought I'd be further along than this."  I doubted my commitment, my motivation, my intentions, everything. 

Deep in the heart of all this doubt was a whole lot of fear.  I was afraid I couldn't keep up the level of intensity.  I was afraid of what my life would have to look like to reach my goal weight.  I was afraid that I'd get to my goal weight and think it was not enough.  I mean, when I was first setting my goals with my dietitian, we set my goal weigh at 170-175lbs.  Going from 199 to 188 was exhausting.  I was afraid of what it would take to go from 188 to 175.  I am afraid that if I get to 175 and still have belly fat that I will feel hopeless.

But as soon as I addressed this fear about maintaining all of the new habits I created, about having the psychological and physical fortitude to keep on this path the fears loosened their grip a little.  I haven't figured this all out, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I don't ever want to be where I was a year ago.


I will take the fear of success over the fear of failure any day of the week. 
I will take it and run with it.  I will take it and dine with it.  I will take it and sleep with it.

Even if I'm afraid in the days and years to come, I know I made the right choice to save my life. I know that for me to maintain the loss will require diligence and effort. I t is a bit daunting.  However, I've taken a step back and reminded myself that I'm not on a precipice, but on a journey.

I invited Mara to tea.  I invited fear and doubt to sit next to me, but I did not and will not let fear or doubt dictate the conversation.

8 comments

I love how you mention the fear of success. I think that has been my biggest sabotage effort in trying to live a healthier life. As soon as I began to see a bit of success, I got scared and quit. Success means leaving behind everything I did to hide myself, to become the invisible 300+ elephant in the room. I wasn't ready for it then... I hope I am ready for it now.

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Oh god, we all sabotage ourselves in some way. If it's not a fitness/diet plan it's work. Or relationships. Everyone has a blind spot where they can't allow themselves to succeed. You will succeed b/c you've identified it and are determined to overcome it. Give yourself slack and don't beat yourself up if possible... tiny steps... steps backwards... it's all good. You're doing great.

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I was a tubby kid, fat teenager, obese young adult. The "me" I could remember was fat - I had no other reference point for my self concept.

Yeah, I'd completely agree with the idea that it's harder if you've never been "thin". It can almost seem as if by "losing" the weight you stand a chance of "losing" yourself.

My experience has been that these feelings wax and wane - getting better over time - but never totally "go away".

For me, thinking of myself as "recovering" (which is a continuous process)rather than "cured" is helpful. It allows me to feel the fear and do it anyway - which is kind of freeing as I get to create who I want to be.

Maybe the tall skinny pretty blondes who tormented me in high school fear letting go of that identity and work on developing a more meaningful existence - who knows? I guess it could happen :)

I have no doubt that this is what you will continue to do - face your fears. You strike me as a strong, capable young woman with the courage and tenacity to face her fears - as well as the generosity to help others as she goes forward.

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Suzanne: I'm not going to beat myself up. I know I'm human, fallible, imperfect. But I know where I want to be and I know the reasons why I want to be there. Instead of letting the fear get to me, I will show myself a little compassion (the moral of the inviting mara to tea story) and a little patience. Rome wasn't made in a day. Reprogramming a lifetime worth of habits, thoughts, behaviors, fears, takes more than a day (or a year...) as well. I'll get there when I get there. Thank you for the support though!

Annie: Recovery is a very good way to put it -- especially as many people draw parallel obesity/food addictions to drug addictions. We are always fearful of what lies on the other side of the addiction one way or the other. But once we deal with all the emotional issues, we're better able to make choices based on logic.

As for helping other people going forward -- that's rule #1. It means nothing if of this can't help at least one other person.

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I will take the fear of success over the fear of failure any day. THAT speaks to me because I am in a similar place...wondering why I'm putting stumbling blocks in my own path. Thank you for sharing this!

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SRG: welcome :) I know we all go through this.

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Wow, I am inspired. I have so many people the past couple days that are doing whats good for them and making changes, it just gives me such courage to keep doing the same.

All the sweat and soreness and any other obstacle you've encountered up to this point you have over come, and as I tried to remind someone else, You have come through so much, you can get through this, and by the looks of things you have TONS of support.

xox
Mrs. Crumpet

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Mrs Crumpet:
Thank you so much for your support. I know that it gets hard for everyone on their journey. It's okay if the obstacles give you pause, not if they stop you.... yanno?

I'm back in this.

-FGvW

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