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Not A Race

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Recently, I made an interesting discovery. I realised that I had always made my health journey time-bound. It was as if I had some sort of deadline…or had to get healthy by a certain date. I wanted to project my results, and stick with something for a year or so, even while saying I wanted to keep those changes for life. All that did was make it easier for me to view myself as a failure.

Like, thinking about it, I was never ashamed of being fat, but I had become ashamed of still being fat, because I had embarked on a health journey, and had clearly abandoned it. I’ve fallen off the wagon so many times, and I think I’m sticking with it this time–but only because of the lessons I learned each time I failed. This is not a race. I don’t have to lose 2 pounds every week; I won’t always make it to the gym four times a week; every meal won’t be clean…and so what? Isn’t that life? Highs and lows? Good days and bad days? On days and off days?

Now, I no longer beat myself up when I begin to slack off. If I’m too tired for the gym, I know I’ll push harder the next day. If I eat unhealthy food, I know I will get back to my routine, because working out and eating real food is now a part of me. Since this is part of my life, I don’t need to watch numbers or feel like a failure. I can see where I need to improve, and make choices that are better for my health. More than anything, I can keep going, and that is the only way I will achieve my goals.

Every day won’t be a good day. Give yourself room to fail, because that’s how you learn. No matter what, never give up. You are doing this. You can do this!

P.S. I really think God is helping me to be more consistent on this journey. My overall lack of discipline has been a concern for a while. I’ve been praying about it…and I’m finally beginning to live it out. Slow progress is still progress. 😀

Blessings!

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Late Confession…and Some Lessons

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10/01/16 (From my food journal)

“Confession: I just ate over 1000 calories in potato chips. That’s about 5 servings. If I hadn’t bought it, I wouldn’t have eaten it. I thought I had leeway, could do one serving at a time…one day at a time. That worked for a day. I knew better. I bought it. I kept it in my room. Clearly, I had planned to eat it…them…no matter what lies I told myself.

No one can be kind to me on my behalf. I have to choose to be kind to myself. I know I’m too weak to not eat it, so I should not buy it. I will not spend money on anything that won’t benefit my health. This is my promise to myself. I hope I can keep it.

I would have to do amost 2 hours of cardio to burn 1000 calories…yet I ate that many in nearly 20 minutes.

I saw it coming, and didn’t stop myself.”

The next day (Monday), I did basically the same thing, but I think it set off something in me. With very little time until I had to return to work, I went to the gym, and I went 6 times that week. It had a terrible start, but it opened my eyes. Lessons:

  1. One day doesn’t have the power to ruin your week, or your life. It is what you do consistently that counts. Likewise, one day of healthy eating won’t fix your health.
  2. Progress always leaves room for learning and failure.
  3. I need to be kind to myself, not just by making good choices, but by showing myself compassion when I make poor ones.

 

Yes, you won’t be perfect, but you can make it on this health journey, one choice at a time. I’m rooting for us.

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Preparing For Failure

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Sometimes, I wonder if all I’m doing on this journey is setting myself up to fail. I’ve taken on something I don’t want to do, but I need to do it. I know that, but it doesn’t make me any more likely to actually do it. I’ve developed negative habits since starting this journey, specifically as it relates to food. It is as if I am driven to sabotage myself. As if failing at this is trapping me in a cycle of destructive behaviour, one that guarantees I will keep failing.

I think my approach is wrong. Even though I say this isn’t about weight loss, it’s a sure way of telling if I am making the right choices. When I make poor food choices and skip the gym, and then the scale reflects that, I get down on myself. I decide I can’t be bothered, and then I eat. I mean, I’m even eating junk food again. I didn’t even like junk food before this journey! I have given myself something to fail at, instead of something to work towards.

If my goals are to eat clean and exercise, when I don’t do that, I process it as failure. That always fuels my self-destructive tendencies. If my goal is to become healthier and fitter, then even when I make poor choices, I can still keep working towards it. Health isn’t a number, and fitness isn’t a size. If I want to improve my health, and I see my stomach taking on a life of its own, I don’t have to start beating myself up. I can start being more deliberate about what I eat, I can take more walks…I can stop donating my money to the gym, and actually get up off my butt and go.

It’s such a subtle difference, but one I need. From now on, I will give myself something to work towards, not something to fail at.

 

Perfect?

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The pursuit of perfection is, at best, paradoxical. Has that stopped me? Nope.

It is not necessarily that I want to be perfect, full stop. I just want to be as perfect as I can be. I want to not fail at things I know are within my capabilties. For example, I had work-related training this morning. There was a quiz at the end, and I got one question wrong. I’m not over it…not because I got it wrong, but because I knew the right answer. I can’t bring myself to focus on all the others I got right. That one is stuck in my head, because I knew it, and I’m still smacking myself for it. In the end, the important thing isn’t that I get all the answers right, but that I have the requisite skills, and can apply those when needed. Still not over it.

It’s what I do, though. I don’t necessarily set lofty goals, especially as it relates to my health. I try to make things as feasible as possible. When I fail at that, I’m not necessarily motivated to keep pushing. I should know better, and I do know better, but I don’t do it. Isn’t that just so human of me? Don’t we all fail at things we can handle? Don’t we all make mistakes we could have avoided? Isn’t it just like us to beat ourselves up for not being good enough, very often according to our own standards?

I can’t promise I won’t do it anymore. That would just start the cycle all over again. I will struggle with this, maybe for a really long time. Still, I think I’m learning. Failure may mean I am not perfect, but it doesn’t mean I am worthless or incapable of change. All failure does is reveal where I need to grow, and if I allow failure to cripple me, I’ll never grow.

I will fall. I will fail. I will not give up.

Perf

To Be Honest

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I wasn’t going to post a blog today, but the thoughts were there, so why not? I’m actually considering shutting down this blog. It’s hard for me to share my life with others, which is a big part of why my posting is so sporadic. This is my journey, and I am not ashamed of my lack of progress as it relates to weight loss, because it reveals things about me…and that means progress as a person. I’m just not always up for sharing that, but perhaps I need to.

So, to be honest…

  • I don’t want to do this…any of this. I like eating healthy food when I can, and I even enjoy working out. I just hate this inevitable feeling that I’m working towards a number, or a look, or a sense of accomplishment. I’m not working towards any of those things, but it’s almost as if that’s the expectation. This journey has never felt organic, or like an extension of myself. At the same time, I don’t feel pressured into doing it…I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t accepted me as I am. It’s just…I don’t know. It’s hard to be motivated when you don’t want to do something. I don’t want to lose weight. I know I need to, and I know I need to improve my health, but I don’t look forward to being significantly smaller. That is a big part of the struggle of this journey–I’m doing it without motivation. I can’t picture myself ever being motivated to lose weight, so I can’t wait for motivation.
  • I don’t know if I love myself enough. I know I don’t hate myself, and I oppose anything and anyone that would suggest I am somehow less of a person because of my weight, but I can’t honestly say I actively love myself. If I did, I think I would make better choices…wouldn’t I want to be as healthy as possible? Wouldn’t I push for what’s best for me? I don’t know. Maybe I just need to be more deliberate about how I live out this love…maybe it’s time I learn to fight.
  • I’m tired of saying the same thing over and over…but maybe not tired enough, since I keep having to say it. I sometimes wonder why I’m so passive when it comes to the pursuit of my welfare, but maybe I don’t want to find out. It’s pretty weird, though. I’m a giver, and I will do whatever I can to help another person. Why withhold the same from myself?
  • I don’t know if or when this is going to ‘work’. This journey has never been about the numbers, although the numbers tell their own story. I can’t promise this is going to be the year I get it right, but I know this won’t be the year I give up. This journey to health is not the story of my life. It’s yet another step on the road to discovering what it is to live…and to love. To love life enough to live it meaningfully; to love myself enough to be deliberate about making wise choices.

That’s where I am now, I guess. Let’s see where this goes.


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Weigh-In No. 4

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272.5 (25/05/15)
Previous weight: 274

Numbers aside, I’m starting to see a difference in the size of my stomcach. I doubt it’s obvious to others around me, but it’s progress. I’m also trying to go to the gym more often, but I haven’t really been committed. Classes are great and all, and they’re good enough for now, but I haven’t been to the gym for a workout of my own in ages. I can also see where some of my old eating habits are creeping back in. I might write about that soon.

This is very much a journey, and making backward steps can be frustrating, but I have to keep going. I know this works, so it doesn’t make sense to give up. I didn’t even want to do this, but the small changes are becoming a part of me. I’m no longer fighting myself to go to the gym. It’s not aways compatible with my schedule, but it’s almost automatic now.

I could have made it to the gym four times last week, but I went shopping instead. There was a really good sale, and I wanted to get some stuff for my family. Three out of four wasn’t too bad, though. 🙂 I’ll keep that challenege until I complete it.

This week hasn’t been going great so far, and I need to cook, but I honestly can’t be bothered. We’ll see how it goes.

Weight Loss Mystery Solved…Part 1

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Last week was such a pensive time, and I think I’ve made a breakthrough. Somehow, I understand why I’ve never been able to embrace weight loss as a separate entity, why I’ve never felt whatever it is that compels people to try to lose weight. Of course, I see the need for weight loss, as part of a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, but that doesn’t change my aversion. So, my epiphany, if you will…

No matter how strong you are, even if you think you’re unaffected by things people say, you build resistance. I’ve had perfect strangers ask me if I didn’t see I was too fat (because, apparently, I don’t have either working eyes or a mirror), had people who hadn’t seen me in a long time not even greet me properly, but make a comment about my size. I won’t go into how the average person becomes a nutritionist or something–all the lovely ‘concerned’ questions about my health. I took it all in stride, often laughed and responded politely to people who were downright obnoxious, but I can no longer deny its impact.

I’ve absorbed, without realising it, so much of the negativity aimed at me because of my size. I’ve never hated myself or my body, but I think I transitioned into no longer actively loving myself, as if I didn’t have that right, simply because I had let myself go. Even the love I had for myself became ‘in spite of’, as if I had to defend my right to love myself–or not hate myself.

People have suggested something must be fundamentally wrong with me, just by looking at me. In the same breath, I knew being fat didn’t make me less of a person, or unworthy of love. Because of that, I feel the need to protect myself…to protect my fat self.

Trying to lose weight feels like giving in to everyone who has made my size feel unacceptable…to the random people on sidewalks who told me I should stop eating, to family members who’ve reduced my portions or flat-out told me I shouldn’t eat something (things they didn’t do for others), to those who have celebrated my smaller self as if accidentally (or deliberately) losing weight made me a better person–as if I would finally be worthy of my spot on the planet if I lose enough weight. I oppose that idea so strongly that trying to lose weight feels like a betrayal of my very self.

Now that I understand this, I need to find a way to include weight loss in my health and fitness journey, without having it as the point of my journey. Weight loss will be the consequence of my changing lifestyle, not the cause of it. It will give me a sense of how my changes work, how my body responds to those changes, but I will not work for a number. I refuse to be a slave to the scale, or shackle myself to the idea that my weight and worth have any relationship, especially that of inverse proportion. Weight loss, on this journey, will be only a guide, not a goal.

I may still struggle with my aversion to weight loss, and while people may assume I’m working towards losing weight, and may even applaud me for it, I have to remember my goals–health, fitness, and discipline. I am not a thin girl trapped in a fat girl’s body. My body is not a prison, and I refuse to try to escape from it. I will, as I am changing, transform it…see its potential for strength, continue to appreciate its beauty, at every size.

This is my body, and I love it. I am fat, and I love myself. Fat is not my identity, and rooting my identity there, embracing fat as who I am, is no less than destructive than those who would see me as unworthy because of my weight.

I am fat, and I love myself…enough to change.

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Quick Update

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There’s a part of me that wants to delay this until I have better news to impart, but I promised to be honest…with you guys and with myself.

This is still difficult. I’m generally eating better than I have in a long time, I’ve lost a few pounds, and I’ve somewhat improved my gym attendance, but this still does not feel real. I feel as if I am not owning this journey…and I’m not sure how to. I’ve watched so many before-and-after weight loss videos, and all those people were motivated to lose weight. I’m not. Yes, I want to get healthy, but how do I find the drive to go against my fear of losing weight? I’m even beginning to see that that fear goes so much deeper than I think. If losing weight is part of improving my health, and I’m doing it through proper nutrition and exercise, doesn’t that make it a good thing? Why am I afraid of a good thing?

That fear is so toxic. It is what drives me to sabotage myself every time I start to change, and not just as it relates to my health. I know I don’t need to want to do this in order for it to get done, but I have to face the power of my lack of inclination. I really don’t know how this will turn out, but I can’t just allow it to be pushed aside. I need to do this, fear or no fear.

On the plus side, I’m beginning to see some of my patterns of sabotage, see where I’ve developed unhealthy relationships with food. I’m paying attention to what triggers me to tell myself to skip the gym, as I did last week…and today. This has been a long road, and I am far from perfect, but if I’m understanding myself better, it’s all worth it.

What If I Don’t Want To Lose Weight?

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Two things hit me last week: I started this blog almost 2 years ago, and I’m currently the same weight I was the first week I recorded weight loss here–283 pounds.

It’s almost as if nothing has changed in the 8 months since my last post, but so much has. I’ve moved away from home, slight changes to my routine and eating habits caused me to lose a bit of weight since (hence the 283), and I could go on, but there’s one thing that has really hit me: I don’t want to lose weight.

Do I need to lose weight? Definitely. Do I see the health risks, imminent and otherwise? For sure. Am I lazy and unmotivated? No. I do want to be healthy, fit, strong, able to walk to my third-floor room without getting out of breath, and those other boring, everyday things most people at a healthy weight don’t have to worry about. But, I can’t honestly say I hold weight loss as a goal, or have a desire to be smaller. My body isn’t a prison. I’m not dying to wear smaller clothes, be attractive, go on amusement park rides, or any of those other things you come across in these before-and-after stories. Being smaller does not appeal to me, and I think the idea of such a drastic change scares me more than I usually care to admit.

I’m not afraid of working out, and I know I’m strong, with the potential to be even stronger. Fitness appeals to me, even though I still hate cardio. I’ve joined the gym yet again, but I still haven’t voluntarily gone for a workout–been almost a month since I signed up. I think I can’t get past the idea that, in order to get the things I want, it’ll mean the one thing I don’t want: weight loss.

Maybe I’m worried people will look at me, and assume I want to lose weight. Maybe I’m afraid to fail, or concerned that people will wonder why someone my size isn’t working with a trainer. Maybe those things don’t even matter to me, and I’m just trying to legitimise my folly. Whatever the case, I need to make peace with the part of me that is content to hide behind fat. If there were a way to achieve my fitness goals, and somehow not get smaller, I’d be in. But, there isn’t…so, maybe I should just shut up and go to the gym. Or, maybe I should acknowledge that I’m stronger than I think, because I haven’t given in to the idea that being fat deems me worthless; neither am I in the camp of those who think loving oneself means not needing to change. (Don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘maybe’ so many times in a single paragraph before.)

This is who I am, who I’ve been for as long as I can remember. Maybe I can’t picture myself smaller, because I’ve never had to. I know losing weight doesn’t have to mean losing who I am, because I am more than my size, but that knowledge isn’t helping. Fat may be all I’ve known, but it doesn’t get to be who I am. Not now, when I’m finally in a position to embrace change, even if I don’t want to.

I honestly wish I could say changing my lifestyle is going to be the hardest part of this journey. I’ve been down this road enough times to know what works for me. I just need to follow through, and not let fear hold me back. Honestly, I think my greatest fear is that this just might work, that I might actually stick to something. Guess we’ll see.

I

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The Same Lesson

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In two months, I could weigh 300 pounds.

Frankly, that is not as scary as it should be, but it is eye-opening. I started going to the gym in February, and I made progress. I overcame my fear of the treadmill, and I even ran. To top it off, I inspired my sister (who is nowhere near my size…and actually works out) to run. Ooh, and did I mention all those reps I did with a 30-pound bar, and how I felt as if I had found my happy place (hate cardio, LOVE strength training)? Sounds like the start of something beautiful, but then I kicked in.

I decided it was best, for a number of reasons, to stop going to the gym, and continue working out at home. That wasn’t as bad a plan as it sounds, but the gym doesn’t require the one thing working out at home does–choice. It recently hit me, yet again, that I’ve always improved my health or lost weight by accident, by default, or for some reason that made me feel as if I had no choice. I’ve never really had to CHOOSE to get healthy, even though I’ve allegedly committed to it several times. To be honest, the only reason I started the gym was that I didn’t want to fail a medical I would do a couple months later. Having failed at improving my health, but passed that medical, I now have no ‘reason’ to get healthy–but for my own good.

When it comes down to it, that’s why this is so hard. If I had to get healthy to benefit someone else, I would have done it ages ago. If I cared, I wouldn’t have let fear trap me into returning to my bad habits after losing a significant amount of weight five or six years ago…without even trying. If, at that point, I had chosen to focus on my health, I could have been healthy for the past five years, rather than having no guarantee of either health or another five years. But, this is what I do. Something good starts to happen, and I sabotage myself.

So, I don’t really have a plan now. Yes, seeing the scale in the 290s again was scary, but that won’t do it. I just have to keep making those little choices, as I’ve been trying to do for the past couple days. I have to choose to eat healthy food, say no to eating what I know is bad for me. I have to get moving. Working out works for me, and I can’t deny that…so I need to literally get up off my ass and do something…while I still can.

No clue how or if this is going to work, but I’ve decided to cut out the extremism I’m prone to. I want to make little choices I can keep making for the rest of my life, even though doing that will be hard at first. I guess, in a sense, I’m starting over (again!), but that’s okay. I’m not in this to be a superstar. I’m here to learn, even if it’s the same lesson.

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