Yes, I did gain some weight in December and entered 2010 on January 5 at 26 pounds down. On March 30, 2010, I reached 33.2 pounds down and felt like 35 was just a week or two away. In actuality, it was a start of a couple of months stalled in a two-pound range between 31 and 33 pounds down that was broken by a two-week trip to California where I gained 5.2 pounds. On May 25, 2010, I was just 27.4 pounds down.
I need to figure out what I can do to continue to lose weight, but that is not actually the point of this post. I'm more interested in what keeps me going. Why am I still putting in all this effort when I can make a valid argument that I've barely lost any weight since last summer when I first hit 20 pounds down on June 23?
The brilliant group leader of my typical Weight Watchers meeting always says we need another reason besides losing weight to keep attending meetings and keep putting in all this effort. He often mentions that a lot of people actually lost weight at the last meeting they attended with the implication that success was not enough to motivate them to keep trying. Why do I keep going?
Promises and Planning: In my post Plan and Prepare for Success, I mentioned that I ask myself every so often: What kind of support systems and habits can I build into my life that will help me lose weight and ultimately maintain a healthy lifestyle? These support systems, habits and commitments I've made have saved me from the temptation of considering quitting or losing hope.
The diet and fitness promises I made to myself in the beginning of 2009 and renewed in January of 2010 to attend 45-50 Weight Watcher meetings and work out at least 100 times a year ensure that I can't ever give up for long stretches of time. In August of last year, I started to blog at least weekly at the Healthy Writer blog, and that forces me to confront the emotions that may be holding me back on a regular basis. I'm also presenting a workshop on being a Healthy Writer with Tawny and Trish at RWA National in Orlando July 29th, and I want to be able to feel like I'm giving it my all and have accomplished a lot when I talk about my journey.
Clothing: I've blogged a lot about the total joy I feel when I can fit into smaller sized clothing and how I have donated all my plus-sized clothing and most of my size 16 and 14 clothing to charity. Whenever I gain some weight or even start longing for some of the outfits I've given away, I can start worrying about what will I wear if I go up a size. There's no way I'm going to buy a whole new wardrobe in a size I've eliminated in my closet. I can't go back. I can just keep moving forward wearing my newer, smaller clothes and perhaps dream about getting even smaller. I love the fact that I am now in regular sizes and can go into any department store and find flattering clothes that fit. I'm not going to lose that, and I'm fairly confident that if I gave up on my journey to becoming a healthy writer I would start gaining the weight back.
Appearance and Positive Body Image: I like how I look and feel better. I'm becoming more comfortable with the fact that my changed appearance can inspire a lot of reactions from people I've know a long time. The majority of the attention is positive, and I am better at handling it all now - even the negative reactions such as jealousy. It's not necessarily right that people are nicer and more interested in me now - particularly men - but that's how the world works, and it has its benefits.
I also like the fact that I am developing the ability to appreciate and even rejoice in my body. I spent a lot of years feeling guilty for being able-bodied, wallowing in the typical, female body image issues that can go over-the-top when you are overweight or worse, or just numbing myself out/being totally unaware of my body and what it was feeling. In the past 6 months to a year, I have gloried in what I've been able to do physically at the gym and have caught myself admiring how I look from the neck down in the mirror. It's very new, and it's nice. It's also something I don't want to lose.
The End of Self-Destruction: I know when and why food became an issue for me. I know why I first developed this coping mechanism that has me overeating to ignore or repress emotions or to comfort myself in a way that in the end does much more harm than good. I want to stop this pattern. It is ultimately so self-destructive, and I don't want to do that to myself anymore. As we've discussed before, self-destruction is not the best reaction to tragedy.
One of the many promises I have made to myself on this journey is to learn to treat myself as well as I treat others. This has meant I am to encourage myself as opposed to judging harshly or criticizing how I'm handling stuff. I may have occasional issues with food and eating for the rest of my life, but I want to make these healthy changes permanent. I need to follow my new healthy lifestyle for all its many rewards. I am fairly confident that I will eventually reach a healthy weight, and I plan to do my best to stay there for the rest of my days.
What keeps you going? Why do you keep trying - in your healthy living efforts and in your writing? Any advice for me?
Michelle Butler has made becoming a healthy writer a priority. She lives, works and writes in the Washington, DC, area. You can follow her on twitter at http://twitter.com/healthywrtr