May 19, 2011

Flip-flop

This week has been pretty amazing so far. I've thrown myself back into eating well and staying active, and I'm feeling considerably more positive than I did last week. It never ceases to amaze me how what I eat and how I move can make me feel so good, even when there are so many stressors on my emotional plate. Not hearing back from any jobs I applied to? Not knowing what will happen to me in the fall yet even though the semester ended almost two whole weeks ago? Heavy stuff. But when I run along the lakeshore, I'm just living in the moment. I'm focused just on physically pushing my body forward, one step at a time. It's all I can do.

I've been looking back at my food log and my offline journal from the past few weeks, trying to pinpoint specific thoughts and binge triggers so I can work on these things for the future. There were issues with my mom, about which I have done all I can at the moment. And there was the job stress, on which I am still working but feeling cautiously optimistic.

A lot of it, though, was self-sabotage.

I am in a strange place right now. I'm sure a lot of people would love to be able to say they've lost 135 pounds, but something about that really caused me to freak out. I had been doing a great job, but all of a sudden, it felt like I hit the wall. I couldn't push myself to go any further - I wanted to, but the thought of moving forward gave me a feeling of anxiety unlike any I've known before. 210 was okay - but 2-0-anything ... my heart would race, my breath would get shallower, and I'd just start snacking on whatever I could find in the house.

What makes a person who has lost over one hundred pounds suddenly start to panic?

What made this one pound transition into a new decade so unbearably difficult?


Finally, it hit me: this is my flip-flop moment.

210 is a very significant number on my journey. Standing on the scale and weighing in at that number, I now physically represent the excess weight that I set out to lose. I look in the mirror and what I see is all that needed to go when I set out on my journey - and all that I've lost so far is equal to what I'd eventually like to end up with.

The subconscious trigger for this realization was in the last week of classes when I was having a discussion with some of the other instructors in my office. Someone asked what my final year-end weight loss was, and I said 135 pounds. And a couple of girls' jaws dropped at the figure, and reacted with "Oh my goodness! That's more than I weigh!" And that made me panic a little bit, too. Because measuring your weight loss in bags of sugar or dogs or air conditioners is cute and funny - but being able to measure your weight loss in terms of your friends and co-workers is really emotionally heavy. I want to be proud of all I've done, and I am, but at the same time, being able to say "I've lost an entire person" feels a little overwhelming.

Not everyone on a weight loss journey will have this experience - this is something sort of unique to people with a great deal of weight to lose. And even though being at this point is a tremendous accomplishment, it also carries with it a great deal of pain. Once upon a time, I let myself get to the point where all of this was excess on my body; someday I'll be able to compare myself to the girl I was at the beginning of my journey (345) by combining pictures of present me (210) and future me (135).


I decided this week that I am not going to let the flip-flopping of the numbers stress me out - I can't let my past weaknesses completely control my present or my future. Like it or not, for the rest of my life, I'm going to be someone who used to weigh 345 pounds. But now, I'm doing the right thing. I'm committed to eating less, eating better, and moving more. And the extra person I've lost so far? I'm better off without her. She was sad and scared and spent a lot of time dreaming about possible future conditions, if only she could get healthy and lose weight.

The person I'm left with is living that life, and it's even more incredible than she could have imagined.

14 comments:

Ann said...

I love this post. It's a huge realization and I applaud you for working through this emotional stuff. Great job, lady.

Casey said...

I love your "jumping for joy" picture!
You are amazing, Mary! Not only have you steadily lost weight, you are fit enough to jump like that (I'd need a trampoline under me!), you are honest with yourself (and us), but you have such a genuine smile.
You are really showing us how to live a lifestyle change. Thanks for that.
And yes, you are incredible!

Tammy said...

You look great!!

Greg said...

You are doing great and look amazing in your pictures. I think maybe you just need to try and forget about the past because even though its great that you have lost the 135 lbs, you almost need the mindset that you are starting a new journey just like you did last July. Maybe it will help you refocus. Stop looking at the total weight loss make small goals and start a new overall tracker from this point forward. Also tracking total miles run makes me feel good, almost up to 250 for the year.

Amy said...

Amazing post Mary! Honestly my heart started racing reading this. I can't imagine how that must feel. It's definitely something unique to your journey, and only you know (or have to find out) how to push it.

I truly believe you'll get there, and that's because you believe it too!!!

You look absolutely amazing right now!

Scrumpy said...

Really fantastic post and one I needed today. Had a rough day yesterday and not beating myself up over the past is something I really struggle with.

For me, being overweight has been part of my identity. It is who I am. When I get to my goal weight, it is almost like I don't know who I am anymore. I think that's why I continually put on about 10 pounds again. It may not be the 50 that I lost, but it is still a little extra padding that allows me to be that overweight girl who obsesses over losing weight, even if it is only in my mind.

betternexttime said...

You're amazing. The fact that you've tapped in to what you're feeling so quickly speaks volumes, I think. I had a little flip flop moment myself when I got below 200 - because that is where I'd always failed in the past. But I didn't figure it out right away, and I've been meandering around the same 20 lbs since the beginning of the year. You, on the other hand - you've got this.

Amanda said...

Such a great post, and I feel like so many times my journey is starting to parallel yours! I haven't lost as much as far as numbers go, but I'm right around the same weight as you now, and seeing 20?'s is kind of surreal. And now that I'm getting comments on almost a daily basis about how much I've lost...It's freaking me out a bit! It's no longer my secret journey, it's out there for everyone to see, and for some reason that makes me want to hide in a burger and fries...

Sorry, I didn't mean to start talking about myself there! I am continuously inspired by your blog and progress, and your open honesty. <3

Maia said...

Very well said! I'm kind of hitting my flip flop moment myself. I think it's because I'm at my halfway point...

jayme @ Losing Half My Weight said...

girl, i don't say it enough: you're flippin' amazing!

here's to no more flip-flopping!!

carolinecalcote.com said...

Yes, it is a small club to belong to, being someone who lost "a person", but you are inspiring so many people who will hopefully join you in that club. I will always be a person who weighed 270 pounds and that is part of who I am, just as part of who you are is BECAUSE you were that person. You gotta love her. You are awesome.

LoriV. said...

You look like a whole different person and it is awesome. Don't sabotage yourself by getting caught up in the feeling, just keep moving forward.

Life as a Caterpillar said...

Glad your week has been amazing.
Do you know, i read this entry earlier and thought 'i can't relate to that because i'm 20+lbs heavier than Mary, plus i've only lost around 20lbs in my journey', but having thought about it quite a bit, i realise i can.
I haven't lost 135lbs, but i have found myself at a point where i am flip-flopping. I can make excuses about having not been well, and lost my mojo a bit, but what your post reminded me is that i am now the lowest weight i have been in the last 5-6 years, and i am comfortable here (i know, that sounds crazy, right?). It's like what other commenters have said- i've failed at this point before, and i guess i am v scared of failing again, and it's not hard to maintain this weight, it's a comfortable weight for me. Wow, what a big comment. I no longer know what i'm trying to say!

Thanks for sharing

xx
lesley

Jan said...

I love this post (so real). I love that you've got your mind thinking and you're dealing with these flip-flop feelings (love your term too). Here's a little something I blogged about the other day that you may like...
I could be bigger, I could be smaller, but this is where I am today. I remember hearing this at a Weight Watchers meeting years and years ago. It was so encouraging for me. I’m always in that “instant gratification” mode (to be at my goal weight RIGHT NOW!). This statement helps me to realize that I could be at my highest weight right now (over 50 pounds higher). I could be at my goal right now (had I stuck to my plan back in October and not fallen off track). BUT, I am where I am today because of choices I’ve made. Choices to not be 200 pounds and choices to eat junk and remain in the 150′s. I could be bigger, but I’m not. I could be smaller, but I’m not. This is where I am today. I need to accept that and do something about it.