January 8, 2018

Forever after

Back in September, Daniel and I joined Weight Watchers. We don't work Fridays, so while Noah's at school, that's our Date Day. We go to a WW meeting together, then make lunch or go out to eat, and then we have some sort of adventure - crossword puzzling, thrift store hunting, craft projects, that sort of thing. It's really nice - some time just to ourselves, about us.

Daniel's done WW before, and his mom was a Lifetime member. He doesn't have as much weight to lose as I do, but he's amazingly supportive, and it's an incredibly good feeling to walk into the meeting with him every week. To have him by my side, and to be by his ... I love our team.

Right before we joined, I had a dream. Richard Simmons was holding my hand and crying, saying he wanted to help me. I woke up so upset that I'd disappointed him, and told Daniel I needed to make some changes.

I'd done WW late last year, as an online only member, and with moderate success - I lost about 30 pounds or so very quickly, but mostly due to a technological error that gave me only about two-thirds of the daily points I was supposed to be eating.

A few months later, I started taking a terrific medicine for my anxiety. I am intensely grateful for the peace it has brought me, but one side effect has been weight gain. It works brilliantly to calm my brain from obsessing, but initially at least, it made me incredibly apathetic. I wasn't burdened by worrying too much about everything ... but I also wasn't caring enough to worry about things like meal planning. That combined with a hectic end of a semester, preparing for a job interview, and then figuring out how to move myself and my four-year-old across the country ... the weight crept back on.

Seven or so years after I actively began my weight loss journey, I've noticed a shift in my attention. I am less impressed by weight loss as I am by long-term weight maintenance. I am someone who once lost 157 pounds, and when I rejoined WW a few months ago, I had regained all of it.

Every. Single. Pound.

Plus two more.

It's hard to not be devastated by that fact. I know how much work went into losing the weight, and it's frustrating to know I'm facing the mountain again, and now with an incredibly different life and additional personal challenges.

But I also know that I haven't spent the last few years regaining weight for the fun of it. Busy is an understatement. Chaotic is an understatement.

The simple fact is, I overate and stopped being regularly active. The eating was never about fun or pleasure, and neither was the inactivity. It was a manifestation of my depression and anxiety, and I was trying my best to soothe the aches and stresses and hurts of a failed marriage, single parenting, loneliness, money woes, and more.

When I lost the weight the first time, I took care of a symptom, not the disease itself.

It makes perfect sense that the weight would creep back on, because I didn't thoroughly treat what had caused me to weigh as much as I did in the first place.

I'm so relieved to be on anxiety medicine now, and to be attending WW meetings with Daniel. The weight loss isn't the miraculous huge numbers I saw the last time - in just shy of four months, I'm down just over 20 pounds. But it's progress, and I'm optimistic that this is the time that it sticks, because I am not simply focusing on food and exercise, but emotional and mental wellness too.

I always knew it had to be done, but I avoided it. I didn't want to talk about my issues. I didn't want to deal with them. And I've paid the price so dearly - back, entirely, at Square One. This time, I am valuing the process more. I'm not racing to lose the weight, because I need every moment of this journey to prepare myself for the Forever After of maintenance.

...

I'm really happy to have reclaimed this space. I've got a lot to work through, and as tremendously wonderful as it is to be able to talk to Daniel about everything (the communication between us is absolutely incredible), I love being able to write out my feelings and thoughts and ideas here, too. I've missed the release of being able to process my thoughts here.