February 7, 2018

Why

I completely love going to Weight Watchers meetings. I know WW isn't for everyone, and even meetings aren't for everyone - but this is something I am enjoying, something that I am finding works great for me. It gives me the social component of the journey, a good group to share the ups and downs with. It's a place to check in weekly - I like the regularity of the meeting schedule, and for the first time in ages, I feel like I have a comfortable relationship with scales. I don't weigh myself daily at home anymore - in fact, I don't weigh myself at home at all. I step on the scale at the meeting, and even then, I ask the receptionist not to tell me the number - I wait until later during or after the meeting to look.

Seven plus years into this, I'm finally making peace with the numbers and recognizing it's about behaviors and results beyond the scale.

It's incredibly hard to separate the feeling of success from numbers and divert it instead to feelings. I've preached it for ages - as long as you're doing the best things for your body, the numbers will eventually catch up. But it's still tough to actually put into practice. It's hard to see the forest for the trees.

Daniel is such an amazing boyfriend. I am so incredibly lucky that after all I've been through the last few years, particularly my failed marriage, that now, I have something so remarkable. It's not perfect by any means, but it's incredibly real, and I am so grateful for that. He is so loving and supportive, and absolutely everything I have always hoped for in a partner. He cheers me on when I do well and holds me close when I feel like I'm falling apart. And the past few weeks especially, he has been just incredible - I have been having a hard time finding a doctor around here, and in the meantime, my anxiety medicine ran out. I've been a sloppy roller coaster of emotions, and he has been nothing but patient and gentle with me, more than I have even to myself.

I've been maintaining at best the last few weeks - down small fractions of pounds, then up the same numbers. Just dancing back and forth, making no real forward progress, and just wallowing in self-loathing during the process. One week, I lost 0.2, and was on the verge of tears.

That's not progress, I said. That's just me wearing a different outfit.

It is progress, though.

But at that rate, I'd lose, what? 10 pounds a year?! It would take me 20 years to get to my goal.

But - you'd get there. Even if it takes years and years, if you're still working on it, you're doing a good job.

I am forever incredibly grateful for having him on my team - everywhere and always, but especially on this journey. Being able to support each other is critical to our long-term success.

It takes a lot of effort to not compare my current journey to the one I undertook in 2010. Everything about my life is different - a lot of things about my body are different too - but the biggest thing I keep missing is: yes, in 2010, I lost a lot of weight, and I lost it fast. But ... I put it all back on. I treated a symptom but didn't take care of the bigger picture, which was my anxiety/depression and related issues with food. So it's silly to lust over the speed of last time's results, because they were a false positive, of sorts. It looked like success, but it wasn't.

Now, a few years later, I am less impressed by weight loss and more interested in stories of long-term weight maintenance. It's not easy to lose weight the right way, but it's worth it for the opportunity to learn behaviors that will lead to lifelong success.

It's another thing I love about Weight Watchers - the focus not just on now but on forever. On eating the way I plan to eat and moving the way I plan to move for the rest of my life. Being a gym addict last time wasn't sustainable, but going for 30-50 minutes four times a week and staying active out of the gym on weekends sure is. Avoiding entire food groups wasn't sustainable, but finding balance and making peace with them is. And focusing on the weight without reflecting on the why wasn't sustainable either.

Every week in our meeting, we share how the past week has gone before heading into our topic of the day. A few weeks ago, it was "What is your Why?" And my leader, Cassie - I adore her - was talking about how you need to sit yourself down every so often and refocus yourself, because your Why is very likely to change over the course of your loss and into maintenance. For her, she said, her weight loss Why was being able to tie both her shoes without needing to catch her breath in between - but now, in maintenance, her Why is being able to keep up with her grandchildren.

In 2010, the first of the kids I knew from high school were getting married, and I'd never had a real boyfriend before. I was tired all the time, and I spent every possible second on my couch. I had friends, but I avoided them because I was so self-conscious, and my relationships suffered. Back then, my Why was wanting to feel like a young person for once.

Now, nearly a decade later, I've got different goals. I don't just want to look good for dating, I want to feel good for every day. I am amazingly lucky to have a boyfriend who loves me as I am and encourages me to be my healthiest self, not my skinniest self. While Daniel and I have discussed marriage, we have a very critical couple of months coming up for ourselves (more for another post soon, I suppose), and as much as "having an actual wedding" and "having more kids" are great goals, they just aren't my Why right now. Right now, I want to be in my best possible health for myself, for my son, and for all of our future together - whatever that may be.

This is a dynamic process.