It'd be completely rockin' if, after the last couple of rather dramatic posts, today's offering would shatter your world with awesomeness. Alas, this is not to be (unless your world is easily rocked, and if so, good for you! That must be fun). I did not lose ten pounds since this time last week (but I did lose six!) and my surgery has not magically been rescheduled and at this moment in time, there is no Hollywood ending. I wouldn't say no to one, mind you, especially if I get a Hollywood wardrobe to go with it. One that I could fit into. (Now we KNOW this is a fantasy)!
What there has been is a few days of a sort of hyper-energy, a wave of resolution and new determination which proved to be enough to get me over the initial hump of getting back to it after about two months off. Last Sunday, I went down and rejoined the little, local, no-frills community gym where I started out. It's been at least two years since I was there, and people still remember me, which is really nice. I've been hitting my old friend, the elliptical; my frenemy, the stationary bike; and my lovehate relationship, Pilates class. Haven't made it to yoga yet but it's on my list.
I've been listening to my body, especially my knee, which says 45 minutes on the elliptical is plenty (some days, 30). I've been trying not to listen to the negative voices in my head that want to make fun of me for having lost some stamina and feeling so much like I'm back at the starting line --- because it's not true. Well, I have lost some stamina and fitness, but not so very much. I am still SO much stronger and fitter than I was four years ago, and in some ways, I have more physical challenges now. Besides, I know from my experience as a professional singer --- which, believe it or not, is extremely athletic, especially if you sing something like opera --- that if you take even a couple of weeks off, it takes a while to get your breath back underneath you and your stamina up to par. Why would it be any different for working out?
I'm not sleeping so well at night but I am sleeping later in the mornings. I have a lot of weird dreams. Things working themselves out. And the question that keeps popping up, over and over again, is what do I do this time, to make it different?
See, part of the painfulness of having to start over is that, although I never believed that longterm major weight loss would be anything but a lifelong struggle, it never occurred to me that I could backslide SO much. I always thought I'd catch myself long before it became a significant problem. And to some degree, I did catch myself, in that I knew I was sliding (what? can't you see the claw marks on the side of the mountain?) and tried a lot of different things to stop and regain control.
Ultimately, none of them worked. So what is going to make this time any different?
Well, one of the things I learned when I started my most successful weight loss attempt ever, back in 2008, was that most people who managed longterm major weight loss (this is gonna get clunky; let's call it LTMW for short) had MANY false starts before they finally hooked in to whatever it took to help them keep on track for however long it took them to lose their weight. Most people find it very discouraging, but think about it --- all you have to do is start over, however many times it takes. You can ALWAYS start over. It's not like the bar exam. You get as many do-overs as you want.
Another thing is that I can sort of trace back to the moment, about two years ago, when the real slip-sliding started, and I know exactly the mindset that got me into trouble. For the first time in my adult life, I didn't think of myself as fat, and was slowly starting to believe other people when they insisted that I wasn't. It was a very weird feeling. I was away from home, on a longterm gig, and frankly ... my colleagues and I were partying a lot. There was a lot of socializing, and for some reason, I looked around at all these fit people and thought, Hey, I'm finally in the club! And if THEY can do this, why can't I?And over time, that translated into a lot of bad habits. If you're wired to overeat, and if you're wired to be overweight, you can't really relax. Sorry, but it's true. You can and should enjoy yourself, but never for more than one meal or one treat at a time, and only a couple of times a week. You have to stay on top of it.
I also now realize that, in 2008 when I started out, I had more free time and more energy than I do now. I could dedicate myself to two or more hours a day of working out. And I did. It took an enormous amount of physical and mental energy, and while I don't regret it for one second and would totally do it again if I could, I've also come to realize that I put an enormous amount of stress of myself that I am no longer equipped to deal with, not in the way I did before. Life has changed somewhat (you know, the way it tends to do) and I have to approach things differently.
Finally, I realize that with that all the time and energy I poured into figuring out how to really lose weight and stick with it and get fit, I never gave much energy or time into figuring out how to maintain it. That's the biggest missing link, and that's what I have to figure out this time.
So. Nothing very profound yet, but I have accepted the ass-kicking life has given me and thus far, used it to good effect, and have every intention of continuing to do so. Meanwhile, I ponder. There's a little further to go on this road, that's all.