Thursday, August 11, 2005

Wasted time?

I was having a good chat on email with an old friend this afternoon about my weight loss. We lived together at university when I was maybe about this weight, maybe a little heavier, and maybe she noticed me piling the pounds on and didn't say anything, or maybe I was just me and my weight didn't define me. But anyway, my weight has never been something we've discussed really, and for a long time I liked it that way. It meant that I could stay safely in denial and not face up to what I was doing to myself.

She's trying to lose a stone or so, although she doesn't really need to. She's a healthy weight as it is, but would feel better if she lost some. She's not losing at the moment, but said at least she wasn't gaining. I replied, half jokingly that I wish I'd worked out that not gaining would be a good thing a lot earlier than I did. I don't know whether it came across that I was down on myself, but she told me not to beat myself up about it too much.

I don't, really. Of course I can't believe that I did this to myself, that I had to lose so much weight just to get back to where I was when I already thought that I was fat, but maybe it's worked out for the best in the end. If I'd tried to lose weight when I was 18 or 20 or so I don't think I'd have done it like this. I'd have looked for relatively quick fixes, for fad diets that I wouldn't be able to sustain. I might have given myself fucked up eating habits that I have, despite my weight, managed to avoid. I've not gained this through bingeing, more through consistent but relatively minor overeating. A couple of hundred calories every day soon adds up. And if I'd tried to lose weight too early, maybe I wouldn't have been able to stick to it.

I truly believe that there's a right time to do things and a wrong time to do things. I think I've just hit this weight loss thing at the right time, when I was mentally and emotionally ready to do it. I've worked a lot of things out for myself during this, I've learned a lot about food and exercise, and I've learned a lot of things about me. I've come to realise that this is harder emotionally than it is physically. Whether that's combatting cravings or facing up to insecurities that have been covered in layers of fat for years, it's not just what you eat. It's why you make crappy choices, even though you know they're crappy, and why you let yourself turn a blind eye to what you've been doing. I don't think I'd have got half this far if I'd just tried to deprive myself of food for a short period of time without paying attention to this stuff. I'm focussing on understanding myself and what got me here, and I'm focussing on life long changes. I don't think I'd have done that if I'd tried to lose weight earlier.

I also think that having so much weight to lose has helped me. It's meant that I've had more motivation. Once I faced up to what I'd done to myself and the urgency of losing weight I realised that there truly was no other option. And because of the sheer scale of what I have to do, I know that I'll have to do this long-term, there's no other way to get the weight off.

So, while I'm not exactly glad that I got so fat, maybe it's what I needed to truly do this, instead of being trapped in a never ending cycle of loss and regain. And I mustn't allow myself to regret a second of the "obese years", they have shaped the good things about me as well as the bad ones.


Blogger Special Lady said...

I never thought of it that way, but I can agree that it was all about timing. I had lost weight before and did not keep it off because my life was constantly changing, but that's it, you have to learn to roll with it. I laugh as I write that because this is my current battle. I don't want to gain weight again. That would mean that I didn't learn my lesson before. I want to prove that I have and meet my goal. Thanks for the post, much food for thought. :)

12:35 AM  
Blogger chaos said...

Well said, "it's not just what you eat, but why to you make crappy choices." Great post, thank you!

2:36 AM  

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