Thursday, June 10, 2010

What makes this time different?

A few months ago, I was asked by a Twitter friend:

Question...why do you think you are serious about weight loss this time? Did you have an epiphany moment?

The question kind of caught me off-guard.  I’ve had TONS of epiphany moments, but each “wake up call” resulted in a short-lived, half-assed attempt OR a hugely successful “quick fix” that was even more quickly negated by me falling back into old habits.  I definitely hit rock bottom in graduate school, but it took moving home, being unemployed, and finding the blogging community that made me realize how much of a lifestyle being healthy really is.  You can’t just dabble in weight loss and improving your health; it has to be an entire life overhaul.  I’ve had plenty of time to think about this question since then, but in the moment, I quickly answered:

Answer: I'm tired of screwing around and feeling like crap. I want to get married and have kids someday and need to get it right NOW.

But that answer isn’t fair to myself, and it’s not the entire truth.  I’m too selfish to do it for my nonexistent husband and unborn kids (though it will be nice if I get to have those things one day).  I think that’s part of my answer, though – I’m selfish, and I totally deserve to be.  I’m tired of plenty of things (I started making a list of things, but it sounded tired and hackneyed), and here in my mid-20s, I’m on the cusp of life (speaking of sounding hackneyed…).

But in all seriousness, if I don’t do it now, when will I?  I already wasted several of my college and graduate school years being fat and depressed and anti-social, the same traits I exhibited in K-12 that break my heart to think about now.  I have relatively few responsibilities (i.e., I’m not chasing after kids or trying to maintain a happy marriage), and physically, I should be in the prime of my life.  I want to set a foundation now so I won’t have to make up for lost time later.

So coming up with reasons why I want to be strong, healthy, and of “normal” weight is relatively easy…reminding myself on a daily basis and keeping up the motivation is another thing entirely, one I’m still working on.  One thing I find frustrating and hard to deal with is my weight loss in the context of other people.

Now, other people shouldn’t matter, because it’s MY weight loss journey, MY body, MY health, MY business, yadda yadda.  Y’all know I care what other people think even though I shouldn’t.  Admit it, a lot of us do!  So when I bump into someone I knew in high school and I look the way I do now, I shouldn’t be putting words in their mouths like “oh, I wonder how long THIS effort will last.”  When I see family I haven’t in awhile, I shouldn’t be nervous beforehand that they’re thinking “which Katherine will show up to this gathering, I wonder?”  I know they’re probably happy for me that I’m getting in shape, and I should just leave it at that.  Even though I’ve got a defense speech playing in my head, I don’t need to fantasize justifying it out loud to them.

So what does make this time different? 

If I binge or eat something un-nutritious, I move on.  I might feel bad for a little while and I might whine here on the blog, but I don’t go on a binge-spree from one item to the next like I used to.  If I “plan” a binge cheat, I notice it’s much less than I used to (a chocolate bar instead of a baker’s dozen of chocolate chip cookies).  I’m exercising.  I’m doing it because I want to, I’m starting to like how it feels, I’m starting to feel stronger, and I do it more often.  I’m making healthier decisions.  I still splurge unecessarily sometimes, but for the most part, I think about nutrients where I used to merely think of calories.  I’m learning to listen to my body.  I’m not in the habit of writing every single thing down yet, but I’m better at taking notes and figuring out what makes me feel better or worse.  I’m not kidding myself into thinking that I’ll lose the weight and then I’ll be fine forever and ever, amen.  I’ll always struggle with my weight, and I’m coming to terms with that.  I’m not happy about it, but I’m glad I’m finally putting into practice what I’ve been learning but feeling guilty about not practicing all these years.

What makes this time different for you?