Almost a year ago, I blogged about my propensity to go to extremes and my aversion to middle ground and how the combination of those two character traits pretty much destroyed my ability to maintain any semblance of weight loss.
Losing the weight had been easy. Keeping it off had been nothing short of impossible and it was only a matter of time before I could start forest fires simply by walking through them, courtesy of thigh friction.
I’m not going to write about how five months ago, I packed a backpack full of Fiber One bars, stretched out my legs, took a running head start and jumped onto the bandwagon again because that post would be epic and I’ve got no time for epics this morning as there is grocery shopping to be done before my kids wear out the phrases WOW, OUR PANTRY ECHOES! HEY, CAN WE MICROWAVE TUMBLEWEEDS? ((WEEDS)) ((WEEDS)) ((WEEDS))
I’m sure lots of kids want to use those phrases so why should my kids get all the fun?
So, I’ll just tell you that the bandwagon is as uncomfortable as ever and is responsible for more than my fair share of ass splinters but with any luck and a few more boxes of Skinny Cows, I’ll have something to report to you in the next few months.
I’ll leave you with that post I mentioned, At least I’m not allergic to speed limits, to give you a frame of reference so you know whereof I speak. Or type. Whatever.
Happy 2010, everyone!
Have a carrot on me. They taste phenomenal dipped in caramel.
At least I’m not allergic to speed limits
My doctor called me the other day.
Have I mentioned how much I love my doctor lately?
Well, I do.
Even when he calls me to inform me that my cholesterol is now at 236 and my LDL and HDL levels suck rocks.
He does it in such a nice way that I can’t help but want to invite him over for dinner and feed him homemade macaroni and cheese and, if time allows, adopt him.
He did not yell at me or sit in judgment when I informed him that of the twenty pounds I had hoped to lose in the last six months, I had lost a total of negative 3, which is a euphemism for DAMMIT, I CAN’T ZIP UP MY PANTS NOW.
You know how many blog posts I’ve read since January 1st? A lot. Know how many of them dealt with weight loss or new exercise routines and/or diet changes? A whole helluva lot.
And I read each one with avid interest, because I find myself in that same predicament. Once again.
If you had told me five years ago that not only would I gain back all of my Weight Watchers pounds but my health would be seriously compromised because of it, I would have chest-pushed you in my best Elaine Benes impersonation, yelled GET OUT and stomped off on my way to the treadmill with a mouth full of carrot sticks.
Because five years ago, I thought I had transformed my life into a healthier, physically fit one. I had shed close to forty pounds through a combination of W² and huffing and puffing on the treadmill for 45 minutes a day, seven days a week, to the beat of ABBA and U2.
My legs and arms had definition and my sweats were not the only things ripped on my body.
I not only met my goal weight, I exceeded it. By a lot. A whole helluva lot.
And therein lay my downfall.
I do not know how to set limits. I do not know the meaning of the word moderation. Much like Zoe’s bike, I have two speeds: warp and stop.
I cannot do anything half-assed or half way. It’s either 110% or it’s nothing.
Go big or go home, as they say in Texas.
Do they actually say that in Texas?
Losing the weight on Weight Watchers wasn’t the hard part for me, once I made it through the first two weeks in which I had to wire my jaws shut so that I would not eat my own young. It took me less than five months to lose forty pounds.
Even now, I could probably do it again, maybe not as easily, but I’m pretty sure I could do it. I’d just send my kids over to Granny’s for a month or two.
But I can tell you with 100% certainty that I would not be able to maintain it.
Because maintenance requires limits and limits require moderation and moderation is the word I use to describe all of that swampy, murky, gray middle ground hell lying between for shit’s sake, Andy, you’re wasting away and ummm, do you really think you should eat that?
I don’t do limits. Or middle ground. I don’t do moderation.
I only do extremes.
Luckily for me, the only exception to this rule is laundry. By some bizarre twist of fate, I find that I”m perfectly content to scope out a big, huge, fat piece of middle ground in my living upon which I set five or six baskets of laundry and watch them grow roots.
But for everything else?
If you tell me I need to work forty hours a week, I will work sixty or, in the alternative, flagellate myself as a failure.
If you tell me to clean the house, I’ll cry and pitch a hissy but then I will clean that house until it is so sterile, you’ll feel obliged to wear scrubs just to cross the threshold.
If you tell me to change my life and do something I love, I will quite nearly kill myself 24/7 by researching it and then implementing it and thereafter analyzing it and ultimately revamping it, until it morphs into OH MY GOD, I HATE THIS and I morph into someone I no longer recognize.
I will be completely and utterly obsessed with whatever it is I’m tasked to do, to the exclusion of everything else.
I don’t know why I’m like this. I just am. And it is an utterly exhausting way to live. It takes a physical and emotional and mental toll that I can’t even begin to describe.
And so, I try to avoid it. This means I procrastinate, avoid and otherwise sidestep losing weight or a multitude of other things, trying in vain to ward off that horrible, burning need to exceed that I know will consume me.
On W², I became so engrossed in the execution of the program that I lost sight of its most basic goal – to realize and sustain a healthy weight. I couldn’t see the forest for all of the low fat, high protein, high fiber points dotting my path to weight loss nirvana. Points became my life. How many I was allotted, how many I used, how I used them and how I could earn more of them.
And most important of all, how I could hoard them and stockpile them, knowing that the more unspent points I collected, the more weight I could potentially lose.
I wore the same clothes to every single weigh-in … the same socks, undies, bra, biker shorts and faded, blue Old Navy T-shirt. For five months I did this. Because it was winter, I would dress in layers and basically strip in the waiting room, down to my weigh-in clothes. I’d have timed my weigh-in in such a way that I could ensure that my own personal waste management system (that I affectionately refer to as my bowels and bladder) had sufficient time to do their duty and rid my body of any unnecessary poundage. I shaved. Right before stepping on the scale, I took off my glasses and my watch and my wedding rings and my bracelet. At the last moment, I exhaled.
I lived, ate, slept and dreamed my points. To the extent that I once called my girlfriend at 11:30 p.m., and pleaded with her to get out of bed, go downstairs and read me off the nutritional value from the bag of tortilla chips we had opened that afternoon. I had had three of them.
But then came maintenance. Which meant I couldn’t go below my point allotment. I couldn’t hoard my points. I had to stay within a certain range, not go below it.
I had to set a limit.
I had to find that murky middle ground quicksand and jump into it.
I had to maintain average. Ordinary. Normal.
And my brain just gave up with a WHAT THE HELL?
Maintenance just blew my plan to smithereens.
I lasted maybe two months on maintenance before I packed up my suitcase chock full of Pepperidge Farm Orange Milano Cookies and climbed the mountain known as HERE WE GO AGAIN and started my decline.
And five years later, here I am.
At the bottom.
Except this time, I’m five years older, in my forties, pre-menopausal, with high cholesterol, with a family that has a colorful history of heart disease complete with heart attacks, valve replacements and bypass surgeries. My hips have spread like butter and my waist has relocated to another zip code.
Sucks rocks. Boulders, even.
Obviously, I don’t blame Weight Watchers. It’s a fantastic program that really works.
Obviously, I blame myself because if I could just find it within me to look at the very idea of moderation as a nutritional health benefit instead of a soul-sucking leech upon humanity, I’d be typing this while decked out in size 8 sweats.
Today I will pick up my first prescription for Simvastatin and feel heavier than usual and realize that failure weighs a freaking ton.
I’m not going to use my blog to shout out to the world that I’m going to lose weight again in an attempt to hold myself accountable because that’s not why I write this blog.
I write this blog as a creative outlet, with the benefit of putting a smile on your faces as well as mine. Hopefully. So far, I’ve been successful at keeping it from consuming my life and sucking my will to live. Not exactly blogging in moderation but, at least, not blogging as if my life depended upon it. Baby steps, right?
But if I started using my blog as a cyber scale or virtual report card on my girth, history has taught me that I will undoubtedly learn to resent it and then abandon it in favor of keeping my sanity. Then all ten of my readers would be forced to email each other, asking if I fell off the face of the earth when they weren’t looking.
I just don’t know if I can harness my passion to exceed before it dictates, then decimates, my passion to write and I’m not willing to gamble the latter to find out.
Big, huge, kudos to all the bloggers out there who have the wherewithal to include their readers on their journey of weight loss. I wish I could find that kind of balance. As I read your blogs, I rejoice with you, I commiserate with you, I pull for you. I admire you.
I just know that I’m not one of you.
I may lose weight. I may not. If I do, I’ll let you know. If I don’t, I’ll let you know that too.
I will, however, lower my cholesterol, even if it takes a pill to do it, as much as I dislike the entire concept of that idea. But I think I’d dislike a quadruple bypass or stroke even more.
Now I’m going to go call my doctor and see what color he’d like me to paint his room.