Less of Paige

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Tunnel

Two of my favorite bloggers wrote recently about weight. Yvonne talks about being at the end of her rope. Amanda talks about her gastric bypass, which she's very happy about.

They are two vastly different posts both about weight.

They both made me think of the tunnel. If you read Yvonne's post, and the comments, I commented about a tunnel.

Weight loss can seem like a tunnel. You know that phrase, "the light at the end of the tunnel"? It's one of hope. The light is supposed to create hope- there is an end to this experience. I think that in weight loss, when you start you start for a reason. Because you're at the beginning of the tunnel, where it's very very black. You start to lose because something has motivated you to finally change your habits and make changes about how you are living and how you look. I think for a lot of people, this beginning of the tunnel (or bottom of the barrel, or rock bottom, or lowest place) can be either a monumental event or a small one. I have had two. The first time was when I could no longer fit into my "fat pants". They were so tight on me that I had to change beteween work and an evening activity- I had to go to Old Navy and buy sweats so I could be comfortable. That was was started my first go-round with Weight Watchers and somewhat successful weight loss. The second moment was less of a specific moment in time and more of an accumulation of doctors visits during which no less than four doctors told me I had to lose weight or I was at very high risk for several medical conditions. After the fourth doctor, I decided it might be time to take it seriously.

The first time I lost weight, I had a big goal. 80 pounds. I got to thirty five before I just quit. I just got so tired. I was tired of counting points. I was tired of thinking all the time of what went into my mouth. I was tired of struggling to exercise. I was tired of dealing with plateaus. I was tired of talking about my weight all the time. Tired of going to weight watchers meetings. Tired of being held accountable by everyone about what I ate.

I got to the point of the tunnel where the darkness had begun to recede and so it didn't seem so bad, but the light at the end of the tunnel was very, very dim. It wasn't bright enough for me to believe I could reach it.

That was the worst part. And that time, I just gave up. I stopped counting. I stopped being accountable. I stopped trying. And I gained back around 5o pounds. Right now, that I'm back somewhere in the tunnel (not the halfway point, closer to the darkness than the light) I'm so pissed that I gave up last time. I know why I did it and I forgive myself for it. But I'm sad I did. I'm sad that all that hard work was essentially wasted. I'm sad that I gave up on myself.

I can't guarantee that won't happen again. I am a food addict, after all, prone to relapse. But i am going to try very hard not to. I am going to try to keep these habits with me and keep moving towards the light. I know what it feels like to get closer to my goal then move far, far away from it. Barring pregnancy, I'd like to not have the scale move up like that again.

My heart breaks for Yvonne. And for Amanda. And for all of us who struggle with this. Because it is so painful, and effects so much of our lives and who we are. And it never feels done. As Amanda said, she didn't have brain surgery- so while her body changed, her brain didn't. And alot of what we struggle with has much more to do with our brain than our actual bodies. It helps to be able to put my feelings somewhere. And say to whoever's reading- this is HARD. It's fun when I have losses, but it can still be hard to have to worry about it everyday. I am LOVING the payoff right now. But I can't even think about or consider this being a "lifestyle change" because that continues to be far too overwhelming. If I pretend it's just a diet, and hope it turns into a lifestyle, great. But the thought of dealing with this for the rest of my life- well, I just can't go there. I have to take the tunnel one day at a time.