Thursday, July 31, 2014

Living with the Ghosts of Weights Past and Future


Time to get real here, folks---

I have been 100% guilty of spending a lot of time lately with the Ghosts of Weights Past & Future. In other words, instead of focusing on my current body shape and what I'm currently capable of, my mind keeps drifting back to "happier" weight times (like back in high school or when I was in the thick of training for a full marathon) or forward to skinnier weights to come (like when I've finally managed to discipline myself when it comes to sugar).

And while my weight now is not at the point where I hate my body, I am definitely at the point where I hate the trend I'm seeing.

You want to know the truth?

Since setting my goal to lose 5 pounds back in April for my half-marathon, I have gained not only those five pounds back, but 10 pounds on top of that (for a total of 15 pounds). I am now just as heavy as I was when I had my great life revelation 3 years ago about taking better care of my health and losing the 25 pounds I'd gained on my mission (a revelation which had helped me to keep off all that weight until about two months ago).

I know that I am still relatively fit and at a borderline-healthy weight for my height and that there are people out there who look at my problems like they're a drop in the ocean (and they are, really), but as anyone who has ever tried to permanently lose weight knows, it is HARD. It requires constant vigilance, permanent changes, and a totally different frame of mind than you had before.

The problem is, it's not like those paradigm-shifting "aha moments" grow on trees---based on my personal experience, something has to just about snap for them to happen. (And it it's up to me, I'd really rather not let myself get to snapping point before taking action.)

But I'm being held back by a lot of silly lines of reasoning. One of the strongest excuses that keeps coming up is that I'm going to go out and lose all this weight only to get pregnant at some point and get fat anyway, so why bother? Or another is that I should just learn to love myself as I am because my husband likes me as I am, so why do I have this pressing need to lose weight?

I could go on for pages about the flaws in my reasoning. I could go on for novels about how my "pressing need to lose weight" is probably fueled almost entirely by the fact that I live in a culture where everywhere I look, I am told that I have to be a certain size to be beautiful, to be loved, to feel good about myself. And that I've let myself believe some of those lies.

I WANT to change though. I know all my reasons for wanting to change aren't all the most noble (yes, I do want to be healthier so I can live a long time and so that I can actually have a family of my own, but I also want to lose weight because I like the way I look when I'm a bit skinnier), but nevertheless, I think that whatever the reason, those desires will push me in a more positive direction than I'm at right now.

I've been reading a lot of health and exercise blogs lately (like Blogilates and Peanut Butter Runner), and as I've proved to myself time and time again, I am heavily influenced by what I read. Since starting to follow those blogs, I have been looking for more little ways to move and stay active as well as been more aware about how much junk I really do consume. I haven't made any major changes yet, but I'm hoping that getting back into the routine of school in a few weeks will act as a natural starting point to get into a better routine when it comes to my health.

But here's what I'm really thinking about---

1. I want to change up my current mindview on health and wellness (like I did 3 years ago).
2. Blogging is a great motivator for me as well as a great way to keep me accountable.
3. The book I Dare Me is inspiring me to try out new things a lot more often.

So I've got a bit of a scary proposal for myself----

At least one week each month, I want to take on a new health or exercise challenge---I'm talking going vegan for a whole week, cutting out processed sugar in all its forms, doing one form of exercise every day for 7 straight days, etc. I will announce the challenge before I do it, experience the challenge in all its glory (and pain), and then blog about that challenge when it's finished.

I've always been fascinated by diet and exercise, so I'm hoping my natural passion for the subject will fuel me through when the discipline gets tough (and that the blog will keep me accountable).

I'm scared to death to even publish this because so many of my challenges have failed before.

But I'll never know if I don't try.

Guess there's no looking back now.

To help me, I'd love it if you'd let me pick your brain for a minute. What are some diet types I could try for a week? Or some particular food challenge I could take on? Do you know of a type of exercise you would be interested in reading about? Or something related to diet and exercise that would just be entertaining to hear about someone trying out?

(If I end up taking on your challenge, I'll make sure to give your blog a shout-out! So make sure to leave your blog link below your comment if you'd like some extra traffic coming your way.)

I'm open to it all! Thanks in advance for all your help!


5 comments:

  1. I totally resonate with this. for me it's less about my weight (because for some reason that doesn't seem to change when I diet or exercise more) but more about having a stronger body. Like, I don't want to be buff, but I just want to feel my muscles working and my heart pumping. I realized the other day that all I ever do is sit at my desk at work and then come home and do chores. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to reading about how your mini challenges go! I can't imagine going vegan for a week, haha. I'd be really curious to see how different diets actually make you feel. I've tried low-carb but I just can't go a whole day without eating a slice of bread, it's a problem. you could try a paleo diet, I've seen some really cool recipes in that area.

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  2. Torrie, I love your honesty! Weight and especially body image have at times been really hard for me. I gained a lot my freshman year and then felt so out of control that I tried to take total control--which got rid of the weight, but led to several years of being obsessed with it all to the point that adding up calories and feeling crappy about myself took up an embarrassingly huge chunk of my mental and emotional faculties. I got into a cycle of making and breaking "food rules" that just got more and more intense, and then felt worse and worse every time I caved. Anyway, my saving grace was working at an ED facility that used a book called "Intuitive Eating." The premise is that our bodies are designed to tell us when we're hungry and when we're full and if what we're eating is good for us, and when we try to ignore those cues or muscle through a rigid diet plan, our brains think we're starving and override our "willpower" in an effort to protect us. Which makes us feel horrible, until the promise of a better diet plan gives us hope again, and we start all over. Anyway, the idea that I needed to learn to listen to and trust my body took a surprising amount of faith but has made my life sooo much happier. E.g. I'm not scared that buying a bag of Dove chocolates will mean I've pounded the entire thing two hours later. Being willing to trust myself made getting pregnant and knowing I needed to gain lots of weight so much less daunting, because I believed that my body would just tell me when to eat more (and it did--I gained about 30 lbs, which my doc said was great) and that continuing to do so after I had my baby would get me back to me pre-pregnancy weight (which it also did). Diets work for some people, I think. But I'm pretty anti-diet for myself. Whatever you end up doing, tell yourself that you’re strong and beautiful at least a few times a day. That sounds cheesy, but I think good body image precedes not results from healthy living. And that's my reeeally long comment... sorry. :/ Good luck with everything, Torrie!

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    1. Thanks, Aly! I'm definitely going to check out that book---it sounds awesome! It's always reassuring to know that I'm not alone (esp. because I was kind of scared to post this!) :)

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  3. Try the Sadie Nardini 21 day yoga challenge (she has a book and an online version) Or the 100 days of real food challenge (she has a 10 day challenge you could try). I've loved the challenge of going vegan and it has changed my life and my body. I hope that helps! Good luck in your quest :)

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    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I love 100 days of real food (which is where I got my "clean eating" definition from, basically), and I'll definitely be checking that other one out.

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