Friday, August 17, 2012

This Side Of The Fence

If you read this blog regularly you know that I've talked about my struggles to lose the weight I gained with Jamie.  It's been a topic almost from the inception of this blog.  However, as much as I think about it, I post about it a lot less.  Who wants to read that anyway? Weight loss and fitness are decisions I made for me not anyone else.

But I have some things to say.

Weight loss has never been easy for me. Ever. I can't say that I was always overweight or that I've never been skinny but I can say that I'm one of those people who carries her weight in such a way that most people don't see me as obese or even overweight.  Since my teen years, I've spent a lot of time fighting my urges to devour delicious food, avoid exercise, and trying desperately not to grow to gargantuan sizes.  The only times in my adult life that I've been free of weight worry were during my pregnancies.

The older I get the harder it is.

I have been stuck in the same place for well over a year now. I lost about 18 pounds in the space of 6 months or so. Those pounds were NOT easy to lose.  Then I stalled out something fierce.  Life got in the way, I was busy, we had calamities, and my weight loss and fitness became the last things on the list.

This summer has been the most stressful I've ever lived through. Some of what's going on is not suitable for blogging so I haven't talked about it here.  It's simply not my place.  But it has affected me profoundly and I've spent a lot of time eating my feelings.  As a result I've gained 8 pounds in the last few months - that's nearly half of what I fought so hard to lose in the first place.

Let me be clear about something. I am painfully aware that this is my own fault.

Now we come to the crux of this post. From my side of the fence? Weight loss is the hardest thing I've ever tried to do.  I struggle with it constantly and I keep failing. Worse, I know that it's my fault that I fail.  I castigate myself all the time about how I eat and how I can't make myself exercise after a long day with the kids.  I want so desperately not to be this person who fails and yet for all my good intentions - I fail.

People tell me I'm not fat. Right. But then I go to the doctor and get yelled at to lose weight.  My BMI is 29. I weigh 178 pounds. By all standards available, YES, I am overweight.

I feel like every bite of food that enters my mouth is judged by SOMEONE; that people look at me and think "yup, pretty clear why she's overweight." I think that about me, why wouldn't someone else?

Little changes DON'T add up for me. Not weighing myself DOESN'T work (all I do is get fatter).  I am well aware that a number on a scale or my BMI are not fantastic ways to measure my progress but they are the only concrete ways I have to do so. It's all I have to work with and I have to pay attention.  That's just how it works for me.  I hate it intensely. But ignoring it doesn't make it go away or make me do a better job of losing weight.  I've tried that, too.

I get it that skinny people don't always have it easy, either. They get told to eat a sandwich or people assume they have eating disorders. Allow me to be honest though - in our society, it is far, far easier to be skinny than to be fat.  It's annoying that people feel free to comment or make assumptions but skinny people don't get little kids pointing at them when they're in a bathing suit (yep, had it happen). Skinny people don't get stared at in the same way. They are objects of desire, the goal to be striven for. Some thin people have worked damn hard to get there and some are lucky enough that they don't have to work at it to stay that way.

From here? From the fat side? I would take all those consequences in a heartbeat if it meant I could just "throw away the scale" and "go by how my clothes feel."  If it meant that I could dispense with feeling like the whole world judges me just by how much I weigh.  If it meant I could stop feeling like a failure every. single. day. because I hate how I look and I'm losing faith that I can change it.

From my side, that's how it feels. That's what it looks like. Maybe it doesn't look that way for you. Me? That's the hand I got dealt and I keep trying to shuffle the deck only to come up with the same stupid cards every time.


  1. *raises hand*
    I was bulimic from age 12 to age 16.
    I will always look in the mirror and think I need to lose weight. Always.
    Diet is hard. It sucks. So does exercise. I have learned to live with them. I don't like them.
    I had to get into the best physical shape of my life before the doctors would go from yelling to muttering. They still mutter. Bastards.

    I'm here with you. It will be okay. It will get better.
    I had to learn to tell myself "Do not focus on the sins of the past. It is done. Forgive yourself and focus on what you will do tomorrow, and the rest of this week. Just a week at a time."

  2. I totally feel you. I have become less obsessed with the scale as I get more obsessed with nutrition (which, by the way, I am more than willing to share with you, but I also know that most people don't want to hear others' views on nutrition, ha), but I still obsess over the way I look. I still weigh myself quite often. It definitely sucks. And I agree that I would take being "too skinny" over overweight ANY day of the week. I'd much rather be the rare person who struggles to put on weight, who wants to "bulk up"...

    You *do* look awesome, for what it's worth, but I know that doesn't make a difference to hear. It's not about what I think, it's about how you feel and what *you* think.

  3. I know how it feels, Cari. We've talked about my history with eating disorders and you know that I know how difficult and complicated weight issues can be. Particularly for women.

    You have to do what's best for you, Cari, and I don't think you're going to agree but I'm going to float this out there anyway. (And I'm going to avoid the discussion about BMI being outdated, and yadda-yadda-yadda, bullshit number on the scale, blah-blah-blah.)

    When doctors get on me about my weight without taking my overall health and contributing factors into account then I find a new doctor. It's a no-brainer for me. I don't want to be fat-shamed by someone I'm supposed to trust. I think they must sense it because I'm almost never harangued by medical professionals about my weight.

    1. My GYN was good about it the last time I was in. Didn't berate me and didn't really have a problem with me. But I had my cholesterol checked a few months back and it was not in good shape. All out of whack, triglycerides way too high, etc. They said "eat fish, get good oils, exercise, lose weight." DUDE. TRYING.

      And we don't eat fish. No one in the house will eat it except me. So yeah. I don't eat it.

      I am working on getting back in the saddle. I'm struggling to get my eating back into control. I'm having some success even if it doesn't show on a scale. I feel like I'm not eating everything in sight as much, not letting my emotions screw with my eating habits as much. I'm also working up to getting an exercise routine in place. Some of that won't really manifest until both kids are back in school but I've gotten 3 workouts in over the last week which is better than nothing. I even ran a little bit yesterday.

      I'm trying. I really am. And I'm trying not to get too down on myself - as much as I might have an inclination to do just that.

  4. I feel for you. Silas is the same way. He works really hard at watching what he eats and can't seem to lose weight... it's something we're working on etc... And obviously I have baby weight to lose since I gain a shit ton with pregnancy apparently.

    But if it makes you feel any better - Silas, who is some 250 lbs over weight has a wonderful set of friends and a successful career and everyone just loves him. Sometimes ignorant people mutter comments but you know what, they are ignorant people. He has a beautiful soul.

    And so do you.