One week ago I was a mere 6 pounds away from my goal weight. A goal I have been steadily working towards for two years. Actually, I guess it’s only been 15 months since I threw it all out the window the 9 months I was pregnant with my second child. I have spent as much time as possible in muscle torturing, make Jillian Michaels proud, sweat inducing workouts. I have counted calories, weighed food and kept a journal of all that I put in my mouth. I tried many different “diet” things to lose weight. I drank half my weight (in ounces) of water daily. Which made me really have to pee a lot, but not much else. I ate plain chicken breasts for dinner. I even tried eating Lean Cuisines. Yuck. Finally I found something that worked well. I made food completely boring, meaning I spent about 6 months eating exactly the same thing pretty much every day for breakfast and lunch. Which gave me the freedom to eat just about whatever I wanted for dinner and still be within my allotted calories for the day.
I am 5 foot 3 and when I began this journey in January of 2008, I weighed 204 pounds. That weight was BEFORE I’d tacked on another thirty with my first pregnancy. After my daughter was born, I went right back to my “pre-pregnancy weight” which I thought was incredible, but in hindsight was just an excuse not to do anything about how heavy I’d become. I told myself I must be pretty healthy, since I’d been able to drop the pregnancy weight so quickly. After I saw photos of my daughter’s 1st birthday, I realized it was time to make some serious changes. I joined my local YMCA, set some goals and for additional encouragement and a little competitive motivation I formed a “Biggest Loser” group with my friends.
I stayed focused on my goals and became a little obsessed at the gym, but I dropped 40 pounds in the next year. Then proceeded to get pregnant and gained it all back. This time, the weight wasn’t going anywhere fast. When my son turned 6 weeks old last January, I was right back to pushing the 200 pound mark at 195. So, it was back to the gym – but since I was breastfeeding, my diet consisted of trying to find 2000 calories a day in healthy, protein rich foods rather than stuff my face with bread and cheese all day. Which was very difficult for me. Actually, knowing I needed to eat a lot, but couldn’t fill those calories with the foods I actually craved was utter torture. Even more so than the first time, I hit the gym’s weight machines hard. Slowly but steadily, the weight came off (again). By July of 2009 I’d plateaued at 145, fifty-nine pounds from my (non-pregnant) high weight.
The last fifteen pounds have been extremely difficult to drop. Partly because I fractured both legs and couldn’t exercise (or walk properly) for about two and a half months. Beyond that, I’m just tired. Tired of feeling sore and exhausted from my workouts. Tired of saying “no thanks” to dessert. Sick and tired of watching my string bean husband eat whatever he wants and never gain an ounce. But finally, last week I reached 136…just six measly pounds away from the goal I set for myself two years ago. Then came the eight parties/get-together/eat lots of awesome food events that are typical of my week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This morning I was back to having 14 pounds between me and my goal.
Today, I’m feeling very frustrated. In this week of renewal and goal setting, I feel like forgetting I ever had a picture in my head of what I could look like. I know if I’d worked out today, I probably would feel a little better about the whole situation, but there’s a voice in my head that is telling me a large pizza would do the trick as well. See, one thing I’ve learned in the past two years (besides a huge appreciation for deodorant) – is that I’m a food addict. Flat out. I love food. I’ve mentioned this addiction in a blog before, but since it’s a huge struggle in my life, you get to hear about it again. No matter how much I reevaluate my feelings about food, they still consume me regularly. I do not have weight issues because I’m inactive. I have always loved sports, and truly enjoy any kind of outdoor activity. My struggles are fought with cheese. And bread. And just about anything that is sweet, salty, chocolatey or served with some kind of dipping sauce.
For all my successes the past couple years, I feel like a failure. Ultimately, I know if I cannot figure out my bottom line addiction to food, I’m going to put every single pound back on. That is terrifying to me. I know I’m going to reach my goal weight. Probably in the next 7 weeks since I’m going on a Mexican cruise at the end of February and that is a HUGE motivation currently. But what then? Reaching my goal is scary. It means I have to start maintaining. I won’t have the encouragement of people seeing me and commenting on the weight I’ve lost. The way I look will become how people know me. The accomplishment of dropping all the pounds will fade as I sustain my new figure. I won’t get the joy of shopping for new clothes because I’ll have completed that new wardrobe I’ve been building lately. I know that what will matter most is finally besting the monster of my addiction, not what size pants I’m wearing. I just have no idea how to do it.