At last year's Fitbloggin' conference, I was sitting in a session next door to one titled "When You Have a Lot to Lose." While I teeter on the edge between "a good amount" and "a lot" to lose, I chose to attend the other session. While we were discussing keywords and SEO, the sound of crying was wafting from the room next door.
I thought to myself "Man ... I don't cry anymore when it comes to weight."
But that steely resolve took years of work.
Losing weight sucks -- know anyone who enjoys the process? And in the past, if a doctor, or a friend or family member would talk to me about it, after a while, the lower lip would start trembling and then the waterworks would start.
Looking back on that now, I think "boo freakin' hoo."
What is there to cry about? Crying turns you into a victim. It doesn't solve anything, and mastering weight loss is about solving stuff.
Besides, you'd have to wail and cry for hours and hours to burn any significant amount of calories. :)
The last time I got emotional about my weight, I was able to pinpoint what set me off, and it was just pure frustration. Take my eye off the ball and BLAMMO, the weight comes right back.
It's freaking tiring to weigh and measure food, to write stuff down, snap barcodes on your phone, to tell the waiter to put the dressing on the side, wrap it in lettuce, take off the sauce -- all that crap. But is it worth crying over? Hell no.
(You'll notice that I haven't mentioned exercise because I absofreakinlutely love it and when it comes right down to it, exercise is only about 20 percent of weight loss. As the bariatric psychologist at Cleveland Clinic Florida told me "You exercise for health; you eat to lose weight.")
This may just be my own case, but freeing myself from attaching emotions to weight loss involved accepting the shitty truths of losing weight -- I am hungry a lot, because for me to lose weight, I have to keep the calories low, given that I have the metabolism of a manatee. I can choose to eat more calories but those days will not be weight-loss days. Or, I can strap on the running shoes and pound out a few miles to earn more calories.
Please don't take offense to this post if dealing with weight issues still brings up overwhelming feelings. It did for me for a long time. But after a few years of working issues out with a psychologist who herself has lost more than 100 pounds, we carefully pulled the thorns out and I can tackle the situation with a relentlessness that transcends any plateau.
I don't give up. Like ever. Calories don't take a holiday just because I'm on vacation. There is no "vacation mode."
Just last night we went to a Seattle Mariners game, and we circled the concession stands until I found a place that served something "safe" yet enjoyable. (It's gotta be enjoyable. I don't ascribe to the "food is fuel only" school of thought.) I ordered a grilled salmon sandwich with "dry" slaw on top. I told them to hold the tartar sauce and gave the top half of the ciabatta roll to the skinny teenager. Halfway through the game, the kid and I had a little frozen yogurt, but I knew I could because we hiked through the woods for 2 hours that morning and we burned beaucoup calories.
Those occasional plateaus aren't a mystery; bodies aren't that complicated. Calories have consequences and some days it's damn hard to keep a lid on them. But instead of throwing in the towel, you grab the wheel and steer it back on the road.
Lids, towels, steering wheels -- whoa, what a pastiche of metaphors!
So to all of you who are arriving in Portland for Fitbloggin', find me and say hi. I may pop into the "When You Have a Lot to Lose" session -- I'll be the cynical one in the corner offering tough love; I know I'll be sitting in on the Tackling the Taboo of Therapy" session because I talk about therapy the way others talk about getting their hair did.
And now for a musical interlude: