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Posted on Feb 27, 2012 in Dear Diary | 19 comments

Obsessive

I have a bit of an obsessive personality. You are probably not shocked to hear this. Still, it bears noting that I am well-aware of my tendency to throw 110% of myself into something… until my interest suddenly drops out, that is. Then, I have absolutely no problem just, y’know, giving up. In fact, aside from sushi, Harry Potter, and my inexplicable love for stationary shopping, this has held true for pretty much everything I’ve ever claimed interest in: every hobby I’ve attempted taking up (scrapbooking, anyone?), every food I’ve been obsessed with (still waiting for the tide to turn on my love for brussels sprouts), and every fad diet I’ve attempted. In fact, my single-minded focus when it comes to my interest du jour often causes me to forgo other aspects of my life.

Most are relatively harmless. For example, I am super obsessed with the Hunger Games right now (as you all should be, as well). In fact, when I first read the books last October, I ended up spending a large chunk of my trip to Canada finishing all three of them instead of going out and doing Canadian things. Was it stupid to choose to read (an AMAZING set of books, but something I could do anytime nonetheless), over spending time back in my high school stomping grounds? Probably. But ultimately it wasn’t anything unforgivable. Another example: the other day I bought not one, not two, but THREE different pieces of Hunger Games-inspired paraphernalia on Etsy. Perhaps not the best use of my money, but like I said, I’m obsessed.

While I may display my ridiculous fangirl-ness rather proudly, however, I am ashamed to admit that other, far more destructive behaviors that have cropped up in the name of past obsessions. Especially when that obsession manifested itself in ways particular to my self-image… like the very one that sparked the entire creation of this blog: my weight. My obsession with my appearance and weight has always had its ups and down, but it was unsurprisingly at its craziest in high school. At times, either because I was actually content with my looks or simply too lazy to do anything about it, things were fine. Business as usual – eating normal amounts of not-super-healthy-but-not-terrible-for-you foods, not thinking about it too much. But as we very well know, all it takes is one comment from a mean teenager, one side-eye from someone skinnier, one spark of self-hatred and all that normalcy crumbles. And suddenly the only thing that matters is losing weight. Not my family, not my friendships, and certainly not my health.

The first step was always to enter crash diet mode. I would mentally yell obscenities at myself, trying to convince myself that I was too fat to deserve food. I would try to sleep all day so I wouldn’t have to eat anything. But between school, and going to the bathroom, and simply getting bored with that, my plan to, uh, not eat would fail, and I would resort to the latest fad diet. Low carb! No carb! No cheese! Only cheese! Cabbage soup! Fish oil! And when the results didn’t come, or didn’t come fast enough, sometimes I went even further than that. Diet pills. Insane “cleanses” based on information gleaned from the internet. And I know that if my 16-year-old self had been able to get her hands on some fen-phen, she would have had no qualms about it, heart murmurs be damned. Eventually, my fervent obsession with dropping 10 lbs in a week would fizzle out. By the time I got to college, cycles of binge eating had worked their way in there as well, which means that my slow ascent to my highest weight of 246 lbs happened purely because of my vain attempts to lose a quick 5 libbies in high school.


Senior year of college

The worst part, as I see it now (with all my almost-24-years of wisdom, haha), is that I wasn’t really even overweight in high school. Because I was younger than everyone else (I skipped a grade when I was young), it took a little longer for my baby fat to redistribute itself. But by the time I got to the end of my sophomore year, I was strong, tall, and probably around 160 lbs. Totally normal, maybe even svelte, considering that’s right around what my goal weight is now. Of course, since I spent grades 9 – 11 in Taiwan, surrounded by my genetically petite classmates who topped out at 5’2″ and 110 lbs, I thought I was a total whale. I was in the 180s by the time I started my senior year, now living in Ottawa, but given how good I felt when I hit 186 back in the fall, I now know how perfectly NORMAL that was.


Senior year of high school

Stupid teenage me.

Hogsmeade
Last weekend

Anyway, the point of this long, extremely wordy post is to point out that it’s only now that I’m really starting to understand myself. I’m starting to get how my mind works, how my motivation works, and I keep trying to figure out what it is about this time that’s actually sticking. I mean, I know that I’ve been drifting for a while now, and I haven’t made tons of progress over the past year compared to the beginning, but the fact that I’m still here? That I’m still blogging, still trying, still actively thinking about my health? AND still trying to do it all the right way? It is a significant change from how I used to be. I hope it doesn’t sound conceited or anything, but I think it shows growth. And you might say I’m still pretty obsessed with my weight. I mean, I do still blog about it pretty much every day. But it’s a healthier kind of obsession, if there’s such a thing. It’s a slow burn. Not the kind the consumes you and drives you to do desperate (and dangerous) things. The kind that warms you from the inside, because you know that eventually, even if it does take another year to drop as many pounds as you lost in the first 4 months, you’ll get there.

Onward.

19 Comments

  1. I am totally like you in the way of obsessions. I hardly finish anything I start. I’m totally into something for awhile and then I stop. I think I do that with foods, clothes, jewelry, hobbies, etc.

    Btw you look so awesomely great in that photo from last weekend! And so very happy!

  2. I have the same tendencies to get super excited about something and give it my 110% then get bored. My boyfriend is someone who keeps me in check and reminds me to calm down.

    Moderation is definitely something I’m working on all the time in all aspects of my life.

    Great reflective post!

  3. Excellent post!

  4. Very Excellent Post.

  5. Wonderful post. I think it’s a sign of growing up when we realize that with most aspects of life, there is no destination – only the thoughts we think, choices we make and actions we take day by day!! Lasting change occurs so gradually we don’t even realize that it’s happening – until suddenly when we look back – we realize how far we have come.

  6. I definitely am on the obsessive side of things. TV shows, clothes, drinks… like once I swear I bought like 30 blue powerade zeros because I was convinced that the next time I’d go to the store, they’d be gone and i loved them THAT much. Now I don’t even like the drink. Orrrrr I really love these boots and am afraid of them wearing out, so let me buy 2 pairs. Which actually was a good idea because I ended up needing and using both pairs…. Still, I’m CRAZY!

    Where did you get your dress in the picture from last week? I’m sorry if you mentioned it already and I missed it. Thanks!

    • I got it at Target like 2 years ago. I don’t think they have the style anymore, but start checking out their summer dresses in a few weeks because they always have fun, super cheap ones!

  7. Great post! I think it is amazing how much insight we can get when we look at ourselves. And I know for myself that I can go overboard on things easily, it always starts out so innocently too.

    Keep up the good work!!

  8. This post was really powerful & meaningful, & it totally struck a chord with me, not just in general but as this specific time in my life. Thanks so much for always putting yourself out there – not just your recipes & your work-outs, but your feelings & your personality. You continue to inspire & encourage me.

  9. Well said, Gretchen. The thing is, once you get into the healthy range (and I really believe you are perfectly healthy, and if your body decided to land right around here, it would probably be annoying, but you would still be fine and look great), the progress is so different! It’s slow, and it’s up and down, and it’s such a mental challenge because those super motivating immediate results seem like a life time ago, but I really believe that the more you continue to grow and discover about yourself, the closer you will get to your goal all around, if that makes sense? The physical progress will continue to happen (even if it seems like it’s at a snail’s pace), but that is when you have the time and the insight to look at those emotional and mental changes and successes. So much of what I read on here resonates so much with my journey! Love it, and I think you are fabulous 🙂

  10. I think I can be fairly obsessive about things too. For instance, I am also obsessive about “The Hunger Games” right now (right now meaning ever since I first read the book back in December 2010…). But to be fair, it’s an awesome series to be obsessed with! You have excellent taste, so I say obsess away!

  11. Really good post- these are the sorts of things that are reminders to the rest of us who interact with you daily that you have changed and continue to grow and mature. I’m proud of you!

  12. Great post, Gretchen–I can totally identify with this! I’ve thrown myself into a lot of things only to drop them, too…luckily my weight loss and blog has not been one of them. Gone through slow spells, yes…but still plugging away. So glad you are too! Hugs!

  13. This is a really thought-provoking post! I always assumed that my obsession with my weight/ body image would fade when I got to a weight that I was happy at. When I was in college, I would fantasize about being a certain size, being a certain weight, and I assumed that once I reached that weight everything would be good. When I finally reached that weight, I think the most surprising thing to me is that it didn’t make me happy. It didn’t fix all my problems, and the mental side of weight loss has been more intrusive than I could have ever imaged. However, I understand this is simply part of the journey – part of the process. I have come a long way, and I try to recognize my strengths and how far I have come/ how much I have changed instead of focusing on the negative. Thanks for sharing though! I think these are things that a lot of people struggle with, and it helps me, at least, to know that others have similar struggles. Keep it up! You look amazing!

  14. You and I are exactly the same. Every single word (including the obsession with the Hunger Games books) is me 100%. It’s nice to know someone else is as obsessive as I am. Prob not the healthiest thing but, hey that is just who I am.

  15. Keep obsessing over your passions and the things that you love- there’s nothing wrong with a healthy obsession 😉 And continue celebrating even the smallest successes- a success is a success, not a failure!

  16. GREAT post, Gretchen!! I have a majorly obsessive personality too, and identify with a lot of what you said. And my weight (well, my body- not the number that I weigh) is definitely my number one obsession and has been for years. It’s funny though- because I was overweight in high school and college, and wasn’t happy about it- but didn’t really care enough to do much about it either. I started getting obsessed the thinner I got- stepping onto dangerous grounds. I think that if you have ever struggled with your weight, it’s hard NOT to obsess about it slightly. There’s a really fine line between being conscientious and obsessive!

  17. Great post…I can completely relate to the obsessive personality, I can never just “like” something! But I’m actually currently obsess over the Hunger Games, its such an addicting series and I can’t wait until the movie comes out on March 23rd.

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