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Posted on Jul 12, 2012 in Dear Diary, Weight Loss | 26 comments

Confession

Okay, so here’s the deal. For those of you who have been following this blog for any length of recent time, it should come as no surprise when I say this: I have not really lost any weight since October of last year. In October 2011, I hit my lowest adult weight of 186 pounds, then I gained a bunch back over the holidays, and have been regaining and relosing the same 5, 10 pounds ever since.

I’ve been skirting around this for the last six months, and it’s time to face up. Lay it all out on the table. Be real with you and be honest with myself. Because if other people can be real about what they’re struggling with — the real, nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes stuff — then I should be able to too, right?

I talk about struggling here a lot. Weight loss is a battle, it’s a struggle, it’s an upheaval of a lifestyle. I talk about the mental struggle of choosing a grilled chicken salad instead of a bacon cheeseburger, the physical struggle of having to run one, five, or twelve miles, the emotional struggle of reconciling the old me with the new. But there’s something else I’ve been struggling with, something that I haven’t really talked about on here before: whether I want to continue actively losing weight at all.

Okay, now don’t freak out (I say that more to myself than to you all). Of course I still want to lose weight, just like every girl and woman (which am I today?) who has ever been unsatisfied with her weight does. I still dream about being able to buy clothing in single-digit sizes. I still fantasize about having a flat stomach and visible collarbones and having a body that someone just might envy (am I allowed to say that last one? Oh well, I’m saying it anyway.). I’ve said over and over and over again here, eventually (probably, hopefully?), I will get to a place where I’m happy with how I look. I’ll reach my “goal weight”. At some indistinct point in my future, I will reach the point where I’m content with my body, and effectively, my journey will be over. Except that this kind of journey is never really over. Even if I do hit my goal, it’s inevitable that I’ll gain a few pounds back. Our weight is in constant flux, so if I continue attaching a weight or a dress size or some other physical endpoint to my self-esteem, I’m only setting myself up for continued disappointment. If I’m relatively happy with how I look now (as much as we can be, really), even though I’m still a good twenty-ish pounds OVER my “goal weight”, whose to say that’s not worth recognition in and of itself?

Lately, every weigh-in feels perfunctory. I no longer feel invested in what the scale tells me. And I know that is mostly because I haven’t been putting a ton of effort into actively losing weight, but maybe it’s also because I just don’t care as much. Sure, I’m watching what I eat, I’m staying active, but I’m not calorie counting, I’m not measuring out the amount of cereal I eat before I eat it, I’m not tallying up the exact number of blueberries I consume. Because of this, however, because of this blog and the pledge that I made, to aim for 165, to keep going, I’ve felt like I can’t really admit that I’ve stopped trying.

“It’s just a phase,” I say instead. “I’m getting back on the wagon!” “I’m recommitting, I’m regaining my motivation, and I’m moving onward… and downward!” Only, I don’t. I don’t really change what I’m doing, I just keep weighing in, week after week, and the scale stays pretty much the same, and then I make up another excuse: Vacations! Birthdays! Holidays! Out of town guests! Because for whatever reason, I feel like I can’t just say, “I’m happy, I’m healthy, and I’m seriously enjoying my life as-is!” Even though that’s the truth.

So here’s the real issue: because I feel like I have this responsibility not to give up, not to surrender, not to let you down, not to let myself down, I feel myself starting to slip. I still want to lose weight, but I wonder if I’m doing it for the right reasons anymore. I’ve been battling some dangerous thoughts lately, the type of thinking that I remember well from my days as Old Gretchen. Looking for a quick fix solution. Giving far too much thought to restriction and fad diets and procedures and all of the stuff I swore off long ago. And as great as it is that I can catch myself in these thoughts, that I can recognize how unhealthy they are, it’s still pretty bad that I’m having them in the first place.

Maybe I should rephrase what I said earlier. It’s not that I don’t want (or need?) to lose more weight EVER, not exactly. I’m trying to say that I want to prioritize my HEALTH, not just my weight loss. This is not me looking for an excuse to start binge eating baconators again. This is not me asking for permission to stop exercising (my friend Kate and I actually are signing back up with a personal trainer at our gym starting next week!) or to validate the weight I’m at right now by telling me I look great as is. This is just me trying to figure out how to find some balance. Next month will mark this blog’s 2nd anniversary, and it just occurs to me that two years is a long time to have been struggling. I am young, I am enjoying my life, I’m working on some big things, and I’ve already lost 60 pounds. I mean, that’s got to count for something, right?

As you can tell from the general wishy-washy-ness (is that a word?) of this post, I haven’t come to a decision or anything like that. You already know that I hate making blanket statements, so you won’t see me saying “I’m throwing the scale away!” or anything like that. These are just my thoughts: the ones I’ve been hoarding, letting fester, and failing to admit to you all, let alone myself.

26 Comments

  1. Oh, how I can relate to this post, Gretchen! You have such a way with words, and I have been in a very similar place to where you are right now with not being sure I WANT to make weight loss the focus of my life. I broke up with my ex a year ago, and redefining myself as a single 20-something has been a journey in itself. I’ve had to reconnect with friends and make a real effort in my social life, and that sort of took front and center. But as a blogger, and a Weight Watchers Leader, i feel this intense pressure to be at my goal weight. I’ve thought many, many times about stepping down from leading meeting so I can do it for the right reasons, but I LOVE leading them, and not to sound conceited, but I always wanted a leader like me when i was attending meetings and could never find one, so I almost feel guilty taking myself out of the mix. I know this is a really all over the place comment, but I think what I’m trying to say is, I get it. LOVE YOU! xo

    • Your post yesterday is what inspired me to finally face up to what I’ve been thinking! I wish I could say that the end result is me being able to say “Yes! This IS what I want! Weight loss forevs!” etc, but I’m still in a very unsure place. That said, hopefully that just having gotten it all out here now is going to help me figure things out along the way.

  2. Let me tell you a little about me.

    I lost 60 pounds in 2009. 2010 was rough and I put 20 pounds back on.

    I lost those 20 pounds in 2011. And I lived my life. I focused on health instead of weight loss. And that’s exactly what I got. And I was happy and content. Because my focus wasn’t weight loss. I yo-yo’ed the same 10 pounds because -honestly?- I was half-adding it. And I was okay with that.

    About a month ago, I decided I was no longer okay with it. I’m putting in the work, and I’m losing weight. Because I am making it a priority.

    Do I regret that I didn’t put in the work a year ago? No. Because I was healthy. I was happy. And I’ve taught myself that I don’t have to fear putting weight back on because my natural healthy habits are enough to maintain.

    We all shift our priorities, our focus. There’s nothing wrong with exploring your overall health – fitness, career, relationships – and restarting your weight loss when it becomes a priority again. I think that is the more typical experience and I think that’s how we get more secure and longstanding results.

    I guess what I’m saying? I’ve been there. I will be again. And is a valid and worthwhile part of my weight loss story.

  3. This is something I think we all deal with from time to time. I myself, while nowhere near my goal weight, fight the daily battle of wanting to be able to do all things in moderation and not have to follow a specific plan or “diet”. I am so tired of that. Part of me thinks I’m totally fooling myself because the scale has only gone up, but I also like to think that one day, it will all click and my body will figure it out. I’m at the place now where I think life is too short to worry every day about what I’m going to eat or not eat. And there will always be an event or celebration or night out or whatever that will throw a wrench into any super healthy efforts I may be trying to keep up. I need to find the balance of enjoying food, being active, and trying to be a little bit healthier about the choices I make. I want to do all this without having to count calories or points or whatever. Other people do it, why can’t I? So, thank you for this post. I read it three times because so much of it hit home with me. I’m so glad you wrote it and shared your feelings. You are not alone and you have so much to be proud of, that you have already achieved. Thank you!!!

  4. Powerful stuff, Ms. Gretchen. I know exactly what you and Beth are talking about and I’ve been there too. This is a struggle, it is a constant battle for me. Losing weight and living a healthy life consistently is entirely possible, we have proven that to ourselves and have this great community of inspiration as well. Weight is just a part of overall health. Good luck figuring out what your path forward is. You’re a rockstar!

  5. Thank you so much for this post, Gretchen! I’ve plateaued for the past 6-7 months, and I seem to have stayed within a pound or so of the weight I stopped at, but I got on the scale the other day and it said I’m either up only 1-2 pounds, or 7. GAH! And now I’m starting to panic, and do the same thing you are – considering crash diets and things like that – because I’m going to visit my parents next month, and 90% of my weight problems stem from my mother. It’s so hard to find balance, and contentment with where you are. I’m about 40 pounds away from the top of the “normal” range for my height, and I’m starting to think I’m never going to make it. I’m definitely not content where I am right now, but I also worry that I’ve got the mentality that “Once I reach goal, my life will be happy and perfect.” And that’s a lot of pressure to put on myself – and what if I get to goal and life still isn’t perfect? I’m damning myself to disappointment if I DON’T lose, and possible (probable) disappointment if I DO lose. Fun times. I hope you find the balance and contentment you’re looking for – and 60 pounds and the lifestyle changes you’ve made are amazing and something to definitely be proud of!

  6. Great post!! I love that your posts speak to everyone. Even those of us at our current goal weight are constantly working to keep it. You are right the health and weigth journey NEVER end. We are all always trying to balance the fluctuations. Thank you so much for bringing light to that point.

  7. Gretchen,
    You look fabulous & if you’ve determined that the weight you’re currently at is where you’re happy, then that’s fine! Or, maybe you want to lose a little more but 165 isn’t your ultimate goal anymore, and that’s fine too! I think we’re always re-evaluating our goals and taking stock of what makes us happy. It seems you have no intention of always striving to be healthy & active, and that’s what counts!! Congrats on your success thus far & I know it won’t stop just because you’re prioritizing things differently.

  8. Thanks for your honesty. Not that you owe us anything but I really appreciate posts like these. Please don’t feel like you need to hide from us. (Hiding from yourself is a whole other issue – I’m a pro).

  9. You made a lot of great points and you are a beautiful woman. I think that in the blogging world there is so much pressure to have the success that so and so had, be able to run where so and so did and be able to do a lot of things that are bodies are not designed to do.

    On the other hand there are a series of blogs who are in the bigger girl movement which I support too! So where do we fall into place.

    I am 37 years old, a mama, a cancer patient and a weight loss winner I guess you could say. I was 350#s 8 years ago; put my nose to the grind stone, started running and have lost and kept off almost 175#s. Was it easy? Not at all. Were there times when I wanted to eat my emotions or celebrations? Of course, have I? Not a whole lot.

    It’s a slippery slope for me and I know my boundaries at this point in my life and I hate when people are struggling but I have to play devils advocate here and say (like you did) that life is sometimes an excuse to NOT get us to where we want to go with it.

    When I was pregnant I could have very well quit running and started eating but I ran until the day I had my daughter and I still journaled everything I ate while pregnant. I added the necessary calories for us to be healthy but I watched it because it only meant working it off later.

    I was diagnosed with cancer and had my thyroid removed at 25 weeks pregnant and am still battling lymphoma but I track, I eat well, I workout 5 days a week and my oncologist thinks at some point the good I am doing for my body will repay me with remission.

    I guess what I am trying to say (trust me in a non-preachy way) is that you are a VERY beautiful woman and if you are happy where you are; BE THERE! When you are mentally ready and wanting to tackle life in this area it will come. I promise you that.

    • Thank you for this amazing comment, Jodi.

  10. Grest post. I think you’re right — your priority needs to be your HEALTH, not just your weight. Get into a good groove where the bacon cheeseburgers aren’t your automatic temptation, and see what happens to your weight then. Your health is ultimately more important than losing all the weight you want to right now. It’s a lifestyle change, not a race.

  11. I know exactly what you are going through. This happened to me years ago when I was just so fed up with the constant struggle. It was a freeing feeling to kind of “let it be.” And you know what? It didn’t last forever. It was needed. You should be at peace with this. Listen to your body. Be happy. It will all naturally flow back to the right place.

  12. Hi -

    I just found your blog today. I am struggling with similar feelings so it’s a really weird coincidence (or fate?) that I found your blog today- the very day you posted this struggle.

    I also have struggled with emotional eating and disordered eating most of my life.

    I’ve been up and down throughout my life. I am 38 now. 2 kids.

    Now, I am trying to lose about 10 lbs (that I lost last year and gained back!). Try as I might, I cannot lose it with any consistency. Its a lose 1, gain .5, lose .5, gain 2 kind of game. Very frustrating. So, I am in a place that is feeling like maybe I should just make peace with the weight I am now and move on. But part of me doesnt want to give up. Because I should be able to do it. I did it last year!

    I like what some of your fans have said in their comments about needing to take a break and just maintain for a while – and I think that will be the key for you – to just stay in maintenance and not gain. Because gaining can often make us feel horrible. And when you are ready, you will know it, and you can work on it again. Or not. :)

    Cheers!

  13. Gretchen,
    I love, love, LOVE your honesty. There are so many people, including myself that feel like you but have not been honest with ourselves. I like reading your post, I did start reading it because I was wanting new motivation for my own weight loss and thought reading about others through their blogs would help motivate me. My truth is, I have completely stopped trying to lose weight, but keep reading your blog anyway because I think its awesome, funny and real. Its clear that you have learned a lot about yourself through this journey so far. If you are happy with were you are, I’m happy for you, if or when you decide to lose more, I’m behind you – no matter what you decide, please keep writing!!!!

  14. Totally been there, Gretchen!

    It’s hard to be in mental battle with the part of yourself that says to settle–after all, look how far you’ve come already! Even if you’re kind of close, you’ll be OK, right?

    Not really. You can’t let yourself down or set yourself up to fail. It’s the fear of not being able to actually make it all the way to your goal weight, of the same and disappointment in falling short. However, things can only get better if you imagine them as truly being better.

    I read the “Me vs. Me” post you linked and it was really spot on about the whole thing. :)

    Stay strong! You’ll totally make it to 165.

  15. I totally get it. TOTALLY get it. I go through phases of just feeling like I just.don’t.want.to.count.calories.anymooooorrreeee… It’s exhausting sometimes. It would be nice just to be able to eat, without worrying or wondering about what the long term effects are. Just like you said, not binge eating baconators, but just feeling “normal” for once. Take the time you need. You’ve accomplished a lot so far! Hopefully just getting this off your chest will help you see more clarity about what’s best for Gretchen. :)

  16. Thank you so much for this!! Sometimes I feel as though (and maybe you do too) that when you tell others you are losing weight/changing your lifestyle for the better, if progress doesn’t show up quickly that I’ve failed. Recently I have decided (for many health reasons) to completely cut out gluten from my diet. I slipped up and felt like I let everyone who supported me down. THIS IS SO NOT THE CASE! We have supporters for a reason! They are there to encourage us to keep going and are there when we “fall” to pick us back up. You’ve lost 60 lbs and that is amazing! You’ve cleaned up your diet, you exercise and you have so many people who care. That is a definite road to success!

    I know I’m totally some rando who comments on your blog and follows you on FB, but your journey is completely relatable to me. You seriously inspire me to keep going somedays!

  17. This post is beautifully written. I can totally relate and just wanted to thank you for sharing this with all of us.

  18. I think everyone goes through this in their weight loss journey, heck I am stuck it in right now. I just want to live, I don’t want to have to worry about, oh man should i really be eating that.. no thanks.

    I am happy that you are focusing on your health and not weight :) I think that is what is most important anyway!

  19. I’m going through exactly what you are going through right now. When will I be announcing maintenance and that I’ve finally made it? I’m starting to realize more and more now that it’s going to be a lifelong journey for me and while it’s not a struggle, healthy living is just going to be a priority from now on.

    It’s very brave of you to write your inner battles and make them public. I’m sure many people can relate to exactly what you are going through!

  20. Sounds like you’ve described what is in some sense, “victory”. Yeah, you might not be at the target weight, but the target is a number, no more. If you’ve solved your relationship with food (mostly) and exercising and doing active things and the energy level is there and everything is going well physically – then aren’t those the changes that can keep you from backsliding?

  21. Hi Gretchen. I have been following your blog for some time now and have never commented until now. I follow your blog for your witty remarks and your ability to make me laugh. I am always routing for your weight loss but that’s not the reason I love this blog. It’s all of the other stuff. I love the pooches, your reviews, and even your rambling. Just know that there are people that would be here if this was a weight loss blog or not. You are one of the best my dear! Keep blogging!

  22. Oh how I can relate! I lost 22 pounds last year counting calories. At the time, it was the greatest thing ever. I learned about nutrition and the reasons why I was gaining weight in the first place. I exercise like I never had before in my life. By the time I was halfway to my goal weight, I got tired. Measuring food and constantly counting is exhausting. Plus, there was so much guilt associated with eating “forbidden” foods when you log it. I just feel like real people don’t live like that.

    I still want to lose those last 20 pounds but this time around I’m taking my time. No more calorie counting. I know what foods are good for me and which I should eat in moderation. So for now, I won’t care what the scale says. I’ll eat mostly healthy and exercise hoping the weight comes off naturally. That can happen right?

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