Sunday, November 7, 2010

It doesn't make it all better

After looking at my stats from last year that I posted yesterday, I started pondering why I just gave up and gained 21 pounds. I was near goal, at least the Weight Watcher goal of 155. At 158 pounds I was so close to goal that I could almost feel it. I remember being happy and proud of myself.

So what happened? Why did I just give up? Don't I want to reach goal? It appears that I don't really care anymore, that I gave up giving it my all and I'm just floating along, staying in the 170's, not really giving my weight loss much attention.

A few weeks ago a friend that I walk with on occasion asked me, "Isn't your life a lot better since you lost so much weight?" My immediate response was "No! It's not." Then I told her some things were better, I can breathe easier and my knees don't hurt. I don't get tired as quickly. I have a little more self-confidence. However, overall, I still have the same problems I had at 240 pounds, and I still had those same problems when I was down to 152 last year.

My job is still a job that I don't exactly look forward to each day, but it is a job. My marital problems are still here. My husband still gets grouchy when he's tired and he's tired a lot. I'm still afraid of the same things, becoming one of the morbidly obese and being homeless. I still don't think I'm smart or pretty. In a nutshell, I'm still the same person just in a healthier body.

My friend was shocked that my weight loss didn't solve all my problems. I was only telling her the truth, even though she's trying to lose a hundred pounds and this was disheartening to hear.

Maybe because I know it won't solve all my problems I've made reaching goal not as important to me as it was last year. I still want to reach goal, but for different reasons now. Now that I know it won't fix everything I need to look at in an entirely different light.

I want to lose weight so I can comfortably wear all the size 10 clothes in my closet. I'm back in a size 12. I want to lose weight so I can remain healthy and continue to be active in my old age. I have no intention of moving into an assisted living home in my 80's. I want to travel and not be in a wheelchair.

The reasons for getting to goal are different now. I know it won't make my job more fun or less stressful. I know it won't make my husband happier or my marriage better. I can't control these things, but I can control me. I can control how I handle things, what I put in my mouth, my health.

I think Sheryl said it best in her post last week when she wrote about her struggles at being at goal. The last few paragraphs really hit home for me.

I suspect this is why so many people gain back all their weight and then some more, just like I've done many times in my life. I expected a different outcome when I lost a lot of weight. I expected life to be wonderful and everyone around me to be as happy for me as I was for myself. It just doesn't work that way.

The bottom line is that reaching goal doesn't make it ALL better. It makes some things better, but a lot of things stay the same or only get slightly  better. That's okay, small positive changes in life are still good. I just have to expect less, accept that this isn't really a life-altering event to weight 155 versus 175 or 135 versus 175. My life will still be pretty much the same, just a thinner, healthier version of me.

So it doesn't make it all better, but it's a little better and sometimes, a lot better. That's still a good thing.

An afterthought:  After I posted this I realized some people might think that what I'm saying is that losing weight isn't worth it. That since it doesn't fix everything then why bother? That's not what I meant.

It fixes a lot of things, but basically you'll still come out on the other side the same person with a lot of the same problems. Some things will be better, some will go away, and you might even have an entirely new set of problems. It's still a very good thing to lose weight.

The other thing you might think is that I'm seeking compliments when I say I'm not smart or pretty. I know what I am. I'm average intelligence, average looks. It's okay, I've accepted it. Somehow I thought losing weight would make me better in all areas of my life. Obviously, I was wrong on that account, but again, I've accepted it.


bbubblyb said...

Good post Diana and you definitely know I get it. Nope, we don't really change and neither does our lives. One thing though that I think we forget is just how hard it was carrying around all that extra weight. Just give that some thought, 60 some lbs strapped on you again, that sure wouldn't be nice and if you thought you got tired now just think about that. When my thinking gets a bit down I always do that and I feel a LOT better. Health really is the goal here not some magical terrific life all shining and new. I'm glad you're here with me it's made me realize I'm not alone and that I have people that really do understand. *hugs my friend*

Ida said...

So true, Diana. I think that we all have had to come to this conclusion on our own for our weight-loss to be consistent and for it to last. Good post.

spunkysuzi said...

I definitely get it!! I've been at goal and still felt "fat". Not long ago i was 11 lbs away from goal and once again gained quite a bit back.
One of these days my head might get in the right place.

Deniz said...

Oh wow. This really made me sit back and think.

I'm now guessing that some of my reasons for sitting around at the weight I've got to for the last six months, hovering up and down a few lbs but not pushing for more of a loss, may be similarly based.

You are dead right - significant weight loss has many benefits but it can't magic away all of life's stresses. Maybe I've been unconsciously expecting more from it and been a bit disappointed with the reality.

I have 'some' more self-confidence these days but still doubt myself a lot of the time, have 'I'm feeling fat' days, and think I'm not 'up to' whatever 'it' is. That probably won't change - so maybe I just need to change my attitude to those times.

Food for thought indeed. Thanks Diana.

Helen said...

Very well thought out post here Diana. You are correct, weight loss, well being, good health are all good things, but not everything. I'm glad that you aren't emphasizing goal... won't it be amazing if you make it anyway?

The title of this post is a joke, there's no new me. It's just the same old me, doing the same old stuff. Just for fun, I went back...