Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The pot of gold at the end of the road

When I was overweight, I had the tendency to blame all my problems on my weight.

  • "I don't have many friends because I'm overweight"
  • "I didn't get the job/promotion because I'm overweight"

I imagined what life would be like if I was a "normal" weight.

  • "I would be so popular and outgoing" 
  • "I would wear a bikini on the beach"
  • "I'd be as fashionable as a Hollywood celebrity if I could shop in regular stores"
  • "I'd be so happy"

As I neared my weight loss goal, I kept waiting to magically reach the pot of goal at the finish line, but t he things I'd imagined didn't automatically come true. Even though I had reached a "normal" weight, I was still the same person emotionally. The weight loss was simply a physical change.

None of this clicked, until I read this passage in a book, This is How, that I randomly happened to pick up from Target:

" Often the pursuit of being thin lasts a lifetime and the goal is never reached.

For these people, thin isn't really about being slender.

Thin is about being more beautiful than you are. Thin is coming from a wealthy family. Thin is a bigger chest. Thin is a smaller nose. Thin is more followers on Twitter. Thin is a more popular channel on YouTube. Thin is more friends on Facebook. Thin is famous. Thin is a perfect score on the SAT. Thin is your first choice college. Thin is an iPhone not a rip-off. Thin is a better singing voice. Thin is being from somewhere better. Thin is being respected. Thin is loving yourself...

Because your actual desire is only dressed up in the costume of thin."  

It's amazing how one passage in a book can completely transform your way of thinking, and understanding yourself. 

I had this type of idealized notion of what life would be like at a "normal" weight. I came to realize that as it turns out, I'm still the same person. I've changed physically, but it's still me. I still have the exact same personality, fears, and thoughts. And I still have the same challenges in life, fat or "normal". 

I was chasing this idealized vision of thin for most of my weight loss. It was going to be so great. Life changing. In reality though, nearing my goal was a little disappointing. There are no parties at the finish line. There are no pots of gold or magical transformations. I've heard from others that this type of feeling is common for people who lose a significant amount of weight. 

And then there is also the disappointment of having excess skin. I do not look like a model, I do not look like a celebrity, I do not look like a "normal" person (in a bikini at least).

Now that I'm aware of this disconnect between what I thought weight loss would mean and what it actually is, I'm working on resetting my expectations and priorities. I'm trying to define meaningful new goals and find new sources of motivation. 

Making the mental shift from a goal like losing 2lbs this week or reaching 135lbs on the scale, to a goal like running a faster 5k or getting a new snatch PR , is proving to be a lot harder of a mental shift than one would think.

I enjoy pushing myself, and doing all kinds of workouts (personal training, running, racing, Crossfit, yoga, spinning, bootcamps, etc.) but deep down I know that I still exercise for the sole reason of losing weight. This leads to quantity over quality of my workouts. I lack focus and the ability to follow a training plan.

I want to exercise to reach specific fitness goals, like an athlete does. I want to make a goal and follow a plan to get there. I want to be more proud of myself for lifting 20lbs more than for reaching the 130s on the scale. I'm not quite there yet though.

I should get rid of the scale. I know this. But I am not ready to part with it yet. It is my security blanket. 

The thing I think is going to help me make this mental shift is the Crossfit Opens. No one cares what you weigh. They care what you can do. But if the open workouts help me lose the last 5lbs, I'm not going to lie, I'd be seriously happy.

1 comment:

  1. CRAZY. I didn't read your entry and rip it off, I swear but we wrote on similar topics today! Guess brilliant sister minds think alike :)