So I was thinking about flags the other day. Specifically about how there are all sorts of crazy rules about things you can and can’t do with the American Flag, and what happens when they get worn out. Isn’t there a commune somewhere or something where old flags go to retire? Anyway, then I got thinking about religious items. What happens to tapestries of Jesus when they get too ratty? Could one throw a figurine of the Lord in the trash? Burn him in effigy? How does one dispose of religious items if one is a very religious person?
(…Unlike me, who doesn’t to my knowledge own anything I wouldn’t toss into the regular trash can. Maybe the compost if it’s special. In a baggie if it’s liquidy and thinking about escaping. But that’s about as far as I go.)
Today, I’ve been realizing that weight is a very relative thing. …And not in that “drop a feather and a brick” kind of way, but more in the sort of way of “drop me, and then a previous version of me.” This time last year I was at my lowest adult weight. …Which probably shouldn’t be an achievement, but I’m as much a victim of social pressures as anyone, and so it was. It was exciting to be down that low. It was a triumph over all the years of struggle and distortion and foolish undereducated attempts to kick those extra pounds in ways that actually made things worse. It was a nice “up yours” to all of the stupid unnecessary stress since my beanpole frame tripled somewhere in my early high school years.
I’m not sure why the weight loss was so much easier this time, except that I stopped trying to be so crazy extreme about it. I removed the immediate timelines and made it my goal to get there eventually. However long that took. I stopped making any changes that I didn’t think I could live with forever as a permanent lifestyle change. I learned roughly how many calories are in the things I eat, but didn’t set any crazy low temporary targets like I have in the past. I started eating a lot more during the day. A lot more. But that meant that I no longer got those cravings in the evening so bad that it was either find a piece of cake NOW, or gnaw off my hand. I stopped keeping sweets and treats and indulgence foods in the house, because I discovered that if they’re there my brain CANNOT stop thinking about them. And constant thoughts of chocolate don’t do much for staying away from it. Before any indulgence, I weighed whether I really wanted it, and stopped beating myself up so much for it if I decided I did. …Although I also corrected my tendency to think that somehow once I had crossed the line of unhealthy eating, it didn’t matter how much I did on the other side and might as well get my money’s worth while I was over there (Dang. Shouldn’t have eaten that cookie. …Well, this day’s ruined. Might as well have the whole bag now. Why did that ever make sense??). I learned that my body really does get sincerely addicted to certain foods, and that sometimes I needed to hold out long enough to detox. I came to terms with the fact that I loathe intense exercise, and while I really do want to get my heart rate going eventually for long term health benefit, I was unlikely to stick to any sudden and intense workout plan for more than a month. But I don’t mind walking. So I walked most days.
I also started originally with the knowledge that I was getting married in a year. And of thinking when I first tried on the dress I had purchased that I wasn’t entirely sure whether or not I fit into it. That’s one heck of a motivator.
And who knew? Being consistent with the little changes really did add up for me. It was…completely surprising (I really had struggled for the fifteen previous years). But nice. …Except for the wedding dress part, which as it turns out when I was done needed to be altered smaller to within an inch of its life.
I say all of this because I need to remind myself of it. See, coming off of most of my medications triggered cravings like you wouldn’t believe. And when the only thing that brings any relief from one’s constant nausea is eating, one tends to eat rather continuously. And apparently sleeping away several months of one’s life (except for mealtimes!), isn’t the greatest way to tone and condition. Who knew? At any rate, over the course of the past year I have lost almost all of the progress it took me the two previous years to gain. …Or technically gained what it took me two years to lose. You get the point. I am back where I started again. And that sucks.
I’m not a big girl. I have, at times, been a bit on the curvier side, but I don’t think people would have ever described me as a large person. My body mass index is sometimes towards overweight, but that’s partly because I’m short and am carrying half my body weight in arm and leg muscles (I have no idea how that happened, by the way. They’ve always been like that. Clearly I missed a calling somewhere. In…lifting things, I guess. Should’ve been a Thing Lifter). The battles I’ve had with weight have mostly been with the same 15 – 30 pounds. But they’re my 15 pounds, and they make a big difference to me.
So it’s been kind of demoralizing to have lost so much ground. More so because last year when my new weight seemed surprisingly stable, I intentionally shrunk all my clothes. Seriously. The only clothing I have that fits me now came with an elastic waistband. Plus, since the medications make my stomach inflate like a balloon after eating (and they really do – I look at least seven months pregnant after meals), I’m limited in shirts to the couple of things I purchased in that year in which all new clothing looked like maternity wear. I’ve had to pick up a couple of extra things to get me through, but we don’t have the budget for a whole new wardrobe, especially when I would ideally like this to be temporary. So I have a few shorts, and a few shirts, and they all look pretty much as cheap as they were.
It’s tough feeling good when on some level my clothing now sends me the message that I’m not worth anything better (and even though rationally I know that’s not the reason, I think I’ve underestimated how much that’s seeping through). It’s challenging to maintain a positive physical image of myself when every few weeks I pull out something I’m in need of to see if it fits yet and can’t get it past mid thigh. I don’t think I would even mind so much being this size if I had clothing that fit me, but having a whole wardrobe of clothes that I’m too fat for just seems cruel. Thankfully I couldn’t shrink my formal dresses, so in case of a black tie event I’m good to go. Just don’t ask me to come to a barbeque.
Anyway, I am attempting today to recognize that it’s really only the comparison to how I was a year ago that’s getting me so down about my weight. There is nothing really wrong with the way I am right now (aside from the sometimes-inflated stomach, but there’s nothing I can do about that). If I had never been thinner, it wouldn’t be so bad. So yes, I would like to get back there eventually, but I’m going to try not to torture myself so much. I rearranged my closet today so that the things I can actually fit into are separate from the rest. I debated packing away anything I can’t wear right now, but I think it would just look too sad. Still, it’s a step in the right direction. And if I’m still this size in a couple months, I’ve decided that I can accept that and invest in some more permanent clothes. This is a change, but not a failure.
And at least for today, I actually believe that.
Also, I’ve discovered that sitting with my laptop and a mug of tea makes me feel like a writer. That seems like the sort of writery thing writers do. That, and look angsty in coffee shops or sit on porches tucked into the forest. I guess that’s why I haven’t written any books yet. I’m sure publishers ask about that sort of thing before they’ll take you on anyway.