Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Groundhog Day

I have followed a pattern my entire adult life. 

The world tells me that I should be unhappy with the way I look. It's hard not to listen. But every now and then I break through it and decide: screw that action.  I'm big. So what. I can be the best looking big girl it's possible for me to be. This shift in attitude usually leads to a shopping spree. Out with the outfits designed to most effectively hide my bulk -- and me -- from the world and in with the outfits designed to fit and flatter and make me feel great. This shopping spree inevitably leads me to the makeup counter where I decide that an updated wardrobe deserves an updated overall look. New clothes and new makeup lead to renewed confidence and I start to feel good about who I am. When I feel good I am more active. I am able to completely accept and indulge -- almost celebrate -- who I (temporarily) unapologetically am.

This is a very good place.

I ALWAYS end up at the gym from this place. 

This is also, of course, good.

Because I love lifting.  I really, really do. But it is hard to drag oneself to the gym -- even for something one loves -- when one feels frumpy and lumpy and worthless. But when I feel good, it's one of the first things I want to do.

Then I lose a little weight. My proud new wardrobe becomes loose and I start to replace key items in a smaller size. This is exhilarating! This is the point in the pattern where I stop being content with myself. I don't want to lose a little weight, I want to lose a lot of weight. I want to lose ALL the weight! Maybe if I change my eating habits... 

I am no longer unapologetic or accepting at this point, but I am motivated and encouraged. I can do this! I start projecting. If I lost THIS much weight and THIS many sizes in THIS amount of time, then by THIS date I should reach my goal.

Whoa.

Let's backtrack for a moment.

Shouldn't the goal be to be happy? Didn't I reach that goal earlier in the pattern? The part where I was -- um -- happy with myself and with my life? Isn't that ALWAYS the goal? But by the time I get to this stage I am no longer happy with myself as I am. I am, however, pretty sure that I can get myself to a place that will make me happy if I just work hard enough. I'm not happy NOW, but I can BE happy. I'll DESERVE to be happy when I'm in a smaller dress size. Oh, boy -- I sure will be happy then!

So my workouts become less fun and more -- well -- work. Meals are obsessed over. They are still delicious -- I'm not a TOTAL martyr -- but food becomes almost all I think about. I am eating one meal while thinking about the next. There is no spontaneity at this point, and if there is it is horrifying rather than delightful.

The scale moves a little, but not much.

And then it stops.

We're not talking about a plateau for a week or a month or a couple weeks or a couple months. It stops. I up the exercise. The scale won't move. I cut out more food. The scale won't move. Nothing works. 

I become desperate.

Then sad.

Then desperately sad.

I don't want to lift -- why bother?

I want all the carbs -- who the hell cares?

Quickly quickly quickly I regain all the weight I've lost plus a little for good measure.

Eventually, I start to accept myself.

And the cycle begins again.

This cycle has repeated itself more times than I care to tell you.

This time, though -- this time it is a little different.

Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, I learn little lessons each time the same events repeat themselves. 

This time, I never completely stopped lifting. I backed off. I didn't hit it with the intensity with which I hit it when all is well, but I never quit. I gained back a third of what I'd lost then stopped. I stopped before I gained it all. I stopped well before I gained it all and then some. 

Cool.

Lately I've been buying clothes like it's my job. And I've noticed that I linger in the beauty aisle -- I've brought home new eyeshadow, lipstick and nail polish in the past couple weeks. Could I be getting back on at the top of the cycle before I completely bottom out? It would appear that I am. This has never happened before. The cycle is changing.

Woo and might I add a hearty Hoo.

Now.

The trick will be to stay here -- to stay here at the top -- exercising and eating well and dressing in a way that makes me happy and generally feeling good without falling into the formerly inevitable traps that await me.

Can I do it?

I hope so.

If not this time, maybe the next.

Like Mr. Murray, I am damned tired of repeating the same cycle over and over. It's stupid and it's futile and life is too short.

It's time to learn my lessons and get it right.


4 comments:

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Woo hoo indeed! It certainly sounds like a new pattern is developing, so why not believe in it! And I always thought a little shopping therapy could be good for a person. :)

Eva Gallant said...

I'm at the bottom of the cycle and my brakes are locked!

elastamom.com said...

I really hope you are out of the cycle....it's so hard to hang out in that loop!!

Joanna Jenkins said...

I know a thing or two about this cycle. Oy.

But it's awesome that you like lifting! That would make me feel strong and able to kick some "cycle" butt.

Cheering you on.
xo jj