Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Body of Work

Over the last couple of days I have been doing some thinking about comments made on this post.  One of the recurring themes that came up in those comments and a few in the days to follow is that so many of you feel like you're better at 40/50 than you were in your 20s and 30s.  As I've mulled this over, I've come to realize that this is one thing that does make me different than other weight loss bloggers.

I have not been the fat girl my whole life.

In fact, more of my life has been spent at or near a good healthy weight than not.  I am NOT better now than I was in my 30s or even part of my 40s. For me this pretty much results in a constant dialogue in my head that goes something like this:

"You are so stupid, how could you let yourself get like this?"

"Oh look, she's wearing the same dress she wore to the party a couple of years ago, of course YOURS doesn't fit because you're a fatty fatty two by four."

"What the hell is the matter with you?  There are literally thousands of people starving in this world yet you feel the need to stuff your pie hole with one more thing."

"Ugh, look at those rolls, that flab, it's disgusting."

"You know why no one pays any attention to you?  Because you're a dumpy, chubby middle aged woman.  Your days of true beauty are over."

And that's just some of it.  I imagine if I really wrote down my stream of consciousness in regards to food and my body I'd give a good psychologist a run for their money.

I know I need to stop it but haven't been able to figure out how.  The simple fact is, I do not, will not and cannot learn to love myself, my body where it is right now.  The need for me to get back to healthy weight is huge in terms of my mental well being and yet - I stumble along.

My weight loss is so painfully slow compared to what it used to be.  18 years ago after I quit smoking I gained 55 lbs.  over the course of 3 years.  In 1995 I joined Weight Watchers (this was before the points system) and lost 60 lbs. in 20 weeks.  I maintained that weight loss until 2005 when I mysteriously started gaining weight while training for a half marathon! By the time I was diagnosed as hypothyroid I had gained 25 lbs. and that wasn't even the end.  It took until 2007 to get my thyroid regulated medically and by then I'd packed on another 20. As of May of this year, I will have been trying for THREE YEARS to lose the 45 lbs. that I put on when my thyroid malfunctioned.  At one point, in 2008, I actually got within 15 lbs. of my goal and then my thyroid went off again and I literally gained 10 lbs. in one month.  Then from sheer exhaustion,discouragement and whatever else, I gave up and gained 20 more.  So three years later I am only around 15 lbs. lighter than my original starting weight in 2007.  I don't care what anyone says, that's just wrong. 

 I have days when I know what I must do is just keep on and then I have other days when I think to myself, "How many days in a row can I eat around 1500 calories, exercise 6 days a week and STILL NOT LOSE WEIGHT?" Many, many days, I just want to quit. My brain wants relief from thinking about food and my body and whether or not I can fit my run in.

In any case, quit or not, this is what I know for sure:
  1. I know exactly what it's like to be healthy, thin, in shape, beautiful - which makes me different from a lot of you. (And also why I haven't posted photos of myself.)
  2.  I have to figure out how to STOP beating myself to a pulp over this.
Tuesday Stats:
45 minutes Muay Thai Boxing
1463 calories; 162g carbs; 62g fat; 80g protein
9 glasses water
No alcohol


  1. I have worked long and hard on verbally abusing myself into behaving. It doesn't work on me and makes me feel bad about myself.

    I've learned that there are three things that work for me:

    1. Stopping myself whenever I realize I am abusing myself in my head,

    2. redirect physically to something else when possible or mentally singing or reciting something I find inspiring but mentally difficult

    3. Praise myself for any successes I do have. Even if it's just being nice to myself with thoughts.

    Now, it's not like I babble to myself. But what I say in my head hurts as much or more than anything I've ever heard out loud. I hope you get there soon, and that you are kind to yourself. Nobody is around you as much as yourself. It may as well be a healthy relationship.

  2. I began working on stopping the negative self-talk about two years ago and it has helped. I do the redirect thing and try to think about something else. Another trick I ask myself "Would I say that to my daughter?" and that always helps me put whatever junk I'm saying to myself into perspective. I wouldn't say those things to someone I love and if I don't think I'm worth it, then who will?

    Do I decide whether to love someone else based upon their physical appearance or their weight? Was my grandmother unworthy of my love because she was overweight? It doesn't mean that I didn't want her to be more healthy, but my love and devotion to her didn't depend on how she looked. And I now try to treat myself with a little more respect and a lot less focus on the extermal. I cannot stop the aging clock and I can strive to be as healthy and fit as I can be, but if it becomes my sole focus, then I will be disappointed.

    I hope you find some peace, Helen.

  3. Hi Helen -

    I'm so glad you wrote about this and got some of it out. I love the previous 2 comments - both have so much validity. Roxie asking herself if she'd say those things to her daughter is beautiful. I have done that too, as well as literally envisioning myself pulling me into my own lap (like I did when my daughter was younger) and soothing and caressing and reassuring her/me that I won't abandon her, be mean to her, and will love her always. This sounds weird, but a therapist told me it's a kind of reparenting of ourselves.

    I've done a lot of work on myself over the years, and am so much better and less self critical than I used to be. But every now and then (like today!) the old wounds seem to get triggered and I go back to self-pummeling. This will pass Helen. I pray you find peace and self acceptance. As Sandy at 45 and Aspiring said to me today, nothing is permanent. This will pass. You would never judge another as harshly as you're judging yourself. Hang in there.

  4. The negative self talk affects us all. No matter what we looked like in the past. We are always harder on ourselves than on others. For me, the negative self talk leads to the way I treat myself then the result of that lead to more negativity. Vicious circle. I try very hard to not have the negative thoughts. Kinda step outside myself and look in. (I know-issues!) Not easy but the only way I know to break the cycle.


  5. Glad you got that out Helen. I like everything every one above said - especially Roxie's comment about "would I say that to my daughter". I don't have any more enlightened insites because I haven't figured out the complete self talk thing yet. I am however reading a book called Love your Body Love your Life. It isn't based so much on people that are overweight (but they are included as well), its audience is all people that do negative self body talk. Kind of goes through some exercises and such. I haven't finished reading it but it may be something you could look into.

  6. Do you have insurance? If so, you need two things post haste:

    1. an appointment with a nutritionist
    2. an appointment with a counselor

    Neither one is a sign of weakness; they are a sign that you need outside, professional help. Not a biggie. My best years came after I sought professional help. And with your thyroid situation, I think a nutritionist could really be a benefit, too. When we can't go it alone, it's ok to admit we need some professional help, and seek it.

    If it was a friend, let alone a loved one, what would you tell him/her if they revealed to you, what you just revealed to us? Treat yourself at least like a friend, even if you can't love yourself right now.

  7. Helen, you need to be nicer to yourself. You would never say those things to a friend, nor would you put up with someone saying them to you. You are a caring, supportive, good person and I'm glad to have met you out here in blogland. I hope you can work through what is bothering you, because you don't deserve to feel this way.

  8. Great comments! And a great and brave post. It's hard enough to hear our own voices saying mean things to us, but to write them down like that is a big step forward. I definitely think/say bad things about my body and I haven't managed to find a way to avoid it completely. But I try every day to find something positive.

    I agree that you need to find a way past this. Maybe you need to shake up your diet and fitness routine, whether it's through a nutritionist or a personal trainer or whatever. If you're stuck on a plateau, you might have to jump out of your comfort zone to kickstart a new weight loss. I learned many years ago at WW that sometimes that kickstart is actually a week or so of HIGHER calories if you're getting a lot of exercise.

    You wouldn't stay in the room with someone if they said those things to you; don't allow yourself to say them, either.

  9. I have something very simple that I do...
    Want to know..
    Whenever I catch myself..
    I say to myself.

    I will feel worse about myself tomorrow...Right now I will do x for myself.
    Everytime It happens..that is what I say.
    It works....every time.

  10. I have been quite fit and even thinnish (BMI around 22) several times in my life. Enough times to know exactly what it feels like and how good it feels. (also..enough times that I have some lovely clothing that I used to wear that is beginning to fit again..which is fun) That is what is motivating me to get back on top of things again. Using 16 years of parenthood as an excuse to be so fat....when my youngest is now 6.5 years old...was sounding a bit hollow! My thyroid also has wacked out somewhere along the way--about 10 years ago. Best thing I ever did for my thyroid was to see a GOOD naturopath instead of an endocrinologist. My naturopath looks at me as a whole body...not a huge walking thyroid gland. Remember that when a thyroid is is progesterone/estrogen AND adrenals. (Think of them as a three-legged stool) If you are not addressing all three......fixing one is not going to make a big difference. (have learned this the hard way).

    Here is to true beauty...inside and the mirror! We all say shitty things to ourselves, I think. Here is to learning how to also say some good things! :)

    And..I know you hate weights...but I must say that since I started with the free weights in body confidence has risen quite a lot more than where it was before. And..there are some fun ways to do weights so it is not boring. Machines..boring. Light little pink barbie-weights....boring. Nice heavy serious free weights....quite compelling and anything but boring because they require my FULL attention..esp if I am doing them when standing on a bosu ball. Fun. Really. !!


    Needed to come back and share Wendy's post. Kettlebells are fun, too. And...burn craploads of calories and build nice toned muscles. I need to visit my kettlebells more often!

  12. I'm extremely self-critical as well, it has a huge effect on my self-esteem and overall lifestyle. This is my new thing to work on, now that I've stopped bingeing, stopped smoking, lost about all my extra weight. I would mix it up if I were you, I have no way to know if you're eating or exercising too much/too little. I eat a lot, but I exercise even more. I don't count calories, never done WW, just kinda do it all by feel. It seems to work much better for me, but it may be different from my past ED.