June 19, 2013

Hello to the Old Me

I love to talk about how much I've changed since I moved to California, but lately, I'm feeling a little like my old self again.

Well, that is, I'm looking like my old self again.

I lost 52 lbs. between January 2011 and September 2012, when I hit a low weight I'll never be able to maintain. As of last week, I'd gained back 19 of those pounds. I found myself self-deprecating more than usual, calling myself "fat" and self-flagellating over my failure to keep the weight off. People kept saying, "But you look great!", but then again, they said that at my peak weight, too, when I was desperately overweight. I was depressed and stressed and lonely, so I ate and drank more. Watching myself gain the weight back depressed me more, so I continued to eat and drink.

But two years ago, in the summer of 2011, I'd lost 35 lbs. - the most weight I'd ever been able to lose, and more than my goal - and I was elated. I bought my first string bikini, which set off a shopping pattern in which I could not stop buying bikinis and finding excuses to wear them, even photographing myself in them and posting them online for the world to see. I was proud of my new body. I was seeing someone who loved the way I looked both 35 lbs. heavier and 35 lbs. lighter, and I was thrilled. I was happy. I wasn't ashamed.

I weigh exactly the same now as I did then. I am 35 lbs. lighter than my heaviest weight. And regardless of the fact that that means I am now more than 15 lbs. heavier than I was last fall, I am trying to remember that pride I once felt at this weight, at this size.

It's not easy when the numbers are going up instead of down.

It's not easy when your clothes don't fit because they're too tight instead of too loose.

It's not easy when you're less comfortable physically, sleeping worse, and still feeling hungry and deprived.

It's not easy when you're trying to do it all alone.

I fell off the Weight Watchers bandwagon when I moved to LA, two years after I first joined. I tried going to meetings at first, but it was nearly impossible with my work schedule in and commute to Venice. When I switched jobs that relocated me closer to my own neighborhood, I tried attending meetings before work, or skipping out on my lunch break, but my job was so demanding - and my coworkers focused so much attention and curiosity on the plan, what I was eating for lunch, what happened during meetings, why I would want to work for them anyway, etc. - that I got tired of explaining myself, and felt embarrassed that everyone else seemed to be able to just work out a lot and starve themselves in order to maintain their weight, and I had to go to some kind of group therapy for the community support.

Still, I went to as many meetings as I could, until the end of 2011, when I scrambled to finish all my work before returning to the East Coast for Christmas. When I returned to LA for the new year, I couldn't bear the thought of returning to meetings, which would surely be jam-packed with new and returning members trying to keep their New Year's resolutions. I kept telling myself I would go back soon. Then I told myself I didn't need the meetings, that I could do it on my own. (And truthfully, I hit my peak loss without going to meetings, after a good bout of desert detox.)

I lapsed on meetings (and, eventually, tracking and all the other stuff I'm supposed to be doing on the plan) for a year and a half.

And now, 19 lbs. heavier, I've gone back.

I've gone to three meetings so far. I gained two pounds between the first and the second. I lost three pounds since last week, netting me out at just one pound lighter.

It's a pound. A pound up or a pound down is nothing.

But at least I'm doing something about it, rather than bemoaning the failure and only making it worse through self-destructive behavior.

At least it's moving in the right direction.

I've done this before. I should be able to do it again. It's a rollercoaster I wish I didn't have to ride, but this is my life. This is it. I accept it, and move on.

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