I am good at making plans, and terrible at following through on them. I have started many diets in my life, but have never managed to stay on one or keep off any weight I lost. The last time I was reasonably slim was after I broke up with my boyfriend over 15 years ago, and was determined to show him – so I joined a gym and exercised feverishy while following a 1200 calorie a day diet – and lost maybe 30 pounds over 4 months. The weight stayed off long enough for me to feel good about dating again and find a new boyfriend (my current husband). Then a horribly stressful job and a variety of upsetting personal circumstances led to out of control eating and a rapid weight gain of probably close to 100 pounds (I did not have a scale at that point). My weight has fluctuated between around 220 and 245 pounds ever since. I don’t seem to get any heavier than that – and I never lose more than around 25 pounds before I put it all back on again. I’m not sure what it would take – beyond a miracle – to get below 220 pounds.
Every time I start a diet I have the best intentions to make lifestyle changes that will allow me to lose 100+ pounds, and every time I fall off the wagon – sometimes after a few days, and sometimes after 2 months or so.
I wrote in my first blog post that a health professional once told me that my weight would all come off when I was ready for that to happen. That has allowed me to wait for all my life problems to be resolved in such a way that the weight will magically drop off. That comment has done me a disservice, but I wonder about the kernels of truth in it. What needs to change in me emotionally and psychologically to be able to make long term lifestyle changes? How do I become fully mindful of the negative impact my weight has on my life and on my family?
I now know that analyzing the problem ad nauseum does not work. I am a navel gazer and in the past have spent hours journalling all my problems, neuroses and traumas in an attempt to understand why I overeat and why I am incapable of sticking to a diet (or anything else). Gaining insight into my problems has never SOLVED those problems, and my belief that I have not solved the problems because I have not gotten to the root of them prevents me from making changes.
I am very passive and I like to wait for things to change rather than actively make changes. This approach obviously does not work where my weight is concerned.
I now know that I have to MAKE PERMANENT CHANGES – which include eating much less and exercising regularly – regardless of what is going on in my life or whether I am fully aware of all my psychological baggage.
I also need to make these changes even if I feel tired, sad, overwhelmed and even if my life is falling apart in a wide variety of ways.
I need to start making the changes today – right now.
I need to stick to my plan even if I cheat or fall off the wagon one day.
I often feel like I am the laziest person alive. I need to pretend I have energy and motivation.