I've grown fond of telling myself, and others, there's no reason to diet because what do I have to show after 28 years of dieting? An exra 120 pounds, is what.
But it finally, like a bolt of lightning, hit me the other day that I haven't been dieting for 25 years. I've been playing. One dangerous fad diet after another. Every pill and potion you can imagine. Going to WW meetings and being shocked -- SHOCKED! -- that I didn't lose weight when I had followed the plan to the letter all week, when what I actually had done was ignore the plan for the first two days (after all, I had all week to catch up and I deserved a break anyway); then worked the plan strictly for two days, then loosely for two days; and then I starved myself the day before the weigh in. Or, when not on WW, weighing myself on three different scales and recording the lowest one as my "real " weight in my chart. Measuring myself and then writing down smaller numbers in a journal ONLY I WOULD SEE. How sick is that? Planning on going to the gym three nights a week, but not really going and then complaining to friends that I can't lose weight even though I work out regularly. Playing this game: After realizing in tears that I "can't" diet, vowing to start going to the gym on Monday, which is better than dieting. Then Monday comes and instead of going to the gym, I tell myself, if I eat right, I don't need to exercise, so next Monday, I'm starting a new diet; then of course, once I blow that, vowing to start going to the gym and so on and so on ...
And the big revelation: I thought that if I pretended to be a good-eating, excerising, health-conscious woman -- even though I'm not -- then people would believe that I was and think that maybe I was afflicted with some disease or condition that made it impossible to lose weight. So it WASN'T MY FAULT. So there.
Even sicker is that I couldn't even admit the truth to myself. Like if I made the lie so complete, then it would be true. If I never admitted my weight to anyone, never admitted my overeating and slovenly habits, then they would actually see a svelte, 125-pound woman.
I know that good self esteem and a great attitude and good heart make you attractive no matter what. But that's NOT what was going on with me. Instead of feeling good about my total self and being fabulous as a result of that, I was hiding my abysmally low self esteem under a cloak of fake fabulous. The difference -- to the outside world -- is subtle, too subtle for others to notice, perhaps. But inside, it made me feel like a fake, like if anyone could see the congealed mess of weight-related insecurity that was resting underneath the surface, they would run far and fast away from me. My whole life was fake because I was not who I was presenting to the world.
Whoa.... I had a germ of an idea about all of this over the past few days, but it wasn't until I was just writing it that I realized the magnitude of it all. You would think being a writer that I would recognize the power of the written word and the writing process. But I guess it was just another part of the lie. I don't have to journal... I know my own thoughts... it's just as effective to analyze them in my had than on paper. Oh, bull.
~ Maggie ~
I shall surrender my will daily to God, but not to a cookie!
Wow! You are a powerful writer. I saw so many truths in your post for myself too. I have been on a "plateau" for about 8 months....thinking that maybe where I am now is just where I am meant to be...."big-boned" you know! Cause I have been "on plan", sort of....portion control when I feel like it and exercising a couple of times a week when I feel like it, but boy do I take credit for working hard and changing habits!
I understand about lying to yourself, and you are right. It is very odd. How can we possibly get away with lying to the woman in the mirror? I guess if we fool ourselves into believing ourselves, then truth ensues?
that is quite an insite you had into yourself. It sounds like you are finally ready to start to battle this for real.
I can relate to a lot of what you said. the part of the hiding under fake fabulous is right on. I have always tried to act like I like my self the way I am when really deep down, I think it has caused a lot of my emotional problems to date.
I have finally comitted my self losing weight and being incontrol of the situtation. No matter if I mess up or not, I am going to get back on the wagon and keep going. In the past, I did the cycle of dieting then binging and gaining it all back but this time, I am not going to let my self do it. I am commiting to continueing this and seeing it through.
thanks for sharing your story and I'ms ure as you know, you arn't alone.
Wow, I could have written that (though not as well as you did). I spent years faking it and lying to myself. Who knows? Maybe I had to go through that to get to where I am today. I think I finally "get it". I still get mad at myself for wasting those years but I try to stay positive with a Better Late Than Never attitude.
Wow. I don't think I have a lot to contribute here, but did want to note that your post really, REALLY hit home. It's one of those things where it feels like you may have just reached into my own brain and pulled out some of my very well-hidden thoughts. Thank you for that.
Oh, and about not needing to write things down, but really needing to write things down? Totally, completely spot-on.
__________________ [[ satylite ]]
* * *
I've been waiting a long time for this moment to come
I'm destined for anything at all
Downtown lights will be shining on me like a diamond
Ring out under the midnight hour
No one can touch me now
And I can't turn my back
It's too late ready or not at all
I'm so much closer than I have ever known...
Geez, I couldve written that, too! This is weird- I was actually doing some of this behavior this morning... complaining to my husband that my weight loss is stalled, something must be wrong with me, yadayada. But deep down i know that I haven't given it my all, not really. My program was to walk 5 times this week. What did I do? Only walked twice. I have at least been in control of my eating, but I have indeed slacked big time in writing it down.
I also have a habit of doing something (like certain exercise program or whatever) just 2 or 3 times, then getting frustrated because I don't see results. Then I complain that whatever it is isn't working- of course it's not working... I haven't given it near enough time to work. Then I complain that I've "tried everything and nothing works on me!" but in reality, I'm constantly switching techniques without giving it time or even my best effort.
You have totally opened my eyes to a concept, and it's an oldie but a goodie: we lie best when we lie to ourself. I just realized that what I have been doing is sabotaging my own efforts in order to not have to do them. I've been doing it by trying technique after technique, so that I could say to myself and others, "I've tried everything, it doesnt work, woe is me." I know this isn't very clear, but I'll bet some of you get my drift!
This is why I've been stalled after the novelty of losing the first 10 lbs came off. What a great thread!
I can so relate to what all of you have said! The thing I've been thinking about lately is the "I've tried everything and nothing works" lie. I've said it many times. There is a difference between what I know I've done (or not done) when I say "tried" and what I pray others believe when I say it. I know that by "tried" I mean I handed over the credit card, bought new food, and sat on my rear and waited for the magic to begin. What I want others to believe is that I ate like a saint, but only when I wasn't working out to the point of exhaustion, only to find that the scale was tacking on pounds at an alarming rate. Yeah, right. I was a fool if I thought others didn't see right through that. There is no magic here, only hard work and perseverance.
Thanks for the thread! The truth hurts!!!
__________________ HW: 298.5
Started over: May 2005 End of Summer Challenge: 242 by 8/31/2005
My lifelong challenge:
So it's been a little bit of a painful day for me. But that's OK because it's also been enlightening and positive. I'm so glad so many of us can relate to the same feelings. 1) because I don't feel like such a self-delusional freak; and 2) sharing my thoughts seems to have helped others. So, hey, that IS a good day! I hope everyone is well. Thank you all for your kind words.
~ Maggie ~
I shall surrender my will daily to God, but not to a cookie!
I hear you and could have written that myself. Wow. I would venture a guess that most if not all of us here have played that game with ourselves at some point. I've realized that I was blaming every one of my lazy, half-baked attempts at a diet on breastfeeding. I failed because I was breastfeeding and couldn't eat less because my milk supply would go down and my son would starve. But you know what? My son is almost 1 1/2. He eats like a horse and loves his whole milk. He doesn't need to nurse for the nutritional value any more, this is an emotional need that he needs filled. And if he only gets a couple of swallows of breastmilk, that's okay because his emotional needs are still being met. This definitely wasn't the only "life changing" realization I have had. Like you, I would also do things halfway or not at all and assume that somehow my good intentions would be enough while I overate and didn't exercise. I think my biggest "click" was that I realized that if I stick with my eating routine and exercise routine, I can easily be at my goal by my next anniversary. That's exciting, to know that by our next anniversary I could be thinner than I was on our wedding day. I want that.
I am rambling here, but I just wanted to say that I have definitely been there too, playing those stupid games with myself and with my health too, and I appreciate your being willing to put it out there and admire the writing you used to do it .
my short term goal
and my long term goal
Experience is a brutal teacher. But we learn. My God, do we learn.
A reallly great and inspirational post and one that I can totally agree and understand froma personal point also.
It was a eye opener to myself as well when I discovered that thru the stares from other people and the names kids would yell that as much as that hurt me it was the things I did to my own self that hurt me more.
Thanks for the wonderful post and I hope your journey is as wonderful as mine has begun to be.
Many times I wonder why couldnt I have done this sooner. Because I was not ready and now that Im ready its a ride I dont want to ever get off.
This is the kind of post I want to re-read when I begin to backslide..."QAH", as you see, you spoke the inner thoughts and feelings of many of us! Ok OK,I'll admit it I was very near to tears...thankyou and I send hugs of support
The truth may be hard, but doesn't it feel good and exhausting to get it out? Just like everyone else here I completely understand what it feels like the moment you realize that you've been telling yourself a lie. This realization is fresh in my mind also. I have been overweight for as long as I can remember. I've always led the world on, trying to make everyone believe that I've struggled with my weight. Truth be told, for most of my life I've just rolled over and completely played dead. I haven't tried. I really have never rolled up my sleeves and given weight loss an honest, conscious, whole-hearted try. The big lie I've been telling myself is that I've tried to combat this, but I haven't. I've also just been playnig games. I've looked at myself in the mirror and said that it's time to get the weight off, but then I go grab a bowl or bag of the nearest junk and plop down in front of the television.
I think this has always been compounded by the fact that I don't feel like the spirited, happy, optimistic person inside of me is really overweight. I'm shocked when I step on the scale or see photographs of myself. My outsides don't even come close to reflecting the person that I am on the inside. How I view myself in my mental eye is completely different.
So denial comes ease. Truth comes slowly. I feel compassion toward what all of us here are saying. Let our realizations transform us. Let us not forget our insights. I'm going to try hard to look in the mirror and see the body that I present to the world everyday and not just turn away from it. It's time to admit reality, even if it isn't pretty. Thank you all for being open. I encourage each and every one of you to take baby steps toward your goals. And let us all find comfort in knowing that there are others who understand...
Starcity, you are me. I pretend I diet every few blue moons or so, only to outside people, then I grab the icecream, sit in front of the TV, and veg. I stood on the scale not too long ago and nearly cried when I saw it at 240. I'm a happy-go-lucky person <usually> and that fat person on the scales was NOT me.
Now, I'm to the OP <sorry, forgot your name!> and I've been lying to myself and others by only journaling on weekdays <like weekends don't count?> and skirting the exercise issue <what, my metabolism is going to increase itself?> rather than let anyone think I'm failing. *sigh*
Thanks for the look in the mirror guys. Now to actually DO something with it rather than find the nearest candy bar.
I think you've busted quite a lot of us! Time to look at myself and see what I can ACTUALLY do to improve my life, starting with finding out exactly what I've been lying to myself about. This won't be too fun, but it will be worth it in the end.
Now that we've all had a revelation thanks to the courage and mad writing skillz of the original poster, let's dig a little deeper. I daresay at least a few of us that are struggling with our weight and know that we really haven't taken control in a real, meaningful, and effective way (by means of misdirection or outright lying to ourselves and others) also have dealt with other major life issues that they were truly *not* in control of. Before I even ran across this thread, I was reading into a psychological condition called "learned helplessness". Because my weight is not the only thing I struggle to master. I'm afraid to give my best to lots of important things, and it has stalled my life in a horrible way.
To put it in the most simplistic terms, "learned helplessness' develops over time when a person has had so many difficult or painful things happen in their lives that were really out of his/her control, that the person eventually has a "why even bother, nothing I do matters" attitude. This is a false belief that the person uses to avoid giving their best effort to things in order to keep from being hurt again. Someone with this problem will draw other people into his/her false ideas.
The following link goes into major detail and will be very relevant to anyone who feels so ineffective in life. Since learning about this concept and seeing how much it applied to myself, I have caught myself over and over just in the past week lying to myself and others, or using misdirection, to avoid doing things that require hard work or dedication. In fact, had I not read it, I don't think I would have recognized myself in this thread at all. I hope someone else can get something out of it: