In early November I went out with my two svelte, stylish, will-never-look-older-than-they-do-right-now Asian-American girlfriends. Over a massive plate of nachos I said, "I need to tell you guys something." But then I didn't. Because I really really didn't want to tell my two size nothing, impossibly adorable girlfriends how bad - how very very bad - I was feeling about myself.
I eventually got it out, in between mouthfuls of tortilla chips smothered in cheese, and because they know me they said exactly the right things. And a few things I wouldn't have thought of on my own. We talked about my Hot By Thirty days, what kind of space is required in your brain for weight loss, good changes, bad changes, giving up, things you think about yourself, lies you believe about yourself, and one of them said, "Oh Maggie, I hope that you can at least get back to the normal hating how you look, like the rest of us."
It wasn't the normal hating how you look. I knew that. Hearing it from someone else sort of solidified the Wacked Out place I was at and then I was sort of like, ".... whatever." I continued to eat massive plates of nachos and not care because I was All Cared Out.
But I think that night was the Apex of whatever self loathing I've had going on in 2013. I have very slowly stopped hating myself for gaining weight. Can you believe it? I wouldn't say that I'm happy with how I am (AT ALL) but I no longer spend half of every morning mentally berating myself for getting to this point. I still look in the mirror and think, "DUDE", but I can move on. I still hate the way all of my clothes look, but I'm not super worried about what everyone ELSE is thinking about my clothes (uh... NOTHING ANYWAY.)
I believed I was a better person when I was thinner. I believed people liked me better. More. I believed that I could control my body - there's truth in that, but I twisted it. I believed losing weight was some achievement that people valued more than my other achievements. I believed people loved my achievements.
Those are my me-centric lies, maybe you have different ones, and I don't know that I'll ever completely resist the temptation to believe them. But I'm doing so right now. For the first time in months I feel hopeful for me.
I haven't weighed myself in ages, but I suspect I am at Square One. Before Jack. Before I ever tried to lose weight. I might hide it better now - I think I've figured out what kind of clothes work on me and most of the time I wear concealer and I do my hair every day and HOPEFULLY I am not such a college-y mess pretending to be a Career Girl like I used to be. I know that I am so much HAPPIER with the life I have now, and I like myself so much MORE, that it HAS to rub off on how I present myself to the world.
That said. I think I'm going to try and lose this weight again.
Probably not all of it. I'm doubtful I have what it takes to get back to those size 8 shift dresses I bought by the dozen. My husband would prefer my boobs never be that size again, quite frankly. But I think I'm going to try and get back to the place where I didn't plan my outfits around muffin tops. I think that would be healthier. I WANT to learn how to be active again and not fuel my body with a steady stream of sugar.
What's the most amazing thing about this, for me, right now, is that I think I can.
Last year at this time I was furiously attempting to lose holiday weight, only to keep putting weight ON. I eventually started to wonder if the anxiety medicine I was taking was affecting my efforts. I honestly have no idea if it was - all I know is that I tried very hard and nothing worked.
I'm not entirely sure what's changed, but after months of being angry and not caring, I feel like maybe I could try again. I'm on a lower dose of medicine (not completely off) and maybe that DID have an effect? I've managed my expectations a little better this time? I got rid of all the sugar in my house, but I'm not interested in chewing myself out if I don't get on the treadmill every day. I feel like it could be slow, it could be not terribly successful, it could be unnoticeable by anyone but me. And that would be okay. Because I have to stop NOT taking care of myself. If that makes sense.
So when I opened the Fitbit Phillip got me for Christmas rather than feeling immediately defeated, I was kind of excited. I do love data, you know. And it's counting my steps whether I run or walk. Walking is good too.
I wish I knew what got me out of that pit. It certainly wasn't losing weight, as I'm certain I've just kept gaining. I think it was not keeping it all to myself - telling you, telling the friends whose opinions matter so much. I think it was other people validating my "giving up" with telling me they'd have given up too. I think it was trying very hard not to talk about it or make excuses for it or make jokes about myself or mention it in daily conversation. It was asking God to help me. It was meaningful people telling me I hadn't failed them. Because that was the biggest lie I believed - that by gaining most (all?) of the weight back, I'd failed my husband, my family, my friends, anyone who'd been proud of me before, and now they were disappointed and ashamed and loved me less.
I KNOW! I know that's madness. And yet, that's my THING. Right? So it's just so good to know, so good to be affirmed that you love me AND my muffin top.