Friday, January 11, 2008

Day 323 - 152.6 - To diet or not to diet?

This morning after I got off the scale and saw a gain, which I expected since I had an emotional eating disaster last night and no running yesterday, I started thinking about whether I want to keep doing this diet thing.

I don't mean I want to throw out my healthy habits so I can regain a bunch of weight. Just stop the daily weigh ins, the daily recording of food, the 3 times a week visits to LA Weight Loss, the obsession over a goal weight.

Other than the weigh ins and obsession, I've stopped the other stuff already. Here we are, January 11th, and I've stopped the free-for-all eating frenzy of the holidays, but it's become more of a burden than anything else to stick to a plan and write things down. And I haven't gotten anything out of my meetings at LAWL because of this--the whole point of meeting with them is to go over your food intake, and if I'm not writing things down then there's no reason to visit (other than to weigh in, which I do at home and report here anyway).

So why stop now, you may ask, since I'm this close to meeting my goal? Why not persevere, kick it up a notch, suck it up and Just Do It?

Because I'm a chicken shit and scared to death my plateau is going to turn into an excuse for failure and I'm going to go completely off my nut and start regaining weight. Every day I don't stick to my diet plan, is another day of failure. Every week I don't lose a pound or two and keep it off, is another week of failure. Every month I don't see a net loss, is another month of failure.

And right now, my energy level and mental health just aren't strong enough for what it's going to take to finish this thing. I'd rather go out strong than meander and dwindle down (up?) to a floundering failure.

Besides, who's to say what my "goal weight" really should be? I picked 145 because that's what I weighed when I met my husband. At that weight in my 20s, I felt like I needed to lose 10 pounds. So maybe my real goal weight should be 135, which means I've got quite a ways to go and I'm definitely not up for that right now.

Or maybe my goal weight should be 152, where my body has settled into for the most part since October. I'm older, I'm more muscular from running, and I look great in my clothes which are mostly size 8s and mediums and even some 6s and smalls. Most people who know me well think I don't need to lose any more weight and are surprised when I tell them I have more to lose.

And I feel good about myself. Well, as good about myself as someone who's been dealing with her weight since she was in her Teens can. Do I really want to screw that good feeling up by half heartedly attempting to lose more weight, which frankly I don't even know if my body can do right now?

When I started LA Weight Loss last February, I felt like I'd finally been released from prison. I had a lightness of being for a solid eight months; there was freedom in the structure and the success. It was a beautiful thing.

Now, I feel weighted down and heavy from the diet. Well, not the diet per se, but from my lack of ability to stick to the diet. And the whole point of losing 50 pounds isn't to feel weighted down.

I lost a crap load of weight and there is NO REASON WHATSOEVER that I need to be feeling bad about myself right now.

So that's the fine point of it, isn't it? I feel bad about myself because I'm not the perfect little dieter any more. And I will not allow myself to feel bad any longer. I have worked hard, and I have earned the right to BE HAPPY about what I've accomplished instead of lamenting a measly 7 pounds.

I'm not sure what kind of plan I'm going to follow--when I'll weigh in "officially" and what I'll do about LA Weight Loss. But today, I'm going to eat well and eat to feel good. I'm going to run this afternoon around 3 p.m. and maybe it will even be a long run.

Above all, I'm going to appreciate me and feel good about myself. That, my friends, is no small feat, and just as worthy a goal as weight loss.


Jill said...

YES!!!! You soooo rock right now!!!! You are nowhere near a failure - you are a complete success because you have figured out that dieting alone does not make a person a success or a failure. Dieting (and losing weight) is just one of many things you have done in the last year and while it should be celebrated, it doesn't define who you are. You have every right to enjoy your weight right now TODAY!! Great job girl!! Have a good weekend!

Grumpy Chair said...

Laura, I hope you know that you are a weight loss success story. You wear sizes 8 and 6, which in my book is thin.

I see you as an athlete/runner in super shape and no longer a dieter. I want to have your success in 2008. And if I looked as good as you do now . . . Wow Wee Wow Wow!

Maybe this is the year to work on letting go of the the inner fat girl. You have worked so hard all last year and accomplished not only the weight loss, but ran your first 5K and are signed up for a half-marathon this May.

Does LA WL reimburse some of your money for losing the weight (I thought I read that somewhere)?

Oh and one more babble: the one thing I have read about people who have maintained successfully after losing weight, is they weigh at least once a week.

I love this sentence: "And I feel good about myself". Take that and run with it girl.

P.O.M. said...

I agree - the goal is always to feel good about yourself - no matter the numbers.

I really think that you have learned so much already. If you want to quit going to LAWL, that's fine. YOu already know what to do to be healthy. So now it's just implementing it into your daily life and making smart choices.

I agree with everyone else, you are a success story. I think once you get to that place - then a once a week weigh in is enough - just to keep an eye that things dno't get out of control.

Vickie said...

The best expressed "balancing out to maintain" posts that I have seen were on Roni's blog:

I think that she hit goal in January of 2006 - so if you go back a month or so and start reading there - you will probably find the series of posts that talk about leveling out her food.

She was following WW very closely - and she had to play with her points in order to find the level where she maintained. She still counts point to this day.

I do not count anything. But the trade off is that I eat very nutritionally proportioned meals. I eat only at meal time. I watch my servings closely.

In my opinion - it has to be one way or the other. Maintenance doesn't magically happen.

There does have to be some system in place - one just has to figure out what fits into their life and personality traits.

Since you (if I understood correctly) have felt like you wee on a diet. And are not sure of how you are going to eat. You are going to have to figure out your transition.

I am not sure that it is wise to transition your food and dump the scale at the same time.

My suggestion would be to watch the scale closely until you are totally sure of how to eat - transition your food.

This is not "good or bad" scale thing - this is regular weigh in thing to gain information about how what you are eating is holding you. This is pure chemistry and not a judgement. And if I understood what you wrote correctly - you are not sure of the chemistry part yet.

Roni's posts were exactly that - she used the point system to figure out the chemistry - what she needed to hold her body weight.

If you feel like "I am there, I can get off the tightrope or off the elevator now" beware - I think this is a very common feeling/mindset that gets people into major trouble.

For me there was very little mindset difference between losing and maintaining. I never thought of myself as on a diet. I still don't. I never thought of it as
"get back on/off the horse" because I never really got on/off.

I never counted activity points or increased my eating based on my activity.

My food did not change when I got to my weight range. My activity didn't either. Everything stayed pretty much the same.

If you read Roni's posts - there was very little change for her either. Just a couple points difference.

I always remember Frances talking about the difference being something like a half a baked potato. I am not sure I have that just right - but that is what I remember.

Again the differences for me - were negligible. My food stays steady. My exercise stays steady. My sleep stays steady. My water stays steady. My trying to only take on what I can handle stays steady. My trying to deal with things as they come up - stays steady too.

You are a work in progress. You have worked hard for your successes. You earned them. You should be proud of them. Maintenance is the same thing. You will continue to be proud and we will all continue to be proud of you. There will be some bumps as you sort out the next stage. You just work on baby stepping over the bumps and keeping things even.

Debbi said...

I feel your frustration, I really do. As you well know!

I've been told that my high-school weight is an unrealistic one to shoot for, lo these many years later. My current goal is the very highest end of my normal BMI number. But I might not even get there.

If what you're doing isn't supporting you but is, instead, dragging you down, it might very well be time to take a look at that.

And keep in mind that race training and losing weight do not, sadly, go hand in hand. And running a half-marathon is waaaaaaay more rewarding than seeing an arbitrary number on the scale.

sheila said...

Laura, I swear I felt like I was reading my own thoghts while I read your post. I too have struggled with my weight, counted points WW, weighed in every week, etc.
I am at the same place you are, I have this magic number in my head that I think I need to be. I'm short, 5'2" and weigh 134. I'm at the top of my BMI but you know what I'm a runner, I'm healthy and fit. We should be proud of that. I no longer weigh every week or write down what I eat. I do add up my calories at the end of the day but thats as far as I take it anymore. My logic is, if I eat healthy 80 percent of the time, thats good enough for me.

Like you said, we are getting older, our bodies are changing. We are not those few that still have a body at 40 that they did at 20, well at least I'm not. I have a belly pouch, some cellulite and some wrinkles, but I tell myself everyday that its ok.

I gained 8 lbs since Oct. and I would love to get those lbs off, but I'm not going to be miserable everyday to get there.

When I go out and run, I feel so healthy and fit. I try to carry that feelin over when I'm having a fat day.

You hold your shoulders back, stand up tall and be very, very proud of what you've accomplished. What you have done is awesome and it was hard work, but you stuck it out and made it.

Throw that scale out, go by how your clothes are fitting and how you feel and try to remember you are fit and healthy regardless of the number on the scale.

You are getting ready to do a 1/2, how awesome is that. I sure hope we can meet up in Indy just to say hi, I would love to meet you.

When are you planning on starting your offical training for the 1/2, do you have a running partner? I don't right now, but hopefully I'll be ok.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Well, you are SO NOT a failure, perhaps it IS time to re-define success, re-define what makes you happy. It's all a matter of perspective, right? I don't think i would throw out the scale though. Take it from someone who has lost 30 lbs and gained it back, lost it again, then gained some, then had kids. I think you and I "store up" very well, hence you need to keep an eye on it so it doesn't get away from you. Keep some type of system in place and some safeguards, but for heaven's sake, you are a SUCCESS. See yourself that way. :D :D

BTW, you are also a huge inpiration to me!!!

Heather said...

that is very true...if you arent writing down the "bad" things that you are eating, the LAWL Counselors cant help you. I realized that as well. otherwise you are going and what are they going to say? they can be puzzled by any weight gain, but if they arent seeing anything wrong with what you are eating, then they cant help you. so be honest, and I know you can get back on track. sometimes this whole thing is exhausting but you have come so far. dont give up now!

Jess said...

I think your last statement says the most. In the end, the number on the scale is just that, it's a number. And that number is not a measurement of who you are who you can be.

Feeling happy and healthy is the most important stuff. If you've achieved that, why push for any different kind of result?

Lori said...

Gosh Laura, you are so NOT a failure. You are a complete success because you have changed your life around in ways that are manageable and doable and got your results.

I really understand the frustration and I think like SK said, if the tools that helped you are dragging you down, then reconsider.

I have heard my WW leader tell people that if they are plateauing or struggling, just go on the maintenance plan and stick with it until the mood/feelings, etc. pass.

You are a success story to me, Laura. I wish I could go back to the old amazon blogs and point out the changes in you. You are awesome and if you have some slip-ups and emotional eating, that's going to be part of the new normal. Just like getting back on the horse after you've fallen off. That's also part of the new normal.