Thursday, January 3, 2013

Two Faced

I'm really struggling here.  I know I've written about it before, but apparently it's bothering me again so I feel compelled to write.  I feel like I am being two faced and I don't know how to fix it.

Almost nine years ago, I had gastric bypass surgery -- completely scrambled my insides -- in order to be skinny healthy.  But, guess what?  I never got skinny.  I got somewhat "normal," if a six foot tall girl could ever be considered normal.  But I was never skinny.  I have gained back 65 pounds.  I yo-yo'ed before.  My highest post-surgery weight was 350.  I got down to 180.  I "settled" around 200 pounds.  I was comfortable at that weight.  I could kinda eat what I want, although I still needed to exercise.  But I didn't feel like I was over-doing the exercise.  I tried some depression medication that bounced me up to 222 pounds pretty quickly (Wait, what?!  AFTER weight loss, I was depressed?!  I thought it was all roses and puppies after you got skinny...).  I struggled to take those pounds off (mostly by over-exercising, but not truly controlling my eating), and sat comfortable around 200 pounds again.  In the last few years, stress, medications and just not knowing how to deal with life has rocketed me up to 250 pounds.

And here is my dilemma.

As I struggle to accept myself, my body and my weight, I have been spending time reading about Health At Every Size.  Some seem to poo-poo the movement as making it okay to "let yourself go."  I see it more like acknowledging that skinny doesn't equal fit and healthy, and "fat" doesn't necessarily equal unfit and unhealthy.  Also, human beings deserve to be treated with respect, despite their pant size.  I go around on Facebook telling everyone they should love themselves the way they are, meanwhile, I am a co-facilitator of a weight loss surgery support group that is essentially encouraging people to completely re-arrange their innards.  I am honest with the group about my struggles  -- to the point where one member actually told me that I needed to stop assuming that everyone who is overweight has a food addiction (although I do stand by my belief that most of us do have some addiction issues, which is why many just switch addictions after their ability to over-eat is taken away from them).  I also tell people that only they and their doctors can make the decision to have surgery.  I do not support the surgery, but I support their decision to have it, if that's what they choose (if that makes sense).  

Now, here's my issue.

Can I truly embrace Health At Every Size when *I* don't want to be fat?  No, I didn't say I don't want to be unhealthy.  I don't want to be fat.  My body hurts.  I get all sweaty and gross.  I feel ugly.  I have met plenty of "fat" people who are probably in better physical shape than I am.  But I have more pain and health issues now than I did when I was bigger (sure, age may play a part, or the fact that I'm way more active -- who knows?!).  I want women to know they are beautiful regardless of their size but *I* don't feel beautiful at this size. 

I can't diet.  Or so that's what I tell myself.  If I try to follow a strict diet plan, I fall off the wagon quickly, and the compulsion to overeat consumes me.  I don't want to diet anyway.  It's lame.  I have a co-worker constantly trying to police what I put in my mouth.  I don't need that.  I don't want to do extreme workout programs that boast more about their members' injuries than their success rate.  Why can't I just eat a sensible amount of food each day (notice I didn't call it a diet?), exercise daily and be a "normal" size?! 

I had fallen into a weight gain pattern over the last few years, but I ended 2012 weighing less than when the year started.  It was only by a couple of pounds, but that's a success in my book.  I have ended my free-fall (rise?) weight gain.  I don't need to lose all 50 pounds, but I would sure take 20.  Or 30.  Maybe I'd be happy if I lost 30 pounds.  Or maybe I'll never be "happy" at all, because despite all of the therapy and happy talk I spout, I truly don't know how to make that happen. 

I didn't ask for this screwed up brain, but it's the only one I've got, so I need to learn how to deal (or face a lifetime of misery?!).  I am putting this out there to ask for any advice that people have to learn how to truly accept themselves -- their body, their limitations, etc.  I am tired of wasting energy on all of this anxiety.  I need to change but I don't know how.  I am battling a lifetime of being told I'm not good enough and being fat isn't ok.  I'm sure many before me have done it, so please share your stories with me.  Thank you!!  :-)

17 comments:

  1. How to be happy and age old question that woman our sizes have been plagued with for years. I’m 26 years old I "now" weight 260.4 A year ago I was at 300lbs. Just like you I've looked at it like making me skinny because let’s be honest no matter how much we bullshit ourselves by saying we want to be healthy really the thing on our minds is Skinny normally the healthy just happens to come with it. But let me take you back a little so you can understand my story and where I was where I went and where I am now. When I was 17 years old I was 250lbs in high school playing volleyball and basketball which we all know that kind of weight unless your taller isn't a good weight to much stress on the knees and joints. I started south beach diet and in a matter of 3 months not only had I gotten to 180 my healthiest weight I felt great it was like overnight I was happy.. It couldn't have had anything to do with the attention I got from guys or the popularity I got no it was because I was finally "healthy" over the course of the next 5 years not only did I gain it back I also added about 50lbs to it, and playing sports in college doing unspeakable damage to my body. But all I could think about it how can I loose it my doctor suggested surgery but it scared me same with my sister pushed it on me really but I never backed down and said ok to it. But in the back of my mind all I could think about was how happy I was from losing this weight in high school. For me my ah ha moment was when I weighed in at 299lbs last year in December before our family photos how much I always told myself I would never be one of those girls and set a goal of losing 110lbs in a year. (I know really doable jeez). I started running, gym like a maniac, and now pole (which I love and has changed my life for the better). But to make a long story longer, you and I were beautiful at our starting weight, really there is no one that should tell you otherwise and really we should have never let them. Until you can look at yourself (which from what ive read *new blog follower here) you should, your amazing recently someone put something up saying every time something good happens you should write it down and put it in a jar and at the end of the year take them and read them and you will see how awesome things really are. Why not apply that to weight loss or gains have off scale victories! Do that when you get a new pole move or you do something else weight related or health related. Then when you have a down day read them look at it and remember you might be having a bad day today but you had a great day 2 weeks ago. Until you are happy with who you are no weight loss is going to allow for you to be happy. You need to find that spark inside of you that reminds you that you’re remarkable and beautiful women always. I’ve been there and I can tell you once your happy with you then your whole world changes. A year ago and I hate to admit this, I wanted to kill myself and really contemplated it, sat there and wondered how my husband could love me being the way I am how ugly I was for being as big as I am. Today I just want to be healthy pole has shown me that you don’t need to be 110 to do it and your blog has inspired me to start my own of my journey being a plus size poler. So I guess the whole moral to my ramblings is be happy where you are look at your accomplishments and you hard work where you are even gaining some of it back your human people gain and lose weight you know what you have to do to take it off but just be happy with who you and how amazing as a women you are and you will start to be less depressed it takes time and for me even a little counseling but I did it and you can too!

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    1. Thank you. :-) It is very true that I shouldn't hook my self-worth to my weight. I think the issue is that when I'm unhappy, I eat more. So that causes weight gain. Then I associate being unahppy with being fat. But I need to go take care of all the stuff that is making me unhappy. The weight loss may or may not follow but my focus is shifted to being healthy and strong, not losing weight per se. :-)

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  2. I totally understand what you are saying, I have yoyoed in weight over the years and while i would consider myself healthy I still want to be smaller. I work very hard to practice self love and positive body image. I learned a long time ago that hating myself and my body not only hurt me, but hurt my ability to be healthy and to lose weight. I think to be truly healthy we need to have healthy eating habits, healthy exercise habits, healthy sleeping habits and healthy self talk habits. When we constantly hate on ourselves and call ourslevesm fat, flat, ugly, bony, lumpy, manish or whatever we are being unhealthy. I wrote an article on body image ( http://krissykiki.blogspot.ca/2012/09/body-image-and-pole-dancing.html ) and in the end I included the tips I use to help myself deal with negative self talk and negative body image. Lori, you are beautiful. And you are trying to be healthy. Being healthy is a life long journey. All journeys have hills and can be difficult. Keep at it.

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    1. It's funny how everything is connected, huh. Thank you so much. You are beautiful too and I really appreciate your support. :-)

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  3. I like every other girl has had her share of body issues. I have over the last 2 years lost about 12kgs (about 25 pounds?) and am now just trying to maintain. I'm not sure what will work for you but for me it was almost 100% a mental change.

    Thanks to pole. Before pole I knew I was unfit and on the wrong side of overweight but i never ever had a reason to change. Sure I wanted to look skinnier etc etc but it was never enough motivation for me to stick to anything because losing weight for the sake of beauty (or even health) was never a tangible goal. it made me hate gym and exercise.

    then I discovered pole. And whilst i firmly believe EVERYONE can do pole, the truth remains that certain moves are really the domain of the skinnier, fitter people. For the first time I wanted to lose weight because I wanted to achieve a goal. Instead of I need to crash diet to fit this dress, it became I will not eat this cheesecake because I have class in 2 hours and dont want to throw up on spin or I will skip the fries because I need to learn to do a chopper and the smaller my butt is, the easier it is to haul upsidedown.

    so that was the start. about 8kgs (20 pounds?) into my journey I realised, I LIKE this new fit person. I felt better when I eat healthy, nutritious food and am well hydrated. Of course I'd go the occasional donut bender but afterwards I'd stuggle so badly at pole that it wasnt worth it for me.
    Now, I go to the gym because I love exercise and because I need to build up upper body strength to consistently hold an ayesha. I used to exercise based on how many calories i thought i needed to burn. now i dont ever set the calorie monitor because the goal is fitness. I try to eat smaller portions because I still dont want to have to cart excess weight when I'm inverting and hell, i've even started to crave green foods because they make me feel better.

    I never reached my inital 'goal' weight- i technically still have 4 kgs (10 pounds) to go but I love the way my body looks now and I dont WANT to get skinnier (2 years ago, you'd NEVER have heard me say that). My new goal is to get stronger and more toned. I love my new body which i can describe as athletic. Strong is definitely the new skinny for me.

    Thanks to pole, i changed my entire outlook on weight and health. i stopped viewing my WEIGHT as the goal and started instead to focus on health. Lolorashel- be honest with yourself. do you want to be 'skinny' or 'healthy'? Perhaps at this point being healthy for you still means shedding a few/some pounds but dont make weight loss your goal. Make that change for the reason of living a better life, being able to do more with your body.

    All I can say is it was the absolute best thing I ever did. I live in fear everyday of going back to being the slob that i was 2 years ago but I also live much happier than I've ever been. The funny thing is, I can now buy and fit into all the pretty clothes I used to pine over but ironically i no longer go clothes shopping because every spare cent is spent on pole! It's funny how our perspective on whats important changes.

    Good luck!

    (P.S for the sake of full disclosure, I DO count calories and I DO weight myself regularly. I am a very numbers orientated person and it helps me keep track of my progress. just recently I've become a little more relaxed about it but I was a bit of a calorie nazi for a while. it works for me and my particular brand of discipline. it may/ may not work for you)

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    1. Thank you!! I do need to find a balance. Perhaps it is time to start tracking again. I hate to focus on weight loss but I do "need" it to be a result of the time I'm about to put in at the gym. I start spin/cycle and then yoga classes every Tuesday and Thursday. I pole on Monday and Saturday. Also going to get in some weight training and maybe more yoga on Sundays.

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  4. P.P.S I just re-read and I sound like i contradicted myself in saying I do count calories but i dont set the calorie monitor at the gym. What I mean is I keep track of exactly whats going into my body food wise but I don't cound my exercise calories. I dont care if its high or low. If i know i'm going to pole/ gym/ dance etc. I will be a little more slack with my intake calories. Sadly, weight loss is still 80% diet, 20% exercise. you can't change the laws of biochemistry (i'm such a nerd). So in the beginning I did need to decrease my food intake in order to get smaller to do the moves (as i mentioned earlier). but now that i'm just maintaining i'm working out what my body needs with less need to rely on numbers. its become much more internalised but I will always suggest calorie counting as a starting point. it really helped me at the beginning.
    ok, ramble over!

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    1. Got it...totally starting to understand that too...I used to think it was more about exercise but I know that's not true!! UGH! lol

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  5. How to find happy? If you can, I think the rest will fall into place. It is so very hard to fight with your body. So in 2013 I vow to get healthy and to find happy. Perhaps a journey we can make together.
    -Rita

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  6. Lolorashel - I could of written the blog myself!

    I feel like im in a total condundrum about my body ALL THE TIME!!! While its taken time for me to be ok with my body and be comfortable with the skin I got (lets face it, we only have one set of skin, love it at every stage of life), then I see these images of VS models who work out 3-4hrs a day and the media tells us if were way up on the BMI that we are lazy and unmotivated.

    I do track what I eat with a calorie counter but I dont stress out if I go over or if I decided I wanted a cupcake that day. I never want to be one of those women who obsess over food. Like I dont want to look at a slice of cake and think how many hours I have slave at the gym to burn that off. I want my cake and eat it too damn it!! I work out, hell Ive started Insanity!!! I would rather be healthy than skinny! Thats been my motto.

    I think you look great the way you are! I think you, myself and Roz need to do speaking tours about body love. Especially to young girls, thats where they need it the most!

    Peace, Love and POLE

    Lulu

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    1. I adore you, Lulu!! How's Insanity?? I did P90X for awhile. I didn't really like it. I liked the yoga but everything else was too hard to do in a small condo.

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  7. I'm right there with ya. I WANT to fully embrace HAES but I feel better when I'm under a certain weight (for my height, etc.) so it's hard to reconcile. Hmm, here's a suggestion for you AND me. What if we took a month (21 days to make a habit, right?) and didn't give a single shit about calories but instead spent a little time each day on serious strength and/or flexibility? I don't mean eat cake 3x a day, but don't justify every morsel or imagine how to counteract the calories. And I don't mean do some stretches, I mean STRETCH - work at it like we're looking for a result. Maybe if we make the goals still physical but something that has nothing to with size or weight we'd feel better and get in a better place in our heads. What do you think?

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    1. I am definitely interested in making streching a more important part of my day! I am spending some time in the morning streching because of the plantar fasciitis, and am taking yoga twice a week but need a good streching plan for night! Are you following a program or have any ideas?

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    2. I know we're talking on facebook (much easier for me, thanks) but just for anyone else who finds this post ... No, I don't have a real plan but I know that each pose or stretch is supposed to be something like 30-60 seconds which I have NOT been doing, and it's supposed to be uncomfortable but not painful. I have not been trying all that hard at it, so I'm going to try to do it every night with "intention" as they say!

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  8. Wow...wow...wow...I want to reply to each comment individually, but in the meantime, thank you to each of you for your comments. I am touched and feel comforted to see I'm not the only one struggling here. Maybe that is part of my problem...selfishly thinking I'm the only person dealing with this stuff. Again, thank you and I will reply to each of you soon!!! :-)))

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  9. I wish I had wonderful advice but all i got is don't stop pole dancing if you love it... we regular girls of all shapes and sizes need you (women with curves) to keep those wonderful images on the pole. I know it's hard to be a role model especially when that is not your intent... but face it you are. I believe that when we don't reach our goals because of self sabotage we need to look closer at ourselves. Not our selves in the mirror but I mean some emotional soul searching. Maybe an individual therapist might help you dig deeper to what may be the emotional roots to your inability to "allow yourself" to reach the goals you have set... hope that helps- XOXO from one curvy diva to another

    mmob221@yahoo.com

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    1. I've been to therapy and I know what's "wrong" with me. I just haven't been willing to let it go. :-/

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