The other day, I finally got a haircut. I’d been putting it off for any number of reasons, the primary one being money, but there were others as well. I’ve been trying to grow my hair out, and it grows insanely slowly, so slowly that I am loathe to reverse any progress I’ve made. In my experience, no matter what you say to a hair stylist, they always take more than you want… so I avoid going. I have very fine hair that tangles easily, so eventually I reach the literal breaking point. Mine came Friday when I looked in the mirror and realized I had several large-ish pieces of hair that had broken off midway down my head, near the tops of my ears. Eek! Not good. So off to the hair stylist I went, but not happily.
When I sat down in the chair, it was a moment before she put the drape over my clothing. In that moment, I got an unwelcome view of myself seated in front of the wall-sized mirror. Again, eek. I’ve been putting on weight again. It started back in November after my dog died, and ir’s been creeping up ever since. Since I can still wear (most) of my clothes, I’ve been ignoring it. I know it’s happening, but I can’t afford Weight Watchers right now and it’s been hot, so exercise seems even less appealing than usual. Also, it’s much easier to ignore weight gain when you are standing in front of a mirror. When you’re standing, the damage, whatever it is, it mitigated. Sitting is another story altogether. Everything spreads out in horrifying fashion. It’s impossible to ignore, much as I might have wanted to. For a minute there, I was frozen, cringing. Then I got mad.
Every time I lose weight, I tell myself I will never go backward again. I make a slew of promises to myself… that I’ll get on the scale no matter what, so the weight doesn’t sneak up on me. That I will continue to watch my portions, regardless of whether things are going well. That if I sense my weight is creeping up, I will wear snug clothing to remind me to keep my eating in check. Yep. I have promised all of this and more, a thousand times over. And every time, eventually it all falls apart. Food is the trickiest addiction. You can (and must) not drink alcohol if you’re an alcoholic. If you’re an addict, you can (and must) give up drugs entirely, and alcohol, if you’re doing things properly, since it’s considered a “gateway” drug. But food is a quandary. You’ve gotta eat, which means you need to find a way to control your addictive behavior when it comes to food. I can do it, for short periods of time, if I stay extremely focused. I don’t enjoy controlling it, but I also don’t enjoy being heavy. I’m a clothes fiend, so when nothing fits or looks nice, I’m miserable. Self-loathing follows without fail. I find it next to impossible to love myself unconditionally when I’m heavier.
For the record, I have my own set of standards on weight. I have been struggling with my weight since I was eight years old. I never was lucky enough to have the kick-ass metabolism that’s supposedly the gift of youth. Never. And yes, I am bitter, thanks. You would be, too. Anyway, since my weight has been all over the map, I am generous with myself in terms of comfort. No, I don’t have to be a size two to be happy. Good thing, too, since that’s never occurred. I am reasonably happy at a size 12, and at an 8/10, I am pretty much blissful. I made it there, once, and it seems kind of like the Promised Land to me now. When I was an 8/10, I loved my body in everything I tried on. It was amazing. Alas, my stay in that world was brief, and most of my (smaller) adult life has been spent at a size 12. I’m not blissful at that size, but I am comfortable enough there that I find it hard to self-motivate.
Sadly, I am not a 12. I am a size 14 currently, and a snug 14 at that. Is it better than the size 18 I was after having Avery? Yes, yes it is. And I am grateful not to have reversed all the progess I’ve made since then. But still, a 12 would be better. I know this for a fact. But to get back to that point means accountability. It means not having three chocolate chip cookies for dessert after eating a large pasta dinner. And when life is hard, which it has been, pasta and cookies make me feel temporarily better. Yes, “nothing tastes as good as thin feels,” and I know that. But here’s the deal, there is no legitimately fast way to thin. Thin is the light at the end of an unfortunately long tunnel. It is a promise, something I might achieve months and months and months from now, if I work really damned hard for it. The cookies, on the other hand, offer immediate relief. Long-term pain, yes, but that is nebulous, a future threat. I can have the cookies NOW, and the size 12? Not so much.
Food is a bitch. It mocks me. I know it’s a problem for me, and that logically I am better off – both in the emotional and physical sense – if I do not allow myself to give in to temptation. But unlike alcohol, the desire to eat (and eat, and eat) has never been lifted. I have had periods of success battling it, but in the end the victory has always gone to the compulsion. “Just say no” has rarely worked with chocolate.
Also, I truly do understand that watching what I eat and exercising are the answer. Hard work. There is no easier, softer way. Otherwise, I get to keep cringing at the sight of myself in the mirror, and that’s no fun, either. Self-loathing sucks.
You probably expected some kind of dramatic, revelatory, “Now I’m going to go and change everything!” kind of moment at the end of this, huh? Sorry. Life isn’t that simple. I’ll let you know if something changes, but for now I remain mired in my lack of motivation. Stuck. That’s all, folks.