The weight loss challenge ended on Oct. 3. I lost about 20 lbs. in the 6 weeks, which was great. But the wheels came off the cart right about Sept. 24th. I have gained 17 lbs. since that date. That exact date.
Here are the elements of the "perfect storm" that I've been able to identify:
1) I was down 77 lbs. since January 2009. That number is a bit of a curse for me. This marks the fourth time in my adult life that I've lost between 65 and 80 lbs. The previous 3 times I've gained back 100 lbs. within 6 months. (1998, 2002, 2004, 2009) So my thinking was starting to get messy and my mind was interfering where it shouldn't have.
2) We had a "house guest" move in on Sept. 24--because that's when he was released from the penitentiary. This year I have had several hints that I have terrible boundaries, but this confirmed the suspicion. I treated him like a guest by cooking for him and interacting with him, making sure he was comfortable, warm, had a place to sleep... The last time I saw him was 20 years ago. He was less of an idiot then. Less of a liar, less of an addict, less deluded.
3) I began having severe dizzy spells. Friends and children told me I wasn't eating enough and I was exercising too much. Because my nature is to eat more and exercise less, I took this as an engraved invitation to indulge.
4) I got a really bad flu and took a week off of work, boot camp and life. It was my birthday week.
5) I was struggling with the voices in my head that tell me I'm a failure and it's just a matter of time until I lose all that I've worked for -- AGAIN.
6) School had started and my routine was not yet established
7) I stopped meditating (in part because I lacked the privacy needed to do it.)
8) The weather changed to fall...it's darker in the morning during boot camp, it's much colder, and my bed seems much warmer. Choices of fruits and vegetables are changing to those I like less than summer fruits and vegetables.
In seven short weeks I've gained 17 lbs.
I feel a little appalled. But appalled is such a strong word that it's not appropriate to qualify it with "just a little." I am almost thinking I should feel appalled. But it is what it is. I didn't know how to take care of myself so I changed my food plan from healthy and nutritious to sweet and sweeter. When I'm eating healthfully, I don't want cookies or cakes, I want movie popcorn. But when I'm eating emotionally, I want sweets. That's something I didn't know until now. It makes sense...sweeter foods feel more comforting and loving. (That sounds like a food addict talking!)
Here is what I've noticed physiologically as my weight has gone up 17 lbs.
- My feet hurt again
- My hip hurts again
- Clothes don't fit
- I can't run
- I am less sensitive to feelings (numb to emotions)
- I am not as productive--I am playing lots and lots of puzzle games.
- My stomach is sticking out as though I've gained 50 lbs.
- My face is fleshier
- I'm tired / defeated
But I need to say that 17 lbs. IS a large amount of weight. When that weight is off, I'm a different person. No, it's not 60 lbs. or even 30, but it is a lot of weight, and I want it off.
Yesterday was a good day with food. I had a few bites of cookies after school and after dinner, but my food was 100% clean other than that. Today will be a clean day too.
I am being patient and kind with myself, and that will have a huge impact on whether I go up another 20 lbs, or down. I am reminding myself that two steps forward and one step back is still progress. It's when I give up, sit down, and start sliding backwards that the worst trouble comes.