Why Can’t I Get It Together?

I have been trying to lose 10 pounds for 6 months now. Instead of losing, I gained 5. Why can’t I get it together?

I have kept off over 50 pounds for several years now, so I know perfectly well how to do this. I just cannot get into a groove. I will lose a few pounds and then slack off, for so reason I can fathom.

OK.

Maybe I can fathom a few reasons. Boredom, complacency, laziness, denial. Sometimes, I don’t care all that much. And then I have to squeeze into clothes that fit well 15 pounds ago, and I get so mad at myself. I am just so damn SICK of it all.

You see, I got me what’s called “a bad attitude.”

I was reminded last night of what’s the matter with me. I got my hair done and then went out to dinner with my husband. My hairdresser used to be overweight and unhealthy – smoking, drinking – and then she shaped up. She is very fit and slim and talks constantly about her various exercise, eating and cooking routines. All I can think of when she talks is “what a bore.” As I was paying at the desk, she left for her evening workout, dressed in athletic gear, looking great. And all I could think was, “I don’t want to have to work that hard to stay in shape.”

We went for dinner at an Asian noodle shop that my husband has raved about. I was in such a foul mood – pretentious hipster place, very crowded with college students, Genesee Cream Ale on tap, for chrissakes. I ordered the lightest thing on the menu – a chicken-based pho with veggies – and ate maybe half of it. Washed it down with several glasses of water. Thought, as I was eating it, “You’re going to be bloated AF tomorrow from the salt in this.”

And I am, so I guess I know a bit about what I am doing.

“You look so skinny!”

I bought a new sweater this past weekend – love me a January sale. It’s a long raspberry and gray sweater with a split hem that reaches well past my butt, so I wear it belted. I wore it to work yesterday with some black slim-fit pants.

“Love this! You look so skinny!” a coworker blurted out in the hallway when she saw me.

Does it matter that this coworker is a size 2 30-year-old?

Does it mean, “You usually look fat, but not today!”

Does it mean, “I normally hate your clothes but this is pretty good, for you!”

Who knows what it means. It was meant as a complement, to be taken with good grace. There’s no point in parsing out the meaning, exploring a coworker’s lack of social graces, or plotting revenge.

So what to say in reply? “Thanks.”

That’s all.

What a pleasant surprise!

Every year, my relatives give me food for Christmas. They know I’ve lost and (mostly) kept off a ton of weight, and yet they always give me a pile of crap for Christmas.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a typical example from December 2012, after I lost 65 pounds.

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There’s a bag of licorice, a tagine and cookbook, a book about wine & cheese, a bottle of wine, wine bottle stoppers, a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, a pound of coffee and a gift card to a restaurant.

After a few years of this, I tried the tactic of “asking for what you want.” We started using this website called Elfster to manage our family Secret Santa drawing, so I liberally filled out my profile with likes and dislikes. The people in this gift exchange are family, so presumably they know what I like and don’t like, but hey, no one’s a mind-reader, right?

I told my family I like the outdoors (hiking, biking, kayaking), gardening, sewing and reading.  I like handcrafted things. I like natural fiber clothing. I like art glass. I like adventures and new experiences. I also noted explicitly: “I do not like gifts of food or cooking equipment or kitchen stuff. I work hard to maintain my weight, and I already have a ton of kitchen things, thanks.”

This year, guess what I got?

Drumroll…..

A “lobster” gift basket, including plastic lobster plates, plastic butter dishes, vinyl lobster bibs, lobster crackers, a lobster motif coffee mug, lobster shears, lobster-shaped candy, and a rubber lobster (which I gave to the dog to destroy). Also wine glasses. Also a gift certificate to a fish market, where  I can buy a live lobster to cook at home (although I would have to schlep it home in a 3-hour car drive).

Sigh.

Yes, I realize I sound like a baby complaining about it all. It’s not the gift that upsets me really. It’s the realization that my family doesn’t know me and doesn’t want to know me. They’d rather just think of “old me.”

165

I stepped on the scale this morning. 165 pounds. I can’t believe it, and yet I can.

In 2010 I started on a diet, for the nth time in my life. I was furious and disgusted with myself. I swore, again for the nth time, that this time was “for real” and I would not give up until I got to my goal of 140 pounds. I joined Weight Watchers online, started a blog, followed the program and got busy.

And you know what? I almost got there. It was easy some days, hard other days, and I was not able to get to 140. In about 2 years was able to get to 150, so I called it a “win” and set about maintaining. I bought nice clothes, changed my habits and enjoyed the “new” me.

Right away I learned that if weight loss is hard, weight loss maintenance is a bitch. A grind. A slow drip from a faucet that requires constant maintenance and attention. And if you do everything right, you know what you get? A brief reprieve from the dreary drips.

The damn faucet leaks some days more than others, and on really blessed days, it doesn’t drip at all. But then it started dripping more and was harder to turn off. So I put up with a few drips. A small price to pay for my sanity, right? That’s how 150 pounds became 155 pounds became 160 pounds became 165 pounds.

How does this happen? I mean, I know how to eat, how to exercise, how to deal with boredom and stress without stuffing my face. But I was not prepared for one big problem. I was not prepared for loneliness. For I have been going it alone for about 6 months, and when I go it alone, I get into trouble.

I credit much of my success in 2010-2012 to a blog I kept on WeightWatchers.com. I started it to be accountable to myself and to remember what it was like to lose the weight and struggle and win. I made some good friends there, enjoyed the daily ritual of writing, learned from people and shared my ideas. It really worked for me.

I drifted away from Weight Watchers because I didn’t think I needed it anymore, I ran out of things to say, then the program changed and I could not cope with the new program. Finally, I cut ties for good when they stopped hosting blogs – the main thing I needed to keep going.

I planned to start a new blog immediately, and yet I didn’t. Why? Laziness, boredom, worry about sharing in an untested environment, excuse excuse excuse. I joined LoseIt to keep tracking my food and exercise. At the time I had 7 pounds to lose – to get back to 150. Now I have twice as much weight to lose  and nothing to lose by blogging again.

So here I am. Thanks for reading.