Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Tortoise and the Hare

Most of us remember the old story of the tortoise and the hare. As children, we rather viscerally reject the notion that the hare would be so dumb as to blow it in such a careless fashion. I’m not so sure that anyone accepts that slow and steady wins the race, at least not deep down.

Obviously, the story of the tortoise and the hare has popped into my head more than once as I proceed down the weight loss road. From visualizing a multitude of fat cells shrinking at an infinitesimal rate until they reach some sort of critical mass where I can see a change to repeating to myself that I didn’t get fat all at once and therefore can’t lose it all at once, I try to offer myself mantras to be patient. I’m trying to be the best tortoise I can be.

That being said, I realized a long time ago that this isn’t a race I slowly plod my way to victory in and then go on with my normal life. This must become my “normal life”. There’s no going back to the way I was with food unless I want to return to the way I am in weight and size. While a time will come when I can eat several hundred more calories per day than I do now, it will never be the case that I can “pig out” without significant risk to returning to my current state of obesity. This was the realization I didn’t make so many years ago in college when I initially lost weight.

I continue to feel slightly frustrated with the tortoise approach though. I occasionally read about obese people who have lost 30-50 lbs. and are unhappy that no one has noticed, or dissatisfied that they don’t look appreciably better. I empathize. I have likely lost about 50 lbs. at this point as well and do not feel I look any better. I feel better and move a bit more freely, and I look different, but not “better.”

That being said, what else am I going to do? This is how it’s going to be for life so I’m not chomping at the bit to do something else, such as pig out on food that is highly caloric. I try to view this as growing more and more accustomed to and comfortable with a normalized relationship with food with subsequent weight loss rather than a diet with only weight loss in mind. I can have my health and a better quality of life, or I can have an all you can eat buffet of food and hide from life as best I can. I’m tired of not having my health, and of hiding away.


dlamb said...

If I could have, I would have used your words to express exactly the same attitude, at this stage in my life. In the past, as I zoomed down the numbers on the scale, I could not wait to get to my goal, so I could binge. Now, as I am losing 1#? week and know that the last 25 or so I still have to lose may take me more than a year because I will not go under 1600-1700 calories per day. I will, also, undoubtedly choose to maintain during times of stress, special occasions or holidays, at which times I will consume more like 1800 but I know that my life will be spent counting, weighing and measuring food. I am finally ok with that.
BTW, I know this is an entirely foreign concept to most people, but I absolutely hate having my weight loss observed or commented upon. It IS true that generally speaking I do not enjoy being the center of attention under ANY circumstances, but especially when my weight is a topic of conversation. I find it acceptable and even pleasant to hear "you're looking good", "you look fit", on one occasion, to my absolute delight even "you look like you're 18!" (at the age of 47 and ahem, from behind) or something along those lines but I become downright irritable if somebody exclaims "WOW, YOU LOST A TON OF WEIGHT". I am sure the reason I do not appreciate that kind of comment is no secret and when the reverse thought crosses people's minds, it is probably deserved, as objective observation goes. If I lose 50 pounds and absolutely nobody mentions a word about it, nobody is happier than I. Do I think that 50 pounds ago they did not notice the change? No, I do not. At the same time, I do not wish to have that comparison confirmed when I have lost it. I guess what I really wish is the impossible: that nobody would focus on my weight either way.

I definitely know that I am in a minority in my desire not to have my wt. loss commented upon but...there it is.

screaming fatgirl said...

I don't like to have my weight loss commented upon either, and was quite fortunate that it was not talked about by the discrete people around me due to the culture I was living in. Only one person said exactly what you hated to hear ("you lost a ton of weight") in exactly the words you expressed and that was my doofus brother-in-law. I think he meant to be kind, but had poor social skills or was just shocked. He also at one point said I was smaller every time he saw me.

I'm rather lucky that I came "home" (America still doesn't feel like home) at around 175 lbs. I'm unlikely to lose a lot or lose fast at this point so changes will be less striking. The trip to here from 380 or whatever was a lot more visible, and few people said a word.

I think I'm not actually offended because of the perceptions of other people if they say such things. I think that I'm unhappy for being rewarded for something which, to others, should be of little interest or value. Losing weight to me was a huge deal which required a lot of psychological, logistical, and physical effort. To them, it's just that I look different. I don't think they are appreciating the effort it must have taken, but usually remarking on their perception of my improved appearance. That is the part that I don't like, though I'm never offended or anything when people say such things.