Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Early Fruit

This is an exciting time for me in my weight loss progress on several fronts. In fact, it's the first time that I've actually felt anything approaching "excitement", and that's probably because a lot of the past year has been equivalent to planting psychological and life habit change "seeds" and hoping they'll grow into what I want them to be. I think that I'm finally seeing the saplings grow the first buds of actual fruit. And I'm not just talking about the usual list of NSV (non-scale victories) like fitting into a chair or not being in pain when I walk. There is much more going on at this point in time. It's deeper and more meaningful for my future lifestyle.

I realize that at this weight (likely just under 260), I will finally be within a (relative) stone's throw of a change in appearance that approaches "normality" in such a way that people will stop gawking excessively and openly speaking poorly of me. I'll still be fat by the end of this year, but not in a way which gets me treated like a complete freak. This has been something that has been so far in my future throughout most of this that I couldn't even come close to seeing that particular light near the end of the tunnel.

What is more exciting to me at this stage is that the death grip over my life that food has held is loosening noticeably. All of the psychological and behavioral work I've been doing is paying off. In the past month, I have found it easier to not eat when I have the impulse to do so for whatever reason that I do not want to eat. Food "calls" to me much more softly and it's easier to ignore its siren song.

I also do not think constantly about food or weight loss. I spend my time absorbed in other activities. Food concerns probably still occupy more of my thought processes than the average person who is not on a weight loss plan or who doesn't have a weight problem, but it has definitely diminished by at least 70% compared to a year ago. I rarely spent an hour without ruminating on food when I started (unless I was completely preoccupied, and even then sometimes I'd drift away to what I wanted to eat, would eat, or had to cook). Now, I can go several hours without thinking about food or food planning between meals or activities which are essential to meal-related tasks.

Beyond that, I have noticed that it has stopped being the case that I approach my calorie goals as something I purposefully buck up against. In the past, if I was allowed 1500 calories for a given day, I would eat up to the limit because I wanted to cram in something enjoyable or because I was so hungry I wanted to eat every bit I could and still meet my goals. As of late, I don't eat up to the limit if I'm not truly hungry.

In essence, I've moved from always eating as much as I can because I can to eating what I want only when I want most of the time, and I don't resent it or feel deprived when I choose not to eat as many calories as I could. There's no psychological residue associated with these acts. It's simply me acting more in accord with physical rather than psychological need.

Early on in my "mindful eating" efforts when I was eating treats, I would have to fight the compulsion to have another if I could afford the calories. I succeeded about 75% of the time back then, but now I find that I simply do not have the desire for "seconds" at all, let alone have to fight any urges to have more because "I can afford the calories." At least at this point in time, I seem to be enjoying the results of full internalization of the practices of mindful eating.

I also find that I trust myself around food almost completely. That is, if I'm around tasty food, I don't worry that I'll weaken and eat it or overeat it. I feel very much in control over food at this stage, though certainly not in an obsessive or fanatical way. If I want a taste of cheese, I'll have a small slice which is between a quarter and half ounce. I have no worries that I'll want to start slicing off more and more to gobble more down.

I think that the psychological work I'm doing has really helped bring me to this point, but I also think that my physiology may have finally made a certain shift as well. I think the year-long process of smaller portions has finally "trained" my body's organs and cells to a state where they no longer anticipate and demand being overfed. It could also be that, at a weight which is 2/3 of my starting weight, my energy demands have scaled back such that the desire for food is less insistent biologically. I can't say for sure, but I think I'm currently enjoying the culmination of all of my efforts in a very concrete way.

This is absolutely the first time in my life that I have felt like this. I have no food guilt. I can eat any food I want, and I never feel deprived. The best part is that horrible "pull" to eat and that feeling of a lack of control seems to have greatly faded away. I'm not quite prepared to say it's all better now or that everything has been resolved because I don't want to get ahead of myself, but, for the moment, I feel quite liberated. And, yes, I'm excited.


NewMe said...

Yours is one of the best, most thoughtful and thought-provoking blogs I've run across in a long time. I'm thrilled to have found you and will put you on my blogroll to ensure that I read your posts regularly. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful news to hear! It is the kind of progress that points toward long term success.

Well done, Screaming Fat Girl!

One possible *problem*: you will eventually have to come up with a different blog name. :) But that is the kind of challenge I'm sure most of us wouldn't mind.


-Maura said...

You are so right - doing the brain work is just as important as doing the body work when it comes to losing weight and maintaining the loss. I know for myself, I didn't do as well on the brain work as I should have and I've had a bit of struggle with maintenance. Now that I'm focusing on being mindful and also accepting that my reality changed and the way I had been eating had to change with it, the struggle is gone and I am enjoying the process.

All the best,

screaming fatgirl said...

Thanks to everyone for commenting. I really appreciate it!

NewMe: Thank you so much for your kind words. I've added your blog to my blogroll and to my RSS feed so I'll be following you as well! :-)

Rebecca: LOL (about the problem). I think that the SFG part will always be with me no matter how far along I get or how much weight I lose. I'm just gratified that much of the struggle seems to have slowly evaporated. I get the sense that I've been building a house with little more than a butter knife and pebbles and I've been toiling away and suddenly find the foundation is finally finished. Now, for the rest of the house...

Maura: Greetings and thank you for your kind words. I'm not at maintenance (and don't expect to be for about 2 more years if all goes "as planned"), so I figure there are likely more mental adjustments to be made. Each step is a different challenge.

NewMe said...

Thanks for adding me to your blogroll! I look forward to reading you on a regular basis and I hope you enjoy my "musings" too.