You know you’ve hit a low point when…

March 18, 2011 § 25 Comments

…when you wanted to spend money on new capris, realized you couldn’t fit in any of the sizes you’re willing to house in your closet, went home utterly dejected, and decided to spend the new clothing money instead on an online membership for Weight Watchers.

Am I ready for this? No. I don’t feel like counting points and working on my diet. God knows I barely have the wherewithal to remember to eat in the first place, let alone counting points when attempting to remember to eat.

Do I have to do this? Yes. It’s bad. I didn’t keep to my original plan to lose weight (I would be almost 30 pounds lighter than I am right now), and now I’m feeling kind of like I want to be sick. I feel so gross.

Will I be successful with Weight Watchers? Considering this will be my fifth time to join, yes. I always lose weight on Weight Watchers. I am incredibly successful on this program. The problem is that I never stick it out long enough to get to the maintenance phase. I typically get about a week or so away from maintenance (which means I’d be rather close to my goal weight), and then I just stop doing the program entirely. So I never learn how to maintain the new weight I’ve reached.

So there you go. A.Hab. feels like a big fat cow (and doesn’t really want to be comforted at the moment, but thank you in advance for any and all kind sentiments), and she desperately needs to make a change, no matter how inconvenient that is for her right now.

Edit: Before anyone asks or offers recommendations, I thought I should catalogue the programs I’ve already attempted and when and to what success:

1. Weight Watchers: the first time was in tenth grade and I lost all the weight I intended to lose; the second time was a couple years later when I started college, but I was unable to cook my own meals so I quickly failed; the third time was another year or so later when I moved to an apartment-style dorm and could cook my own meals, I did lose weight but failed to keep it off; the fourth time was at the beginning of graduate school, and I lost a great deal of weight because I was also starting a personal training program, but again, I gained it all back plus a great deal more.

2. Atkins: of course, like everyone on the planet who tries this or other low-carb programs, I was immediately successful. I was on this in between the second and third tries with Weight Watchers. I was kind of a bitch on it, though. Turns out that my niceness comes from carbs. Big FAIL for low-carb programs.

3. Jenny Craig: I was on this after the fourth time with Weight Watchers fell through. I was successful with this as well, and I was keeping up with an exercise program. It was during my time on this program, though, that my L5/S1 disk herniated, so my exercising came to a screeching halt once the pain was agonizing. I found myself lying to my over-the-phone consultant about my weight loss. I wasted a lot of my parents’ money buying food that I never ate.

4. Counting calories/low-fat: in the interim between programs I’m almost always doing some form of this or other…until I become utterly dejected and depressed. I am less successful on these sort of home-grown programs (the kinds where you’re accountable really only to yourself and the expanding gut in the mirror). Technically this is what I’m supposed to be doing right now. But once I fell into a good routine and started to lose weight consistently (averaging between 1.5-2 pounds a week) last year, I eventually stopped because I grew bored with the foods I normally ate.

Since the time that I was 15 and a half, I have always been on some weight loss program or other, which is quickly coming upon half of my lifetime with my 30th birthday approaching in September. I started too early. When I was 15 and a half (and starting Weight Watchers), I weighed 126. I remember that number because it horrified me so much. Now, I weigh 247. And I want to hide in the darkness of my bedroom and never see the light of day again. Or so much as a morsel of food. I will never see the 120s again, and I don’t want to. I was adorable at that size, but I was still growing my breasts and hips. Now that I have them, I’d like for them to still look womanly…just not…grotesque. Google search images for the “Hottentot Venus,” and you’ll get a general idea as to what I look like right now. This woman was paraded around in Europe as an example of a typical exotic African woman. Today…well, I can barely look at myself in the mirror without seeing her reflected back at me. It makes me want to be ill. Seriously ill.

Before I weighed 126, I hated my body too. I compared myself to the other skinny girls in my ballet classes and at school. In fourth grade, when we were seated around the floor in a circle to watch a movie, my friends and I would lay our bony, undeveloped forearms upon one another’s, and I would rejoice to myself when I discovered that I had the skinniest wrists in class. (The same was true for boniest ankles, most observable collar bones, and most prominent hips.) I was not beautiful then either. But I wasn’t looking for beautiful. I was looking for skinniest. Skinniest meant best. And then I hit puberty and all that Sicilian genetic coding kicked in, and I grew breasts and hips. When I was in sixth grade, I weighed 101 for the first time, and came downstairs after a shower in tears, begging my mom to explain to me what this pouch was on top of my abdomen. She calmly said, “That’s just your body growing into adolescence, Amanda. You can’t have a period without it.” I got my first period a year later. And I hated my body from the time it weighed 101 pounds and had a teensy little pouch over the abdomen all the way up to the moment I am writing this post.

I have never loved my body, not even when I was young, undeveloped, and skinny.

Daily I wonder and worry that I might have a mental disorder that will prevent me from ever seeing my body as beautiful and worthy of self-love. Will I ever be a weight that will be “good enough”? Or have I already destroyed my sense of physical self from the tender age of eight (the age I first began dancing and comparing my body to the other girls’)? Am I doomed? If I am doomed to always hate my body…then what is the value in losing all this weight in the first place? Sure, I want to get to a weight where the doctors will stop telling me how obese and disgusting I am (my word, not theirs…they say “dangerously overweight” and “borderline for major diseases”). But once I reach that weight, then what?

Ah, these are the thoughts of an A.Hab. driven crazy. Turns out her white whale isn’t a dissertation, friends. It’s actually aligning the image that Robert must have of her with the image she sees reflected in that horrible, horrible glass.

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§ 25 Responses to You know you’ve hit a low point when…

  • Lauren says:

    Ugh, it is SO hard to read this because I want to jump in and tell you how you’re not disgusting. But I did read that you truly don’t want to be comforted right now, so I promise I’ll respect that wish. It just makes me want to jump in and save you from your own self 😦

    I will see if I can dig out my old WW digital calculator — it’s nifty and easy to use. Perfect to slip into your purse (lightweight and thin). You can calculate points in seconds and wasn’t too much of a burden on me. Are you still interested in this? (just wanna make sure) As soon as I find it, it’s yours.

    The only other thing I hope you will do is really look into some kind of book on improving your self-perception. I know you know what you’re doing to yourself when you talk about yourself the way you do. You don’t need to be told. But please look into working through this — I think it’s why you weight cycle. Getting some form of self-acceptance, even if not on par with how well your hubby sees you, is SO important. It may be the key to making your weight loss truly permanent.

    Love you!!

    • Lauren says:

      Oh, and if you want, consider this your official invitation to come back on over to 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet forums. Wonderful community! The subforums that I personally frequent are 100+ Club and Weight Loss Support. But, as you know, there are so many other subforums as well. There’s something there for everyone and it helps me.

      • Mrs. H. says:

        Haha, you remembered that I was a member of the 3FC forums, huh? I really loved hanging out on that website–that was during Weight Watchers try #4. I had a group of online friends (who I’ve lost touch with, of course), and we even created our own little icons for the boards and everything. I remember the celebration when I got under 200 pounds the first time, too. Maybe I will rejoin the forums. They were extremely supportive.

        And, yes, I am absolutely interested in your calculator! 🙂 If you can find it (without too much trouble), then I will gladly take it off your hands. Love you, sisturr. Thank you for your support. 🙂

  • Jeri Keenan says:

    Hating our bodies is the American woman’s past time. We have it pounded into our heads from the time we’re aware of the world around us we constantly bombarded with images of women who are unhealthily thin or have been airbrushed to the point of comedy and told THIS was the standard we were supposed to live up to. Pardon my french, but F. that. Dont hate your body, hate the culture that has made you hate your body.

  • Jeri Keenan says:

    Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t come easy, I work my butt off learning to accept my post menopausal,diabetic body that will never be the same again, no matter what I do, and I still had a few moments of sorrow looking at my wedding pictures, because instead of seeing the beautiful bride I was, all I saw was my big fat tummy. But its a battle that must be fought.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Jeri, you’re so right. I’m focusing my negative energy on the wrong person! Down with Calvin Klein and Yves St. Laurent!

      You know, I had a similar experience with my wedding pictures…and I can kind of trace my body image with the way I feel about those photos. When I’m bigger than I was on my wedding day (like I am now), I look at them and think, “Oh, I don’t look all that bad in those pictures.” When I’m smaller than I was on my wedding day (like last year for my sister’s wedding), I thought, “Gross. I was so big on my wedding day.” I do try to keep my wedding pictures sacred, though–when I find myself judging the my bridal size, I try to focus instead on remembering the happiness and excitement I felt that day. It tends to help. 🙂

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Oh yeah! And I wanted to tell you congratulations, Mrs. Keenan! 🙂

  • You are beautiful, Amanda, and don’t let anyone or anything tell you otherwise! Keep your chin up!

  • Hey! Stop beating yourself up! 😀

    Keep posting here. When you think about cheating just remember you will have to tell us. 😀

    It has actually stopped me from cheating several times and made me work out harder than I wanted to.

    Just stop beating yourself up. We’ve all had the same problems and no need to beat yourself up over the past. Just learn from the past.

    The Grumpy Man

  • AMo says:

    Yep. Feeling bad about yourself sucks. The first thing that has to change isn’t the diet, though, it’s how you consider nutrition and fitness. Specifically, how you prioritize it and how you talk about it. For instance, instead of saying “I have to,” say “I get to” -as in “I get to eat this delicious and healthy meal that won’t hurt me” or “I get to go walk in the woods for an hour with Robert.” Try to shift how you think about these activities into positive statements- that helps to reinforce the continuation of said activities.

    Much love and many hugs, my friend. I have faith in you achieving any health goal (notice I didn’t say weight goal) that you might have. 😉 One thing that I found very useful and motivating was a visit to my general practitoner to get a full workup- a regular physical plus blood tests for cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid, etc. If you get a baseline health reading, you might be surprised at how motivating those numbers are because of what they represent.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      I think what’s frustrating for me is that I’ve been in that positive, healthy mindset many times before. But then I either do really well and just get lazy, or I don’t do really well and lose hope. (Mostly I do really well. My problem doesn’t seem to be losing the weight but instead keeping it off.)

      That’s a good point about going to see the GP for an annual. I’ve been avoiding it because of those numbers (and I only go to the doc-in-a-box for when I have the sniffles or whatever). Right now, my plan is to schedule a battery of annual doctors’ appointments for July–I think I’ll have a good enough handle on my diss by then.

  • I think all American and many European women are a bit nutty when it comes to body image. I watch a show on TV “How to Look Good Naked” which takes women through the process of loving their bodies until they actually do display themselves naked in public. It’s really powerful. The bottom line, of course, is that you are beautiful and your body is perfect. But that probably won’t make a difference.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      I’ve heard of that show! But I can’t find it on our cable provider…. Maybe we don’t get the channel it airs on? It sounds like a great show and certainly one I could get a great deal out of. 🙂 Maybe I can find it online (like on Hulu or something…I’ll search for it.) Thanks for your support, Renee.

  • Lisa Kramer says:

    Amanda. I’m not going to comfort you, because I completely understand. (There is a reason there are so few pictures of me on my blog site). I don’t believe in diets, because I can’t maintain them either. I can lose the weight, but then it piles back on when the next crisis hits, or when I just decide that I am bored with food. But, I recently started using http://caloriecount.about.com where you just keep track of the food you eat. Then it breaks it down for you by nutrients and stuff. Of course, you are trying to maintain a certain amount of calories, but somehow I’m focusing on just eating enough nutrients and that seems to work. It allows me to cheat, but it makes me more focused that if I must eat the girl scout cookies eat 3 instead of 10) (3 is still less than an actual serving). I’ve lost 15 pounds, and have about 50 to go. Slow an steady, and I’ll get there. Hang in there and try to remember that you are beautiful no matter what you think.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Congratulations on your weight loss, Lisa! I really admire people who can make those sorts of changes on their own. Thanks for the tip on the website. There’s also an app I’ve downloaded for my iPod called “Lose It” that does much the same thing. Have I used it yet? Lol, no…. But maybe this will be enough of a kick in the pants to get me to take advantage of the resources I have available to me. Thanks so much for your support, Lisa. 🙂

  • petthedog says:

    My lovely A.Hab, I will not attempt to offer comfort until that is what you desire, but I will offer my time, energy, weird and crazy raw foods, and my ear to listen whenever you need me.

    Everyone who has commented thus far offer excellent pieces of advice. And as Jeri intimated, body image really has nothing to do with size or weight. I struggle with shifting my thinking from size and Shape magazine covers to focusing on health, but I falter often (just ask Ben who has to suffer through my moods). All of my 3 sisters-in-law struggle with body image, and they are 3 very different shapes (all beautiful). Looking at them, women would be jealous of their bodies, but none of them have ever been happy with themselves.

    This is a tragic demon that we as women (and men, but perhaps arguably moreso with women) have to fight. Perhaps we should talk about “exorcism” rather than “exorcise”?

    • petthedog says:

      Typo Correction-I means “exercise”

    • Mrs. H. says:

      I love that idea, V! It’s time to exorcise our demons, not exercise them! It’s funny…I’m always shocked to hear other women degrade their bodies (and themselves), especially when I can so easily see their beauty. But I don’t have that feeling toward myself. Isn’t that weird? That must be part of the demon…we’re taught to find only value in others and to see only shortcomings in ourselves.

      Thank you for your support, V. 🙂

  • Cori says:

    First, I’ve always thought you were incredibly pretty. But whatever you decide you need to do, remember that we’re all behind you! I understand where you’re coming from, though. I’ve been gaining and losing the same 15 or 20 pounds for a few years, and before that I gained a bunch that I couldn’t understand. Now I know that it’s all related to my health issues, and since getting various things straightened out has made it easier to get it off. Still, there are days where I would love to eat like the rest of my friends. But I try to think like A.Mo: I get to eat this. Not eating this other thing means I’ll feel so much better.

    I’ve always thought that it’s such a complicated situation because motivation and consistency come from different places for everyone. For me, it’s always been harder because of various family members. I know they mean well, but it always hit me wrong when they said anything. Eventually, I told everyone to back off; they actually made it worse for me. Now that I hear supportive comments instead of vaguely passive aggressive ones, I feel so much better about things. I agree that a lot of the pressure comes from society in general, and that where and how you grew up really affects it. I always wanted to shake people who said, “It’s too bad that you struggle with your weight. You have such a pretty face.” Who thinks that helps anything? Most of them were sweet ladies from church, of all people.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Wow, Cori. I don’t know what I would do if someone told me that! It’s so condescending! When I read that, my first thought was, “Wow…so because I’m pretty, it’s just really too bad that I’m overweight?” But, of course, it’s so often the sweet ladies from church who can deliver the most hurtful “compliments.”

      I really appreciate your supportive and kind words. 🙂 I think I have some of the same trouble as you have, particularly when it comes to back issues. Sometimes I feel limited by my back or even afraid of pushing it, and then I’ll start to resent it or just feel like giving up. Do you ever feel that way? And if you do, what do you do about it?

      • Cori says:

        Oh, I know. Apparently, they’re mutally exclusive. My response is always, “Um, thanks?” I know we have the back problem in common, though it wasn’t what I was referencing. (I have PCOS. It really does a number on your weight and your ability to keep it off long-term.) I actually had my third surgery about a week ago, so the exercise issue’s been on my mind. (You can imagine how irritated I was; I’m halfway to my goal and that sucker herniated anyway.) I was really worried about losing my momentum since I can’t really do much.

        Every now and again, I feel sorry for myself about my back, and I do let it give me a reason not to do what I need to. I try not to dwell on it, but it’s hard not to resent all of this; I was 22 when I had my first surgery. But when I’m tempted to give up, I use fear as my motivator. It’s so hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been through these issues or hasn’t been around someone who has, but you understand–the pain is just so excruciating. I just remind myself that I don’t want to deal with it again any time soon, and that I’m only 27. I have a lot of things that I want to do, and recurring issues will prevent that. Another motivator came at my last appointment. My surgeon explained that because of my history and the specific discs that are weak, pregnancy could be problematic unless I’m near a goal weight. So I give myself a day off to be a baby, and then I get back to it. I’ve realized that it’s important for me to do that every now and again.

        As for exercise, I can’t do much at the moment beyond walking–partly because I’m healing and partly because I’m exhausted afterward! I’m very careful not to strain anything, but luckily low-impact exercise has been proven effective for weight maintenance, so I’ll just stick with that. I can’t afford a gym right now, but my surgeon recommends the elliptical machine and swimming. I might take those up if I can find a gym I like when I move.

        I hope that somewhere up there I said something helpful. 🙂

  • Tori Nelson says:

    You took a step in acheiving your goal…Sounds like a positive! I know that feeling of wanting to hide or refusing to buy clothes because you don’t want that size label looking at you when you enter the closet! I GET IT! The only thing that’s helped me is just taking it one day at a time. If you think of ALL THE WEIGHT THAT MUST BE LOST RIGHT THIS INSTANT, it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed. Choosing the next healthy step adds up to progress!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Haha, like your plan to do the next right thing and then the next right thing, right? 🙂 It seems this philosophy can be applied to many different situations, Tori! 🙂 Thanks for your support. I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s refused to buy THAT SIZE, lol.

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