The Exorcist Post

I have never been into the idea of group weight loss.  For most of my life, battling with my weight has been an intensely personal issue.  I hated having my weight pointed out to me, particularly by those closest to me.  I am a pleaser.  I have to please.  For years I felt my weight was disappointing to those around me and so I directed my own embarrassment, frustration and anger over this disappointment into destructive patterns of disordered eating and highly secretive and aggressive attempts to shed pounds.  I’d like to say it didn’t work for me, but I am nothing if not goal oriented and I tackled each attempt with such a determination I was successful at keeping the weight off.

As it turned out, I was a little too successful.  It took a fair amount of soul searching and yes, therapy, to work that out but I did.  And then I promptly went the opposite direction: embracing my inner fat chick, convincing myself that as long as I could live my life to the fullest and I was healthy, it didn’t matter what I weighed.  Sure, there were times I wanted to just be able to shop at a “regular” store or whatever, but honestly I was actually pretty happy and balanced.  Well, if you don’t count the fact that I absolutely could not weigh myself or count calories because I was convinced that if I did, I would obsess myself right back down a dark path of self destruction.

I wasn’t wrong about that last part, by the way.  More on that later.

Last year I decided that I wasn’t truly living my life to the fullest.  Somewhere over the years my weight had crept up and I became unconsciously self-limiting.  Then I consciously started avoiding certain things, like going to the amusement park with friends because I knew I wouldn’t fit on rides or coming with excuses to avoid group hikes even though I am an avid outdoors type because I didn’t want to be seen out of breath.  This time, however, I made the choice because I wanted it.  The only person I was trying to please with myself.  It was a sound, healthy decision on my part with no outside pressure.

And I still despised the idea of group weight loss so I powered through on my own.  I didn’t want others judging me or trying to keep me in line because even if they were complete strangers, I would need to please and appease them.  I did pretty damned well on my own, losing eighty pounds in six months through eating a healthy, sustainable diet and regular exercise.  Predictably, I lapsed into some old habits – particularly during periods of very high stress because when I couldn’t control everything else around me, I sure as hell could control my weight.  I am always the strong one, the strategist, the one everyone else goes to for help and direction.  The problem is that I can’t do everything.  The world isn’t perfect and I sure as hell am not perfect.  I don’t always have the answer, worse what if I have an answer and it is wrong?  And all of that happened all at once.

I found so much positive reinforcement in the number on the scale dropping that I began to push myself harder.  I needed that high, that one bit of success to find worth in myself.  I even turned it into a game, one that I could win if I just pushed hard enough.  I am an intensely competitive individual.  Easy going, fun loving and adventurous yes-but competitive, even if I am simply competing against myself.  I pushed myself hard, very hard-so hard in fact that I drove myself into this miserable plateau.

I know, so heavy.  Where is the sarcasm, the self deprecating humor?  Honestly, I sat down today to write something short and fun about how I decided to get over the work place weight loss challenge thing and have some fun with my co-workers.  Apparently I had some demons to exorcise.

Here is the deal though:  I have always avoided and truly hated the idea of the work place weight loss challenge.  As I said, weight loss is an intensely personal thing for me.  Sure, I blog about it on internet where anyone can find it but to be honest, I actually don’t share it with those around me in real life often, if at all.  This is sort of the outlet for all the craziness locked up in here.  But this funny thing has happened where there are actually people in my life who have somehow been inspired by my journey thus far and have already or would like to embark on their own journey.  In fact, a group of them asked if I would be on their team for the annual office weight loss challenge.

Normally I would say absolutely no.

This year I said yes, not because I still have weight to lose (which of course I do) but because maybe I can be of some help.  After all, I’ve made a lot of really good decisions and a lot of really good changes.  That has to count for something.  I’ve also made some bad ones and as a group, we don’t have to repeat them.  And ironically, there is no pressure on me as an individual to lose one damned pound.    Weird, I know.  I am the moral support.  Even more weird, I know!  But I think I will benefit from it too.  So wish us luck.