New Year’s resolwhattheeffamIdoing?

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etsy design by emilymcdowelldraws

You get up.

You make the choice.

This is it.

This is gonna be the year you’ll (insert just about any damn thing you can think of here) and you’re gonna hit it hard. Harder than you’ve ever done before. Holy crap, look at you. Something is different this time. You can actually imagine yourself being “successful” at your endeavor and before you know it…

BAM!

YOU DID IT!

now what?

At the end of 2009 I didn’t really make a New Year’s resolution. I sat around the cubicle with some co-workers on a cold winter’s night and declared I was going to take the stairs instead of the elevator. I spent a few hours before that fateful declaration looking up calories for certain foods and felt that small seed planted.

I was going to lose weight.

 I didn’t know how much (though I knew I was morbidly obese), I didn’t really know how I was going to do it (arbitrarily deciding counting calories was the way to go) and I didn’t really tell anyone (cause if you don’t share the secret, people can’t laugh and point when you fail again and again and again).

Funny story is, I didn’t fail.

In fact, I’ve managed to do something only about 5-10% of the “weight loss” population has been able to do: Keep it off. My four year “healthiversary”, came and went without any bells or whistles. December 29th of 2009 I decided to change my life. December 29th of 2013 I was blogging about cleaning up on aisle 5 (or “hey Tara, get your shit together will ya!”). Life today is much different than that of 270 pound Tara but in a way it’s still very much the same…

I thought this blog post would be one of those “this is how you get started in weight loss” kind of blogs. Thousands upon thousands of people are googling like mad crazy “HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT” and for a brief moment I wanted my blog to be at the top. If I can do it, so can you and here’s how…

Except my focus isn’t about losing weight anymore. I mean I want everyone to know they can do it (psssst, you can do it) and here’s how (let’s talk). In hindsight the losing of the weight is the easy part. You have a goal in mind and you get after it with a vengeance. Kind of like when you go food shopping. You know what you want and what aisle it’s in. You go in, grab it and get out. Weight loss in general is the same thing. You know what you want. You know what needs to be done. You go in. You grab it. You get out.

Out of weight loss.

And either a) gain that shit back or b) enter a life long maintenance journey.

or a combination of the two.

Instead of going into the grocery store and knowing what you want, you wander aimlessly. Maybe grabbing shit you don’t normally eat. Maybe fighting that inner demon that says “Come on now. You’ve lost the weight. It’s okay to eat overly processed piece of bakery cake and while you’re at it why not just dig deeper into that bag of doritos and take another chug off that diet coke

You don’t really know what you want because you’re in maintenance and no one really talks about that. We only focus on the losing of the weight. Not the for fuck’s sake this shit was easy to lose but hard keeping it off. I won’t lie: those food demons are very loud and very clear in their intentions to keep me wandering aimlessly in that proverbial grocery store. Holiday eating (and lack of physical movement) are a constant reminder as my pants are a little tighter and the scale is a little higher. I wander aimlessly because I didn’t have any goals to get after once Half Ironman was checked off my bucket list and I let those “little voices” speak with a little more volume.

On the 29th of December 2009, that one little choice of taking the stairs changed my life. It wasn’t a resolution. Just a decision. I did the same thing on the 29th of December 2013. I decided to return to CrossFit after a long hiatus. It’s not a resolution to move more and get back down to 160 (from my current 170) but rather a decision. Taking the stairs was a small step in the right direction to bigger things. Stairs turned to walking. Walking turned to running….

CrossFit is my small step that leads to bigger things.

Movement is everything to me. And if I’m not finding the love of movement in running right now then I better get off my ass and find something  that reminds me that I love to move, that I love to share my story and I love for people to know that if I can, so they can as well.

This post isn’t for those of us wanting to lose weight. This is for us that have lost it and find ourselves in the category of A (gaining that shit back), B (entering the life long journey of maintenence) or (raising my own hand here) a combination of the two. Maybe you’re wandering aimlessly in the next aisle over from me. Maybe we’ve made that proverbial eye contact of “what now” interaction. Maybe your food choices/lack of movement isn’t because you think you can’t but rather because you did and those voices are telling you it’s alright to eat whatever because look at you, the weight loss success story. Go right ahead and shove that cake in your piehole, you deserve it!…

No.

You deserve to know this is a tough place to be.

You deserve to acknowledge that life after weight loss can be more difficult than the shedding of the weight. That the feeling of “what now” and “do I have to do this for a lifetime” is very real. That once the excitement of (commence the throwing of confetti) LOOK AT ME, I DID IT, is over it can be a very lonely place. We ban together when we want to see the scale move in a downward direction. We support each other in our food choices. We’re vocal in our frustrations and triumphs. We’re the first to high five and the last to let go of those much needed virtual hugs. When we hit the goal, we scatter. “Oh look you did it and I’m still fighting so let me find someone else that is also feeling the same way“. You become yesterday’s news…then you become last week’s news.

Then you stop being the news.

Listen very carefully: You’re news to me.

Weight loss is important to me. But you. You are most important. Your triumphs (and frustrations) are my life line. You’re wandering aimlessly in the next aisle. Maybe you’re in the soda aisle. Maybe I’m in the chip aisle. Maybe when we accidentally bump into each other cause we’ve stopped focusing on the movement of life we can leave our carts behind and go for a walk…

Because we all know what those small movements in the right direction can lead too.

 

 

7 comments to New Year’s resolwhattheeffamIdoing?

  • In a backwards sort of way while sitting across from one another on a rare Sunday off together at one of our favorite coffee shops we were writing about the same thing. The feelings of worthiness and strength.

    Even in the times when you feel you are struggling the decisions you make are still so different than the decisions of the formerly obese version of you. I know this to be true. Understanding maintenance (or being two aisles over in the gained some back and trying desperately to get back there) is SO much more difficult than the process of actively losing the weight. No one understands this better than you.

    Thanks for always making me feel important. No matter what.

    #lawn

  • I love this in so many ways!

  • bageshri

    You are so inspiring. I just love reading your posts. Thanks for writing and making me feel light.

  • Hi Tara!
    I work at Costco, in the bakery. We chatted in the lunch room and shared our weight loss pics! I have been following your blog ever since. I just want to say that I love your writing. You have a real gift! I havent commented before, because, I dont have that gift, and I struggle putting my thoughts on paper, er, computer screen?? Lol
    After I read this post, I had to comment. I cant believe how this hit home for me. I have been struggling for the past 8 months, (Im sure you know, you take my order for pizza and pop that I shouldnt be eating) I think you are so right. The maintenence is the hardest part. Sometimes I just want to feel “normal” when I am at a family function. I want to have a piece of birthday cake!! But I feel like if I do, everyone will be like, OMG, Melanie ate cake!! Is she off her “diet”???
    Sometimes I feel like I want to gain a couple pounds, so I have a goal, something to work for, to take it off again.
    I constantly think about goals I can set…is it to put me in the spot light again?? I no longer hear, you have lost so much weight, you look so good! But the funny thing is, not many people are as impressed with the fact that I could squat 135 lbs, or press 115lbs, and when I “broadcast” it, cause really, its not like when i get home from the gym, they dont ask what i accomplished that day. Funny thing is, when i was in the weight loss phase, my parents/ friends would call on my weigh in days to find out how i did that week. Its rough. It really is. But one thing that makesvme feel better, is knowing that im not alone. That it isnt just me feeling this way. And that helpsThank you for this post! And Im back on track!! And I feel good about it! :0)

  • From the moment I went into Maintenance Mode, I have said that it was much, MUCH harder than Weight Loss Mode. The honeymoon is over. This is it. Welcome to life. Now what?

    I love you. and you matter to me, too.

  • Dawn

    Great post as always Tara :) Yes, it sure is a tough place to be and so many of us hear your words speaking to us loud and clear. I broke my foot 3 months ago, 4 weeks from walking my first marathon. To say I was heart broken was an understatement. But life goes on and if I want to be at my happiest then I just have to do what makes me feel that way but not the “stuffing food in my face” way but the living life to the fullest way. You’ve taught me much and I’m thankful for that. You speak to many with your words so keep writing as I think it is what makes you happiest :) *hugs my friend* and one to Mimi too :)

  • Lori

    You have posted about my worst fear: gaining it all back. I’ve lost the weight, then what? And you’re right, the accolades come to an end. There had better be more to the weight loss than affirmation of others or I am lost.

    I try to center my thinking around skinny thinking. Skinny people gain weight. Skinny people will eat crap. Skinny people will forego exercise for a t.v. marathon. Most of the skinny people aren’t naturally thin, however. They do make other choices. They don’t compound the bad choices with other bad choices. If they have a flat tire, they don’t flatten the other three! Fat thinking (stinking thinking)keeps me fat.

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