Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Meaning of Failure

So if it’s not obvious, I’m feeling a bit blah. At first it was because it felt like the scale wasn’t moving the way it should. Then I think I let last month’s holiday slip me up, and I’ve been, it seems, coasting ever since. My total weight loss for April is, according to the calories, less than a pound. Maybe not so bad considering the holidays, but… no. This past weigh in had me at 172.4. Somehow when I hopped on after a few lousy days, I had this idea in my head that it would be right back at 200. Even though rationally I know that I won’t gain 30 pounds in a week, no matter how badly I eat, a few days or weeks off can still leave me feeling like I “deserve” to gain it all back.

You know how they say that on the days you really, really don’t want to go the gym, when all you want is to lie in bed without pants, watching Netflix and order some kind of greasy takeout, that that’s the time you need the gym most? Or that when you least want to talk about something, it’s when you really should be talking?

That’s me right now. I don’t really want to talk about how I’m struggling, how I’ve been struggling and often failing at eating well over the last couple of weeks. How I’ve had a couple of days where I eat great during the day, proudly bypass the cookies at work, and then end up buying a brownie while grocery shopping and eating it in the kitchen as soon as I get home. It’s almost an interesting psychological process. As I’m eating, I’m thinking, “Hmm, this is really not in line with my weight loss goals. This is like 500 calories of butter. Am I actually enjoying this? Why am I eating this? I should probably stop eating this.” It’s not a mean or yelling voice, more of a soft one that’s asking these questions in a vaguely curious tone of voice.

Rather, I just want to stop struggling somehow. But I don’t think that’s how things happen.

But maybe I do need to talk about, to express the frustration at myself when I do things (or more specifically, eat things), that are directly contrary to my long-term goals.  I’m at this weird stage where I’ve come so far, but I still have so far to go. I’m reminded of that when my fall coat from two years and twenty pounds ago doesn’t fit right, when I see a photo of myself that’s so much better than one from a few years ago, but still so far from where I want to be.

This stage is also, I know, a turning point for me. How many times in my life have I slowed, then stopped my weight loss efforts after those first 20-30 pounds? Too many. It’s terrifyingly easy to give up, to stop spending so much time and energy on this. Even though I love the idea of not having weight loss be this focus in my life, I know that will end with me digging out my old 16s.

Someone noticed I hadn’t posted in a while and emailed me about starting over and having another “day one.” I thanked them for thinking of me, but told them that I don’t - I can’t - think of these last couple of weeks as failures that require “starting over” now. This is one long effort, one long weight loss process that is, in fact, so long that it can have full weeks of failure. The last couple of sucky weeks are just part of it.

During this time, John’s been watching me mope around, and listened as I lamented the latest cookie or was as proud of not eating a cookie as a person might be at passing the bar. He told me that even if I gain during this period, it’s better than giving up and not caring. Basically, anything is better than giving up. Giving up would mean that I have failed, while trying and failing, or, hell, not trying but still caring, means that I’m still trying. Still going to the gym after the cookie is trying.

In case you missed it above, these are the latest stats:

Lbs. Fat82.772.570.867.165.366.560.360.858.861.363.4
Lbs. Muscle 67.366.867.363.964.468.261.561.562.76564

So day 300 of infinitely, let’s go.


  1. John is so right. If you give up you would feel so much worse. I'm currently trying to get out of a backslide myself and the one thing that helps is I don't give up, I won't give up. Good luck :)

    1. That's great that you're not giving up, Sadie! We can both do this. I was disappointed at only losing a pound for April, but if I could even keep that up I'd be at my goal weight in just a couple of years, right? Progress is progress!