Monday, September 19, 2011

Stick a Fork in Me, I'm Done!

(In the countless hours that I've logged swimming back and forth, I've had plenty of time to think.  And I've been composing this post in my head for about a month now.  I've worked through a lot, and it's gone from a bit of an angry tone to a much more calm, even-keeled, and accepting tone, and I'm finally ready to publish it...fair warning, it's a long one.)

I'm declaring myself done.  Done with dieting.  Done with always thinking I should be doing more.  Eating less.  Eating differently.  I'm tired of constantly having the "lose weight" thoughts always swirling.  I just want to be the me that I am now.  Not the me that I might be if I lost more weight.  Not the me that I was a year ago, when I was at my lowest weight of my adulthood.  Me.  Now.

I've been dieting for over 30 years now.  I started my first diet when I was in high school.  And looking back, no, I didn't need to lose any weight.  I was fine.  But let's not go there.  The past can't be changed, and we can rage all we want about crap that happened, but the fact is, crap happens to just about everyone.  And while it's OK to look back, it's easier if we can see our past with empathy to the likes of "it's a pity that happened" or "I'm sorry you had to go through that" - and then, release it and move on.  Forward.  Let that shit go, as much as you can.  For me, some days (weeks/months/years) it's fairly easy, and some days (weeks/months/years) it's not.  But I try to remind myself that I'm not the same person I was 30 years ago, or even last week.  Every day, every encounter with someone, every experience I have - it all adds up to a constantly changing, constantly evolving me.

Getting back to dieting.  Except for a few years when I was in my early 40s, I was ALWAYS either dieting, or feeling guilty about not dieting.  Those few years that I wasn't?  That was when I made a conscious choice to be overweight.  To accept my size, buy an entire wardrobe of clothes that fit my body, and to enjoy, without guilt, food.  Honestly, it was quite awesome!  Except for the constant heartburn, lack of energy, massive food bill (those dollar menus at the fast food places DO add up), and hating to see pictures of myself - but other than that, eating without guilt was fun.

However, with the graduation of my youngest child from high school looming, something made me want to give this whole dieting thing one last try.  And in May of 2008, I started my last diet, which, as you all know, I've documented on this blog.  Along the way, my focus went from losing weight, to changing my eating habits, from starting to exercise, to liking to exercise, and then I hit a major goal of losing 100 pounds.  But I never had an end in sight.  I never really had a goal weight.  I figured I'd just "know" when I was there. 

And then this year happened.  Two weeks in, I injured my ankle and lost my main source of exercise.  Two week later, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  I stress ate and put on some weight.  At one point, I remember looking back at that thinner person from the previous summer and wondering why on earth I wasn't done with dieting then.  It's taken me some time, but this summer, as I worked at losing the weight I'd gained, I realized that I didn't want to be doing this for the rest of my life.  I don't want to be that person who is always focusing on calories, on "good" foods and "bad" foods and treats and denying myself and spending so much time looking for a freaking number on a scale that I don't allow myself to enjoy life.

So that's where I am.  Right here, right now.  Living in the moment; appreciating my body for all that I can do (hello crow! hello swimming!), and letting go of a lot of years of negative thinking when it comes to food.  No more dieting. That saga is done.

35 comments:

  1. I lead a different life right now yet can ENTIRELY RELATE to all of this Shelley.

    I, too, am living in the now.

    xo

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  2. You are so you all the time, and I love it!

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  3. Amen sistergirl!

    But don't stop blogging!

    Sue
    a silent reader from Germany

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  4. I see all this as trusting in and having faith in yourself. Awesome.

    Thank you for this rare glimpse into your thought processes.

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  5. HEAR HEAR HEAR! Good for you Shelley for making this decision! You look great, you workout a lot, you eat healthy most of the time. There's absolutely no need to keep dieting.

    Dieting, if there's one word I hate it's that. I never use it anymore. I just try to eat healthy as often as possible. I know one person who looks great, has a perfectly healthy weight but can't let go of counting calories, exercising like a madmen and feels guilty for every sweet bite. I don't don't don't want to live my life that way. That's not living!

    So you just go on doing what you're doing my friend because you're doing it great and it works for you.

    And now you made this major decision I want you to give yourself a present because you totally deserve it.

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  6. No more dieting...just crowing and swimming and blogging...and maybe one day soon, running. Lots of other -ings that you like to do! Woohoo! I like your thought process....it's kind of your own version of "I'm mad as hell and not going to take it anymore." I like it!

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  7. Great decision! I think you look great. I am done with dieting myself. I have maintained this weight for over a year now, and though I still weigh close to 200lbs I am in the best physical shape of my life and I am not the 281 I was.

    So keep on keeping on. I agree with Roxie, it shows that you trust yourself, and this is a rare glimpse. Thanks for sharing yourself with us. I love ya!

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  8. Right where you are now is where I want to be. I'm working on it. While I'm not there yet, I'm happy for you!

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  9. Amen to that! (And I agree with a previous commenter - don't stop blogging!)

    xo Debbie

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  10. I feel the same way..what would I do if I didn't spend all this energy thinking about food and dieting? What would I think about? Where else could I put my energy? The possibilities are endless. You go girl!

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  11. Along this long journey I have learned one very important lesson, you do what is right for YOU. I think you have made a very wise decision, you know when the warning flags go on and you need to buckle down a little harder but you also know how to live happy and balanced..good for you Shelley!

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  12. What a wonderful and inspiring post. I'm so happy for you, Shelley. This post reveals the well grounded and welf-respecting woman you are, and that is such an atrractive quality. I want what you have, and it's within reach if I do what you've done. What you speak of is FREEDOM. Enjoy every moment!! :)

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  13. I am so proud of your decision Shelley - and think you are at the perfect place to just live.

    Think about it - you are strong, healthy and I am sure half your readers wish they were where you already are.

    Live life and enjoy!

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  14. you are so honest Shelley and I hope to get to that point soon one day!

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  15. You are totally Awesome!! It is soo easy to dwell on our failures, or what we perceive as our failures and minimize our success! You ROCK the CROW and ROCK SWIMMING! I love the live in the now attitude! Thanks for the contagious positivism!!

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  16. You know I love this. Love when we can be content. I couldn't stop laughing at your description of when you made a conscious choice to be overweight "Honestly, it was quite awesome!" Yeah. But the list of 'little problems' got longer and longer with age LOL.

    Yeah, I'm with all the others who said (in a semi-panicked voice) BUT DON'T STOP BLOGGING!!

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  17. Name one athlete who needs to diet? (Except those fetuses who try to stay in the gymnastics world forever or boxers "making weight". OK, include professional dancers but those folks has some major body issues.) You are in maintenance mode and rocking the women-of-a-certain-age exercise world.

    If you stop blogging about whatever, I will personally come down to Texas - wearing my UT colors in Aggie land - bang on your door (some stalking must be involved) and tell Paco to give you heck!
    Jan

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  18. I couldn't agree with you more! You've done all the work, now enjoy living the lifestyle you created. And by saying "I'm not dieting anymore" that doesn't mean you are going to order XL pizzas for dinner every night!

    I think taking the pressure off and just living life is the perfect way to go!

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  19. Good for you Shelley. When one spends the majority of life focused on weight, it is hard to turn that off! Especially when we are bombarded by what we "should" look like and be like. It's not realistic to live like that all the time.

    I never did make it to my perceived goal, but I realized that I am a bit unwilling to do what it will really take to get there. I may have to nip things in the bud periodically to keep things in check, but I am so done with 1200 calories days and multiple workouts in 1 day unless I feel like it.

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  20. Now, Grasshopper -- what will you blog about?

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  21. Shelley - This is a big deal! You are absolutely right - life is happening NOW. We don't know what is going to happen tomorrow, and you have found a place where you are happy NOW. This is truly amazing.

    I hope you keep writing. I would miss you terribly if you stopped.

    Julia xo

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  22. Amen and hallelujah...and? I bet you'll find that with the pressure off, some interesting things will happen. Your body will respond well!

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  23. I LOVE/ADORE this post. Living in the moment is WHERE IT'S AT. This is your life, do what you love & do it often. :)

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  24. I'm proud of you for being honest and doing what's right for you! I hope you keep blogging though because I love your blog. You were one of the first weight loss blogs that I read when I started my journey. In the end it's all about being in a good place, happy with ourselves and our bodies. I'm glad you're there.

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  25. I'm happy to read that you are not considering yourself a dieter anymore. What a wonderful thing swimming has been for you. All those hours of quite contemplation. I love reading your blog and it is interesting to see you evolving and the journey you are experiencing.

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  26. Such a great idea - leaving the negative language behind. I really need to move on as well, as I'm still 'good' or 'bad' and overly focussed on the numbers of the scale. My mood for the day is still determined by what the scales are saying or how guilty I feel about what I've eaten or how much I've exercise.

    Great work also on moving past all of the crappy stuff that has happened this year.

    Deb

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  27. I'm late to this party....but had to add "BRAVO SHELLEY"!!!! Love this post!!

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  28. It really is never just about food - it's a way of life!
    As in being alive! Love your enthusiasm!

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  29. Ah! What sweet music to my ears! Another woman loving the body she's been given! That the person and the body belong to you, my dear cousin, gives me even greater joy. In truth, you have been loving it all along - giving yourself better food and better health - but now you KNOW, and you can learn to kick out the nasty thoughts that don't belong there. Welcome, and congratulations. You are beautiful.

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  30. Great post, Shelley! Love the freedom it embraces. And when you look as good as you do you don't need to diet!!

    Of course exercise and eating right are important for health but being a slave to calories and the daily weigh is not fun!!

    Congratulations. I bet that was a freeing post to write!!

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  31. Your story could be mine. Except a few details. I stopped weighing my self for 15 months. I accepted myself for who I was and am. My life does not have to be determined by a number on the scale. I did gain some weight, but I learned so much about myself. I am now striving for the place between denial and obsession...

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  32. Good for you. Now is definitely the time to stop "dieting"; you are healthy, you eat healthy, and you love your exercise. Concentrate on those things -- isn't that what they call "maintenance"? :)

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