Now that I’m in my (early) 40s, birthdays are pretty much like any other day. I didn’t even ask for the day off this year, the way I usually do, because I decided to take my first book birthday off instead. (So I won’t be working on Oct. 15 — more time to spend with everyone attending DIVA IN THE DUGOUT’s release party.)
I have, however, been doing a lot of thinking lately — when I’m not writing, that is. As the big 4-2 loomed ever nearer, and it was clear I wouldn’t be at my goal weight … or even close … I decided to sit myself down for some real talk.
Huh. I just now went back to reread my last post-birthday reflections post and realized I did not say I wanted to be at my goal weight, which is what I thought I’d said. What I did say was:
By my next birthday, I want to be in a place where my birthday isn’t an excuse to eat whatever I want.
Yep. Failed at that one too. (Maybe because I didn’t write it down and post it where I could see it every day.) I don’t know where the hell my motivation went, or when — or even if — it will be back.
I do know that what I’ve been doing isn’t working. I’m stuck in what Roni calls the “yo-yo dieting cycle of hell.” I feel bad about myself, so I eat. Then I feel worse and eat some more.
It. Never. Ends.
Reminds me of a quote I’ve seen floating around Twitter and Facebook.
Yeah. I’m beginning to wonder if that might be a better approach.
Instead of telling myself I can’t have a certain food, tell myself I can — but only if it’ll make me feel good. Instead of telling myself I should exercise because I need to counteract that donut, I should do it for the joy of moving.
Or maybe I ought to completely abolish the word “should” from my vocabulary. I think a big part of my lack of motivation has been constantly telling myself “you should” and then myself rebelling against whatever it is I’m supposed to do.
I want to be healthier. I do. I don’t want to end up dead at 59, like my mother.
But I’m so tired. Tired of feeling like a weight-loss failure. Tired of fighting myself. Tired of chasing after that wagon … which reminds me of a great post Holly Would if She Could wrote recently, called Learning to Live. The whole thing is well-written and thought-provoking, but this passage is the one that really spoke to me:
One of the constant tropes we are faced with in the media today … is this idea of working to stay on the wagon, right? More accurately, avoiding the inevitable fall off. It’s all over the blogs: the tips and tricks for keeping your diet in check. The strategies for staying motivated. … How to stay on the straight and narrow and not go off course. The Wagon is just one iteration, but we all know what it represents: this mythic place of hallowed self control. In this moment I’d bet every single person reading this has an opinion about whether they are on or off of their own version of the wagon, and could come up with myriad reasons for why this is the case.
We spend our days patting ourselves on the back for our relation to the wagon, beating ourselves up, reminding ourselves we shouldn’t be beating ourselves up about being on or off the wagon, going round and round about whether the path we are on is the right one. But the entire time we do this, we are ignoring the most glaring and most fundamental flaw about this wagon: THE WAGON DOESN’T EVEN EXIST. There is no wagon. The wagon is also an illusion that we are controlling an outcome.
Whoa. Deep thoughts.
I don’t even pretend to know what it all means. And a part of me is angry that, at my age, I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing. But I’ll keep trying to figure it out.
Maybe by the time I turn 43, I’ll be there? Probably not … but a gal can dream, right?
In the meantime, I’m going to keep plugging along. I want to get back to the tried-and-true methods I know get results: Tracking, Moving. Planning ahead. Fixing quick, easy and healthy meals. Eating everything in moderation … or banning complete food groups. I haven’t decided on that one yet. I have a feeling that my excessive craving for carbohydrate foods — pasta, bagels, donuts — means I should give them up.
I’m getting a Nike FuelBand, too. The Boyfriend, who now works for Nike, has one and he raves about it. I think it’ll be motivating. You set targets and when you meet them, the band flashes “GOAL.”
The concept is similar to project targets on Scrivener, I think. The writing software allows me to set a word count for the project, and a deadline — and then it calculates the number of words you need to write each day to reach that goal. I’m addicted to seeing that bar turn green, and I’ll often write extra just so I can see a smaller daily goal the next day.
Anything that motivates, I’m all for.