So my one year anniversary for maintaining my 63 pound weight loss was back in August. I meant to post a "woohoo" post, but couldn't think of anything that I hadn't really said back when I originally hit maintenance
. However, my husband is gone for work this month, and on Sunday night I went back to poor habits and pulled out my old friend, the tub of ice cream, for comfort. Half a carton of Blue Bell (don't believe the food logs, they only tell the story of my first go with the carton), a couple of days, and a couple of pounds of water weight (and not water weight . . . ) later, I began thinking about what happened.
"Chronic obesity" is a phrase I've heard a number of times, and it has become a critical mindset me in order to help me maintain my weight. When I lost weight back in college, I thought of the weight as gone. But it wasn't. It was lurking. Waiting for me to let my guard down (which I did almost immediately, FYI) and then it sprang back in full force. This time around, I repeatedly make sure to tell myself that the weight may be gone, but the obesity isn't.
I will always be obese.
I will always need to weigh myself daily in order to monitor the trends in my symptoms.
I will always need to count my calories in order to prevent my obesity from gradually building up like in the past.
I will always need to eat mostly fiber-rich, protein-rich foods (and tons of veggies) in order to keep full so that I won't have a relapse.
I will always need to watch for signs of flare-ups (such as the binge-session with the ice cream . . .) and respond accordingly by keeping an even closer eye on my symptoms.
I will always need to exercise in order to allow myself to eat more calories and make it easier to manage my obesity.
I will always need to plan my schedule in order to enable me to keep the routines that hold obesity at bay.
I will always need to count calories, watch what I eat, exercise, watch my weight, plan my schedule, and manage my obesity in the present moment, because I know exactly what will happen if I do not: First, the weight will come back. Then I will gain more weight on top of that. Next, I will develop comorbidities such as Type II obesity (like members of my family), I will have heart attacks far too young (like the same members of my family), and I will be unable to do the things that I love and spend time with the people I love because I will have allowed my disease to control me instead of me controlling it.
But I have an advantage: I know my disease. I know its patterns, its symptoms, its warning signs. I know how to fight it, treat it, and what I need to do every day in order to keep it from returning in full force. I will always be obese. I just strive to never be overweight again.
This mindset helps enormously when I fail (such as last Sunday). Instead of my binge eating reflecting on me failing as a human, I view it as a flare-up. Flare-ups are inevitable with any disease. My job is to prevent them when possible and mitigate the consequences as much as I can. On Sunday night, I did not manage my disease wisely in that moment, but it's okay because I caught myself and I am watching my symptoms (e.g. weight, cravings, unhealthy mindsets) and making sure to ground myself in the routines that I know work to help me manage my obesity. In other words--I am returning to normal. Not the normal that everyone who doesn't have obesity enjoys, but I am returning to my normal. A normal that allows me to live the life God has given me to its fullest. A life that allows me to enjoy life now and later. A normal that I will need to maintain probably until the day I die and begin the life beyond this one.
Thanks for reading!
Oh, and I hit one year of maintenance! Woohoo!