When you think about it, there is nothing so disheartening as being almost there and not quite making it, getting distracted, cheated, caught in the act, injured or just running out of time, resources, energy. Nearly getting there and not quite making it sucks big time. I’m sure we can all think of one experience we’ve had (Rob, don’t tell us we can imagine :P).
So why then do so many of us, I’m talking to my fellow yo-yo’ers now, stop short of slim or target or goal or whatever we call our ideal weight? Why do we do it?
I have a couple of theories and as always welcome any comment or other ideas.
Theory 1 – Fear
This theory is based on the fact that we feel comfortable, familiar or just normal in our fat bodies. We understand ourselves, we can excuse ourselves most things, we can avoid relationships, we can avoid socialising, we can avoid trying for a promotion we can avoid learning or working, we can be dependent on somebody else… we can hide basically. We can hide in our fat bodies cocooned from the world, the vulnerable us and all of our fears and anxieties, our unworthiness and lack of confidence can be zipped up in our folds. We know ourselves and we’re not challenged, we’re safe, we’re content and we actually fear a slim, new us who will have nothing to hide behind. Slim equals exposed. Slim can’t live like a fat person.
I believe that some fat people use their fat as a shield, it keeps people at a distance it gives us control. Without it we’re terrified. But we’re not happy and we want to get out so we diet and when it looks like we’re going to actually become someone else we run scared straight back to that biscuit barrel and dig that takeaway menu out from under a pile of books where it’s been hiding for six months. We dieted, we denied ourselves, we restricted ourselves, we beasted ourselves in the gym and yet we’re not happy, we don’t see what others see. We did it way too quick, way too fast we didn’t address the demons in our head, we didn’t even think about why we hurt ourselves like this, how can we stop from hurting, we didn’t talk about the pain, the sadness, the bitterness that makes us eat to the point of sickness and lie in a self loathing blob of misery.
Now if we’d taken this slowly, made it about health and lifestyle, addressed the physical and mental issues along the way, we may not have feared our slim self quite so much, we would have gotten to know him/her along the way and we would have started to like ourselves, to love ourselves and to want to live longer, want to be healthier, feel worthy of everything our fat self is denying us.
Theory 2 – You Know What? I’m Done
“Hey you look amazing, you’ve lost so much weight you look wonderful you don’t need to diet anymore”
“Hey you don’t need to lose more weight you’ll look too thin, you are looking so healthy”
“My aren’t you pretty, just look at you now, wow you’re looking hot since you shed that weight”
You have the new job, you have a new man or woman, or the one you had is getting a better deal from you now, you do more with your kids, you passed that course, you go to the gym every day, you fit into regular sized clothes, still at the upper end but you can buy things off the peg more easily, you feel good and healthy, you go to the salon, you treat yourself more, you socialise more, you wore your bikini on holiday…
But you’re not at target, you’re still ‘chubby’ or ‘chunky’, you’re not in that normal BMI, you’re not quite loving what you see in the mirror naked, you know there is more to go but you stop.You’re still 30lbs over weight, still 30lbs over the upper end of ‘normal’, you gain 7lbs and it doesn’t matter, you just lost 80lbs you can soon lose 7.
You gain 14lbs, those new clothes you bought, you’re glad you got elasticated waists and stretchy fabrics and your jacket looks fine undone.
You gain 21lbs and you have to dig around for those old clothes, which you really liked anyway and like old friends they go back on and you can get back on track from Monday, you lost 80lbs, what is 20lbs to a hero like you? Except in your heart you know it’s 50lbs and 50lbs seems like a big number, 50lbs is going to be hard, maybe you’ll just stay as you are, you’re happy, at least you’re only 50lbs over weight, this time last year you were 110lbs over weight, you are still more than half as much less than you were last year.
You gain 20lbs, oh Lord, how did I find the strength to get started on that diet back when I lost 80lbs, I’m determined not to regain everything I lost, I know where I can get fat pants, let me dig out that plus size clothing brochure again, I’ll sell my exercise equipment it’s not like I use it and I’ll get myself some new clothes, I’ve got a gym membership, I’ll start going again on Monday.I’m never going back to that weight I was at before. As long as I keep under that I know I can lost 80lbs, I did it in 6 months and I wasn’t that good, I could try harder and it could be off again in 5, by Christmas I’ll be back where I was, I’ll have lost 80lbs and then I’ll only have 40 to go, I can do that, if I can do 80 I can do 40 because 40 is half of 80 and I can lose 80 no problem.
You’re feeling down, you don’t move as much, you don’t feel as happy, you stop going to the salon, you stop weighing yourself, you tell yourself you were happier when you were fat anyway and the next time you get on the scale, after that twinge in your chest that you thought could be a heart attack, you’ve regained your 80lbs and an extra 10, now you’re 120lbs overweight and there is a mountain in front of you, why did you give all of those lovely clothes you had to charity, you really could do with them now. You eat to mask your misery but it grows and so do you.
My theory is, you never get slim so you never stop being fat, you settle, you become one of life’s satisficers instead of one of life’s optimisers or maximisers, whatever you want to dress it up as, you’re a loser. You gave up, you didn’t get to the end and because you never got slim, it was OK to get a little bit fat again and a little bit fatter and a little bit fatter. You backed so far away from that goal that half way down the path you just turned your back on it and started to run away from it, you even slammed the door on it and still kept running. You’re so far off the path it’d take a miracle to even find it again.
You were doing so well until…you make up every excuse in the book, but the truth is, you were doing well until you gave up and felt that this would do, you would settle for this because this is better than that, everyone says this is good, so it must be, I’m done.
Now if you actually allowed yourself to reach your goal (and I’m just hypothetically speaking here because I’ve done all of theory 1 and theory 2 but I’ve never got to goal, the only time I got skinny was when some psycho starved me – but hey at least I know it’s possible and I’m not one of life’s ‘big boned’ people) if you allowed yourself to reach your goal you would be slim, you would be ‘normal’ you would have accomplished everything you set out to accomplish and if you gained a pound you would lose that pound because you would be firmly at the goal, you would be one of life’s winners, you’d be a finisher, a champ and there is no way on Earth you would let yourself go back. You would not have a stretch item in your wardrobe, if you gained an ounce your fitted suits and dresses would strain and you’d lose that ounce the next day, you would maintain and control and remain slim.
I don’t know if I’m talking crap, it’s just my take on things or we could go with the last theory…
Theory 3 – Survival of the Fittest
Some people are born slim and can’t gain weight, we accept that, they are naturally thin. They’re the people we hate who can’t put weight on and let you know it. Why can’t we accept that some people are naturally fat?
I was born fat, I was fed the same diet as my siblings yet I was the only fat one, my parents weren’t fat and nobody else in my family was fat. Why me? I was very active as a child. What if I can’t get to goal because for me goal IS overweight? What if my healthy is 200lbs? If there was a sudden famine, fat people would last longer, fact. We contain more water, more reserves, who is to say that some people are not genetically engineered to be fat so that when/if there is a sudden famine there is more chance of the species surviving.
I know this depends on having a fat guy and a fat gal in the same tiny village back in the day but you know that’s not such a crazy idea. Many indigenous tribes saw fat as attractive, and still do, a sign of being a good provider and of being well provided for, someone who can milk your babies and the rest of the villages’ if need be long after the food ran out. I’ve traveled I’ve seen it and heard it.. the stories going back as far as time. What if eh? What if we’re fighting to wipe out the very people who were engineered to keep the world going? What if we should give up fighting nature and just be who we are, saviours 😀
What Do You Think?
So which one are you going for or do you have one of your own? Or do you think I’ve gone slightly mad and missed the mark altogether? Would be interesting to hear if anyone can self identify here.