Last week I was disappointed I didn’t gain weight. This was when I realized I might be sabotaging myself.
During the great feline food incident, I stepped on the scale the day after eating way too much chili and was surprised to see that my weight had not changed. It was still 176. That was strange. I was certain all the eating would have made the scale go up. That or the fact that I’d skipped my cardio the day before. But it hadn’t. I was still at 176. Meaning the weight I’d lost earlier in the month was still pretty much gone. This was weird because I’ve been hanging out at 180 for about five months now. I’m used to the numbers going down for a bit and then bouncing back up a bit and then descending once again only to ascend a week later. It’s been a while since a loss has stuck.
I was looking down at the nail polish that’s still on my toes two months after my brother’s wedding and I realized I was disappointed. I wasn’t really sure why. I might have been frustrated because it makes sense that if you eat too much you should gain weight. I like living in a universe where there are concrete “if X then Y” statements. It’s upsetting when the laws of physics do not seem to be working. Would the bananas on the counter start breaking the law of gravity and float past the cabinets as well? That’s a fairly good reason, but I think I am scared to get to goal. Which seems silly because I wrote a huge, long post about why I most certainly want to get to goal, why yessirree, so why would I be scared?
Because the more you achieve the more you have to lose. Or the more I lose the more I have to lose, though putting it the first way sounds much less non-sense-acle. If/When I get to goal three things could happen: I can lose even more weight, I can maintain, or I can gain. If I lose even more weight it’s like scoring extra-credit points, but eventually I’ll reach a point where I have to maintain or gain. Otherwise I will eventually evaporate and there will be nothing left of me to bury. So, we can cut out the first option and say eventually I’ll have to either maintain or gain. This is no-win situation. If I’m maintaining I’m still doing all the work I did while losing and I’m no longer getting any credit. No one ever says, “Woo-hoo! Congratulations on weighing the same as you did last week. That must have taken a lot of work!” It becomes expected of you, something to be taken for granted. The excellence becomes expected. Of course you should maintain your weight. Why shouldn’t you? But if you slip a little and gain a pound or two, it’s a disappointment. Once you reach the top, there’s no where to go but down. You have to keep maintaining the same level of perfection, but it’s no longer considered an achievement, just something you should do naturally. Or to quote the film Searching for Bobby Fischer, “Maybe it’s better not to be the best. Then you can lose, and it’s O.K.”
I’m afraid of success. I’m afraid of getting to my goal weight of 160 and then the next day stepping on it to see the number 161. If I continue to hover at 180 then my goal weight is still on the horizon, it’s still something I could get to. But if I actually get there, I’ll have accomplished it. I can write it down as something I did. And I could lose it. I can’t lose something that I never achieve. Which is why I’ve felt so safe hovering around 180 these past couple of months. I still have the dream of getting to 160, the potential, but I haven’t converted it into an accomplishment yet. And once I do, there’s no going back.
If fearing success wasn’t bad enough, there’s also the fear of failure. What if I can’t do it? It’s like a street musician saying, “I could get a major record contract if I wanted to, but I just love the ambiance of the subway, so I’m not going to try.” It’s just a cover for the fact that you’re so scared of failing at something that you don’t bother to try. Which is the other reason I feel safe at 180. I haven’t failed to get to goal yet since I’m still running and lifting weights and working on getting there, but I haven’t succeeded yet either. I’m in a nice little purgatory where I don’t have to live with the pressures of success, but I’m not disappointed by failure.
But it’s stupid to be afraid of success or failure. I shouldn’t avoid achieving something because I might not be able to sustain it forever. It’s better to be a has-been than a never-was. What if The Beatles decided never to release any records because the songs Paul McCartney writes these days aren’t as classic or groundbreaking in comparison? I could get to 160 and then someday gain back weight, but it shouldn’t stop me from getting there at least once.
So, screw fear. Screw extra-large chili servings. Screw self-sabotage. I am in this. I am going to get to fucking goal. And someday I may gain back 20 pounds. But I will take a picture of my feet standing next to those digital numbers and I’ll stick it on the fridge. So even if I’m grabbing a half-pint of ice cream, I’ll know what I accomplished and I’ll know I could one day do it again.