When I first started losing weight almost two and a half years ago, it was rather daunting that my estimates said it would take two years to reach my goal. I’m glad I underestimated the amount of time it would take. If I’d known how long I’d be weighing-in waiting for 160 to show up on my scale, I would have been even more bummed. While the size of the task in front of me seemed bigger than I was, I think it was also an advantage because I always knew this would require long-term dedication. I was going to spend as much time on this project as I could have getting an Associate Degree. If I’d done both I would look really cute in my nurse’s outfit right now.
When people only have a small amount of weight to lose, say 10 or 20 pounds, they aren’t typically as serious about changing their lifestyle as I had to be. They see weight-loss as a short-term project, like repainting a room, whereas I had to rebuild my house from the frame up. So, they may dedicate a lot of their energy into the task right away, lose some weight, but after a couple months they’re back to ordering pizza for lunch.
I’ve seen this happen on weight-loss blogs too. A newbie shows up and is really gung-ho and excited to lose weight, and they do. But after a couple months the posts start getting farther and farther apart, then they’ve deleted their Blogger account and someone else re-registers the name so they can start posting ads on it to trick old readers. It’s like the stages of a relationship. When you first meet someone new you’re so smitten and love everything about them and wish there were 30 hours in the day just so you could hang out with them more. You talk about them to everyone, just like you gab about your diet and exercise plans to anyone with ears.
But after a couple months the infatuation stage wears off and that’s when you see if the relationship is really going to last. I’m in the third year of this marriage with my body and I’ve settled into the comfortable part where I can fart in bed without being self-conscious. The chemical high of those first several months where I was losing 10-20 pounds a month was fantastic, but now I’m settling into a comfy familiarity with my body. I know what it can do and I’m cool with losing only half a pound a week (if it’s even that much these days).
When I read articles that say dieting doesn’t work or that people tend to gain back weight, I don’t think the problem is actually with diet and exercise. If you eat right and work-out you can lose weight and keep it off. I think the problem is that people aren’t dedicated to doing that for the rest of their lives. The problem isn’t with food or their ability to go for a run, it’s that people have a difficult time making any kind of lasting change in their lives. They stay in crappy relationships. They keep their soul-killing jobs.
I don’t think that will happen with me because I know this is forever, not just some fling, not a one night stand. For better or worse, I’m living in this body for the rest of my life, unless they develop a brain transplant. Which would probably be too expensive for me to afford anyway. So it’s me and my body for now until death and our relationship is better than it’s ever been. I hope we make it to our 100th anniversary.