Losing a lot of weight and keeping it off for a long period of time is a difficult enterprise and it takes a toll. Every day I have to pay attention to what I eat, morsel by morsel. Every day I have to find time to exercise, preferably for an hour if I can manage it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday, or a birthday, or a long day at work, I still have to do these things. If I don’t, if on a particular day I say oh to heck with it, I pay the price, which generally means gaining back a few pounds. There is no vacation from this and that fact has done a number on my sense of humor. It’s had an even bigger effect on my ability to conform to the social etiquette, which dictates that you don’t speak the blunt truth about things like weight.
So I guess you could say that long-term weight maintenance takes a toll on your relationships too. I was never the most outgoing person in the world, but I could go to a party, make small talk and generally enjoy myself. Now, social gatherings feel like a minefield. First, there will be all kinds of things to eat that I should not eat. Then, people will offer those things to me and I’ll have to find a way to say no without offending anyone. Or say yes and beat myself up later. Inevitably, someone will make a funny comment about how all the calories in the munchies will be cancelled out as long as we don’t sit down; since I know from bitter experience that this is not true, at least not for me, my choice will be to laugh politely and feel like a schmuck, or be the jerk who can’t take a joke. Or just stay home.
We all want to fit in. When I was fat, I dreamed that if I could ever lose the weight and be slender for good, I would finally be a normal person and fit in. But sometimes I think the opposite has happened. Many days, I feel more like the odd woman out than I ever did when I was obese. It’s not quite what I expected, yet as someone once said, that sucks, but too bad, that’s the way it is.
Why do I persist with this then? Well, I feel pretty damn good physically, better than I ever felt when I was heavy. I also think keeping my weight low will make getting older easier, and I’ve realized that I don’t fear dying nearly as much as I fear being disabled in my golden years. I guess I also still have a tiny bit of optimism left inside me, a mini-hope that someday this will all get easier.
Keep your fingers crossed.