So I’m supposed to be posting this every Monday, but clearly that’s not happening. Here I am, its Friday and I’m feeling very anxious for a number of reasons–the primary reason has nothing to do with writing or its pleasures and pitfalls. As far as writing goes, I’m riding a high after the Rosemont Writer’s Retreat, feeling as energized as I have in a long time–at some points I feel positively giddy–which, for me, can create it’s own kind of anxiety. How can I possibly feel this good about something? We’re talking about writing after all and giddiness is not supposed to be part of the equation.
No, what’s really making me anxious is my weight, and my up and down trials and tribulations on this almost two year journey. Some of you who will read this know me, and know that I have lost 95 lbs over the course of these past two years. I’m 5′ 8″ and I’ve gone from a staggering 271 down to 176–a weight haven’t maintained for any length of time since I was 19 years old. So what’s got me all twitter-pated, you might ask. Shouldn’t I be doing back-flips and hi-fives? Well the answer simply is yes. Yes, I should be celebrating this achievement every f**king day, but because I love to torture myself, and because I have an addiction to food and self-doubt, every time I have a minor set-back I begin to panic. As a matter of fact, instead of marching over to Weight Watchers, facing the music and weighing myself, I’m sitting in my office writing this blog, thinking that I should at least be working on my novel (which we’ve established is making me feel so giddy) but now I’m really invested in this anxiety and can’t really do anything.
My husband thinks I’m a little nuts, and he’s right. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing, but sometimes, when you’re on this long, long weight loss journey, doing everything right is just not enough. Sometimes your body says–screw you–just for the hell of it. Despite the science behind weight loss, the human body is much more like a piece of fine art. Sometimes it just does what it wants. Now that doesn’t mean if I decide to eat 12 chocolate bars and a pound of French fries and wash it all down with some cherry Coke that I don’t deserve what I gain–but this week I worked out hard, I watched my points and drank my water, and still my legs feel stiff (a sure sign of water retention) and my muscles are sore (a sure sign of an increase in muscle mass) so what does this mean? On my home scale I’m up two pounds–and I can’t bring myself to face the WW scale. After two years I should have a thicker skin–this should not be making me so crazy–but it is.
So is it this same anxiety about my weight, and the pressure I put on myself to succeed, that also allows me to feel such extreme pleasure in my writing at times? I don’t always feel giddy when I write. Normally writing for me is very grounding, but for some reason this summer, things have changed. As of my last weigh-in I had 12 pounds to go to my goal. If I weigh in today and I’m up then this just puts me farther behind and psychologically I don’t know if I can take the pressure. But then again can it be any worse than the pressure I put on myself–not unlike the pressure I feel when I want to finish a story, but have to grade papers, or have grant reporting to do but I really want to write the new chapter that’s been floating around in my head for a week.
I recognize these feelings now for what they are–immaturity–and yet I have a hard time controlling them. Even if I don’t lose another pound I should celebrate my budding ‘girl guns’, the fact that I can go into a store now and buy what I like, not just what fits and doesn’t make me look like a barn, and the fact that I have never looked or felt better in my life. At 45 (soon to be 46) this is really something to be giddy about!