Fighting Destiny

You know how some scientists and diet “experts” talk about your natural set-point? Yeah, my body’s natural set-point is 257.5 pounds. I actually was always surprised when I visited someone who kept a scale in their house, and my weight was almost always exactly 257.5 pounds. It seemed weird that I could weigh so much and yet my weight was the same to a tenth of a pound.

Eleven years ago, shortly after my 50th birthday, I started a weight loss venture that ended a year and a half later with a total loss of 100 pounds. Well, “ended” is the wrong word to use. It has not ended yet. I currently am keeping off 75 of those pounds. I have lost and regained those other 25 pounds several times in the intervening years.

So, fighting destiny seems a little overly dramatic. But it seemed like the right words for what I’ve been thinking about. Sometimes it seems like I am fighting destiny, trying to maintain my weight loss. Whether it is genetic, environmental, or ENTIRELY MY FAULT, some days it just seems like its a losing battle (and here the word losing is not what we are all hoping for.)

Is it genetic? My parents used to love to tell the story of how, when I first came home from the hospital (and I was their first baby,) they would have to have a second bottle warming up. Because when the first bottle was finished, I would start screaming if there was not another one ready to pop into my mouth. Oh, and their second favorite story? It was that my first word was not daddy or mama. No, my first word was “nappo” (apple.) That does seem like there might be a little genetic component there, doesn’t it?

Is it environmental? Both of my parents enjoyed food and loved sweets. A “goodie bag” was a typical Friday night treat (my dad would get five candy bars, and we had to pick one out of the bag without looking.) We had good home-cooked meals most nights, but when we could afford it, we ordered pizza or went out for burgers. Sunday after church we’d stop for a restaurant dinner on the way home. Heck, I grew up in the era when MacDonalds was born!

Is it ENTIRELY MY FAULT? At least three times in my younger life, I lost (and then re-gained) 80-100 pounds. And then there were the innumerable times that I lost and regained 30-50 pounds. In the end, when I was about 30 years old, I said I’d never diet again. I gained from 232 up to said 257.5 pounds, and stayed there for many years. I ate whatever I wanted. I wasn’t a binger. I just ate cookies every day, had an afternoon snack of a candy bar at work, and pretty much stopped for a fast food dinner on my way home every night. I was a really good baker.

So most days now, I feel like I am fighting destiny. I usually weigh and/or measure my food. I make really healthy choices, being careful to get enough fresh veggies, fruits, and protein in. I oftentimes log my food. And I exercise six days a week, usually for 40 minutes. But many days I want A LITTLE MORE. It is not a binge. Sometimes it is even healthy food. But I want more. And therein lies the rub. You can’t keep the weight off, and you sure can’t lose if you want a little more. Ha! One article claimed that to keep from GAINING 2 pounds a year, it was only a difference in 10-20 calories a day! Their example was ONE STARBURST candy. Good grief.

This is the negative side of my daily inner thought life. Come back later in the week to read about the positive side 🙂

 

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26 thoughts on “Fighting Destiny

  1. The daily fight, yes – the daily fight. Wanting more food versus not wanting to gain weight. There is so much we don’t understand about obesity. Yes, sometimes it is people just not making the right choices. Then there are those of us who do all we should and it isn’t enough. That’s not all mental for sure. There are physical reasons. The thing that really sucks, too, is that those of us who have lost a significant amount of weight have permanently lower metabolisms. No amount of lemon water in the morning or sucking on ice cubes is going to speed it up. I’m not sure if ‘normal’ weight people really understand how fatiguing maintaining is when you want just a little more. All the time.

  2. …and then there’s the latest NY Times article regarding the former Biggest Loser contestants who lost so much weight, regained it, and now have a lower-burning metabolism. While I am right with you on the losing battle to keep it off, I also think that only regaining a portion of the initial weight loss is pretty damn good; you yourself cited how you’d lose 100 pounds and regain it all (I can relate, although I only lost 100 pounds once).

    It’s tricky, and it’s not always fair (in my mind especially) when I sit and watch my fellow runners DEVOUR a full breakfast plus an entire treat after a long run, while I split my bagel and cinnamon twist with Jeff…and know that this day is already a wash in terms of any possible weight loss.

    I look forward to reading your take on the positive side. 🙂

    • GMTA? I have been thinking about these two posts for ages, but that article gave me the impetus to actually sit down and write them!

  3. I think it might always be a little bit of a struggle, but you manage it so well!! And really, are there any areas of our lives that don’t have a little bit of struggle? You’re doing great, and I know your positive will outweigh the struggle. 🙂

    • That’s an interesting concept–that all the areas of our life have a little struggle. I’ll have to think about that today. Certainly there aren’t any areas right now in my life that I think about as much as I think about food/weight/maintenance/choices….

  4. Wondering if you saw this? https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2016/05/02/the-biggest-loser-contestants-weight-struggles-boon-for-science/GC1VKGKEydwjR6ORNxP4GI/story.html

    My (personal, non-scientific) opinion, is that the crazy fast way that these folks lose weight set their bodies’ up for fighting back. (I have kept 70 lbs off for 6+ years now, with moderate effort). Yes, vigilance is v important, which is why I weigh regularly, and take steps to get back to where I need to be if things start to go sideways.

    • I’m sure you are right about that. I never forgot a doctor telling us that after a prolonged fast, your body is seeking food on a CELLULAR level.

  5. 6 years ago I lost 50 pounds. I have gained 30 of it back, not because I overeat or constantly eat sweets, but because once or twice a year (Christmas) I overeat, gain 5 pounds and can’t seem to get it off. The last two years I work all summer long to get 5 pounds of and Christmas comes along and I gain it all back. Even though I have had to give up wheat and dairy and I am working really hard to give up sugar. But I keep working at it not because I want to look good in a bathing suit but because of health. So keep up the good fight.

  6. Oh my, this post really hits home. It does seem that every aspect of our lives has “something” that eats at us on a daily basis. Maintaining a good attitude about all of it is probably the hardest part. I tell myself that “sometimes I will mess up with overeating (or whatever else it is), but all in all I am making BETTER choices the other times.” Awareness–That is HUGE for me. Imperfectly perfect…… smile PS we love you

    • Maintaining a good attitude, that’s exactly right, Mickie! Encouraging comments like yours really help!

  7. I think all of us FIGHT DESTINY in some fashion whether it is nature or nurture.
    Adore my mom. My mom is the most negative person I know.
    If you tell her an idea her IMMEDIATE response is THAT WONT WORK.
    Ive fought that damn destiny all my life.
    xoxo

  8. Hmm. My comment above was a post script to a longer comment. Did my original end up in the spam box? I posted a link to the NYT article, because it uses the Starburst analogy that you quote. Also, reading it just made me wistful, sad, and I thought about you and how I needed to come visit. And sure enough, this post affirmed me. I’ve been away so long.

    By the way, I’m still maintaining. Right now I’m at 51 pounds under highest established weight and 17 lbs above lowest plateau. We probably need a standard system for being able to communicate with one another this kind of info. We never feel like the success story that others want us to embody. In fact, I often used to feel like a failure for not maintaining my full loss of 68 pounds, or like I was lying if I said i was maintaining when I knew I’d regained. It’s a conundrum. But I’m neither failure nor success. I’m just Debra trying to live a life in a reasonable sized body for my age, with the least pain possible and minimal amount of work necessary to maintain it. It’s harder than it appears on the surface to do this, and I like to be able to acknowledge others, like you, in same conundrum.

    I ended my original post yesterday the same way I’ll end it today. (Not posting the NYT link, because I think that earned me a trip to the SPAM house.) I’m off! Gotta go exercise and eat less than I want. 🙂

    • Ha! I kind of figured that your first comment was a post script! This sentence is brilliant, and is almost exactly the words I have been trying to think of: “We never feel like the success story that [we think] others want us to embody.” I worry about this A LOT.

      Its so great to hear from you, and so serendipitous that you visited this day. I rarely write about this stuff any more. Thanks for sharing your success. And if I never thanked you before, thanks for the meloxicam recommendation–it is still helping me a great deal!

      Also this sentence “I’m just Debra trying to live a life in a reasonable sized body for my age, with the least pain possible and minimal amount of work necessary to maintain it.” I should steal it and use it for my byline 🙂

      • “I’m just Debra trying to live a life in a reasonable sized body for my age, with the least pain possible and minimal amount of work necessary to maintain it.”

        This speaks to me and of the journey of self appreciation and love I have been on for the past couple of years. It’s where I envision you to be Debra.

      • Steal away, if you wish! Though I think your words are always good in their own right. Sometimes my old, defunct blog gets a spike in stats, so I follow the link back to the referrer. Recently, someone recommended it to someone else for a dose of reality, but then felt obligated to recommend your blog so they could recover. She described your blog as a lot like mine, but not depressing.

  9. Add in hypothyroidism and middle age slower metabolism and welcome to my world. I was just telling Mr. Helen over the weekend that for some reason I’d just had a week when every. single. day. I wanted a little more. It’s quite fatiguing to fight those feelings off all the time. A constant running script in my head that I’ve had enough and don’t actually ‘need’ more food. Thankfully I’m not finding that to be a daily/weekly battle but it does rear its ugly head once in a while.

    When I read the article all I could think was that while the study was fine and good and proved what people have been trying to tell their doctors for a long time, if they can figure out how to help people who have slowed metabolisms, they might just find that magic pill we’re all looking for.

  10. @Debra–Oh you know you made me LOL. That is an extreme compliment–“a lot like yours, only not depressing” :)))

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