The “I” in “Quit”

I had a great week. I did everything right and felt awesome. My meal plans were dialed in and I didn’t stray once. I didn’t skip a single work out. In fact, I tried a yoga class on rest day, hit the gym on Saturday and have been quickening my pace on my lunchtime walks. Rather than enjoy our usual date night Saturday dinner out on the town, I opted to put some delicious fruit and veggie skewers on the grill and have date night at home with an ultra light and healthy meal. My clothes are getting loose, certain pants coming on and off without unbuttoning. I set a short term goal that involved losing a little over 7 pounds by June 26 and I dug my heals in, excited to smash through that goal. I woke up this morning with aching muscles from a tough workout week and a Christmas morning-like anticipation of stepping on that scale and seeing how close my hard work and sacrifice got me to my goal.

I have regained 6/10ths of a pound, negating all of last week’s weight loss and part of the prior week’s. I am reeling. For the first few moments I stared at the number in disbelief. I stepped off the scale, then back on: still 208.4. I said it aloud, “I’m up, I’ve gained,” to David or myself or the cosmos, just letting those words hang in the ether. I stepped down and left the bathroom to continue my morning routine. The emotions were like waves, building then washing ashore, surging one after another until they curled and crashed over me; the hardening lump in my chest moved to my throat and flowed from me in devastated sobs. It wasn’t just the gain; it was the tremendous loss. I had set two short term goals I’d felt would be challenging but I was sure were achievable, goals that would ignite a fire in me, drive me to push harder and become more dedicated. With a quick flash of an LED, the hopes I had of meeting those goals were lost, mathematically-impossible at this point. Over the course of the morning, my feelings alternated between sadness and fury – anger being a mask hurt loves to wear, a mask that gives the hurt an illusion of being productive. Enraged, I X-ed out the goal I’d written on the calendar, adding a hurtful, self-immolating addendum. Over breakfast, I snapped at David, rebuking every kind and rational attempt he made to calm and encourage me. I want to quit.

How can you convince yourself not to give up when your efforts manage to go beyond fruitless, working against you; when you believed in the marrow of your bones you were doing the best you could, doing exactly what needs to be done? How do you workout with fatigued muscles when all you did to fatigue them in the first place appears inconsequential? The question that lingers in the forefront of my mind: “Why bother?” I would much rather melt into a Jody-shaped puddle on the couch tonight with a bag of Oreo’s to catch up on my Wayward Pines than drag my (.6 lb heavier) body up and down by the TRX straps. Why bother working out when the weeks I’d skipped workouts resulted in greater weight loss than this one? Why bother missing adhering rigidly to my 1350-calorie meal plan when the slice of strawberry cheesecake I’d eating a few weeks ago seemingly had no negative affect on my Monday weigh-in? Why sacrifice so much time and energy into what, at least this week, was a losing cause? I would rather quit.

Now, having had time to think and reflect over the past few hours, I can see now it has far less to do with the number on the scale, more with the loss of hope. Pounds can be lost and gained and lost again. One more good week could turn it all around. But one more good week can not get me below 200 pounds by June 26. The hopes of reaching this particular goal is lost and can not be regained. The waves of emotion are coming even now, only they are smaller swells that rush over me each time I think about the impossibility, then recede. My goals had stirred something inside me, a fevered passion. I was giddily anticipating the elation I would feel, the satisfaction of reaching my goals and seeing my hard work and sacrifice pay off. I would high-five David from the scale then hurriedly post a blog sharing my news with my readers. I probably got ahead of myself and should have stayed focused on the day at hand but who can help getting excited imagining future successes? Now the fire is dimmed, if not doused, and I realize I am in mourning of the loss of that potential day. I will reach the milestones I’d hoped to – but not when I’d hoped, not when I’d planned. I will not meet my goals and that is a painful truth, a sad consequence to an action I do not understand.

As I sit here now, removed by time and distance from this morning’s conniption, my instinct is to be embarrassed and ashamed of my reaction and behavior but that is equally hurtful. My emotions are what they are. They do not require justification, are not expected to be rational. They were strong, they were painful to endure and, like many emotions, they have diminished or shifted over the course of the day. What didn’t pass is the dark, harmful place I let them take me in the moment. I wish nothing more right now than to be able to go home and erase the ugly words I wrote on the calendar; to be able to hug David and thank him for his endless support; to look down at those LCD numbers and say, “that’s ok, I love you and will care for you” to my body rather than embracing the bitter, hateful thoughts I inundated myself with. I am not angry, despite my words and actions. I do not hate myself or my body. I am sorry… so sorry for the way I spoke to the person I love, so sorry for the way I spoke to my body in my mind and heart. I have to find a way in times like these to be kind to myself, to be patient and empathetic. I need to love my body when it isn’t perfect the way I hope to be loved despite my imperfections. I am crestfallen, I am disappointed, I am quite simply sad and that is ok. I will recover and I will not quit.


208.4 (.6 pounds gained this week, 6.6 pounds lost total)

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