Friday, February 22, 2013

Tried My Best; Failed Miserably

For those who do not know me in every day (real) life, I am an extremely strong-willed individual. I don't always voice my opinions (in fact, rarely so unless I know someone fairly well), but when I am determined to do something, you can bet money that it will get done - one way or another. I have just never done well with someone telling me I can't do something or even that I shouldn't do something. It almost becomes a challenge for me to prove that I can do it - whatever that "it" might be. I can think of many instances in my life when I was advised not to do something and went ahead with it anyway.

This I'm-just-going-to-do-the-opposite behavior started very young. I still recall being three years old in a plant nursery with my mother. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted these amazingly colored, small cactus-like plants, and just as I was going to touch them, my mom said, "No, no. Don't touch those... it will hurt." She turned her back to look at something else, and I immediately slammed my hands down on the top of these rainbow colored plants. When I picked my hands up, they were full of spiny little prickles from the cactus. Of course, tears ensued and my mother proclaimed, "I told you not touch those." She didn't understand it, nor did I at the time, but I think it was simply the beginning of a life full of having to try things for myself, and never accepting that I couldn't or shouldn't do a particular thing.
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In two weeks, it will be one year since I started a journey to better myself physically. I had gained quite a bit of weight, even for me - the chubby kid who turned into an obese adult, and I've spoke about my reasons for wanting to be stronger and lose weight in the past (feel free to re-read if you have interest here). The bottom line is that I knew if I set my mind to it, I could accomplish my goals. I remember thinking at the start that in one year, I would likely be down about 100 pounds. It was an average of about 8 pounds a month, and I knew it was a slightly lofty goal, but I also believed it was entirely doable. What an incredible thing to be able to do for myself, too. Obviously, as the ticker on the sidebar indicates, I haven't reached that goal, nor will I in the next two weeks (for those using a reader who can't see the sidebar, I'm down 63.5 lbs as of today).

I'm not the best at math, but that roughly calculates out to a little over 5 lbs a month on average. Not too shabby, I will admit, except that it really hasn't been that sort of journey. I've been on a "plateau" for four and a half months. That's a really long time to go without seeing a change. The odd thing is, it's not that my weight doesn't change, it just changes within the same 5-6 lbs. Up and down, back and forth, I seem to fight with the same pounds over and over again.
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I suppose, for most folks this would be the point at which they state that they had lost focus or had slacked off in some area of their nutrients or workout regime, but I can honestly say that isn't the case for me. If anything, I've pushed myself to always do more, to push harder, or to make changes that are beneficial. I like working out hard, and I like eating well because I feel better and I know my body is getting what it needs to function properly. I love that feeling of not knowing whether or not I can actually finish a workout. It's awesome.

I've researched, read, and spoken with "experts" who have offered suggestions to help alleviate this plateau. In fact, one such individual told me that "no plateau should last longer than 3 weeks." Ha! I honestly believe I'm living proof that this is obviously not the case for everyone. I've tried eating more, eating less, higher protein, fewer simple carbs, more frequent smaller meals - giving each of these 2-3 weeks (or more) to see if they'd work - and, nothing. I've been to the doctor and had blood work done, convinced that something must be wrong with me. Nope. Healthy as a horse (sans the ton of excess weight). I've tried adding in extra cardio, too, but nothing results in changes. Even typing this out, I know more suggestions will likely be offered (most of which I've probably already tried), and while I love that people want so very much to help me (I have some truly awesome people in my life), I have finally come to an answer on my own - and it's not at all what I expected from the start of this journey.

My body is done.
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My body is not going to give up any more weight. I'm not even remotely close to where I should be, fat rolls still abound, and I have an enormous amount of work to do, but the bottom line is that for whatever reason my body has decided it's happy where it is and isn't going to release me from the fat prison. Genetics are a tough thing, and while I know I have the "fat genes" from both sides of my family, I was certain from the start that I could win the battle and I would be the exception. We don't have to live with the hand we're dealt, right? At least not when it comes to our ability to lose weight.  Yet, here I am. I think I finally understand that I am fighting a battle I truly cannot win, and it sucks (for lack of a better word at the moment).

That's a really tough thing for me to accept - particularly because I am such a hard-headed thing. I've been thinking about what it actually means for me moving forward, and I know it doesn't change what I'm doing because healthier habits have certainly come from the experience of the last year, and I am so grateful for that reality. Unfortunately, it does mean that some of the things I'd like to do, I won't be able to accomplish, and that really bums me out. For example, I won't be able to take my black belt test in kickboxing. I had the opportunity to witness a black belt test just a few months into my kickboxing experience, and I knew then that I would have to lose quite a bit in order for my body to withstand the rigors of such a test. I have too many ailments beyond the weight that would hinder me in this sort of physical endeavor, and having so much extra weight would make it nearly impossible for me to complete - or, it would leave me broken for a very long time (knowing that I am stubborn and would probably stupidly attempt it anyway).

It's extremely difficult to accept this reality, but I also know it is the only way I'm going to have any sort of mental sanity. Deep down, I know I will never give up the fight, but I don't know how else to carry on with life normally when all I have worked toward are changes that simply refuse to happen. I will continue to push myself, work hard, and do what I know is best for me, but I suppose my focus has to change and I have to accept that this is one battle I don't get to win... no matter how much I attempt to fight it.

4 comments:

  1. Hugs!!! :o( I know this was probably an extremely hard post to write and I could say things like look at how far you've come and all that you have accomplished rather than what you can't or won't accomplish. But, I am just going to say I am proud of you and proud to call you a friend. Your story and journey (even with the bumps) has been and will continue to be an inspiration to me and I'm sure many others...including yourself (I'm sure :o). <3

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    1. Thanks, Joey. It wasn't too bad to write it out, but the pain of realizing this IS as good as it gets is tough. I knew I'd never be tiny, but I had hopes to just be "normal fat" for once in my life.

      None of it makes any sense...for example, I worked out yesterday, ate 5 small meals with protein totaling 1647 cals, and somehow gained 3 lbs over night. Supposedly, I need over 1700 cals just to survive in a coma state. Hmm, maybe I am dead and this is my hell? LOL :O)

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  2. These words, penned by John Fitzgerald Kennedy, make me think of you, Gen:
    The credit belongs to the man (woman) who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself (herself) in a worthy cause; who at best, if he wins, knows the thrills of high achievement, and, if he fails, at least fails daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

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    1. Thank you, Pati...I am so very fortunate to have some truly amazing people in my life, and I thank you for being one of them. <3

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