Working it out

I stopped blogging because it was personal, too personal sometimes, and I got into trouble for it. So I stopped. I never wanted to stop writing though, and sometimes words on a page is what I need – to think, to plan, to do.

Where we left off – I was on the cusp of graduating, running a lot, somewhat on the top of the world. Where I am today – I graduated, got a job, moved to the east coast, missed Manhappenin sorely for many moons, got lonely, very lonely, felt like the bottom dropped out on my world a few times, met a boy, fought a long fight to keep him, got the boy (marriage) and the house with the white picket fence. And a raging discontent. The discontent that comes with being comfortable, and the nagging feeling of wanting to be more.

That said this is not a general, my life so average post. What I really wanted to think and talk about is my relationship with my body. Most women have a relationship with their body, and quite often it is complicated. Mine has been very complicated. I was always fat by Indian standards, though when I look back, maybe I was not really that bad. I went on my first diet in high school, I still remember my starting weight, all of 65 kgs, that shocked the people at the gym, who told me it was too much. I lost the 5 kgs, felt awesome for all of that year, and then promptly put it back on again. I now graduated to my highest weight, got to college, and proceeded to live a life of the fat friend – you know, the side-kick, the wise cracking, I love myself even if you don’t defiant person who also never got a single date. Not one, not because guys didn’t try, but because I never saw that they were trying, I was lost in the world of women who told me I was not good enough, not pretty enough, not fun enough, but enough to be a friend you called in the middle of the night, enough to be their side-kick as they cycled through their romances. Funnily enough, during that time I also became a group fitness instructor, again getting told over and over that I wasn’t thin enough. I lost some weight, again, I was happy, I was happy to feel accepted. Then back on it came. Then came the most humiliating time, VLCC – the weight loss center, I wasted my parents’ money, and went only once. The humiliation – I won’t detail it here. BUT they did give me  a calorie handbook, and the true dieting game began. I measured out everything, barely ate any fat, and finally, finally, I lost weight. I felt good again. Now it was time to move back to Indore.

I don’t know what it is about home, I always gain weight, and it happened again, and again, it was like I never lost weight. Back again at my high weight, unhappy, feeling terrible about myself, and watching my mom struggle with saying nothing, and trying to do something about it. The funny thing was that through all this, I was always active, always dancing, teaching group fitness, lifting weights, all of it. Yet I never felt or looked good. I tried one more weight loss center thing, which not as humiliating, however, showed absolutely no results.

Then, it was time to move. I got into my PhD program, moved to the US, and put on some more weight with all the snacks and sugary foods that were a rarity in my life in India. In 2011, I spent the summer at home in India, and lost some weight, came back to school, and determined to continue it. I still remember that date, October 17, 2005 – 2 days after my birthday, I decided, this was it, I was going to lose this weight. At that point – I was still working out a lot – I lived 2 miles from the gym, had no car, so I walked to the gym almost every day. Then I started the whole 1200 calories diet, and I did it! I lost all the weight, I felt good, people were amazed. I went from 175 pounds to 140-ish pounds, and there I stayed, for a long long time – I went between 140-145 pounds.

So, between 2005-2015, the decade that I would like to think of as the golden decade of my weight, I was reasonably happy with myself, I finally allowed myself to dress in anything other than t-shirts and jeans. I even dated a bit. Met my husband, dated him for 5 years, never losening the grip on measuring food, eating food, working out, and weighing myself.

Remember, it was a decade at that point, my weight was up a little, like 145, there was a tiny pooch which I wasnt happy with, so I decided to try low carb. Welp, I lost all of 5 pounds, and gained a flat stomach. 2015 was the year of the wedding, and at the same time, tiring of this ever constant control, whoops, I fell off, and control again cycle, I chanced upon ETP, no clue why it held my attention, but it did and I joined, and promptly gained 10 pounds before my wedding, mostly stress-related. Then, as usual being the determined me, I was like, maybe I don’t understand it so well, I need more help, I joined group coaching, and gained another 20 pounds. If you have managed to read thus far, I commend your perseverance, you sanguine reader may have noted that I have now reached my highest weight, again. The golden decade is over.

Flashback is over, lets talk about today. Today, I don’t know where I stand. I am again uncomfortable in my own skin. I hide from mirrors and cameras. My skin is thicker once again, ignoring the fat shaming glances and the snubs from retail floor workers. I had forgotten what those felt like. I am a bit stronger than I used to be. But, frankly, I am much fatter and much more prone to injury as well. Working with my coach, trying, hoping, to get back to the golden decade. The path is again not clear – do I go back to what I know works? the low calorie, muscle and macros be damned, or continue down this very ambiguous path of eating more, feeling like a fat-clad loser among the ripped denizens of ETP.  All I know right now is that it hurts mentally and emotionally, to be in this place. It’s been an year of ETP and thinking “trust the process”, “do more”, “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”, “don’t snuggle up to bad habits”, and all I see is more and more fat. And if I say something, it is because I am doing something wrong, I must not be moving enough, I must not be following the plan, I must be WRONG. and I feel like I am back again to being 17 and being fat and being WRONG, this time for all the other reasons. Maybe somebody will read this and understand what a mind fuck it is? To be hobbling with knee pain and still working out, and going for long walks, because “ETP works when you do.” Eating as my coach suggests I do, and not losing a single pound for 6 long months. Feeling more and more lost, alone, and unhappy every day with my body, losing my sense of self, then reading articles and understanding, it must be my own damn fault because no one can force someone to put on weight. I don’t blame ETP, I love my coach, I can see she is trying, too, to figure out what makes my body tick. But, I don’t know if I have the mental strength to continue this process. To do this the right way and to get back where I want. It’s not that the path is long, us PhDs have traversed many long paths, it’s that I don’t see the path and I can’t be sure that there is a path.

I want to continue to write about this, and I will, just to get it out my own head. Thank you for your eyes, invisible reader.