I am adamant that none of us got to "fat" on our own. Either someone taught us the habits that got us there or we developed the habits that got us there as defense mechanisms. Either way, getting fat wasn't much of a choice. Staying fat isn't much of a choice either if you don't ever have the opportunity to learn differently.
Somewhere around five years ago, without even knowing it, I started to the journey to learn how not to be fat anymore. I spent hours on a couch across the room from Jillian, therapist to the stars, learning about the circumstances that got me to "fat" and reversing the wiring in my brain that told me I had to stay there. I spent ten times as much time, alone, processing what I learned.
Surgery was a fucking HUGE declaration that I had finally learned enough and I was ready to not be fat anymore. So ready, in fact, that I was going to let a sometimes-curmudgeon surgeon slice open my abdomen and lop off the majority of my stomach to speed up the process.
Looking back now I think I might have also considered surgery the end of the learning. Like I would wake up on March 18th with a tiny tummy and would magically, henceforth, always do the right thing. Always.
As you can probably guess, the Tiny Tummy is not exactly the perfectionist I had assumed it would be. Dammit.
Last month I didn't do my monthly inch tracker or take pictures to track my weight loss. I suspected that the lack of accountability wasn't serving me well so I bit the bullet and pulled out the measuring tape this morning. The good news is that I'm down - particularly in the bust and rib area - and in pounds. In fact, in total, I take up almost 5 feet less of space on this planet than I did just six months ago and I'm closing in on 80 pounds lost.
However, I've added a little (albeit very little) inch-age back to my hips and thighs - which seems strange because I'm down two pant sizes. I think I can account for some of the change with a lack of consistency of how I measure myself, but the truth is that I haven't been practicing good habits, consistently, for the past three months.
I have come to accept that there will be months where I plateau and months were I'm slow to lose inches or pounds. Gaining weight or inches, however, is no longer an option. I have invested far too much of my time, my resources and my soul into this journey to fail. I started to berate myself for going in the wrong direction.
Then I remembered that this is how change happens.
It is a fallacy, a deeply-held falsehood, that faltering is failure. The truth is, change is not a linear process. It is two steps forward, one step back (and sometimes to the left or right). Success is recognizing it and choosing to move forward again.
When everything that is familiar to you is in flux - your sense of self, your habits, your world, your comforts - the psyche can only forge forward on pure adrenaline for so long. Eventually everyone needs a bit of respite, of comfort, lest you completely burn out. Old habits - the familiar - that's comfort, regardless of whether or not they are habits that serve the reality you are trying to create.
Until new habits habits become the "old habits," it is so perfectly normal to return to practices that don't serve you well. How long you dwell there and how long the old, unhealthy habits hang around - that's the choice to be made now. That's the change.
So, today I call bullshit on "full speed ahead at all times." I choose, instead, to honor how far I've come and how many new habits are now old habits - and how many new habits will soon be a norm. Today I give myself grace to take a step back, reasses, and forge ahed. Today I choose to feel better about all of this messy, long journey and I choose to be excited that I have learned enough to still be headed in the right direction.
Most of all, today I forgive my non-perfectionist Tiny Tummy and honor the realization that surgery didn't create a robot - it created a small, brainless, tool in my gut. All the hard work still happens elsewhere.