I wake up in the morning, use the restroom, and then slip out of my pajamas while analyzing every inch of my body in the mirror.
Do I look bloated today? Is my stomach sticking out further than yesterday? When’s the last time I had a bowel movement? (You’re welcome for that TMI.)
I step on the scale while holding my breath. I analyze everything I’ve eaten in the last 24 hours. Did some choice I made yesterday mean the scale will be higher today? The what-ifs start: What if I’d just foregone ONE snack, eaten 100 calories less, if I’d JUST skipped the chocolate…
The number comes up. It’s a loss!
I feel an immediate rush of pleasure: yes, yes, yes! I did it! It feels so good!
Do you know that feeling?
How long does it last for you?
It used to last me a while — a week, days, at least that one whole day. A 0.2 or half-pound loss would still give me a little dopamine spike for a bit.
Now, it lasts mere seconds, and only if I drop down to at least the next pound lower. I can maybe drag it out by posting about it somewhere, writing it down, recording it. But never for more than a few extra seconds.
Then, I am craving the next hit. I am thinking about the day to come. I am making food plans, figuring out how best to avoid food situations, re-analyzing yesterday’s choices for what I could’ve done better to get a bigger loss… a bigger hit.
It’s an addiction. And, I don’t know when it became this.
The truth of the matter is, I’m pretty OK with the way my body looks right now. I’m 134 pounds, 5’6”, I lift weights, so I have some muscle definition — yes, I have loose skin, but I’m healthy. I’m average. (That’s frightening in and of itself, but that’s another post for another day.) So, if I’m OK with my body, why do I want to keep losing weight?
This is not something I was ever warned about when I began my weight loss journey. And, maybe it’s not an issue for everyone, but it makes sense that it is for me. I used to use food to get that dopamine rush. Nothing made me feel as (temporarily) “good” (or, at least numb) as a binge. And, over time, I had to eat more and more to get those feelings, which also lasted less time. I wish I had considered that the same might be true for weight loss.
I don’t know how to end this blog because, right now, I’m stuck in this addiction. I can only say, if I did it all again, I would focus more on nurturing the other things in my life so that my world didn’t shrink around any one thing: food, weight loss, exercise, a person… anything can be addictive. And, since I think I’m probably hardwired to be prone to obsession, I would and will focus more on being flexible in any area of my life where I begin to become rigid.
I know I needed to lose weight at one point in my life, but I wish I’d had a better picture of the long game.