"I keep on falling because I jumped."


I've been thinking a lot lately about why I am not happier that I've been losing weight. I am nearing the greatest weight-loss total I have ever had and my attitude about it sucks. I am concentrating on what's wrong rather than what's right about all this. Something is missing for me, I've been searching my mind for it.

On thing that I know is missing is a sense of accomplishment. When I've lost weight before, it has been the result of diligent adherence to a plan of restricted eating and increased exercise. My successes were hard-won, slow to materialize, and very satisfying. I had done something very few people who attempt it are able to do.

Now, I feel like congratulating me for weight loss is a bit like congratulating me for falling after jumping off a cliff. I do deserve praise and acknowledgement for having the courage, insight and maturity to make the choice to have this surgery, I have no trouble with that, but I don't feel like I "deserve" the praise for losing weight. I couldn't stop losing weight right now if I tried. I really don't think I could eat enough to maintain my current weight.

The classic model for long-term significant weight-loss involves diligent effort, often sustained in the face of confounding results, and the self-discipline of a religious contemplative. People who do this successfully deserve the respect and adulation that they typically receive. On the outside, I appear to be one of these people, but that's doesn't match up with what I know has been happening on the inside.

Instead, while my road is not easy, particularly now, it isn't the product of diligent discipline in the face of confounding and competing obstacles. Instead, my struggle is with learning to tolerate very significant and permanent changes in my life. I am tolerating a number of side effects of the surgery, from being unable to eat or drink in any volume, to the hormonal effects of the surgery. This isn't easy, but losing weight isn't the hard part. That's almost happening on it's own, and that's what everyone praises me for. There's a real disconnect there, and it is starting to feel a bit isolating.

Do I have support? Yes, I do, and I am making use of all of those resources, both professional and personal. I am not in a crisis, it has just been a long time since I've faced a period in my life with this much change. I'm having trouble bringing to mind another period in my life when I was undergoing a change I so desired and yet my feelings about it were dissonant, i.e., I don't feel like I would expect to feel when I am getting something I want. Did I not really want it? No, of course I wanted it, I still want it. It's just that getting what I want is not measuring up to the experience I anticipated.

I still smile and say "Thank you" whenever I receive a compliment for my appearance, or for losing weight. I get "keep doing what you're doing" a lot, too. This is not about any doubt about the good will of those who support me. This is an internal examination of what's in my head, disclosed here perhaps to support others going through the same experience, but primarily because explaining it helps me understand it. Thanks for reading.

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