Skip to content

maintaining: a different kind of work

December 22, 2011

This has been a year of awesome & turbulent change!  In 2011 I quit my stable job, began two separate arts programs, got engaged, moved across the bay, and worked my way up to be the assistant poetry editor of a literature review.  Looking back, I feel proud and excited about how my year has shaken up my life and I love seeing how my life is taking shape.  The one piece I am still struggling with these days is my weight-loss journey.

I have lost a few pounds this year, but most of my work has been maintaining the loss from the two previous years.  I wish I could say this was a conscious choice from the start of the year…. but it wasn’t.  And yet, that just might be OK with me.  Sometimes important decisions are made as we go by feeling our way, even if we are at times feeling in the dark.  With all of the other things going on, the work of maintaining — and it is work — was the work of this year.

What kind of work is maintaining?  It is the work of caring but not pushing, of sitting with discomfort and neither giving up nor giving in.  It’s about carrying something that is really important to you even when your primary focus is drawn towards something else.  It is also a critical piece of weight-loss journeys that are as numerically ambitious as mine.  I have lost aprox. 60 lbs and plan to lose about 40 more.  Many people who lose this much weight gain it back, perhaps because they rush to the finish line and then have no energy left to continue on.

I absolutely refuse to squander the work I have already put into transforming my body, and this adamant refusal anchored me this year.  Living on my own the second half of the year was a blessing.  Left to my own devices (without feeling any pressure and with the physical space to cook & store all of my gluten-free and dairy-free groceries) I tend to nourish myself quite well.  I look forward to cooking between study sessions and I enjoy the feeling of caring for my whole self.

Why has the weight-loss slowed?  It’s all about my exercise schedule.  This year, my exercise “routine” has been the work-out-when-you-feel-like-it plan, which typically means only a few times a week.  The problem with this work-out plan is that sometimes you need exercise even when you don’t feel like it!  What a tricky thing to reconcile for someone like me whose weight-loss strategy is self love.  Tricky, but not impossible!  In fact, it is a wonderful opportunity to continue exploring what self-love really means.

For this year, self-love meant maintenance.  Looking back, I believe this was a wise “choice” even if not a conscious one from the start.  I realized a few months ago that this was what my year has been about for my body, and it took a while for me to accept this.  In the end, it has been a wonderful lesson about life: You simply can’t give every area of your life 110% every second.  Pretending this isn’t true only takes away our ability to control our lives.  There is a balancing act going on for us all, whether we know it or not.  It’s a good idea to take a look at what we’re holding, what we’re dropping, and what we’re throwing in the air.  (And be kind to yourself while you look!)

The other day Sam and I were discussing all of this and he pointed out all that he and I have done.  Between the two of us, we have lost (and maintained!) over 115 lbs, all while nourishing our relationship and our art/careers.  There is no reason to give up now, and there is no reason to be ashamed.  If we fall into the trap of looking only at the immediate past, we won’t understand the journey and we’ll want to give up.  But one of Sam’s gifts is his ability to step back and see the long view, and I love when he shows it to me.

Now that I have accepted all of this, I am actually excited for a fresh start for the new year!  I don’t feel locked into my resolution to ramp up my exercise routine in 2012; I am excited by the possibilities, and my body is ready for a little more action.  There are so many reasons my future will be better off if I continue on this path — wedding photos, job opportunities, my physical health — but the one I am the most attached to is my integrity as a human being.  I am not going to sit-out the rest of this race.  I will never give up.

❤ Diana Banana

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s