Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bad dreams

About a year ago, I wrote a post about a nightmare I'd had:

Last night I had a dream- a nightmare, really- that I was attending a family gathering. Everyone kept staring at me with a look of pity in their eyes. I'd see them whispering, then they'd abruptly stop when I'd get within earshot. Was my zipper down? Did I have bird shit on my forehead? Why were they looking at me like that?! I frantically searched for a mirror, and when I found one, I saw my former, fat self looking back at me. Every pound I'd worked so hard to get rid of was back- strapped to my belly in three massive rolls. My fingers looked like sausages, and the jawline that I'd once admired was obscured once again.

Now, a year later, that nightmare has become a reality. I've gained back about 75% of the weight I lost. I've spent the last few months eating, drinking, sitting in a sedentary stupor, and feeling pretty damn awful about it. I'm an addict in the truest sense of the word. My habits and behaviors bring me a constant cycle of pleasure, quickly followed shame, pain, and hopelessness. Desperate to change, but seemingly powerless to do so.

I've tried so damn hard to just accept myself- fat or thin. I thought becoming thin and athletic would magically get me what I needed, but that didn't happen. In fact, my weight loss gnarled my self-esteem until it was virtually gone. Even as a size 10, I still thought I was fat.

Now, as I sit here in my size 20 jeans and look at pictures from just a year ago, I wonder what the fuck happened. Good question. I think part of it is that I was totally exhausted in all possible ways. The physicality of marathon training put me through some stuff I don't think my body was ready for. Mentally, I was a total wreck. After 18 months of scrutinizing the caloric values of a million different foods, my brain didn't know how to think of much else. I just got so sick of thinking about it all the time. I stopped seeing my psychologist because I was sick of talking about it all the time. I stopped writing this blog because I was sick of writing about it all the time. I just wanted it to go away.

I'm not quite sure what to do now. Part of me wants to just let this blog die and be more private with my struggle. The support I received as a result of blogging was immense, but I also felt some pressure. My time away has been, if anything, a relief. But, I'd get comments here and there... "What happened?" "We miss you!" "Hope you're doing okay." It made me wonder if I'd made a mistake in cutting ties.

I'm still very confused. I spend every day trying to decide which life I want to have. Do I want the life where I can eat whatever I want but feel sick and tired most of the time? Or, do I want to deprive myself and feel healthy? Some people can have both, but I don't think I'm one of them. I'm a food junkie. I'm a hedonist. It's all or nothing.

For today, I accomplished a 20 minute walk and stocked the kitchen with healthy food. That will have to be enough, just for now.

49 comments:

SeaShore said...

I'm sorry to hear about your gain. I hate this part. Most of us will regain weight, I hate that bloody statistic. It sucks. I lost 70+ in 2003, and regained 60 until starting again last year.

I think you're right to keep trying to both accept yourself as you are, regardless, and to feel healthy.

Good luck with whatever path you choose. Thank you for coming back to post again. I have missed your blog, but no pressure, eh?

Laura said...

Hi Morgan-Ive checked your blog a lot since January and hoped to hear how you were doing. I'm very sorry to hear about your struggles. I know this wont make you feel better, but no matter what you look like on the outside you are still a great person on the inside. I miss our runs and talking to you. If you want and you feel up to it, I'd love to get together to chat or whatever you want. I'm hear if you need anything. Please just let me know. Hang in there and just do what you need to do for YOU and dont worry about the blog or anything else for that matter right now.

kilax said...

I've been thinking about you a lot Morgan (especially today - I just signed up for the KC Marathon). I kept hoping I would find a post from you, because I love your story, your honesty, and your hard work.

Do what you need to do to be happy. Find the balance, if you can. It seems like that is what we are constantly searching for in life. It is so easy to slip back into old habits, because sometimes we don't cure ourselves of them, we just cover them up. I know that is how it works for me.

Thank you for sharing this with us. It is hard to admit a gain! I keep upping my "weight loss" tracker on my blog, and hoping that no one will notice it is going up ;)

That walk and healthy food stocking was the first step in the right direction. Keep going that way!

MB said...

I feel your pain. I've been through major losses and regains and it is sooo hard and seems to insurmountable to get back down again, deprive yourself, workout like a fiend to get back down only to struggle to maintain.

We need to try to find a balance we can live with. You shouldn't feel pressure from blogging. We're here to support you whether you are losing, gaining, maintaining or somewhere in between.

Glad to see you back. I hope you'll start blogging again because you've inspired me even if you have had a relapse. Keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

Morgan you are so brave to come on and post your gain. Hold your head up high and don't hide because of it. We have all been there. I'm about 100 pounds overweight and I can't even lose 10 pounds without gaining half of it back all the time. I am an addict to food and don't know how to fix that. Maybe I need to speak to a professional which I haven't done. I'm 54 yrs old and I need to do this now. I understand how you like to eat and not worry about calories, exercise or anything else.

You do what you need to do, although I think by the sounds of your blog that you really aren't happy fat either. Sometimes it's hard to really know what makes us happy, isn't it?

Don't feel that you are obligated to blog, although I for one really enjoy your stories and inspiration, but you should never feel pressured.

Good luck on your journey to happiness, whichever way you go.

Heather

Reader512 said...

Hi Morgan,
I am brand new to your web site. I just stumbled across it from the Pasta Queen web site. I have also struggled with the weight loss and maintenance thing. I vow to never give up. I am so proud of you for sharing. That 20 minutes walk and the pantry full of healty foods sounds like you are getting back on track. Personally, I try to keep in mind what I heard on a another blog that came from a woman who had lost weight. She said, "don't get caught up on the numbers of scale and just take it one day at time, one step at a time." It echos in my mind all of the time as I continue in my journey to get healthy and lose the weight. We all know that the journey of a thousand miles, begins with the first step. You've already made that first step and just remember that you are not alone.

PrettyWoman said...

I am so, so sorry.

I cannot even imagine regaining the almost 150lbs that I have lost. I would rather die.

I would rather eat nothing but asparagus and lettuce for the rest of my life than be fat.

I was fat all my life, and I am a food addtict...I have had losses and regains (but never have I lost this much) and I might eat a bit too much here and there but I just cannot, I will not EVER gain back that weight. And if it looks like it might happen - the last thing I will put into my mouth will be a loaded pistol.

Why did you even keep your size 20 jeans?

Again, I am so sorry.

elife said...

Hi Morgan, I'm so sorry to hear about your struggles. When I first gained, I remember feeling the same way: I was just so tired of thinking about it all of the time.

But then I got fatter than ever and well, that was even worse. So finally I'm back on a healthier way of living and the joy of feeling good again makes it worth it.

Good luck to you. I hope you find happiness, and I hope you keep us posted. You were hugely inspirational to me when I was in my darkest, fattest hours and I thank you for that.

Linden said...

Even in your "failure," you are inspiring us. That is the beauty of blogging: You share when you don't want to or don't think that anyone will care or don't think that anyone wants to know, and when you do, it touches people, provides a connection between people who are experiencing just the same thing as you are.

I've been feeling down (which means I have way less control with my food than normal) because I'm up 18 pounds from where I was in October. So now I'm only 10 pounds down from my largest weight when 6 months ago, I was down almost 30. I am trying to exercise and eat better, but it's such a nasty cycle. Stand on the scale, not like the number, eat more, run less, not like the number...

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wow. What luck I'm having. You came back!! I hope you stay but I understand if you don't. I'm sorry your having a hard time. You'll get your groove back, one step at a time. I've never had a weight problem, but there is something real and welcoming about your blog. We all have battles, we all fight them in our own way. Good Luck! Missed ya!

MB said...

Hi, it's me again. Just wanted to let you know I left something for you over at my blog. Be sure to check it out at: http://finallyfiguringitout.blogspot.com/2009/05/and-winner-is.html

nicole said...

I've missed your honesty! Personally I think you should keep the blog and just record what you do do, either way. I'm actually going through something very similar, after losing 60 lbs last year I've regained about 20 and have totally fallen off the exercise wagon. Right now I'm just focusing on being ok, mentally first than I'll attempt to work in the physical part. One baby step at a time!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back. I think just the fact that you came back and told us what happened is so encouraging. Stocking your pantry and fridge is a giant step. One day at a time. Good to have you back and going in the right direction.

Christine

Serendipite said...

I am proud of you. The fact that you came back, owned up to it, and are now taking steps to change it - that makes you a success no matter what the tag on your jeans say. This is a lifelong journey, and you are still on it. Hang in there - we're obviously all here for you and to be your support. ((HUGS))

Serendipite said...

By the way, I don't think you have to deprive yourself to get healthy, but you do need to learn moderation. I am also attempting to learn moderation, and it's not an easy thing but I think you will be generally happier with yourself and have a more balanced life.

Linden said...

I totally agree with Serendipite! Moderation is so important for weight loss and maintenance, but it's SO HARD! But it IS a life-long journey. Eventually we'll get there, to the moderate, healthy people we want to be.

Jessica said...

Have you read "Passing for Thin" by Frances Kuffel? I think you might identify with its themes of addiction.

Tara said...

I'm really glad to see you back! Fat or thin, you're still pretty awesome.

I wish you the best of luck in whatever you do. If you choose to write about it, then I know I'll be willing to read. And if not, then that's ok too.

Thank you for being honest and open!

Megan said...

Morgan-
I'm so glad that you're back! First of all, I want to say I agree with what everyone is saying, thick or thin... you're an amazing, strong and inspirational woman!

Please continue to blog... even if it's not about weight... just about funny things and your thoughts in general! I think you're a great writer and your blog is really entertaining! You could change your title to Morgan Gets Real, or something like that!

Hang in there! and don't be so hard on yourself! You're human after all! (And what kind of life would it be to just eat asparagus and lettuce every day anyway!?!)

Sarah said...

I don't think you need people to feel sorry for you, I'm pretty sure you are doing an okay job of that yourself.

My own personal mantra, be the best person you can be, without sacrificing your own happiness.

Easier said than done, you'll find your balance.
I'm rooting for you, whatever you decide.

Sarah said...

I have to say this.

Pretty Woman you have no idea what the hell you are talking about. Well besides yourself, which you seem to be really good at. You are basically suggesting to Morgan that she should have put a gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger when it looked like she might be regaining. You say it in relationship to you, but your fear of fat permeates your comment. This woman has opened up and you give her nothing but pity and self righteousness. Where the fuck do you get off?

TotallyFried said...

I am so glad to see a blog from you. I completely understand that weight gain is hard. I have been through it too many times. Highs you experience when you continue to loose weight suddenly seem so impossible when you continue to gain weight. I have been through the process where i couldnt get my motivation back try as I might. But keep doing what you can because one-day it will suddenly click. I am currently struggling to find the rythm and that routine that I had it a year ago but I know I will. And I know that you will too.

Also, you are a pretty amazing person with or without the 75% gain.

PrettyWoman - $#$$$ off this blog.

Famous in my Other Life said...

Morgan, I am another secret follower of your blog. Thank you for sharing your feelings, your accomplishments, and where you are now. I have done what you have done, and am where you are at too. In 2004 I lost over 100 pounds. I put most of it back on by 2008. I started losing again and currently have been stable at about 195 pounds, which is about 40 down and about 30 to go. I have plateaued because I am once again tired of counting calories, tired of watching my intake, and just plain tired from running.

So I decided to take a break. And I decided to be OK with that. And I also decided that weight loss, for me, is like quitting smoking. It took me a few years of quitting, starting, quitting, cutting back, starting, quitting, starting again, quitting again, until I finally got it. And after that, it took another few years before I could be around a cigaretter and not want to inhale it deeply. And another six months after before I hated the smell of smoke. So maybe that's how weight loss is for me. I have lost mass quantities of weight before. I have put the pounds back on. But sooner or later, if I stick with it, I will find that balance, that spot where it all comes together. Where it may never be "easy" to stay at a smaller weight, it will hopefully be "easier" or feel "normal". So I keep going. I keep looking for that point, and I know eventually I will find.

Don't take your eye off the prize. Take a deep breath. Make a few small changes. But know we, out in the virtual world, are following you, cheering you on, and supporting you when you are ready for it.

Because you have helped me. You have inspired me. And you have changed me. And that, my friend, makes you worthy of happiness.

Cynthia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mongolove said...

PRETTYWOMAN, I understand the feelings you expressed, but I take offense just the same that you would go so far as to even insinuate that someone put a gun in their mouth for making mistakes.

ALSO, I happen to know that Morgan DID NOT keep her size 20 pants. Those size 20s are new, and I AM THE ONE who bought them.

We BOTH threw our "fat clothes" away, and guess what? That was not the magic fix-it-all either.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for coming back and posting again. I am another stranger who is glad to hear you are ok.

I really appreciate what you wrote about the looks of pity. That is what I feel as well and I understand it a little better after reading your post. I think I have a similar addiction and am now gaining back the 40 pounds I lost last year. (After regaining the 100 pounds I'd lost over a couple of years.)

Lately I often think of the advice of a counselor I saw who said that the best thing to do after a cycle of binges is to try to work on one "good" habit each week or two and not to do too much at once.

So far that hasn't been a magical fix for me, but I am exercising again, which has mentally been really hard for me, and I'm happy with that progress.

But thank you for posting again. We all missed you.

kate said...

Thank you for checking in. I really enjoy your blog and wondered how you were doing. I hope you find the peace you so very much deserve.

jules4422 said...

Morgan - thinking positive thoughts and sending positive energy your way today. I've missed you, and am glad you've posted again.

Christina said...

You will be OK, you are strong and you'll recover from this bump in the road to your own self discovery and acceptance. You are worth it. You deserve it. You can do this.

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing writer, and even more amazing person... i heard today that you had just recently posted. You're post reminded me of something known as "the three a's" - Awareness, Acceptance, Action... awareness of your situation, acceptance of the situation for what it is, and action - doing only what you are able to do with/for the situation... you usually can't have success in one without the other (can't accept the situation without the awareness of it... can't take action without having acceptance, etc)... and acceptance of a situation does not mean liking the situation, for me it is a lot of quiet resolve-not letting it consume me so that i am better able to take action to help myself. And, too, for me acceptance is the hardest part.

peace...

Kate said...

As someone who has most likely been caught with a look of pity directed at you, I want to say that what elicits the pity is not the weight gain but the obvious look of defeat on your face. Those of us that care enough to read didn't have any preference between "fat" Morgan and "thin" Morgan except for when the weight loss made you seem happier with yourself. A view from the outside in- we always like what we see when we look at you, but most of all when you are feeling good.

Anonymous said...

Morgan,

I know just how bad this sucks. Lost 100+, gained 130, lost 60 gained 40.

Know that your true friends and family love YOU and cheer for YOU when you are up and hurt for YOU when you are down.

Cheering and hurting for you!
Marla

Vanessa said...

Morgan - I haven't read your blog before, but was immensely touched by this post. The hardest part is keeping it off, and even harder than that, is owning your regained weight, looking it in the eye, and not giving up. Addiction is a big battle to fight and you are admirable in your courage - just for standing up here and telling your story.
Don't give up!

Anonymous said...

Morgan: I came across your blog by accident - my daughter started working at Mexicala Rosas and she said on Facebook "I don't even know what an enchilada is."

I thought I'd find and post her a funny picture of a dog or cat named Enchilada. I put enchilada and dog into google and up came your hilarious post about your dog stealing your enchilada right off your plate. I howled!!!! I wanted to read more!!

I read more and came upon your latest post.

So - two things: you are a great writer and if you did it once (lose the weight) you can do it again. If you want to. Love yourself Morgan. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. You sound like a great person.

Two more things - throw out the calorie charts and quit reading labels.

You KNOW by now what to eat, you know what's healthy. You don't need to obsess over calories, grams of fat or anything else.
Say NO to diet foods - research has shown the more diet foods we eat the fatter we get. Eat real food, eat slowly, taste it.

We need to get back to our thnner ancestors ways -- everyday just make wise choices and do all you can to move your body. The weight will come off again.

Peace to you sweetheart - you sound like an amazing person.

Kathleen in Canada

Anonymous said...

Morgan, thanks for posting again. I'm old enough to be your mom (OK, a very cool, youngish 50 year old mom!). And believe it or not, this middle age suburban mom has been checking your blog now and then, more concerned about how you were feeling than what you currently weigh.

If I could encourage you to pick something back up that you dropped, it would probably be the therapy. I would hope you could get to the root of "what's eating you". I know it gets sickening, and when you feel the worst, that's just about the most important time to stick with it.

I would hope your blog would be energizing for you and provide support (and accountability if that's your goal). Don't do it unless it "gives" you something helpful or you simply wish to document how you're feeling now. I took a stress management class at work one time, and they encourage you to look at life (and people in your life) on a kind of "bullseye". Try to have people who recharge your batteries in the center of the bullseye, that you see on a daily basis. Think of that also with habits, etc. Those that are helpful, energizing, etc. are more in the center, and work to the outer rings to limit those people who drain you, and habits that are destructive to try to keep them at the outer limits (or eliminate...but that may not be feasible).

Anyway, you are a bright, funny young woman (and a very good writer). And that doesn't change when you go from a size 10 to a size 20. But, like us all, a precious fallible human being. While you may be struggling now, it's not like we all just expect perfection and will abandon you at the first stumble. Have you ever noticed how much better our loved ones accept us than we do??

Perhaps your zeal at weight loss just swung the pendulum over too far the other way. Hang in there. Be kind to yourself. I wish you peace and moderation in all things. Take care.

Mary in TX

Kendra said...

Morgan, I miss reading your posts! I hope you feel the urge to start blogging again-- about anything, weight loss or otherwise.

Kenna said...

I admire you for your accomplishments and showing yourself that you can actually achieve your goal. Two years ago I lost 35lbs only to gain it back plus some. I am blessed that I am loved exactly as I am right now. However, I want to have children and avoid diabetes. I am on the edge. You know my relationship with food. It hasn't changed any. Do the best you can for you. Angie and your family will love you no matter what. Take care stranger! Kenna

'Megan' said...

Nice to have you 'back'. I can sympathise. I lost almost 3 stone in 2005 and have put 2 stone back on.
I'm still trying to work it out, what to eat and how to do it. I think it helps to know that there are many others who struggle with it too.

Anonymous said...

I just happened to read just your latest post. I don't know you, I still can feel your pain. I regained about 50 pounds in past few months which I had lost with a lot of hard work. Here I am wondering just like you...

Girl... You can do it! You still can and this time better as you know what went wrong.

Merry said...

Thank you for posting this. I can't imagine it was easy, but it really does help people to see one person's story of weight loss & regain.

I would like to add a comment that's encouraging and solacing and makes you feel fabulous about the road ahead. Unfortunately, I can't think of anything that hasn't already been said, but positive thoughts are being sent your way.

It might be helpful to you to go back to regular blogging. Just a thought. (Said she who hasn't updated her weight-loss blog in over a week.)

zsazhelle ultram(the 50mg piglet) said...

Don't feel so sorry for yourself. Remember: It's not how many times you fall, but the number of times you stand up after each one. Being fat does not only change us externally, it also changes us on the inside-and that is the heaviest and most difficult truth that we have to swallow. But wanting a life where we can be fit and healthy is our right. We may fight tooth and nail just to have it, but in doing so we have to see to it that we do not kill ourselves in the process. Keep up with your blogging. It does your spirits good to know that you are not a lone warrior fighting this bloody battle of the bulge. There are many of us. And although we may not get to meet each other personally, it is a blessing enough to know that there are others out there who are fighting the same inner demon just as hard as you. And being on the same boat, we are more than willing to cheer you on until you finally get to overcome the demon that wreaks havoc on the outside as well on the inside. Be brave, stay brave, and fight.

Shannon Seaback said...

It ok things happen. JUst think about how great you flet a year ago and use that as motivation to go strong again :)

Phentermine said...

Sorry to hear about your weight gain. But its okay. Don't get frustrated. Start again and keep doing those activities you started one year ago and you will loose your extra weight. I wish you all the very best.

namastelove said...

You know, I lost 60 lbs. in 2001 and 2002, then regained it all between 2003 and 2005. It totally blew. It takes me so long to lose weight as it is because I have hypothyroidism (it CAN happen, just much slower than most), AND I'm a food junkie/hedonist to boot, so it's extra hard to lose. Well, I sustained a back injury in 2007 that was so debilitating that I decided it was time to try again. Bear in mind I'm very short, so at 203 lbs. I was 83 lbs. overweight. But I had to do it all again, and this time around it was even better. It's taken me a lot of "tweaking" of my diet and exercise regimen, and a lot of trying different techniques to track my food intake and exercise. I've had a lot of cheating, which I'm sure didn't help speed up my progress...but over the past 2 years I've managed to lose 53 lbs. May sound really slow, but now I'm about 30 lbs. away from being a heatlhy weight for my size (again, tiny, petite frame although I've always been fat as an adult).

I think you can do it again. It sucks to have to do it a second time, but the most reassuring thing I've found is that once you do it once, it's easier to do it again.

I also think finding a balanced approach that allows you to keep your sanity is the best way to go. It's hard to not let the thoughts consume you when you've had this problem most of your life, but at the same time it can be mentally very unhealthy to always be thinking about it. I just try to balance my time spent working on this goal with activities that bring me pure joy, like music and reading.

You can do it! Take care of yourself and know that there are people like us out there pulling for you!

rubiashmubia said...

Morgan, you rock! Going back to re-read your archives and seeing so much of myself in your words. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL and quite the inspiration. Hope that you're doing well and come back to us soon!

Topher said...

Hey Morgan,
Was thinking about you today, and thought I'd stop by and say "hi." I hope you're doing ok; I miss reading your blog. I've all but closed down my blog for lack of time.
Take care,
Topher

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Anonymous said...

I've been where you are. Oh wait, I am where you are. I've tried every diet. I recently read a book that made me consider something that I always thought was corny . . . Overeaters Anonymous. I'm just starting, I don't know if it will work, but I have never met anyone who wasn't a better person for going through a 12 step program, so I decided to give it a try.

Maybe if I dig a little deeper into why I eat, instead of counting calories and exercising like a crazy person, I will have more success.

Anne said...

Morgan come back..i have never posted before and struggle just like you do. I miss your sense of humor and realism!