Monday, August 5, 2013

On being a role model

This post is sparked by a comment I read today on Facebook. Someone was asking if we thought she could lose 15-20 pounds in two months. Her impetus was that she was going to some WLS-oriented event and "as a role model" she felt pressure to be at her optimal weight.

I found that interesting because, as a role model, I find it important not to engage in extreme dieting behaviors. Because, when you lose a lot of weight and, better yet, keep it off, people want to know how you did it and then they try to do what you did.

So I do feel pressure to not mention when I eat crap. Or don't drink enough water. Or slack off on exercise. But I definitely don't feel a lot of pressure to try to shed pounds as fast as possible because of some special event where I want to look good.

Because the last thing I want to be doing is encourage people to go on crash diets or lower their calories to some extremely low amount every time they want to shed a few pounds for a special event. We know that doesn't work long-term and it can cause a lot of damage to your metabolism too.

Now, I'm not saying I don't feel any pressure. It's definitely a bit embarrassing to show up at support group meetings heavier than your optimal and to wonder if people are judging you. Because, let's face it, people do judge. But there are worse things in life. I know this because I showed up at a few support meetings feeling self-conscious when I was struggling with my weight right after my injury -- and I survived!

Anyway, I didn't say anything on the Facebook thread. But I felt conflicted. Because I wanted to say "Stop the Insanity!" If I could have figured out how to do that without seeming mean or judgmental, I would have too.

In the meantime, I continue to deal with "the rest of my life" or what everyone else calls maintenance.

My new job has food EVERYWHERE and it's almost all crap and, while I'm working out more, it's not like when I was training for Ironmans so I have to be careful about what I eat. I was doing okay when I was tracking my food every day but I am going through another one of those "if I have to track my food one more day, I will scream" periods.

It's weird. When I track my food, I have no trouble getting enough protein and keeping my calories in line. I never even have to think about it. I put in the food at the end of the day and the numbers are good. As soon as I stop tracking. BOOM. I'm eating too many carbs, not enough protein, and more calories.

I guess this makes me an imperfect role model, one who hasn't got it all figured out just yet. But I'll keep plugging away at it and so far I've been doing okay. I'm still happy with how my clothes fit, happy with what I see in the mirror and happy with how my head has been healing.

As far as tracking is concerned, I don't think I'll go back to wearing the BodyMedia FIT -- it's started to really pinch my arm skin -- but I might go back to tracking my food. This little vacation from tracking has given me a second wind. Or I may try being better about what I eat without tracking.

I haven't decided yet.
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