I was thinking this morning about weight loss, weight maintenance, and frustration with weight. As I was reflecting on those three aspects of weight management I thought it would be interesting to look at the role frustration plays with weight loss success and failure. When I thought of frustration with weight, here’s the definition I came up with.
♦ Frustration with Weight – Can occur before, during, or after weight loss attempts. In other words, at any time!
Frustration with my weight was a daily, if not hourly feeling. When I first married, and started putting on weight, I was constantly frustrated with how I looked. I hopped on and off the scale every few days not understanding how I was gaining so much weight. I couldn’t admit to myself that I was the reason I was gaining so much weight. And because I couldn’t admit to myself that I was the problem, my frustration with myself and the scale grew.
I remember getting fitted for an outfit when John and I belonged to a singing ensemble at church. Believe it or not, we had to wear Victorian costumes. I selected a beautiful green satin fabric, and a intricate ballgown pattern. I took the fabric and the pattern to the seamstress, where she measured me and said to come back in two weeks for a fitting. When I went back two weeks later, she had the dress mostly completed, and it seemed to fit nicely. However, when I went back a month later to pick up the completed dress, hat, slip, and bows for my shoes, I had gained a bit of weight.
This caused a problem. I could barely zip the zipper. I vividly recall standing in her bathroom trying my best to get the zipper to close. I sucked in my breath, reached my hands behind my back and tugged and tugged. Miraculously it went together. It went together, but I could barely breathe. I looked at myself in the mirror, and wondered if she would notice that the waist was tighter than it had been a month before. And of course, when I walked out of the bathroom for her to see the dress, she said, “Have you put on some weight?” Shaking my head I said, “I don’t think so,” knowing full well that I had just told that nice old lady a lie. Standing in her living room with her fussing over the dress, I vowed to lose the pounds I had gained, and get back to where I was less frustrated with my weight and appearance.
I left her house with my beautiful ball gown in hand, determined to make a change in my eating habits. But the minute I got in my car, instead of heading to the health food store to stock up on some food that might help me end my frustration, I drove straight to McDonald’s and ordered a couple of cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke. After inhaling that food while driving down the road, I visited Wendy’s to top off my frustration with a Frosty.
So for me, merely feeling frustrated with my weight wasn’t enough to move me into action at that point. In fact, once I went from merely overweight to morbidly obese, I wasn’t asked to be in any ensembles anymore. Instead of wearing ball gowns, I wore tent shaped jumpers, white tennis shoes, and stopped wearing my contacts.
My feelings of frustration grew, my waistline expanded, and I often felt paralyzed. I couldn’t seem to move forward in my attempts to get healthy, and instead kept eating, and eating, and eating. I wanted to stop grazing on chocolate, inhaling chips, and baking cakes, but I felt out of control.
No matter how frustrated I felt, it wasn’t enough to get me moving in the right direction. Morbid obesity was very frustrating. I hated getting on the scale, buying clothes, and looking at myself in the mirror. But the frustration alone wasn’t enough to get me moving in the right direction permanently. Why not? I think for me, because frustration is such a negative emotion. Every time I lost tried another diet based solely on the frustration I felt, I failed. It wasn’t until I combined the frustration and fear with something positive that I was finally able to move forward.
What are your thoughts about frustration and weight? Does frustration hold you back from reaching your goals, or is it an emotion that you can use to move forward? Diane