What I Mean When I Say I’m Not Ready to Lose Weight

Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

As I write this, I am the biggest I have ever been, somewhere around 260 pounds but hopefully not over that number, as the last few times I’ve weighed myself it’s fluctuated a bit, but has been closer to 260 than 250.

That terrifies me because that means for the first time in my life I’m closer to 300 pounds than 200.

How did I get here?

Well, I eat too much junk, not nearly enough healthy food, and I don’t exercise at all.

I live a very sedentary life, I think I’m addicted to sugar and carbs, and I’m afraid that if I don’t do something soon to change this the number on the scale is just going to keep going up and up and up until I completely lose control.

But still, as scared as I am about getting bigger, I don’t feel like I’m ready to start getting smaller.

This might be hard to make sense of, so let me explain.

Three and a half years ago, I quit smoking cold turkey after being a smoker for thirteen years.

That was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life — breaking a real addiction to nicotine and giving up something that I really loved (as gross as that sounds, it’s true), and I believe there’s only one reason I was able to succeed:

Because I was ready and wanted to do it.

If I hadn’t wanted to quit smoking, there’s no way I could have done it, much less cold-turkey, full stop.

If I wasn’t ready, there’s no way I would have been able to make that huge life change without slipping back into smoking.

I had to want to quit more than I wanted to smoke, and in my opinion, the same goes for weight loss efforts.

Except, I think losing weight is a whole lot harder than quitting smoking.

With quitting smoking, just like with weight loss, you have to make the choice every day to not smoke.

Sounds simple, right?

Sounds like maybe I could just choose every day to not eat things that are bad for me, and make better food choices.

Well, in my humble opinion, if you think that’s true, you’ve never had a significant amount of weight to lose.

Weight loss consumes your life.

I’ve been there before — on diets, I mean.

Years ago I tried Weight Watchers and lost 30 pounds by counting points on the app every day, and was thrilled with my progress.

But guess what?

As soon as you stop counting points and calories, the weight loss stops, too.

For a person who needs to lose over 100 pounds to get to a healthy weight, every calorie must be counted, every daily goal must be reached.

It’s not just about making healthier choices and slowly integrating them into your life — it’s a regime change.

It’s not just about skipping the dessert and eating smaller portions.

It takes weighing and measuring everything you put into your mouth every day.

It takes scrutinizing food packaging and remembering to log everything in your app of choice.

It takes choosing over and over, every day, to deny yourself what you want and instead choose what you should have.

And all of it really, really sucks.

You never realize how fat you are until you try to lose weight.

Then there’s the psychological aspect of it all.

Until you start counting calories and consistently weighing yourself to see what progress you’re making, you don’t really realize how bad things are, and how hard it is to change.

You could have a week of counting calories and stay under your goal and then come to realize that you’ve denied yourself all of the delicious things you wanted only to have lost a pound or two.

Then you ask yourself, is this even worth the effort?

It always makes me think of a saying that goes around the weight loss “community” that frankly makes me sick:

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.

Well, how the hell should I know if that is true?

I know exactly how delicious ice cream is, but I have no idea how good skinny feels because I’ve never been skinny.

I think it’s something that skinny people say to make us fat folk feel like we need to get some control over ourselves.

But the control must be total.

And I am not ready.

Dieting makes me depressed, and I don’t want to go there right now.

As bad as I feel about myself physically right now, I haven’t felt better mentally in ages.

My mental health is better than it’s been in as long as I can remember, and one of the reasons I don’t feel ready to start counting calories and cutting out foods I love is because I know that dieting makes me depressed, and I don’t want to lose these mental wins I’ve had lately.

Right now, I want to keep focusing on the positive things in my life, and not transition into constantly thinking about the most negative thing in my life — my weight.

One could argue (and I’m sure many will) that getting my weight and health under control is the most positive thing I could do for myself, and I can’t completely disagree.

I know my weight is affecting my bad knee joints, I know my blood pressure is higher than it should be, I know that if I didn’t wear leggings and dresses every day I wouldn’t be able to shop in regular stores for clothes anymore…

But I also know that focusing every part of my being on what goes into my mouth every day would be awful for my mental health right now.

I don’t think I could take it if I tried and failed.

And so, that’s why I’m not ready to try.

Is this the right choice for me?

I don’t know.

I know that losing weight, ultimately, is the right choice.

But I have to want to do it more than I want anything else.

I have to want the number on the scale to go down more than I want to worry about how much sugar I put in my coffee or whether I have dessert every day.

I’m just not there yet, but hopefully, soon, I will be.

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