I'm to my weight-loss goal, and have been successfully holding steady for three weeks. In three more weeks, I will become a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers (you have to maintain your goal weight for six weeks for that to happen). I assume there's some sort of coronation ceremony for this. Maybe a crown embellished with broccoli florets will be placed on my head and I'll carry a carrot sceptre topped with a grapefruit. Dottie, my leader, will help me take the oath: "I, Lifetime Member Dena, solemnly swear to uphold the tenets of the Points System and will not abuse the powers of FlexPoints bestowed upon me by the people of Weight Watchers. I will endeavor to earn the ActivityPoints I so desperately need and will not surpass the budget thereof." And I'll wear a pretty dress.
But then what? I find myself still a little shaky on my relationship to food. I'm increasingly (rather than decreasingly) obsessed with how much food goes in my mouth and what happens every time I go over points just a little. Will that ice cream put me back where I started? Will having pizza ruin everything? Are my jeans going to suddenly not fit tomorrow because I drank that wine? It's a running discourse in my head, pretty much all the time. I know that's not a sustainable way to live if I want to be a happy, comfortable person. Being thin shouldn't mean being a nutcase, nor should it mean an obsession or compulsion to deny myself things I love. I know that constant worry and denial will not lead to long-term success, and I know that if I'm good most of the time, an occasional splurge isn't going to throw me off course. And if I gain a few pounds, I can lose it again. Weight gain is not like cement setting on my butt or anything.
But the fact is that making my brain accept this new version of food reality is a lot more difficult than actually losing the weight was. This has me surprised and nervous. I thought it would be easier to be on maintenance, but it turns out this is where the work really begins. Physically changing was one thing. Emotionally changing is quite another.