I Think I Should Feel Awesome About Myself….

But I don’t.

Here’s the deal. I’m feeling low. Depressed. Down.

My weight hasn’t budged again in two weeks! And I’m working my ass off. For instance, this is my calorie burn for the week so far:

daily burn 2

daily burn 5

daily burn 4

daily burn 3

daily burn

And yes, I realize losing weight is like 85% diet…you can’t out-exercise a poor diet (and don’t I know it, I’ve tried before) so I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am eating the correct number between 1600 and 1800 as decided upon by my new trainer and using Nutrisystem.

And it’s not working. And I feel really down on myself. And I can’t find anything to wear to my dance lesson because all I can see is the fat. Because all I think about when I look down at my belly during my work day is how big it is, and perhaps I need to go low carb, or gluten-free, or maybe I need to go back to the MD weight loss clinic and eat 800 calories a day. Or maybe I should get that weight loss surgery. Maybe I should have not gone out to celebrate my 9 year wedding anniversary. Maybe that was sabotage and I should have insisted on skipping it. Somewhere, somehow, I’ve screwed up.

My mind is cyclone of raging, hateful thoughts, and every time I see myself in the mirror it is a disappointment. Every time I get on the scale I see failure and feel frustration. What am I killing myself for to get no results? The weight, I think to myself, should be falling off because I have so much of it to spare and because I’m working so hard at it.

I mean, it’s not stopping me from doing what I need to do. I am still hellbent on going to the gym to complete my cardio as promised to my trainer. The voices that whisper at me to not go know they don’t have a chance and so even if they do manage to pop into my head, they leave me alone shortly knowing that they are already defeated, that I have made up my mind. And that, is something. Even as defeated as I feel, I can’t bear the thought of not doing the work outs because that is somehow more painful than skipping them.

But it sure is messing with me mentally. And today when I went to my lesson I was in a poor head space and my lesson was not very productive. It was pretty much a total bummer. It’s almost better, in terms of being productive and improving my dancing, to ignore the huge fat elephant in the room that is my body size, shape, and mass, and pretend that I am the size of Marieta. I can be happier if I don’t look in the mirror, don’t see myself, and just feel. But that is not in the cards right now. Because it is all I can see. To the point that if I see a skinny girl looking me up and down at the gym, I know, I just know that she is thinking she’d rather be dead than look like I do. (Of course we all know that this is my thought, that I have no idea what that girl may be thinking, and that I am projecting that nastiness but seriously, this is what is in my head right now.) And yes, I will even own it, a part of me would rather be dead than look like I do now. But I can’t change how I look instantaneously. So I have to find acceptance for it and push onward.  There is naught else to do.  And I am in so much resistance to the idea of accepting my body as it is.  It is, to me, unacceptable and shameful. The anthesis of anything feminine or beautiful.

And it all just seems so impossible – that I am up against an impregnable wall, pushing, pushing, pushing, and the wall is winning.  It feels like my body is fighting me and resisting me at every turn. I hate my body. I hate it! I really do. I’ve had a hateful relationship with it for many, many years. The last decade or so I have let it be and we have kept the peace by me ignoring it, pretending that it is not important, distancing who I am from how I am packaged. But now I’m focused on it. I once again see it’s flaws and imperfections. It is a total and utter disappointment. Ugly. Disgusting. And it is not even cooperating in the process of making it better.

But why did I even think it would? When has it ever acquiesced to my wishes of a body like Jennifer Anniston? I have never, ever been thin or lean. Each pound lost was hard-won though starvation. And even then I had cellulite. Should I just accept that I will always have a gross body? That was part of why I stopped dancing. I just didn’t have a dancer’s body.

And in a gross, non-dancer-type body about the last thing I want to do is dance. Especially next to people who have fantastic, gorgeous bodies. And it makes me mad and bitter…like here I am hauling twice the weight of a normal sized person around doing the same movement as everyone else and it is damn hard! I’m told it is difficult in a tiny body – well try it with a 100 pound backpack on cause that’s pretty much what I do on a regular basis. And I don’t care about how well I move because the fat is so distracting. And I don’t care about being fit…I just want to be skinny damnit!

So there you go. Probably a major downer to read but this is what is going on for me. And I don’t understand why I feel so crappy. Because I’m doing all the right things. Shouldn’t the endorphins be kicking in about now? Shouldn’t I be proud that I’m taking consistent, committed action? How come that somehow isn’t enough? How come the results, often harsh but always fair, are telling a different story?

Well, all I can think to do is to change something. And starting Monday that is what I will do. As my trainer said, “We haven’t found the jump-start for your body.” I feel like because I was already pretty active before I started putting a concerted effort toward getting this weight off and hiring the trainer and all that I’m in a plateau. And it kinda, I mean REALLY, sucks to hit a plateau just when you are starting. Or should I be looking at it like I’m 3 months into the new year and only down maybe 10 pounds? It is totally unacceptable. This is urgent. I will never be as young as I am right now to make this happen.

And through all this struggle, it has really affected me. Somehow I lost my confidence. I think before I began really working on losing the weight I had some fantasy that I could be the level of competitive dancer I wish to become based on the quality of my movement alone. This was a fallacy in two respects: 1) dancing is aesthetic and appearance is absolutely part of the package 2) my physicality at this large size holds me back from doing certain choreography, having stamina, and physically being capable of performing at that level. Before I believed I moved well and that was going to be enough. Now I believe that I move well, but that there is a lot more to improve in that regard and also that it is necessary to have a different physicality to become that high level competitive dancer I envision. My good is suddenly, I realize, not good enough. That combined with the weight struggles has me lying face down on the floor. Where did my exuberance go? Where did all my joy run off to? I don’t know but it has got me feeling beaten down.

Here’s hoping the scale will show a different result tomorrow.  Here’s hoping that if it sings the same song, or if I go up a pound that I can just accept it and I won’t let it depress me.  Here’s hoping that the plateau is going to end soon.  Here’s hoping all this effort will pay off and that one day I will like the reflection in the mirror.  Here’s hoping that I will start to feel good about being me because that can’t come soon enough.

20 thoughts on “I Think I Should Feel Awesome About Myself….

  1. Paragon2Pieces says:

    Happy 9th anniversary–that’s fantastic 🙂

    I would be frustrated too, no doubt about it. But there’s bound to be a substantial reward if you push through to the other side of this plateau. Keep at it!

    • loveablestef says:

      That is the plan. I just need to whine sometimes and the blog seems the be the place where I blow off steam. I’m feeling better already. Thanks for the encouragement..just keep swimming…just keep swimming…just keep swimming!

    • Melva Smith says:

      Keep going at it and the weight will come off. I’m a ballroom and line dancer too. It took me a long time to get most of the weight off and I still have a stomach that just wont budge. But I know I am doing something healthy for myself by dieting properly and exercising. Currently I am writing a story about weight loss and ballroom dance and would love to use a few quotes from you. It will be printed in the local newsletter of USA Dance chapter in Louisville Ky. Drop me a line about how ballroom dancing is improving your outlook on life, etc.

      • This reply is for Stef and Melva – Steff – i suggest you keep a meticulous food diary and weight yourself every single morning. That’s what i did when I was losing my 60 lbs. – and i still do it. Your weight will provide the perfect feedback re how various foods and amounts affect your bod. I now understand my bod so well that I can predict what i will weight two days after I’ve eaten unwisely. In my case, it takes two days for sin to manifest on the scale and longer for heroic restraint to be reflected.
        For Melva – Would love it if you would share your info re weight loss and ballroom. Am writing a book, Dancing Can Change Your Life, about the benefits of dance. mcondon@ycp.edu

  2. Christine aka Dancingkatz says:

    Sending you lots of hugs. It sounds as though you need them. I’m sure that you have the strength to make it through this plateau even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

    Please don’t regret celebrating your anniversary. One day of treating yourself isn’t sabotage. It sounds like you immediately went back to your program. Also, remember that it wasn’t too long ago that you were sick and couldn’t do your dance lessons or gym work. That probably had more of an effect than your anniversary dinner. Hang in there and keep up the good work. Because you are doing good work on your body regardless of what your inner critic thinks.


  3. BallroomDiva says:

    You are an amazing person and an amazing dancer. You are an inspiration to all of us, and are making a difference to the world every day. Blogging is therapeutic, and confirms that you are feeling some of the same emotions the rest of us have from time to time.
    If you are looking for a jump start to change your metabolism, please contact me directly. I can share what has worked for me. It is not a supplement, strictly an eating plan which is sensible and healthy and will allow you to loose weight without starvation.
    Stay strong – we all have days of doubt and depression.:)

  4. Nena Tignini says:

    Hi Stefanie,
    I hope you are feeling better this morning. I feel like there are so many things I could say. Perhaps, when I formally meet you I can. In the meantime, I want to share a couple of things.
    I was drawn to your blog by friending Ivan on fb. As I read your stories, I was intrigued and INSPIRED by your BEAUTY, and the love you have for dance. I can relate to the excitement and thrill and ups and downs of dancing, the techniques, the thrill of an amazing lesson; also… body image. You maybe would look at me and say why body image for me? The reason is because when I am looking around and look in the mirror, I, too, see fat, disproportion, cellulite, flab; in addition to wrinkles around my eyes, aging skin, hair that is turning gray, and legs with varicose and spider veins that I hate. It is all relative. The point is, I think part of it is your huge love and knowledge of dance and the beauty and grace that it is and when you see Inna or Marietta or any other pros executing their abilities… and how the image goes along with it. But you are not them… (I have to tell myself that, too) and mostly, they are not you! I don’t know what else you do, but reading your blog and fb, I know you are happily married by your pics and comments, seems you have a job that is stimulating AND you dance AND kick butt at it! Since I have been taking ballroom dance (6 months now) I keep wanting more and have this expectation that I should be 1000 times better by now. I have realized that in my head I am this great dancer; in the mirror, I am a middle aged, mother-of- four who really cannot dance. The reality is that probably on a scale of 1 to 10, I am a 2. I’m constantly struggling with why am I doing this? Why am I investing time and money? Who do I think I am? Where am I ever going to go with this? Who am I fooling? Do I actually think I could ever dance like Inna? Finally, my sister -in- law said, “you enjoy it, it brings you happiness, just enjoy it as you do it and when you do it”. I know your struggle feels disappointing to you, but I want you to know when I was, once again, talking to my sister-in-law about dance (poor girl is always listening to me rant and rave about dance), I said, “I met someone through fb who danced at Glenda Folk, is a student of Ivan’s, who writes about dance exactly the way I think about dance. I saw her pictures and they are amazing! Her lines are so gorgeous… I wish I could get my arms to move like hers and create those lines!
    I happen to go to the Tuesday group Standard/Latin classes at Imperial last Tuesday. I was so excited. The first class started, and when the students arranged themselves in a circle and started with the first drill, I had to step out because I was so lost and could not do what EVERYONE was doing. I felt so let down. I sat through and watched the entire class in awe. Then Latin started with Igor and I felt that I was not able to fit in. So I watched so that when I come back at least I know what to expect. I saw you come in and take your place in class. As I watched everyone, I could only see their amazing ability. Your rumba steps were stellar, beautiful, and spot on… in addition to your arm styling, I only could look at you in envy watching you nail everything you did.
    Sounds as if you are doing all the right things and know all the right things to do. It’s very difficult not to be hard on ourselves and not be constantly picking out our flaws and fall into those low places. Sometimes, it helps for me to vent, (I believe in it!), and sometimes it is helpful for me to say I have a husband who loves and supports me, kids and friends who don’t see the flaws I struggle with, and am lucky to be able to do these things that I do for now. I know it those ideas do not make everything better, but it helps with the lows. Just know there are people out there (like me!) who look at you like you look at Marietta. I have never seen what you see. I think you are awesome.

  5. Don’t ever give up! It just takes time. I admire your persistence and I know you will get there. It seems you have all the tools to accomplish the weight loss (and you will) and you have the tools to work towards being a competitive dancer, so keep up the good work. YOU CAN & YOU WILL SUCCEED!!! Keep Dancing!

  6. Alaina says:

    Sometimes we tend to be our own self-critic, don’t we? It hurts worse than if someone else were to criticize us becuase we know our flaws more intimately than anyone else.

    I know the body can be so utterly frustrating, but I want to show you something. This sentence from your post stuck out: “I can’t bear the thought of not doing the work outs because that is somehow more painful than skipping them.” THAT, right there, caught my attention. Because, taking care of yourself is a life-style. The fact that you’re willing to go work out even if you feel like utter crap shows me that you’re saying, “You know, what? Screw you, fat!” (for lack of a word I’d rather not use on the Internet, or even at all) I mean, look, I have an intimate family member that deals with alcoholism, almost an entire bottle of wine every night. He’s unwilling to acknowledge that he needs help, so he’s going nowhere. It hurts me. You, you’re going somewhere and doing something. I’ve even run into people in your situation that just won’t do anything about it at all, no motivation, yet they moan about how they are so unhealthy.

    Lastly, and this is tough, try not to hate your body. You know, when I was really little, I despised the fact that I was a girl. I just hated it. Why be a girl when being a boy seems so much easier? I hated myself because I couldn’t grasp why a mother could leave her child (I’m adopted.). So, I projected the nastiness I felt towards her onto myself. While the hatred for my body is gone, I’ll admit that’s it’s a major struggle sometimes to look in the mirror and see my own beauty. Sometimes the depression gets to the point where I want to end it all. Then, I think about all the people that love me, that see my beauty beyond the narrow scope of my of my own self-criticism. I know that there are people like that in your life. Above all, never forget Who made you. He made you perfect. Sure we may royally screw things up with what He did, but He sees what we were originally meant to be anyway. You have a beautiful personality and a wonderful drive to improve yourself that I admire. Please keep going.


    P.S.: I understand that this post was mainly to let it all out, and believe me, I get that. I just wanted to give you some encouragment.

  7. theoldmaid says:

    Oh, I’m sorry this has been so frustrating and discouraging for you. It will turn around because you are determined.

  8. Kelly S says:

    It sounds frustrating to put in so much work and not see better and faster results.

    I do have a challenge for you. 🙂 And that is to only focus on things that are good, beautiful and awesome about you. Love yourself and your body and focus on those things that are good. Just having the desire to be mobile and use your body for the movement that you do, what an incredible blessing. And to have the grace and power in your movement and dance, again, what a gift. Also physically… beautiful smile, skin, hair, etc. So many things to be thankful for. Magical things start to happen when you fuel your soul and body with love.

    I had breast cancer 1 1/2 years ago. I never bought into the “Cancer sucks” or “I hate cancer” statements. That cancer was MY body, MY cells. If I hated cancer, then I hated myself. I just kept saying, “I’m sorry I haven’t treated you better. I love you. I will take care of you better moving forward.” Funny thing is that I have always been physically healthy but I didn’t love myself just the way I was. I was so self-critical.

    Your dedication is awesome and impressive. It’s always great to see you on the dance floor.

    PS Check out the book “Wheat Belly”.

  9. MizzSmartyPants says:

    Losing weight is frustrating. Especially as a woman with all our hormone fluctuations and crap. Our bodies are not predictable at all. If your net caloric intake (food calories – exercise calories) is lower than what your body needs to maintain it’s current weight, then you are losing weight. But sometimes our bodies kind of freak out and hold on to extra water that ends up making the scale not move for a while. That is so frustrating and can make the whole thing feel useless. But stick with it and you’ll most likely see a big drop to make up for the lack of change these last couple weeks.

    If you have any muscle soreness at all, that is a pretty good indication that you are retaining water. Think of it kind of like a blister. When there is something uncomfortable, our bodies use water to sort of create a cushion to try to ease the pain. But once your body adapts to the new exercise level, it’ll let all that go.

    If you aren’t doing this yet, you should take your body measurements. Often our bodies will be getting smaller, even if the scale says our weight isn’t changing. Remember, muscle is heavier than fat, but takes up a smaller volume, so you could also be converting fat into muscle and the scale can’t show that.

    Hang in there! I’m going through a lot of the same things you are, so I know how all those negative emotions and self doubt can creep in and take over. Don’t let them! You are beautiful and a really fantastic dancer and you can do anything you set your mind to if you just tell those negative thoughts to take a hike! 😉

  10. Elaine says:

    My husband and I just went out for our anniversary last night as well. Our anniversary was actually on Sunday, but we had a BLIZZARD that day. While we were out, I kept thinking the same as you, that I really shouldn’t be doing this because I’m trying to lose weight. I’m on a bit of a plateau right now as well.

    Sometimes I feel angry and disgusted with myself, and even though I know that I have many blessings in my life and things about myself that I can like or be proud of, I just want to wallow in misery and it feels good to vent it all out. Bless my husband’s heart, he is willing to put up with all of my whining, moaning and complaining from time to time. It doesn’t usually last too long with me, because I tend to be kind of a Pollyanna about things, but there are times…

    One thing that helps me, is that I really try to be grateful for all that I have, each and every day. (And some days it is HARD!) The other thing is that I learned to talk back to myself, or argue with myself, so to speak. “Geez, my stomach is so fat it’s just disgusting” “Oh shut up, it’s not nearly as fat as it used to be…look at how much more comfy my jeans are now!. Besides, I skipped the dessert last night, and I’ve been GREAT with my exercise this week!” Some days this works better than others, but it’s kept me from a candy binge on more than one occasion.

    From what I’ve read and seen on your blog, you are doing pretty darn awesome. It’s inspiring, actually. My very best to you in your journey…I know you’ll get through the hard parts just fine.

  11. bgballroom says:

    Oh Stef! So sorry you are in this yucky place right now. Not fun. I think you have what it takes to get through this, but it is you who has to slog through the ups and downs and no matter how many cyber hugs we send you, that will not change! If we could walk a mile or two for you in your Capezios, you can bet a lot of us would volunteer in a minute! (And only a tiny bit because we want to live in a warm place a get to dance with Ivan all the time. He would have to cut out the crazy Latin stuff and go International Standard on my days….but I digress. LOL)

    Sometimes it is all about a psychological or philosophical approach – getting your mind into the right space and finding ways to keep your emotional self happy, but sometimes it is about simple tips and tricks. The one you have already been given about taking measurements is really good. Another is to have either a pair of pants that fit perfectly or an “aspirational” pair to try on from time to time. My aspirational jeans fit. Just. When they start feeling like I want to wear them for a whole day of work or an evening out, I will know I have actually lost some inches. Another one is to go completely against conventional wisdom and weight yourself a LOT. I think this is especially interesting for women. You don’t want to do it too much as you will make yourself crazy, but if I weigh myself several times per day I see such big fluctuations in the result that I can’t help but think a once per week weigh-in might be off a few pounds, too.

    http://skepchick.org/2013/03/dont-tell-me-to-love-my-body/ Not sure how to make a clickable link in a blog post, but thought you might find this interesting, especially since it is written by someone who recently lost a lot of weight. I have to say that there have always been things I have not loved about my body, but there have always been a few that I do love. And on those kinds of days, I just focus on the loveable ones for awhile. It does help:-) and please believe EVERYone who says you are an amazing dancer, because it is so true. Honestly and seriously. If I had your balance, lines and poise, I would totally take up Latin to show it off. Dance:-)

  12. Stef there is nothing I can say that hasn’t been said more eloquently by so many others before me. Know you are loved and be kind to yourself. You are an inspiration and you can do this! Sending many hugz!!

  13. I can’t stop thinking about this post. I am so sorry that you feel so down! I am proud of you for all your hard work, your honesty, and your generosity. I hope that on the hard days you can remember that you have a fan club!

  14. Paulina says:

    I am not going to say anything about your diet, I am not qualified to do that, but: who says fat ladies can’t dance? Check out La Faraona:
    http://youtu.be/uPV8o0mn2aI (some really serious flamenco, from minute 6.15) She is taking her time and only doing the strictly necessary, just like her father El Farruco used to do, but the audience seems to be crazy for her.

  15. Rachel says:

    I just found this blog today, and I can completely relate. I recently started Argentine Tango, and I am the biggest girl in the room. Besides the weight, I am also six feet tall, so I am man-big. It is so hard to feel beautiful and sexy around the tiny women, and there are times I feel like giving up, but the tango community is so nice, and it feels so good to belong to a group that accepts me more than I accept myself. I have been thin when I was young, but metabolisms change. Every pound I lose is a battle! I have to keep trying, but I get so frustrated!

    • loveablestef says:

      Rachel, Welcome! I’m so glad you have found a home with Argentine Tango. At some point I’d like to go down that Rabbit Hole, but I’m kinda scared to, because well, Argentine Tango is rich and deep and profound and beautiful and I love it and yeah….I have so much on my plate already…I couldn’t devote myself to it like I know I’d want to and still pursue my hardheaded ballroom goals. In any case, I wanted to say hello! Thanks for commenting! And also to encourage you to accept yourself as much as your tango community does. You deserve it and you are worth it. We are all works in progress. Let’s just decide to be the latest, greatest expression of ourselves in this moment, because, really, that’s all we ever are, and it is enough. XOXO and I’m so glad you came by the blog. XOXO, Stef

  16. […] the good choices. I’m just not in the place right now where I feel good about it all. Like the one blog post I wrote a bit ago when I was working out like a fiend, setting goals for myself and hitting them, […]

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