As I go through my journey and continue to be successful in getting healthy, more people have begun to notice that I am making changes and they ask me what I am doing. I am happy to share and in doing so I am freeing myself from the shame of being fat.
I openly discuss my weight. How much weight I have lost. How many inches I have taken off my body. I am not talking about using cute euphemisms either…I talk in cold hard numbers! This would never have happen at the beginning of my journey, forget about a year ago. I was ashamed of my lack of self control, and I showed that by trying hide my stats…it didn’t work well as my struggle was all too evident for the world to see.
What I also struggled with, frankly, were the comments that people-like literally strangers, who knew nothing about me other then what they saw walking by-would make. It would all be done in a loud stage whisper…like they were talking to their friends, but they wanted me to hear what they were saying. I won’t get into the comments, because rudeness like that really doesn’t deserve to be acknowledged. What further struck me is that it never happened when I was with my husband…only when I was alone, or even worse, with my kids. I would hear the comments and so would the kids…my face would burn and I would hurry along, never responding. I don’t know which bothered me more, the shame of having someone make rude comments about you in front of your children or the fact that I did nothing to stand up for myself, regardless…it was demeaning, rude and offensive and it did nothing but tear me down.
It brought to light the fact that as much as our culture talks about tolerance and equality…there are still certain groups that can be ridiculed openly and publicly… and being fat is one of them. I am not talking about injustice on a large scale here…but I do like to talk about what is means to be overweight in our culture because that played into my identity for a really long time.
I have been able to let go of the shame, because I have taken control of my life, and I had to come to the place where I wouldn’t let others dictate my self-worth. But I know that there are others out there who struggle with any number of things….and lots of people will offer their opinion…sometimes it is under the guise of advice…but let’s face it, they aren’t really there to help.
So two things to wrap up…if you can’t say anything nice, keep it to yourself and if you see or hear someone being torn down…speak up, you never know what that will mean to them.
Have you ever been in one of those fun houses that has all the crazy mirrors? My kids love looking at their crazy reflections, but I can’t help but get a little freaked out because sometimes I find those images aren’t reflections, by how I view myself in real life.
I have moments were I am really happy with the progress that I have made. I like what I see when I look in the mirror, I feel strong and healthy and I know that I have made great changes in my life.
And then those other times come around…when I haven’t lost as much as I would have liked, or I wonder if there is really a difference. Sure it is great that I am a smaller size , but I still have to shop in the plus-size department and my stomach is still an area that really needs some work.
I also get overwhelmed with the amount I still need to go. I started out knowing that I was going to be in this for the long-haul, and I had said I needed a year to reach my goal. It looks like I may need more time to get there and while most days I am okay with that, sometimes I get frustrated with myself, my body and just my progress in general.
Those niggling voices are quieter than they use to be, but they still pop up. What happens if you gain all the weight back? What if you never reach your goal? Did you wait too long before making the changes and now you are stuck with a body that is a ticking time bomb of illness?
What gets me out of that place…it depends, different things work at different times, but the good news is I do get out. Eating use to be an emotional roller coaster for me…the constant tug of needing to eat to survive and eating my feelings…that has slowly shifted and I am pretty confident in myself and my ability to say no.
What is harder to change is the emotional response…part of this is learned behaviour and part is me fighting the change. It is easier to eat my feelings then confront and deal with them. But I refuse to be emotionally crippled in that way anymore. I am a strong, confident woman who is kicking butt at life…well that’s the end game anyway.
Two things happened this past week that really made me evaluate my choice to get healthy and how that has impacted not only myself, but my family as well.
This past week my husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. He had to work, but we did get a sitter and go out for dinner. We were in the car trying to decide where to go and once that was established, we talked about how we were both in the mood for a cheat meal. I really hadn’t had this urge before but I was feeling pretty good about my accomplishments so far (down 60 lbs and 58 inches-thank you very much). I felt like I was in control and could handle one celebratory meal . We got to the restaurant and got seated and decided what we wanted to have…we didn’t cheat…it had just become so ingrained in us to order a particular way that we didn’t think about it until after the fact. We had a pretty good laugh at our walk on the wild side and then we were home by 9 PM…things change so much after you have kids.
The other thing that happened was I had been noticing that my daughter kept talking about our eating program…what is allowed and not allowed etc. My little Banana does love to follow the rules. I had been very conscientious though about how we presented this to our kids…we are setting an example that matters and they are watching, like a hawk. I didn’t want this to be about body shaming and I certainly didn’t want my devotion to a really healthy eating style to impact my kids negatively. I can hear some of you thinking “Well, how could that happen?” But as you all know kids get funny ideas and you can never tell what they perceive to be the motivation behind the changes we were making. I didn’t want either of my kids to have negative ideas about food and health…we are trying to live this lifestyle because it is healthy and we feel better, it is not only about weight loss, although that has been a great motivator. Right now we are on a strict program, but that will ease up considerably when we enter our maintenance phase. It has really opened the door for us to have frank conversations about how we see ourselves and the right way to treat our bodies.
These things just prove that I have made the transition from a flash-in-the-pan eating program to truly embracing a lifestyle. What once was hard for me has become a good habit…has it been easy? Not always, there were days that I would have given my left arm for a pizza. Once I have lost all the weight, then I need to be able to keep it off and learn from the lessons that I have traveled over the last 7 months (it will be just over a year by the time I reach my goal). I want to model a balanced life to my kids…body, soul and mind. I started this journey with in being all about me, but it has really become far more encompassing than that.
I had one of those “ah-ha” moments in church yesterday. The topic was on living your life according the the wisdom in proverbs, specifically it was linked to drinking, but I felt like the message was speaking to me about my relationship to food. Now this may be a touchy subject and frankly you may not agree with me…but I have said this before and I will say it again. I am super happy that people read my blog and I hope that you find it encouraging, but frankly the blog is really about me and my journey. It is just me working through my issues with food, body image and how I handle my emotional triggers…so it kind of falls under the following subject #sorrynotsorry.
The seven deadly sins are: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Why these seven things I can’t say for sure, but if you look closely so will see that they have something in common. They are all gifts from God, that when used for selfish, destructive ways end up severing your relationship with those around you. Let me give you an example…the ability to rest is awesome, we all need those lazy days to recharge our batteries…taken to an extreme that can turn into slothfulness. People learn that you don’t get stuff done, they can’t count on you and that you aren’t dependable. The gift has become something that can sever relationships and create unhealthy habits.
I believe that the same can be said for how we use food. Good food and the enjoyment of that good food is a gift from God, this is talked about in both the Old and New Testaments. When we use food to stifle our emotions and create an unhealthy body we are guilty of gluttony. I AM GUILTY OF GLUTTONY! I am guilty of many others things too…just ask my family and they will let you know that I am not perfect. I bring this up because it has been a major spiritual issue that until very recently I have ignored. I didn’t realize how this was impacting my relationship with others or my relationship with God…still working through the implications of what this all means.
This gets really controversial because people think that you are saying that all people who are overweight, just by virtue of being overweight, are sinning in some fundamental way.
I AM NOT SAYING THAT AT ALL…FULL STOP.
This is about how you use the gifts that God has given you and if we are using them in the way that God intended.
All parts of us are connected, that is why you can make yourself sick physically when you aren’t feeling well emotionally or spiritually. I often focus on the physical aspects of my journey, but I am also working on getting healthy emotionally and spiritually too. Those aspects are just a little harder to measure quantifiably.