Anyone who is overcoming an addiction comes to a point where they have to decided if they are going to fall back into the addiction or break free. In fact, from what I have heard and experienced, this will happen several times in their journey to recovery. Sometimes it is an hourly struggle to not give into our weakness, but we strive to carry on because we know that in victory lies a better life.
I had a crisis point last week as I was gearing up for my new job. It had really been smooth sailing as I transitioned and prepped for the role, but the night before my first meeting I was shopping for a couple new outfits with my trusty entourage (Mom and my daughter). I just reached that point where I was overwhelmed, I had a mini panic attack.
My mom talked me down and my daughter was amazing in her encouragement (such a great gift to have at 9)…but I had to verbalize what I was feeling. I grab my snack of grapes and deeply wished that it was a huge tub of poutine… when I said this out loud my Mom laughed…which was fine because it broke the tension after my little moment, but it just reminded me how far I had come.
I had to just keep swimming…keep powering on because the changes that I am making are leading to a better life…not just me but my family too. We play more, get out of the house more, my kids see me making good healthy choices.
For those of you that are following along the new job is going very well and I have an incredible amount of support in my new role so the panic attack wan’t really warranted…but we all have our moments.
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.
So this past week the unthinkable happened…I ate starch! Now this may not seem like a big deal but let me explain. My eating program is very strict…not restrictive…but strict. There are certain rules that you follow for optimum weight loss, and while you are in the “boot camp” phase you don’t eat any sugar and you don’t eat starch. To further my sins I ate starch combined with protein, which from a digestion perspective is a huge no.
Here is my story…
I have a couple weeks off and the my kids LOVE going to the ROM…they may get their looks from daddy, but I have cultivated little nerd hearts in both of them. We decided to do the ROM on one day, stay over and then hit up The Ontario Science Centre the next day. All was going well until it came time for lunch…the choices at the ROM were not program friendly…so we didn’t eat anything. This was a big mistake, I should have been prepared for this too happen, but honestly, we have always been able to find something. By the time dinner came around I was starving, and so was hubby. We ate a program friendly meal at the Pickle Barrel and then went back to the hotel.
After our family swim everyone was hungry again…we ordered some room service and that is when it happened. My plain wings had a dusting of flour…it maybe would have been a tablespoon, possibly two. I was so hungry though that the thought of not eating it only crossed my mind for about 20 seconds. This was on top of the yogurt and nuts that I had brought with me.
It brought to mind one of the eight pillars of my eating program…being prepared…I had blithely gone along assuming that I could get what I needed, you know what happens when you assume…you go off program.
There is a silver lining to this story, I am much more aware of making sure I have what I need to eat healthy and on time. It also helped me to realize the progress I have made in my emotional struggles with food. This would have been enough to derail me completely only a year or even 10 months ago. This time I acknowledged that it had happened and carried on the next day. Remember that everyday is a chance to do it perfectly, a clean slate to follow the right path. Don’t let your past dictate poor choices in the future, you are in control!
I hit another milestone recently…I have reached the half-way point in my journey to get healthy, I have lost 55 lbs. This is a bit of a bitter-sweet moment really. On one side I am so proud of myself for staying the course and making the big changes in my life. I have developed self-control and have really started to battle my emotional eating.
On the other hand, I am a little ashamed that this was my reality for so long. For those that are not gifted in the math department…this still means that I have 55 lbs more to go, and frankly I am not sure that goal will be my end point.
When I started this program I knew I had a huge amount of weight to get rid of and I knew that my eating was really an addiction. I was binge eating, and hiding it. I used food to stuff my feelings and I was seeing my health really take a nose dive. I had reached a point where my eating and health was out of control and I really wasn’t sure if I could picture a reality where that wasn’t the case.
I set the goal so that my weight would be a nice round number that appealed to my anal retentive tendencies, but I don’t really know if that will be my healthy weight…my true goal.
I have been asked when I will stop, and my answer is usually, when I like what I look like or when I finally weigh less than my husband or even getting into a particular size…but the truth is that I don’t really know. I see myself being in the boot camp phase for weight loss until at least January of 2018. I will assess where I am going at that point.
One of the great things about my journey is that I have an amazing support system and I am learning more about myself with each goal that I hit. The other thing is that, had I told myself I would be at this point when I started my journey I would have laughed…so for those that are where I was in January…keep on keeping on. I am rooting for you!
I went clothes shopping last night. I needed some pants that didn’t make me look like I was wearing a saggy diaper. I got some great clothes, on sale, that I think look really good and should see me through for the next little while.
The store was busy and there were several women also trying on clothes and swimsuits. I was there with my fashion super team, my mom and my daughter. We quickly scouted out what I wanted and then looked at tops to match.
While I had a good experience, judging by the comments in the dressing room, others were not. There were complaints about fit and how they looked and what they wished they could change. I had three thoughts as I listened to what the other women were saying:
- That use to be me, I like it much better now that I am happy with my body, with the progress that I am making.
- I hope that my daughter is distracted and not listening to all these women speak so horribly about themselves.
- I know a way that then can change their lives, I wish I could share my story with them.
I was commenting to my mom, in the car, about the fit of plus-sized clothing, especially for those above the 1x size and was talking about how I wished I could share my story with the women in the dressing room. This continued to be something I thought about through the evening and then I stopped for a moment…had I become a Judgy McJudgerson? Had I morphed into one of those people that expect that everyone eat like I do and look a certain way and just don’t understand how people just can’t take control of their lives? The thought almost crippled me, had my transformation gone so far that I was transformed into something very ugly on the inside? It was a moment of deep self-reflection, this was not what my getting healthy pledge was about.
Of course, as people ask me about my weight loss (since 54 lbs gone is hard to miss) I share with others what I am doing and how I have been successful. But to be frank, it was never about the impact this journey had on others, it was always all about me. After some deep soul searching I came to the conclusion that wanting to share something that has been nothing short of life-changing to people who are openly expressing that they are unhappy isn’t judgy, but I could see it either coming off as that or becoming that, if I am not careful.
It is always my intention to lift others up and encourage, I know too well the sting of words spoken, even with well-meaning intentions.
This past week my family and I went camping…I am not what you would call a back-to-nature kind of girl, but I can appreciate a great sunset from the comfort of my lounger in my screened off porch…if you get my meaning. My family loves to camp though, so each summer we pack up the trailer…tenting was so 2015…and get ready for extreme family bonding.
We explore, go on hikes and encounter wild life…some cute-like the grouse and her chicks, and some that send me screaming at a dead run for the trail head. My children got to see Mom’s reaction when she saw a snake…bound to build memories to last a life-time.
We also eat camping food…this year that looked a little different…but with the proper planning, it can be done. Between the s’mores, roasted hot-dogs, fries and other banned items, I can’t say that I wasn’t tempted. I was craving starches like nobody’s business…but it just wasn’t worth it. I was feeling energetic and the hiking was soooooooooo much easier this year…I think I even ran faster when I saw the snake.
My journey has really become more then a diet or a program, it has become about the way I want to feel and how I want to live my life. It has become about playing with my kids and setting a good example for them. It has become about feeling beautiful in my own skin. I would never have believed that this would be possible six months ago when I started this journey. AS I continue I am expecting it to get even better.
When I started my journey to health I picked a program that is unique in many ways. One way that it is different is that your goal is not determined by weight or a specific clothing size, but by the mirror test. “What is that?”, you might ask. Simply you move on to a maintenance program when you look in the mirror and like what you see.
When you are NAKED!
I honestly never thought that would happen so I picked some small and bigger goals in terms of weight or inches and I am very happy with my progress, but something strange happened this morning.
It was the butt crack of dawn…my normal get-up time…and I was just about to hop into the shower when I fleetingly glanced in the mirror. I stopped and went back for a second look. I wasn’t happy with what I saw for a stopping point, but it was dang good for a middle point…I saw the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. If I can see this at 5:45 in the AM, under the glare of my bathroom lights, then you know I speak truth.
THERE WILL BE A TIME WHEN I LIKE WHAT I LOOK LIKE IN THE MIRROR…NAKED.
In the day and age where approximately 74% of women hate something about their body and young girls say that they would rather have cancer than be considered fat…this is a HUGE accomplishment. It is my own little counter-cultural movement. I won’t be perfect and my stretch marks are in full bloom…fading, but still visible…but perfection is not my goal. Living healthy, participating in life fully and making my spiritual life richer is my goal…and I will achieve it.