Coming home from a 19 day road trip is no small thing. I thought I could just roll into Orlando, get a few hours of sleep, and get back to business as usual. HA! This week has been a crazy roller coaster of catch-up and fatigue, and I don’t do well with either.
While my time away was marked by super highs and not-s0-super lows, the hardest part was centered around what I put in my body. I have been struggling with how to “put this out there”, but I think it’s time. Not because I have anything profound to offer, but because I have been encouraged and challenged by the vulnerability of others, so maybe my honesty will start the conversation for someone else.
Nine weeks ago, I started a radically different health plan by working with a health coach and completely changing how I treat my body. If you know me, you know that I have been at war with my body from a very young age. I remember being about five years old and feeling terrified to wear a bikini in Destin, FL, so I asked my two older cousins to walk around me holding a towel so I could walk to and from the condo and the pool.
Now that I am working with a health coach (who also happens to be a friend and is an AMAZING woman), I am seeing that I don’t need to be at war with my body. I need to be in love with it! This is my body and no one else’s. God created it uniquely for me. There has never been another one and there never will be another one. Why should I be at war with it?!?!?
The first two weeks of resetting and retraining my body were HORRIBLE. I seriously considered hijacking a Papa John’s delivery one evening. I wanted comfort in the form of hot bread, gooey cheese, and extra garlic butter. After some truly loving words from my coach, I came to see that there is no comfort in a large cheese pizza with extra cheese. There is immediate gratification for sure, but there is no comfort and certainly no reward. All I have ever gained from comfort food was a very uncomfortable layer of fat around my mid-section, arms, and thighs.
After 7 weeks of progress and losing 30 pounds, I was afraid to head up to Memphis for my brother’s wedding. Memphis is the birthplace of all of my triggers and unhealthy eating habits. I was shocked at how easily I pulled into my parents’ driveway, walked into the kitchen, and started searching for food I had not eaten in months and didn’t even want. It was the worst version of auto-pilot I have ever experienced. I held strong for a few days, but towards the end of my trip all I wanted was discomforting, comfort junk. I indulged a bit, but the real damage was done when I drove into Orlando much later than planned and went on a binge eating rampage through my kitchen. I was tired, overwhelmed, sad, and desperate so I ate whatever was in front of me and, to be honest, some of it was just weird and didn’t even taste good.
As soon as I had drug the last peanut butter cracker through some cream cheese (yes, I did that), I reached out to my health coach. I told her exactly what I had just eaten, how I felt, and that I didn’t want this to be life anymore. I wanted her to encourage me back to a healthy mindset and to help me get back on the plan.
It was painful to confess what I had just done, but so liberating to get it out in the open and share my hurt with someone who just wanted to care for me. Christen’s encouragement, unconditional support, and relentless pursuit of my well-being has fueled this journey. Now that I am back on plan, I am nine weeks in, down 31 pounds since I started this shindig, and am ready to keep this train rolling. It’s a long journey. My goal is still 99 pounds away. That’s a lot of pounds. But 31 is a lot too, and I have already done that.
I don’t like this journey. Sometimes I wonder if another one would be easier, but in truth there are so many different kinds of “hard”. I can’t start comparing my “hard” to someone else’s, because we are different people with different stories and it just doesn’t work that way. For me, caring for my body is hard. Not binge eating is hard. Getting dressed in the morning and not berating myself is hard. For you, it may be something else. We don’t have to compare “hards”. But we can love each other regardless of what our struggles look like, and that is what has made this process worthwhile and doable for me.