So, here’s the thing. A thing, I guess. There are always more things than a thing. But I digress…I am getting back on the wagon. It’s time. It’s WAY past time. I am tired of feeling like a sack of old potatoes that has been left out in the Florida sun for too long (I now actually know exactly what that looks, feels, and smells like after sorting potatoes at a local food bank for a couple of hours this week). I am ready to see ME again. I’ve been hiding under layers of self-contempt and poor choices that have lead me to a place to which I never wanted to return. And change has to start with the willingness to accept the reality of where I am now.
The women who are challenging and encouraging me to get back on the wagon have also challenged (okay, politely demanded would be more accurate) me to “go public” with this choice and to tell my story. While I have no problem doing anything publicly, I don’t like to talk about my weight. It’s just always been there. Like that sweater your grandmother gave you that one Christmas and you don’t know what to do with it but you can’t get rid of it so you hang on to it even though you know it’s the worst. So I am doing this thing. And I am going to put it right here. And I am going to talk about it sometimes. Do with that what you will.
You may be saying, “Hey, haven’t you done this before? What makes you think it will work this time?” Well, first of all, thank you Captain Obvious for pointing out what I struggle with all. day. long. I have attempted to get healthy many, many times in my life. Once or twice in a healthy way, many times in unhealthy ways. Diet pills,
liquid diets”, binging and purging, self harm…you name it, I’ve tried it. At several points of my life I have even dreamed of taking a sharp knife to my “problem areas” – arms, gut, thighs, you name it – and slicing away layers of fat just to imagine what life would be like without it. Gruesome, huh? But it’s the truth. I would fantasize about physically removing the parts of me that I hated.
The last time I made a focused effort to overhaul my health was around this same time in 2015. I was ready. I knew what I wanted, and I was going to get it. I wanted a healthy body and a healthy mindset so that I could have the confidence to date and possibly meet my spouse. I also wanted to be more active overall and try things that were difficult due to my weight and size. I wanted to sit on a roller coaster at Universal Studios and not be asked to get up and leave because the seat belt wouldn’t fit over me. I wanted to fly somewhere and not physically encroach on the person in the seat next to me. I wanted to wear shorts. And short dresses. And feel good naked. And put on a bathing suit without wanting to punch myself repeatedly for considering putting on a bathing suit.
There is nothing wrong with any of those reasons. They sustained me, for a time. But I lost sight of what I wanted, and I lost steam, and life went crazy. After losing 70 pounds and meeting the man who is now my husband, I moved out of my house, moved into a full-time recovery house, watched some really painful things unfold in my family, and gave up on my self. It was just too much. Every time I turned a corner, something else went wrong or whackadoo or not according to “the plan”. So I gave up. I went back to old habits. I ate and drank what I wanted, when I wanted. And it started to show.
So here I am, 34 years old. 5 feet 7 inches. Faded brunette/blonde balayage hair (because I can’t afford new hairs right now.) Eyes that change colors between brown and green. Uneven eyebrows (I had an unfortunate encounter with an Igea Hair Trimmer in college. But that’s not the point here.) Squeezing myself into a size 18 pants. 271 pounds. (Yup, I just wrote that. On a blog. For everyone and their pet to see. It’s there.) So those are my stats, if you will. I want to be not-here. But here is where I am.
So what am I going to do about it? Well, first of all I am going to work really hard to set myself up for success. I recently read about a man who spent 19 years in prison and during the end of his four year stint in solitary confinement, he made the best of his hellish situation and turned his tiny cell into a safe space for himself so that he could make better life choices. Good Lord! If he can do that, I can do this for sure! I am going to create places and spaces and times to rest, and be aware of what I am thinking, feeling, and sensing. Awareness is a crucial first step, but it is just that. A FIRST step. I can’t change that of which I am not aware, but I also can’t stop at awareness.
Next I am going to ask for help. Even when I don’t want to do so. Even when it hurts. I can’t do this alone. No one ever succeeded in anything alone. I have to make my own choices, but by golly do I need the encouragement to make good choices on a daily basis.
Then I am going to pray. A lot. And remember that this is my work to do, but it isn’t really about me. My faith tells me that my body is not my own. It is a temporary resource in a fleeting moment of time, and I am called to make it matter and to treat it well. It’s a temple. I treat it more like a trash compactor. I need to remember that I didn’t come to save myself, and at the end of the day (and the beginning, and the middle…) healthy choices are about so much more than, well, me.
And I am going to fail. I will have bad days. I will succumb to the seductive call of Lays Salt & Vinegar potato chips or Papa John’s pizza with extra cheese and garlic dip, light on the sauce, please. And it will feel so deliciously pleasurable for a moment. And then the pleasure will fade away, and I will hate myself for making an unhealthy choice, and the Shame Monster will come a knocking and I will need my people to remind me that I am so much more than my last poor choice.
And then I am going to get back up again, and start over. This isn’t about one Day One. There will be many Day Ones. If I am truly an addict, which I am, then I will be in recovery for the rest of my life. Kicking prescription pills was far easier than this. I flushed those suckers 10 years ago, got a tattoo, and haven’t looked back. But I know myself. And I know my tendencies. And if I am not seeking comfort from the realities of life in one way, I will seek it in something else. I will always be in recovery for my addiction to food as a source of relief and comfort from stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression.
But my addiction to food is long standing, and I need to get back to the basics to continue my recovery. I need to find that rhythm of healthy melodies that make my body and life work like a well-practiced symphony. When I eat well, I sleep well. My anxiety reduces. My PCOS symptoms almost disappear. And the stakes are higher now. I have a husband who cares what happens to me. I want to be a mom in the near-ish future. I want to be healthy enough to get pregnant, birth a child, then chase that child all around the universe because let’s be honest, if these babies are anything like me they are going to be CRAZY! I want to live long enough to see more of the world with Tim and explore new places and things and ideas and adventures. At my current weight, my right leg goes numb if I stand or sit too long. What the heck is that about?
So I am doing this thing. And I am going public with it. And if you want to know more, feel free to ask. But for now, I am just going to tell my story and hope it helps someone else tell their story and so on and so on and so on. Because if we don’t learn from each other, how in the world are we going to learn?