Yesterday morning I had breakfast with a new friend who specializes in coaching people about their relationship with food. We met recently and we both knew implicitly that we needed to get to know each other better. I believe in following the universe on these things because people come into your life for very specific reasons. With Randy, while she may have had her own reasons for wanting to get to know me better, I know that she arrived in my life at exactly the right time.
As I have chronicled here, I have been on a journey of getting healthier and it has not been the easiest road for me to travel. It has been a lifelong adventure for me and, for the past year, it seemed to have kicked in to high gear rather unexpectedly. As i shared in an earlier post, I began my journey on a dare when I agreed to take a kickboxing class back in February 2011. This triggered something in me and my life began to change in so many ways. The net result is that I have lost nearly 50 lbs, have become leaner and more muscular and have a new level of self-confidence and discipline that never existed before.
But, here’s the strange thing about losing a lot of weight. After a while, you forget that you were fat to begin with. That is not to say that I have shed all my extra weight and am now tall and slender as I dream of being. Instead, it is about perspective. Even though I have discarded clothing that were 3-4 sizes larger than the ones I am currently wearing, I do not see myself much differently than I did when I was 50 lbs heavier. It is quite a self-defeating position to be in because, rather than celebrating my success, I still critique myself with my old lens. I look in the mirror and have to squint when looking at myself to be certain that I can see the differences. I know there are changes but I simply do not have the perspective to see it. I look at my body every single day.
When I began my journey in 2011, I was so deeply out of control with my eating and my physical health that I was in one of those places in life where you just do not know how to get started. I felt like my body was a big pile of dirty laundry laying haphazardly on the floor and I just could not begin to sort through the colors and whites to begin the laundering process. Ultimately, I did not put any pressure on myself and was as surprised as anyone that this new pastime actually made the difference for me. It sort of makes sense to me now because of the outlet it provides for me to both release aggression and be competitive without actually having to compete against anyone other than myself.
Today, as I live in my life, I am struggling. I am challenged to appreciate and celebrate what I have accomplished and, instead, am lamenting that I have not accomplished more. I never set a goal for myself but, once the transformation began, I became very ambitious about what I could accomplish. I work out 7-8 times a week, taking kickboxing and karate classes and now running in the mornings. I try to eat healthy but, in reality, I struggle with that. I gave up sugar and carbs for 2 months in order to gain some control over my eating and I fear that I placed too much focus on the food and actually sabotaged myself. I worry every day that I will not be able to sustain this and the success I have had will be temporary, quickly replaced with the return to the “old” me.
During my breakfast with Randy yesterday, I shared a lot of these feelings and concerns and explained how this part of my journey fits into the larger parts of my life. I have been transforming myself internally and externally. I have freed myself from toxicity in many parts of my life and consciously chosen to be intentional about how I work, who I spend time with and where I put my energies (such as investing time in myself vis a vis exercise). I also explained how my fears and anxieties about not being in control of my body is torturing me at this moment in time. And, with the ease of someone who really knows what they are talking about it, she attempted to release me from my paralyzing thoughts. She suggested that I am where I am supposed to be. She indicated that, perhaps I simply need to level off a bit and get used to myself at this new stage rather than be so aggressively looking for the next goal. I need to accept myself now – exactly where I am today. Sounds pretty simple, huh? It was a pretty profound perspective to me. And I know she is right.
Last weekend, I was at Target during my normal weekly shopping adventure and I decided to buy some ice cream for dessert for the family. I had not had ice cream in nearly two months and was really in the mood. “Why not?,” I thought. “I have to be able to live a life where I can eat ice cream now and again.” So I bought two pints to share amongst the family and had no second thoughts about it. Later that evening, my older son and I were preparing to watch a movie and were scooping out our ice cream to snack on. I pulled out the two pints and began scooping the ice cream into my bowl. I was scooping and scooping and my son said, “Look, old mommy’s back!” That stopped me in my tracks. No it was not old mommy. It was new mommy who felt liberated enough to eat as much ice cream as she wanted to without fear that there would be no way to stop. As much as I feared that I would revert to old behaviors and begin to gain the weight back, I knew in that moment that I actually had a new level of control. Yes, I still binge on candy every now and again but don’t a lot of people do that? I occasionally overeat when out to dinner or have a little too much dessert. Isn’t that common even for people who are not struggling with their weight?
So, when Randy suggested that it was time for me to simply settle in to where I am at this moment, I realized that I was already beginning to do that. But I was doing it in a way that was unfamiliar and a wee bit scary. I have much more control over food and what goes in my body and I maintain a very healthy and active lifestyle – something that was remarkably absent from my life a year ago.
My journey continues and I have so much work to do both internally and externally. Yet, I am trying very hard to celebrate and appreciate me. I have so many wonderful people in my life who continually remind me of this and fail to get frustrated with me – even when I share my innermost demons. They understand the challenges I face – perhaps even more than I do. And, I am grateful that I have a new friend in my life who can give me an additional perspective to help me turn the corner to the next road of my travels.