Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Pound of Flesh

I might as well come out and admit it.

I have a feeling that others have noticed, but what exactly do you say when you see that someone has gained a few pounds?

From May 2010 to March 2011, I lost 75 pounds.

Since March of 2011, I have gone up-down-up-down-up in my weight. I have done a fair job of maintaining an approximation of the weight I’d lost, but I’ve noticed an alarming trend over the past six months or so. I’ll get to that in a minute.

For most of that time, I weighed myself every single morning. I was vigilant about not eating bread—only allowing myself to have wheat tortillas now and then. I never ate restaurant bread. I rarely indulged in one of my favorite things, fresh English muffins. I rarely ate dessert—another of my favorite things.

Food became something I portioned out. It became something I had to think about, all the time, because I didn’t want to put bad food into my body.

At first it was a game I played with myself, to see if I could do it. To see how far I could take it, to see how far I could go with the weight loss. And since I’m piss-poor at holding myself accountable (apparently this is a trap “artist-types” often fall into), I posted my progress each week on Facebook. The encouragement and kind words I received helped keep me going, even when it was hard.

For a while the game was fun, but I got really tired of it.

So, I quit. I quit playing the game. I have really wanted to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food—all food, not just the food I “allowed” myself to eat. I wanted to learn how to allow myself to eat anything I wanted, but in moderation, so that I wouldn’t gain what I had worked so very hard to lose.

And another thing. During all that time of weight loss, something unexpected happened. People started coming up to me and telling me I was an inspiration to them.

Me? An inspiration?

Somehow, that set the bar higher. In a weird way, I can identify (just a teensy, tiny bit) with celebrities who seemingly overnight turn into role models for young people. It’s a difficult fa├žade that’s tough to maintain. Impossible, if you ask me… it goes completely against the notion that what others think of me is none of my business, and it also goes completely against the mentality I’ve been working hard to embrace—that imperfection is truly a gift.

Life is a journey and it’s a process, yada yada yada.

So, it’s hard for me to admit that in the last months (I’m not exactly sure how many months, but definitely since last fall/winter) I have gained 15 pounds.

Fifteen.

I could list a whole host of reasons, excuses, and explanations, but the reality of it was on the scale for my sleepy eyes this morning. I have, indeed, gained 15 pounds.

As a recovering perfectionist, it’s extremely difficult to silence all of those tapes that are currently screaming in the background. Here’s a brief sample: You idiot! How could you let this happen? You can’t let all those people down! You look fat again! Fatty! Time to break out the fat clothes again! Oh look, another failure! Another thing you quit! You suck! You’re not good at anything! Might as well give up now!

Etc.

It goes on and on… and really, the tapes just get nastier.

So now, I’m not sure where I go.

I want to lose that 15 pounds I’ve gained, and more. I never hit the actual weight I wanted to hit, which is now officially 35 pounds away.

But I want to do it in a way that really works. I want to eat what I want to and not deprive myself of things I truly enjoy. I want to eat to take care of my body. I want to exercise regularly and get enough sleep most nights, not just a few.

Over the past months I have officially put my own health on the back burner. I know the reasons, but at some point reasons just turn into excuses, and it’s about time I own up to this and take accountability, because then I can’t sit in denial any longer.

It would be easy to say I’m angry at myself, but anger is such an easy emotion. It goes so much deeper than that.

The truth is, I’m heartbroken. I’ve let myself down in a way I never thought I would.

Weight, eating, sleeping, and exercise take so much energy to focus on, and now that I have a lot of other, new (and yes, exciting) things to focus on (job, boyfriend, writing group, volunteering, etc.), it’s been easy to let it slide.

No more.

By posting this, I am committing to move it all back to the top of my priority list. My very life depends on keeping myself healthy and that includes keeping my weight under control and making sure I sleep and move enough. It’s so easy to let it all go… too easy. It’s easy to forget why I did this in the first place, because I’ve come so far… and yet—despite all the health problems that run in my family, I have managed to lose focus.

I don’t know how people keep balance in their lives. I’m not sure I’ve ever had balance. I can keep one thing going strong, and the rest of it falls away. For a long time, that one thing was my health.

I’m not sure how to keep all the balls in the air, all at once. I have so much practice at dropping them…

But… I keep picking them up and dusting them off and trying again.

I guess that’s something.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

I think I'm ok with turning 37, even if it means I'm now in my "late 30s"... which makes me cringe a little.

But, I am healthier than I was at 27.

I am happier than I've ever been.

I have more love in my life than I ever imagined.

I finally work in just the right place for my personality, my skills, and my needs.

My life is decidedly not perfect—and I am recognizing it much faster when I fall back on that perfectionism mentality, too.

My life is quieter, slower, and calmer, and yet—filled with deeper connections, greater intimacy, and vulnerable authenticity.

Truly, I am blessed.

If you recall, my “theme” for 2012 is abundance. What I didn’t realize at first is that to welcome abundance in all its forms: love, money, blessings, health, stability, strength, openness, authenticity, etc… you have to clear out the old.

That means letting go and walking away. It means paring down. It means readjusting priorities. It means knowing and feeling what’s really important and meaningful in your life.

And sometimes that’s not only a difficult process, but painful one, too.

But, like anything else worth doing, it feels good to finally let go. When I let go of my Acura back in February, I had no idea the events that were already cascading into place in the background. It’s as if the Acura was the dam, and once I agreed that the dam was no longer working as intended… it broke loose and I was washed over with a flood of—yes… abundance, in the form of a new job, a newer car, and a renewed lease on my condo.

I also had to truly let go of David. That is something I haven’t found a way to talk about cleverly here (or anywhere), but it was incredibly difficult. I let him go because he wasn’t really all in at that point. He was acting as if I truly wasn’t that important in his life.

Well…

Once I finally (and wholly) let go—he came back. And as I mentioned before, he came back in a very big way. And I have felt altogether overwhelmed, amazed, and deeply humbled at the abundance of love flowing between us and surrounding us.

It proves to me that letting go of what I perceive to be the best I can have makes room for something better than I ever imagined. That is what abundance looks like in this first half of 2012.

Letting go is painful, though. It’s a tough decision and I don’t arrive there easily, quickly, or even all that willingly.

But once I surrender… I’m inspired and awe-struck.

The beauty of letting go is all the unexpected blessings that suddenly arrive. And I am letting them in, too, which is something else new for me.

It feels good.

I think the best thing about getting older is that I feel like I have come into my true self. I am finally allowing myself to “just be me”, which is something I longed for—for so many years. And after a whole lot of hard work, and more than one slice of humble pie, it’s come true.

I am me. And 37 is already looking like a great year.

Thank you for being here on this ride with me. I can no longer imagine trying to do this alone.

Thankfully, I don’t have to.