Last year, I posted a piece about my dramatic weight gain and the pain it was causing me. I knew then that the weight gain was a symptom of how I was coping with the anger and fear I was experiencing over situations happening that I had little control over. I’ve never been good at having little control. Once I was able to put those situations in their place, I was able to look back, write that piece, and start to hold myself accountable for my choices.
One of the many women I admire in my community posted something to her own webpage that led to my first being honest with myself about my weight gain. I realized when I confessed to her about my disgust with being me that I had cloistered myself to an extent that shut me out of every relationship I was in. Including my friends. Including my mother and sister. Including my kids. Including my husband. Including my dogs. My dogs, people. I imagined I was disappointing my dogs so I stopped being with them in any sort of cuddly, joyful, comfortable way.
What a whack-job.
And so the cycle continued in earnest. I got up in the morning and looked at myself in the mirror. Couldn’t believe I let it get that far. Chastised myself because I knew better, yet here I was. Held everyone at arms-length for the day because ‘they’ were going to hurt me because I could not even take care of myself – let alone defend myself. Go to bed at night exhausted that I spent the day making sure my walls were high enough to keep everyone out. Lie awake beating myself up that I spent another day not loving myself so I could not love others in all the ways they deserved. It was ingrained and habitual and endless.
It’s a process. And to move on, it takes being conscious of what you’re doing at the time you’re doing it. So much easier written than practiced.
The holidays began to and I was unhappy as I have ever been. But Thanksgiving has a way of reminding you what matters. During that meal with my husband and children, I finally gave myself a small break. I spent the majority of that weekend present with my amazing family and two friends who traveled to see us not too obsessed with how my body looked and felt. And I was at least a ‘good’ mother, wife and hostess for one day. I felt it in my bones as I lay down at night.
Then it was the holidays in full gear and they deserved my presence for their memories – like I had been afforded – so I put my self-indulgent worries to the side and experienced joy for them. I stopped the regular weight checks. Allowed myself to be photographed for a pretty epic Christmas card. I made and ate my grandmother’s pecan balls. I made and ate pans of a family dessert we call ‘Hello Dollys’ that includes nothing but fat and sugar. We invited classmates over to bake and decorate and eat sugar cookies. Dinners included vast amounts of simple carbohydrates paired with gravy. I bought butter every time I passed the market because we were always out. I felt the twinges of guilt every time I sat down to eat, but reminded myself – every time – that January 1st was coming around soon enough and I could begin to deal of my grossness then.
Sure enough, January did roll around and I had tasked myself with ignoring my disgust with myself for a little over one month. I stepped on the scale that doesn’t record my weight to my phone app (so I could hide forever what it said) to see what my New Year’s Resolution of weight loss was going to be. Telling myself I was okay with whatever it told me and it was only to give me a starting point towards a goal.
I’m just going to leave with this for now. It’s five months later and I need a reminder for what old habits can do. A record for when I fall back into the habit of self-flagellation I seem to be so comfortable with: January 1, 2017 I was seven pounds lighter than I was the last time I checked over a month prior.