It's been a hard few days... well, weeks actually. Lots of ups and downs. Lots of tears, lots of soul searching. I'd have a few good on plan days, then go over my calories. Rinse and repeat.
I finally slowed down, got honest with myself, and listed what the major thorns were, including what I might do about them.
1) I was re-visiting my spiritual roots, and asking a lot of questions, and trying to learn what it really means to do this thing in God's strength, not my own limited supply. I felt like such a failure... Answer: Admit defeat; accept God's compassion, mercy, and grace. Trust in His love. Rest in that love.
2) I was fed up with so many thoughts about ME, and this weight loss struggle, and always feeling like success was just around the corner; it was just out of reach; it was teasing me, illusive and slippery. Answer: see Answer #1 :-}
3) I was frustrated to realize that I was STILL doing the "as soon as" thing with regards to my art. "As soon as this weight thing is solved, I can concentrate on my true passion." I thought I had gone beyond that, only to find I had fallen right back into the same muck. Answer: change where I spend my time, my energies.
4) My health has been acting up and causing so much physical pain, that I fell into the most deadly of all thinking: self-pity. It drained my energy, and I found myself many times saying "oh what's the use?" Answer: Be honest with my feelings. Remember gratitude. Then go back again to Answer #1
5) And with the health problems, I thought about Time. None of us are guaranteed more Time. And I came to the conclusion I didn't want to spend all my focus on this weight thing. Yes, I will keep going, and working at it. But I am tired of talking about it for now. I want to spend what computer time I have over at my art blog instead. Answer: obvious! :-D
So I think this (too long) post will be it for awhile here. I was recently asked to join a book project, which was subsequently postponed. But it got me to thinking, and I've decided to close out here with some of those thoughts... it sort of sums it all up:
Fat baby. Fat child. Fat teenager. Fat adult.
Until I started my blog, I rarely talked about it. I smiled. I answered "I'm fine" when asked. But how "fine" can you be when your highest weight was 460 pounds??
Why talk about those early years?? Because they were the foundation. No blaming, simply for understanding. Wearing leg braces due to a birth defect, I first learned to walk as a chunky 3 year old.
Upset, scared, crying? Food.
Mad, sad, glad? Food.
Reward, bribe, celebration? Food.
You name it, Food was the solution.
This foundation set me up for a lifetime struggle. Not being taught food was for nutrition, but could be a comforter, soother, escape, even friend. That's what I "heard", anyway. How I wish I had been taught a healthy way to process feelings. Instead, I was told "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about."
Except for a couple of teenage attempts when I "dieted" to an almost normal weight, I've spent a LIFETIME with this weight thing. It invaded, affected and tainted EVERYTHING. I was put on my first "diet" at age 10, which taught me I was viewed differently, even by adults.
I felt like a target. Cruel words and treatment, based upon external appearance, cut deeply. It was hard to develop self-confidence when I was constantly made to feel I was "less than."
I've loved art as long as I can remember. But didn't believe in myself enough to seriously pursue it until recently. Have I mentioned I am 61 years young?? I may be a late bloomer, but I now want to bloom audaciously!!
Yet when asked to join this project, I was embarrassed and ready to decline. I did NOT feel worthy of it! I've been struggling a LIFETIME, and yet am still not to goal. As of this writing, I have lost over 100 pounds, but am still barely even halfway there!
Then it hit me. I DO have something to say. ONE THING! The most important lesson I've learned along the way:
Ever. No matter what.
Over the years I've tried or wanted to try just about everything, including weight loss surgery. But my insurance denied coverage. Which turned out a blessing in disguise, because losing that last hope made me desperate enough to be willing to change. I had lost weight repeatedly in my life... but never kept it off. It always came back, and then some. I didn't want another diet. I wanted true inner change.
For my lastest attempt in 2009, I had a simple plan: 1) Don't eat sugar or flour 2) Do some kind of exercise 3) Positive mental input, all on the foundation of my relationship with God.
That's it. Nothing complicated, and I tailored it for me. I could have anything, anytime, as long as it wasn't sugar or flour, which affects my blood sugar. Going sugar-free/gluten-free removed the insane physical cravings, giving me a fighting chance. Now I concentrate on the mental/spiritual issues. I have some medical issues that I have to work around, but this change made it possible for the first time in my life to KEEP OFF the pounds lost, with an occasional bit of bouncing. I know for it to be permanent, I have to change INside. My progress has been turtle slow, but I have hope and determination.
Do I ever want to give up in frustration or discouragement? Yes! But feeling like doing something and DOING it are two different things. My source of strength is my relationship with God. He has never given up on me, so I won't either. Period.
We all have the ability to choose. Sure, I was taught poor coping strategies as a child. But I was the one making those unhealthy choices as an adult. Me. That's GOOD news, because now I can choose to make BETTER choices.
It's not easy, at for me. I aim for progress, not perfection. I am undoing a LIFETIME of damage, poor habits, early programming, and bad choices. It's been a long, hard road, and it's taken a long time to find pieces to MY puzzle, unique to me. I encourage others to seek what is right for them, and NEVER GIVE UP until they find it.
My nutritional choices have gradually improved over time. I still struggle with quantities, and have decided to go back to what I did in the beginning: calorie tracking. I've studied and experimented, and that's just what seems to work best for me.
Same with exercise. I've tried lots of way to get movement, believing it's important to my health. My goals include walking again! Building strength, getting lighter, getting out of my wheelchair. It will happen one day, I'm convinced. All I have to do is NEVER QUIT! And a huge part of that relies upon that daily healthy mental/spiritual input. In fact... I'd say most of it.
"Sometime in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It is the journey to find yourself." --Katherine Sharp
At 61, I think I am finally finding the real me.
Enjoy the journey,
PS: If interested, I invite anyone here to visit me at my Art By Retta blog. That's where I'll be hanging out most of the time, at least for now.