I wish I could say my journey to wellness has been an easy one and that it began in 2011 when I decided to take up running. But my struggle with physical, emotional and mental well-being as it relates to “weight” started more than 30 years ago. For most of my life, dealing with weight loss, eating, and physical activity was like being in a dysfunctional relationship where, despite the emotional beat downs and harsh words, you break up and make up dozens of times because you don’t know how to let go.
I remember being told my belly was “pudgy” when I was a very small child hanging out in my Strawberry Shortcake bathing suit. I didn’t cry, but I remember feeling unhappy with myself after that and maybe a bit unloved.
When I was a teenager and my weight was down, my mother use to ask if I wanted to go shopping for a 2 piece bathing suit. When it was up, it was time for a one piece…and maybe some sweaters.
About a month or 2 after I had a case of acute appendicitis that almost killed me at age 17, I was pretty underweight and had no muscle tone from being unable to walk and getting my food and medication intravenously for a month. Still, I remember being in our kitchen watching my grandmother offer my younger brother the fucking Costco sized back of Famous Amos cookies and telling me I didn’t want to eat that because I “looked fine now” but I needed to watch myself.
I have SO MANY moments like these still living in my head. Fat or NEARLY DEAD – whatever I was – I was never acceptable. Sometimes, I wonder how I escaped adolescence without an eating disorder, but my family’s often negative and less than supportive words about almost everything never stopped me from achieving, learning, and being the person I “thought” I wanted to be. This is the small but significant factoid I’ve learned to focus on as I’ve gotten older. No matter what kind of bullshit people have thrown at me, I’ve continued to rise, survive, and get better. I won’t lie and say I don’t have some serious battle scars from it all, but truthfully when I don’t let my mind get in the way, my soul lives on autopilot and it carries me well beyond the point where others think I should stop.
Now, here I am at age 39, in ‘okay’ shape – not as good as I was last year, not as bad as I was in the DECADE before last year – just ‘okay’. As I wrote in my New Year post, my goal is to find PEACE in myself on the journey to wellness, and in order to do that, I first have to acknowledge my dysfunctional relationship with weight and eating (not so much with exercise anymore) and finally say, “Hey man, it’s time to break up!” Not the Hayley Williams/Zedd “Stay the Night” kind of break up. The Toni Braxton, “He Wasn’t Man Enough” kind of break up.
I learned last year that I am physically, emotionally and mentally capable of handling a lot. Why should it be hard to kick the noise to the curb? Because letting go of what you HATE but what ultimately makes you feel safe and comfortable because it’s what you know means CHANGE. Clearing your crap and dedicating your time, energy and effort to wellness takes work. You just have to understand what that work entails, decide if you’re willing to do the work, and determine if taking action is worth it. More about that in my next post.
In the meantime, what things have YOU struggled with on your own journey? How did you overcome? Comment, share, link. I’d love to hear about it.