I hate Mondays. I especially hate cold and rainy Mondays when I have accidentally left my umbrella and coat at home. As dreary as today is, it doesn’t take anything away from the great weekend I had with one of my best friends Anthony who came down to visit. From shoe fiascos and early morning crepes to posing with Kermit and watching Hocus Pocus with wine in hand, it was the perfect way to unwind from a rather long and stressful week.
I promised that I would use Mondays to blog about my “journey to becoming the best version of me” progress – to talk about the victories, failures and everything in between. Last week I was happy to write a post about how encouraged I felt… how eating healthier meals had been easier than I expected…how waking up in the morning to work out was invigorating.
This is a journey though – and journeys come with hills and valleys… moments of joy and pride followed by moments of doubt and fear. I want to be as honest as I can on this journey as I’ve spent the past twenty-something-years lying to myself – saying that everything was fine when it really wasn’t. Pretending I didn’t have a problem. Making myself believe that everything was normal.
You know that saying, “old habits die hard?” Well, unfortunately it’s true. While idealistically I hoped that all of my issues with eating and food would disappear with the press of the “publish” button, and that words of encouragement from friends old and new would make this an easier battle to fight, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that I have a very unhealthy love-hate relationship with food.
I have used food to comfort me in some of my worst times (what girl hasn’t ploughed through an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s?) and I have used it to reward myself in some of my best times (got that job? Let’s go out to dinner and splurge!)
I’ve also used food to punish myself – or should I say the lack thereof. After a night out celebrating with friends or a romantic date night complete with dessert, I wouldn’t eat for two or three days because I was too full with guilt and disgust.
Trying to fix a volatile lifelong relationship isn’t easy. I have broken up and made up with food a thousand times over the years. Regardless of whatever state our relationship is in, food is always going to be there and I need to find a way to make it work.
Last week I skipped eating lunch every day. I would like to say not purposely…. That instead I got caught up in work and didn’t have time to eat, or that I just didn’t have anything to pack, or that I couldn’t afford to buy anything. While on the surface those may have all been “viable” excuses, I knew deep down it was because I was afraid that I would eat too much, or eat the wrong things. So I fell back on my tried and true method – taking out the guess work and the worry by not eating at all.
I’m not proud of it. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit it because in a way I feel like I’m letting down those who read this blog and are in essence following along this journey with me.
Yesterday, while spending time with a new friend and surfing through old pictures of Facebook, she made the comment, “Oh, Niki – look how good you looked.” I don’t think she meant any harm by it whatsoever… but I felt like the wind had just been knocked out of me as I stared at this picture of myself from three years ago, when I had starved myself into being 143 pounds. I really did look great. I wish I had known that then.
Starting another, new journey to lose weight is incredibly daunting at first. All of your old demons come back to haunt you – snickering at you and telling you that you can’t do it because you’ve failed so many times before. It’s especially hard to learn how to love yourself at all stages of your journey – even at what you may consider your lowest moment.
Because you have to love yourself enough at the very beginning…all of the way from rock bottom… to push yourself to climb the mountain. Hate and loathing and fear do not propel you forward. They are the obstacles you have to overcome. You have to love yourself in the first place to want to become a better version of it.
So right now I’m working on conquering these crippling fears and quieting the voices that tell me I can’t do it… that I’m not good enough or that I’m not strong enough. I’m doing this by making myself accept that there are worse things in life than love handles and that the jiggle between my thighs does not define my character and who I am.
I’m taking a note out of one of my favorite childhood memories, Winnie the Pooh. I believe it was Christopher Robin who so wisely said:
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
So – tonight I’m joining Weight Watchers to give me the structure and security I need. I’m starting a “food diary” where I write my thoughts that are just for me about my biggest fears. I’m finding others who want to take this journey with me to use for support and vice versa. I’m going to go out and buy myself an outfit that makes me feel beautiful instead of telling myself I can’t be beautiful until I lose 20 more pounds.
Because I am braver than I believe. And stronger than I seem. And smarter than I think.
And because my body deserves for me to love it – flaws and all.