Feb 24, 2009

In Search of Healthy living ~ Fat Tuesday

Today is Fat Tuesday. Ironically, as of this morning I am the lightest I have been in years. YEEEAAARRRSSS, in fact I do not recall the last time I was close to this weight. I just hope to stay that way to the end of the day!

The journey to finding a health plan (not a diet) and getting my mindset right was a long and winding one with many ups, downs, painful slips, false starts and abrupt endings.

I stuck through with it and now have such a clear view that I am greatful for every bump and bruise I accrued along the way. Each was a lesson that I had to relearn at somepoint along the way, but it bears mentioning that life is really about the journey, not the destination.

I have not been afraid to talk about my struggles with weight over these past years, but I have been avoiding my former relationship with food.

It is one thing to say "Yeah I got heavy due to lack of activity" - but it is another to admit that I did it to myself by using food as a weapon. A weapon against myself! I had an unfortunate emotional relationship with food.

Unfortunate in that I did not have a relationship with exercise so the result was larger and larger clothing until I finally had it with the discomfort and always trying to hide myself.

I found the hard way that that is no way to live life. Hiding, or trying to hide just reinforces the misnotions that a person is not worth being seen.

I took some very basic but difficult all the same steps. I started out with breaking up with food.

I decided that I would no longer turn to food as a reward, a companion, a void-filler, or a source of comfort (or pain for that matter). This has been probably the hardest thing as I still hear myself saying "I earned this today" as I reach for a piece of something that I really do not need, typically chocolate in some form.

This is very tough, I am not going to lie.

I found that once you make the decision to not look to food for something personal - be it comfort or pain - you have a totally different look at food.

I am a foodie. I talk with as much passion about food as I do anything else passion worthy. This is scary to me. Normal people are not foodies, at least to the extent that I am.

This all goes to show that I am recovering, not cured.

The next thing I did was get out and move. I started small, like walking around the building at breaks, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, leaving work at lunch to get in some more walking on some of the trails nearby. Mike and I would go and do things walking around the mall or just getting out to the lake for some fun in the sun.

Then I started running again. And that lead to triathlon - swimming and biking.

The activity I was adding did not counter act the food I was eating. I learned that I could not eat any little thing that I wanted just beacuse I ran.

1 banana would take 1 mile running for me to burn off, so how much exercise would I have to do to "undo" the pizza, burger, fries, and of course desserts I tempted? A LOT. Heh. A lot more than I am willing to do just to eat that type of food.

I am not a preacher, but I have been through the battles with eating disorders and fighting with food. I can offer some words of advice to anyone battling this Fat Tuesday in a literal way.

1 - Remember that any movement is good movement. Go for a walk. Dance around your apartment while you clean. Just move a little and then a little more. One day you may like it more than you thought.

2 - Food is fuel. While cupcakes rock (OMG don't they!) they are not love, warmth, companionship, and they certainly have nothing to do with respect.

3 - Building off of #2 - while a momentary comfort from food is satisfying, remember it is in that moment only. Also remember that whatever stressor you are having to deal with at that moment that is driving you to eat when you are not hungry - that too shall pass.

It is often not the stressors but rather how we deal with them that has the greatest impact in our happiness and health.

4 - Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, and are not limited to Anorexia or Bulemia. Binge eating is a disorder and any real extreme diets can be signals of something going on as wel.

5 - Bottom line is in order to really finally win the battle of the buldge, one must take steps every day to counter act the weight. A lot of times this starts with understanding why the weight is there anyhow. Problems at home? Stress? Genes?

There is no magic pill. The recipie for success is work. It is one thing to want something, and a totally other thing to want to work for it. It is up to each and every one of us to determine if we are worth the work... the answer my friends is of course we are!

So today look yourself in the mirror - stop hinding and realize that you are worth it!!!


Jennifer said...

This is a great post and I have to step out of RunningBlogLurkerville to thank you for it. I have always struggled with the same issues of using food as emotional comfort. I think it's just within the last few years that I've realized how it's just been such a part of my life - my whole life. I'm now trying to be mindful of everything I do around food. It's amazing when I realize how many little decisions and thoughts about food I have in a day.

Anonymous said...

Good blog Jenn!

I would say "you have no idea how bad I wanted to stop at Moes and get a homewrecker burrito" but you do.

Instead I came home, had a salad with grilled chicken, and am off to the gym for the eliptical torture device.

Jeremy Hagerman said...

You are an inspiration to so many people here in your journey!

I look forward to seeing you this race season!

Lora Abernathy said...

Congrats on being your lightest on Fat Tuesday! Life is always ironic.

You are so right about doing something - anything. It's amazing how many calories you can burn vacuuming or doing laundry. It all adds up!

Have a great day!

Run For Life said...

It certainly is a journey. Congrats on being happy with your healthy lifestyle!

Kim said...

fantastic post J :) you are definitely an inspiration and have had such a long and hard journey, and i look forward to reading all about your fantastic future! i have lots of your posts to catch up on.