Please note the qualifier … FOR ME. Getting healthy is hard for me. It may also be hard for you. Or it may also be super duper easy for you. Or somewhere in-between. That is your truth and I respect it. My truth is that getting fit and eating right is not easy or second-nature or even something I always want. Sometimes the fault lies with me and other times, albeit far less frequently, it doesn’t. And I’m learning to accept this, not as a fatal flaw or excuse to give-up but an acknowledgement of the hard work I must do every day.
I haven’t talked much about my get healthy journey this year because it shames me. Shame is such a powerful emotion. Sure, it occasionally makes people change because they have faced some sort of public humiliation or reckoning. But for many, including me, shame is a paralyzer versus a motivator. I’m ashamed of where I stand right now, while I have not regained all my lost weight, thanks goodness, I have regained some excess pounds. I have lost muscle. And my better eating habits.
Bad News First, So What’s the Good News?
I am not completely lost. I am aware of my choices, which is different and better than when I slept-walk through life. These are also mostly conscious choices, which may seem bad, but they represent hope to me. I haven’t given up. Not completely. That healthy person still exists in me. And aches to come out and be seen.
And I just have to let her.
Self-awareness is one of those things most people say they desire because well … celebrating your lack of self-awareness ain’t anything to brag about to the world, unless you’re a Kardashian and it’s your brand. But the truth is self-awareness is hard. It is often scary, seeking out those dark places in our hearts and minds and separating lies from truths. Realizing that some lies are truths and vice versa. Feeling overwhelmed by it all. And if you’re like me, those feelings can just make you want to eat even more.
Acceptance is also Hard
Truthfully, there have been times, many times, where I wanted to just give-up. Accept my fatness as who I am. After all, don’t I constantly tell people to embrace themselves and you do you? Maybe my fatness is just me. America is fat. Super fat. I’m just part of the in crowd for a change. But of course it’s a lie. I have accepted the fact that I am overweight, even though that’s not the life I want for myself, but more specifically – I resigned myself to this fate.
Maybe you recall a few years ago when I reviewed The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. As you may know, Shonda also lost quite a bit of weight while she was working on the book because she realized the one area that she had consistently said “yes” to was being overweight. I have done the same thing. No more.
I’m Saying Yes to Getting Healthy … Again
Like I said earlier, I am well-aware that I make daily decisions that work against my get-healthy aspirations. Some of these include:
- Not exercising consistently … or at all.
- Eating too many “bad” carbs and not enough veggies.
- Eating until stuffed versus just feeling satisfied.
- Snacking when bored or lonely or sad or mad. Or even deliriously happy.
- Not making my health a priority.
But my biggest crime and why I faltered in my get healthy journey, is that I assumed since things had been going well for a year – exercising six times a week, eating healthy, paying attention to my calorie intake – that I was good. Systems were in place and I could go on auto-pilot and be fine. And certainly some people at this stage likely could. But not me. Not with this because I have a complicated relationship with food and weight, which is why getting healthy is hard me.
Say It Again, Tanya. This Time with Feeling.
Getting healthy is hard for me because my relationship with food and weight is complicated. I am a deeply emotional eater, eating when happy and sad and everything in-between because I don’t know how to handle emotions without eating them. I hide behind my excess pounds because I’m scared to put myself out there. To be rejected, which would be awful. But even worse, to succeed beyond my wildest dreams.
I’ve always known this but chose to ignore this for many years. Because as much as I whine and complain about working out and not being able to eat pasta, potatoes and bread every day, those are just excuses. I am scared to confront my relationship with food and weight. To dig deep and really address those beliefs, both real and imagined, that have me reaching for another Reeses peanut butter cup or serving myself a super-sized bowl of spaghetti.
I am Scared but I Want to Live
I want to live in good health, not huffing and puffing up the stairs or feeling slow and sluggish. I want to look good. Yes, I’m vain. No, I’m not ashamed. But even more then the obvious good health is key to longevity argument, I want to live. To enjoy life. Get outside my comfort zone. Pursue those dreams that I pretend don’t exist because I’m scared. To laugh. To love. To fail. To succeed. Because those are the things that happen when you live out loud. I live in my mind; a safe space. I’m ready to live in the open. And I know it will be difficult, some days almost impossible, but I can also do it. Be the joyful, healthy person I am meant to be.
What is something you struggle with? What did you do to overcome your struggle?
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
Sorry this has been a hard journey for you. I know what it’s like to be an emotional eater because I’m the same way. I literally can’t keep any food in the house I like too much because any emotion that goes off the rails…I’m eating too much or not the best kinds of foods. For me I’m struggling with being anxious. And freelancing right now makes it a little worse (will I get work? Will my clients pay me on time? Use me again? etc.). I just keep trying different things. All I can do.
When I was younger, I wasn’t as much of an emotional eater. My big problem was that I ate all my meals out so my portion size got all out whack. It remains an issue for me but now I’ve become an emotional eater too (I moved from emotional shopping to emotional eating) and I don’t typically keep snacks in my apartment but … my building literally has a candy machine on my floor with Doritos and Oreo cookies in it. And I am one block away from 20+ restaurants, so it’s easy for me to get delicious and fattending food. I rarely wish for suburbia but when my emotional eating strikes – I miss it because getting in my car and driving somewhere is too much effort. But walking to the candy machine – not too difficult!
Rebecca Jo says
My friend – its like you just took every thought in my head & wrote it out. You are not alone. I am coming to realizations lately that are just SHAME covered throughout. The big difference between us? I’ve not only REGAINED the 55 lbs I lost – add on another 20 to that. Yep – shame.
I’m realizing how miserable this all feels. So much worse than those 10 minutes of tasteful bliss. The breathlessness & weight on my body to function – yeah – gotta change. I’ve been looking into intuitive eating because I just dont think a “diet” or restrictions work for me … call me a rebel 🙂 But I’m here if you need an accountability partner – heck, I always need one myself. Because I get it- & I know you get me too. Let’s get healthier together.
I’ve always regained lost weight and then some with my previous diets so I know it how feels. The only reason that hasn’t happened yet is because I’m actually somewhat paying attention this time. Normally I stick in my head in the sand and pretend to not notice the pounds creep back on. But I told myself this was going to be the last time and clearly it isn’t. It’s frustrating and sad but I keep telling myself the fact that I’m acknowledging this means I can also nip it in the bud. But lordy it ain’t easy. Some days I’m all about eating healthy and moving my body and other days I’m a lazy slug who only moves to get more food to put in her mouth. Sigh. Diets and restrictive eating doesn’t really work for me either. In fact, it tends to make me obsessive about what I supposedly cannot eat. What kind of intuitive eating are you looking into? Yeah, we definitely need to check-in with each other because I need some sort of support but I’m just not sure what yet. We can definitely get healthy together, my friend!
What an honest post. Thank you for sharing your struggle and bravely opening the door for others struggling with similar (or even different!) things. I’m not good at exercising and I very often eat whatever I want, but these things don’t weigh as heavily on me as they do on you. I think I tend to struggle with my introvert tendencies and balancing that time for self care (and mental health) with being social and having friends and being a good friend or family member or spouse. THAT is a struggle I beat myself up over. But you’re right that it’s a work in progress and shame doesn’t get to dictate our next step!
One reason I think it weighs so heavily on me is because I’ve done this roller-coaster dieting for so long. Lose some pounds, gain some pounds and it’s just exhausting and never-ending. And I am realizing that being healthy for me is going to be an every day focus. It’s not something I can wing because I’m not built that way when it comes to food or exercise. I get super irritated with all those “health experts” who say it’s so easy to lose weight because you just need to burn more calories than you take in. OMG! I had no idea. How simple! Blah. Every overweight person knows this magical formula and if it were really that freaking easy – no one would be fat.
Good mental health is different for everyone and people who don’t struggle with mental health issues can sometimes find it difficult to understand, which just makes everything harder for everyone. Life and whatever ails you in the moment is always a work in progress. No one is perfect 24/7. If we are lucky, we have moments or even minutes of grace and perfection and I’m learning to enjoy those moments and accept my imperfections as not being terrible but a wonderful journey of exploration.
Girl, amen for this post! Just the title spoke to my very core.
I understand where you’re coming from on the shame part. I think deep down, anyone who has been heavy, lost weight, and ultimately regains some or all of it (me) feels shame. The “why couldn’t I stick with this?” feelings are inevitable. But as you said, being aware of the choices makes a huge difference. Just now, an attorney ordered in 2 doz. cookies from my fave spot. I told myself I’d have one (and only one) and it would be fine. I did and it was. It was the choice. Indulgence with boundaries. I hear you on the giving up at times. So many times I’ve thought, fuck it. Just be this size, embrace it and move on. But I don’t WANT to be this size. I don’t FEEL GOOD at this size. I read Shonda’s book, but I forgot about that part. I’m saying “yes” to being overweight. Thank you. No more for me either.
Seriously, the entire time I read this post, I felt like I was reading my journal or something. It just resonated so much because I am in the EXACT same place. I rejoined WW last month because for me, that’s what keeps my eating in check while still allowing me to have everything I want.
I am WITH YOU. If you ever need to vent, complain, cheer, be encouraged – anything – reach out. I need the accountability too. I’m here and I will do what I can to support, push, and encourage you.
Yup, it’s hard when you’re on the weight loss/weight gain cycle and sometimes it seems like you’re the only one stuck on it. Everyone loses weight with ease or can eat whatever they want or blah, blah, blah And that’s certainly true for some people but lots of people are in the same situation as us. Our struggles are real and normal and nothing to be ashamed about. We just need to figure out the right solution for our individual situation. And I like indulgence with boundaries because it’s my tendency to get too restrictive, which means I’m gonna go wild and break super bad, then decide to quit because why bother after my binge. 😀
I’m glad I’m not the only one who has felt like saying screw it because I honestly think that at some point almost every day, mainly when I want a snack! But like you, I don’t feel good. I don’t like how I look. It makes me sad to catch a glimpse of me in the mirror or in a window and look so chubby and unhealthy. This isn’t what I want for me.
Years ago, I did WW and I did lose some weight but surprise, surprise I eventually quit. I’ve considered going back but I’m not sure if it’s right for me. Counting points really isn’t sustainable for me, although I’m not sure if points are still their thing. I think they’ve made some adjustments but good for you for figuring what helps keep you in check and eating right. Honestly, I’m just trying to get myself back to place where I’m ready to take action, to take responsibility because nothing will change if I don’t. Dreaming about being skinny won’t make me skinny, unfortunately.
Girl, I am with you too! Same back to you – give me a shout when you’re not feeling like eating healthy or need to whine, complain or feel bad because you broke bad and also to celebrate too! We can do this!
kathy @ more coffee, less talky says
i struggled to get healthy after 7 or 8 years of being unhealthy. i tried but never stuck to it until i hit rock bottom. i detailed my journey in my blog (at least i think i did) but it wasn’t an easy one and the process was slow but successful because as you know, weight loss and forming good habits takes time. when you hit rock bottom, you stick to it because you’ve had enough.
i have a feeling that you’re coming near the end of your rope and that your ‘rock bottom’ is near. that’s nothing to be ashamed of either; it’s just a point that we get to when we’ve had enough and that’s what makes you stick to your plan through the long haul. whatever it is that keeps reminding you that things need to change for the better – keep doing it. one day, things will just fall into place.
I think you’re right and rock bottom is in sight because I am tired of being overweight. Slow and sluggish. Bloated and not myself. I am resistant to some of the necessary changes I need to make though. Not 100% sure why. If it’s me just being a big baby (yes) or if there is some deeper psychological reasoning behind it (yes) or something else (maybe). And the one thing I do constantly remind myself is that change is often slow, habits and routine take time to build and cement and no matter what people say – weight loss shouldn’t be overnight. It would be nice but slow and steady is what wins the race here. I’m trying to find that right balance of where I am both exceeding kind to myself (because beating myself up doesn’t motivate me) and also very firm with myself (willpower, girl. get some!) too. It’s a tricky balance that I have not mastered yet!
Nancy @ NY Foodie Family says
I wish you the best in your health journey. I don’t think it’s an easy task for most people. You’ve made the first step and are aware. I come from the everything in moderation camp but know that I really need to exercise more if I want to see any changes. From your past experiences, at least you know that you can do it which is good! I don’t think I’ve reached that point where I really exercised and ate well and noticed a dramatic difference.
Thank you, Nancy. I appreciate your support! My parents are big everything in moderation people, which is the philosophy I aim for as well. Just right now, I’m not so great at it. LOL! I’m more in the whatever mood I’m in – let’s eat. Lots! I think that’s one of the things that frustrates me the most – I had been seeing success, felt that change and was so close to reaching my goal, then I let it slip away. And that’s on me.
Girl, I can relate to this post so much! I wrote about getting healthy in my most recent post so we are on the same wavelength! This spoke to me on so many levels… ” I hide behind my excess pounds because I’m scared to put myself out there. To be rejected, which would be awful. But even worse, to succeed beyond my wildest dreams.” YES!!!!
We can do this Tanya!! We got this!! 🙂
We are definitely on the same wavelength, Mackenzie! I’m glad (well sort of) that you can relate. Most people fear rejection, which I certainly do as well. But success. I mean real, amazing, outstanding, fabulous success terrifies me. And that makes me super sad because it should excite me and you. We deserve to achieve our wildest dreams. We definitely got this, Mackenzie!