Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The More Things Change...

As I write this, I am working on hour four of insomnia. I woke up at 1 a.m. It is now 4:15.

Before I gave up trying to sleep and got out of bed, I thought about what I ate yesterday and got mad at myself for eating one of the peanut blossom cookies I’d made for an upcoming party (I had to test them, right?), and I berated myself for having not gone to the gym for a week. This induced an anxiety attack as I thought about how much weight I’d gain if I didn’t stop eating cookies and didn’t work out. Then I remembered it takes 500 extra calories a week to gain a pound and I bargained with myself that if I ate nothing but salad for the next three days, there would be no ill effects from the cookie (or the extra bites of cheesy pasta or the port wine cheese on a Triscuit or the ...).

I reached down and touched my thighs and took hold of the flesh along their sides and thought about self-acceptance and how, at my thinnest, I thought I had made peace with my body at all its weights when the truth is, that was only true when I weighed 132 pounds or less. I’ve been self-critical since leaving that weight two years ago.

I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by this feeling of not-good-enough because my body wasn’t what I thought it should be. It was easy at 128 pounds to say that I appreciated the person I was at any weight, but in fact, I was glad I wasn’t heavier, ecstatic that I’d finally shed that skin of self-consciousness. I felt sorry for the me who was 300 pounds, 215 pounds, 150 pounds. I pitied her. And for god’s sake, I never wanted to be her again.

But I am, and a few hours ago I was touching my thighs and wondering if I could ever just say yes to the body I have and, more importantly, the person I am. To not allow one to define the other. To separate them but love them equally.

It is now 5 a.m. The cat is playing with his toy mouse in the kitchen. Jim will be up soon to go to work. He will kiss me good morning and offer sympathy for my insomnia. He will feed the cat, drink some orange juice, maybe eat one of the cookies I made, and tell me to go back to bed. I’ll assure him I will and then he’ll kiss me goodbye. But instead of sleep, I’ll crawl back into bed and start reading the book I bought last week, “The Need to Please: Mindfulness Skills to Gain Freedom from People Pleasing and Approval Seeking.” Perhaps I will find in there more pieces to the puzzle of self-acceptance. And after I’ve read a bit, I will end the night and begin my day with perhaps a bit more appreciation for who I am, right now.

8 comments:

  1. Hi Lynn,

    I've followed your journey since you hit your original goal. I wanted to say that in the recent pictures you've posted you look healthy and gorgeous. The 20 lbs. may seem like a huge amount to you but to me you still look like a slim, fit version of yourself.

    I have lost and kept off 45 lbs. but originally lost about 60. My weight has yo-yo'd in a 30 lb. range since then. At my highest, I worked on accepting my regain and framing it positively - I thought of myself as voluptuous and curvy instead of "fat." That mindset shift actually made it easier to lose weight because I wasn't trying to punish myself, I was just trying to be a better me. I've lost almost 15 lbs. since then, and although I am still 15 lbs. above my lowest weight, I feel pretty good at this size. I am trying again to accept my body as it is rather than push for more weight loss.

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  2. Thank you, Colleen, for your kind words. Wise words, too. I think changing my mindset, as you did, will help. For too long I've been thinking in black and white (bad/good, right/wrong) and not seeing my body and myself as a whole lot of grey (and not just on top of my head! LOL). Congrats to you for finding peace as you have, and thanks again for reading and for your kind response.

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  3. I think the mindset of changing so you don't berate yourself for one cookie - or really any amount of cookies - would be really healthy. I know it is hard to accept as we are, but the first step really is always to speak to yourself with kindness - no matter what you do or how you feel.

    And I appreciate you.

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  4. I've never even seen you in person and I can tell you that you are a very fine person with much to admire. If you're making a list, you'll need a lot of paper!
    :)

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  5. Lynn, I hear you on the insomnia. I learned over 2013 that my sleep was really, really tied to my carb levels. Under a certain carb level and I sleep like a baby. Over and I'm wide awake at 2am, and a lot of menopause/hot flashes too.

    I had no idea how linked the two things were. Good luck and keep going- Onward. Hope your sleepless nights are few.

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  6. Hi Lynn,

    I am awake way too early too and found your post to be so helpful. At last I am accepting that my weight struggle will never be "fixed" but I can learn to live with this issue more sanely. I intend to treat myself kindly today and use food for nourishment. This is my daily resolve and I am just more successful some days than others.

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  7. You are a lovely woman, and I enjoy your blog. Losing and maintaining body weight is not for the faint of heart. We go through many stages that normal weight folks can't imagine, but we persevere and support one another on these blogs, as we find our way. My best to you and your family during holiday season and in the new year.

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