Monday, January 21, 2008

This time it's personal

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.
- James Wright, from "A Blessing"


Let's start with a moment of silence for my boys' Green Bay Packers. Sam has taken the loss very personally. Jack has moved on to Patriots v Giants. Aaron refuses to speak of the game.

Begin moment of silence.... End moment of silence.

To begin -

When I first started this blog, I wrote about New Years Experiments. I still haven't officially declared One experiment as the winner, although I have made some strides in living in a more environmentally friendly way. But, like millions of other Americans on January 1, my thoughts have turned to losing weight.

It's hard for me to write about this because weight has always been very personal to me. But I'm going to share a bit of my journey with hopes that telling the truth will help free myself from what hasn't been a very consistent healthy relationship.

I am very, very lucky because for the first 24 years of my life, food and I happily co-existed together. Of course, I did the silly diets in high school (a snickers bar for breakfast and nothing else until dinner) and enjoyed the occasional "pig-out" with friends in high school and college. The liquid calories that I consumed in college melted off with no effort (unless you call dancing at frat parties until 2 in the morning "effort.") When I graduated, I was thrilled with my job and my personal life. All was well.

But ages 24-27 were pretty tumultuous years for me. I had my heart broken, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and I moved temporarily to a place that stifled my soul. It was during this time that my relationship with food turned sour. For much of those 3 years I felt lonely and sad. So, I did what many women do. I turned to food. And I became an expert yo-yo dieter. I'd gain weight and then diet it off. Gain weight and diet it off.

By my late 20s, I seemed to have things together, food-wise. I took some time away from the world as I knew it and came back stronger, happier, wiser, and yes, thinner, than ever. I met my husband, we married, I enjoyed my work, I made deep friendships, my heart was full.

And now, here I am, several years later. I have a husband who adores me who I in-turn adore, wonderful friends, a gorgeous, healthy family. And yet, all I have to do is look at the scale to know that deep inside, perhaps all is not as well as it seems.

Often, in quiet moments, I still feel lonely and sad. My children are the great loves of my life and yet the truth is that they exhaust me. It often feels as if my every waking moment is spent tending to someone else's needs. And so, I should not be surprised that my old ways with food are popping back into my life.

Only now, as I bang on 40's door, weight isn't just about a number on a scale anymore. It's about health. I feel like in some ways, I am way ahead of the curve in terms of healthy eating. My family is fed whole, real foods. I don't do fake foods, artificial sweeteners, etc. They may be good for diets but they are not good for health. I do a great job with fruits and vegetables. And meat has really taken a back seat in my family's meals. But the fact remains that I carry any extra weight I have in my belly, the worst possible place a person can carry it. Cancer and heart disease run in my family and if I want to do what I can to avoid them, I need to work even harder at healthy habits.

So I am considering this blog entry my official starting point of a journey back to health. (If I had trumpets, I would herald them here. If I had confetti, I would drop it. If I had balloons, I would let them take flight.) I have learned through the years that a true healthy relationship with food, for me, is not just about food. It's about food and exercise and writing and reading and learning and talking and, perhaps most important of all, listening and being still.

Thanks for listening. I will keep you posted.


S@L said...

Go you! So glad you posted this. I find that big change always starts with some painful honesty. This is your year. Ready, set, go...

Jillmlv said...

As one who joins you in the struggle with weight/food, I so appreciate your candor,Sandie!
Maybe we can motivate each other, as I just this morning, visited the gym to extend my membership ... after not having been in since last July!!