I was hovering over the shirt drawer wearing nothing but a tank-top and underwear. The pile of clothes I’d been trying on all morning lay on the floor near the closet and nothing was right. “None of these clothes are right,” my mind screamed. They used to be right, back in the spring when I bought them in a flurry of weight-loss glee. I worked hard to lose those pounds and I celebrated with some really cute clothes. For days and months I meticulously tracked everything I ate and every activity. I watched. I counted. The pounds didn’t melt away, but they slowly dripped off me one ounce at a time until I was satisfied.
I started to enjoy other things in life like travel and friends and summer time. I relaxed. As the holidays wore on I consumed everything about them; the decorations, the smells, the food. I consumed and I laughed and I loved. I gained every single pound back. I failed.
As I ran these thoughts through my mind, my husband walked into the room. I immediately burst into tears confessing the obvious.
I think I am going to struggle with my weight forever.
It doesn’t matter if there are people bigger or smaller than me. I try hard not to compare myself to others. But I do know when I should be trying harder and I also know that when it comes to meal time, the time when I can finally sit down with my family or my friends, the last thing I want to to is TRY. I try all day long, to be a loving mother and wife, to produce quality work and make sure I am getting enough sleep. I try to take breaks and have fun. Everything I do is carefully calculated. So over the holidays, I willfully gave myself a pass on trying. I ate, drank and was incredibly merry. I loved our vacation and the joy we all had together. I literally ate it up. I even decided not to make some big weight loss resolution. I wanted to stay in that carefree place. It felt so free.
I got about 10 days into the New Year with tight jeans that were getting tighter and over-sized sweaters that were starting to feel regular-sized. I began feeling new aches and pains when I ran and knowing that I will be running a half-marathon next month, I panicked. I rejoined Weight Watchers and decided that not trying just isn’t an option for me. You know what? I really hate that.
I don’t want to think about food all day. I don’t want to constantly think about what I am putting in my mouth. It’s far too time consuming. Yet in my 35 years of life, I’ve found it is the only way to put on the brakes. And I want to be healthy. I need to be healthy for my boys, but mostly for me. I just don’t understand why it is so hard for some of us.
Our Pastor spoke on Sunday about how we are designed to consume. Our desires aren’t inherently bad. But when they take over our lives and reorient them to point in the wrong direction, we ultimately lose. To hear his words was both comforting and enlightening. Yes, I am a consumer. When I find something I love and start to sink my teeth into it, some may even call me obsessive. I consume words, knowledge, experiences and yes, food. If there is a glass of water in front of me, I will not sip it. I will drink it until it’s gone, many times in one drink. I will refill it and do this two or three times until I can hear the liquid sloshing around inside my body. I am thirsty. I have a man-sized appetite for the things I love.
So when I struggle with weight issues, it’s not just about oh I wish I were prettier or smaller or whatever. It’s out of a deep desire to not struggle. I feel like trying to lose weight goes against my very nature and try as I might to pray for a miracle and hand the issue to God, the day in day out truth of it all is I am the one putting hand to mouth. I am the only one who can decide if there will be a carrot or a cookie in that hand. I am the one with this struggle. I am embarrassed that this is my struggle. It seems so privileged, so non-important. There is so much more than food tied to this.
I am the only one who can face this struggle in myself. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to think about food all day.
But I have to.
I know I am not alone in this. And while I would love to shed the extra weight once and for all, what I really want to know is how to really kill the struggle. Have you done it?