Tuesday, February 08, 2011
I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about things. Deep things to be specific. The one I want to focus on today is forgiveness. This isn’t forgiveness for someone else this time, although I have lots of experience with that one. The thing is that I really don’t have a lot of experience in forgiving myself. It isn’t just me, I don’t think most people do. We are raised, each of us, with a set of standards. If you don’t meet those standards, you can’t help but feel a failure. Sometimes that is the result of the things that society dictates we should be, our family tells us we should be and sometimes just who we feel we should be.
One very important and often overlooked part of losing weight is getting the inside of us to catch up with the outside. Our focus is on the calories and foods we are consuming, the workouts we are doing, not as much on who we are inside.
I do know a little something about this and I believe that it is the failure to acknowledge the changes inside of us that many times derail the hard work we have done. When I was about 21 years old I was in a car accident. I wasn’t badly injured but it did change my life. I had been coming home from shopping for a dress to wear “out” with friends. I remember very clearly that it was a denim jumper in a size 22 that I had bought because nothing else fit. I didn’t like it, I didn’t want it, but I had neglected myself into a corner where I had not many options. The accident happened and I ended up later that night at the hospital. I lay on a gurney in the hospital because they wouldn’t let me walk. I had been weighted and I was 218 lbs. A little nurse pushed my fat butt down the hallway to the X-ray room and I was mortified. I vowed to make a change, and I did. I joined weight watchers not long after that. I was a faithful regular at the meetings. I took up riding my exercise bike and I did it every night. Within nine months I had lost over 70 lbs! I was proud of myself and so were my co-workers, family, friends, and customers. Everything was great but I had failed to allow the inside of me to catch up. I was still a “fat girl” inside with the same insecurities, the same fears that had allowed me to become unhealthy in the first place. Yes, some days I looked in the mirror and saw that I looked good and I felt good…but I was still afraid of men, afraid of relationships, afraid of having to be someone other than the fat, funny, asexual and non-threatening person I had been.
Events in my life took a turn and I ended up in Minnesota. This was a big thing for a native Californian. As the Lord does tend to work in ways we cannot begin to understand, I met my husband the month after I turned 25. My life changed again in ways I had not imagined, but the inner thoughts were only covered up. I was loved and that is something I had not wanted to accept, but now I was. We were married and set up house. We ate meals that were more “Minnesotan” in nature than Californian. That means a salad bar consists of anything covered in cool whip, jello or pasta. I adjusted to my husband’s love of meat, potatoes and bread. I was soon embracing habits that weren’t healthy. Then children came and excuses came with them as to why I couldn’t exercise. I made little victories and attempts along the way and allowed little roadblocks to bring a standstill to progress. Everything I had done was quickly undone and three years ago at the age of 40 I sat in the office of my allergist as she told me that I was probably borderline diabetic and my blood pressure was far too high. She said if I didn’t get on the stick and lose some weight that I would continue to lose my health. I joined weight watchers for the third time in my adult life the next day. I did manage to lose 30 lbs. This brought me back to 199 at my lowest. It was at that point that I hit the dreaded plateau. I was again in the situation where I was actually a little “ashamed” of my accomplishments. My inability to see my goals and stick with them has again led me to a place where I hit 214 on the scale. Not only was my weight and lack of exercise an issue, but I had lost all ambition to do anything around my house. I was barely cooking or cleaning. I had no goals, not interests. I spent all of my time sitting on the couch or lying in my bed and thinking about how much I resented myself for not getting up and doing something…anything. The bottom line is that I didn’t like myself or who I had become. I couldn’t be proud of what I was. Not as a wife, a mother, a person. I was just getting up and going through the motions of life. My outside merely reflected who I was on the inside.
Something happened to me this January. I needed to make some changes. I needed to like who I was. Yes, I have had some brief moments in my life when that has happened. The problem I think is that I haven’t allowed myself to forgive myself for past sins. I have held on to them as if they were limbs. Parts of me that should be put in trunk and held on to in case they were needed again. The past is done and over. I can only be responsible for every day going forward. I cannot hang on to the past anymore. It isn’t good for my body or my mind. Today I will forgive myself my past mistakes, for my past abuses to myself. Every day from here on out I will work to love myself more, and be kinder to myself by moving past and moving ON.