One of the worst things that has ever come out of my mouth to date:
"I don't trust myself..."
How can/does that happen? For me, I can tell you exactly. It all stems back from when I entered the diet world. I was 21. I had just given birth to the most beautiful daughter ever (mom's prejudice
) and I had gained 65 pounds during that pregnancy going from a size 8 to a snug 16. I was miserable and unhappy. I had stretch marks covering my entire body from my calves to my thighs to my stomach to my arms from the rapid weight gain. I ate crap when I was pregnant. I was hungry all the time, had zero morning sickness and a sedentary job so the weight just piled on.
I will never forget the first time I entered a Weight Watchers meeting. I felt so depressed stepping on the scale and seeing my weight. I remember crying that night after I laid my daughter down for bed. I couldn't understand HOW and WHY I let myself get like that. I was DETERMINED to lose the weight, get back down to my size 8's again and see that weight I had when I got married (hell, go for it and shoot for high school weight, why not?!).
I did it, too. I didn't stick with WW it was too hard to go to the meetings (this was pre-internet stuff... hell, we didn't even own a computer at that point circa 1997) so I started reading different books and settled on the low-fat craze that was sweeping the late '90's. I got on that bandwagon and ate a maximum of 20g a fat a day, kept my calories to 1500 a day and the weight fell off. I lost all that weight in about 10 months. I felt fantastic! Amazing! On top of the world! I was exercising on my lunch breaks and it felt so good to be able to zip up a size 6 pair of shorts.
Fast forward a few months, I did pretty well for awhile. Felt my motivation waning and the desire to keep my fat grams so low very difficult. I decided to go to Weight Watchers again. My daughter was a bit older and I could work it in with my lunch breaks. I couldn't do it. Counting the points was so tedious. I noticed ever so slowly that my weight was creeping back up because like so many, I was falling off the wagon. I did an on again and off again thing for a couple more years and just let go again when we decided to have baby #2. The weight gain wasn't so horrible then, I gained 40 pounds but had terrible morning sickness then so I think that did help with the weight gain. After he was born, I jumped right back on the bandwagon again to try to lose weight... again. This time it was the WW at home program (worked with breastfeeding). I lost a bit but again did the on again, off again thing for a couple more years my weight yo-yo'ed up and down plus or minus 15 pounds then baby #3 came and a pregnancy of only gaining 30 pounds.
After baby #3 I decided enough was enough. I was going to lose the weight and for good.
Enter SparkPeople. I did lose the weight. I became quiet obsessed even. My next four years on SparkPeople was a constant fight with obsession. First it was counting calories, 1200 calorie diet, calorie cycling then I found clean eating and that put a whole new spin on food obsession. Then I injured myself doing P90X and pushing myself to extremes with my workouts. I didn't realize at that point my body was telling me to chill the eff out! Enough! Slow down! I was at my goal weight, but still unhappy and pushing harder and harder every day, my body just decided to tell me bluntly to knock it off.
A few months later, I picked up and read the Intuitive Eating book and it really opened my eyes to quite a few things. I absorbed the rules and quit tracking and my weight naturally stabilized. I was exercising intuitively and things were great. After that surprise baby decided to come along and working with intutive eating during that pregnancy yielded me a 25 pound weigh gain! Trusting my hunger cues and eating when hungry/stopping when full etc. It was amazing! Lots of prenatal yoga and the most amazing labor and delivery!
After my pregnancy, I really thought that I would be able to jump right back into my size 8's that I was in prior to my pregnancy with little to no trouble. Not so. I got wrapped back up in the scale and obsessive thoughts again. Reading back on my blogs the last two years is enough to make me want to scream from the pendulum swing that I have experienced. Back and forth from intuitive eating to counting calories.
GET ME OFF THIS MERRY GO ROUND!!!
Looking back, it is no wonder I didn't trust myself. I didn't trust myself to "be good" or "eat good" or "exercise good". Dichotomy ruled my life. Either I was "on" or "off". Diets always started on Monday. I took part in the Last Supper eating quite often. It is tragic when I think back.
I have always had a dichotomous outlook on life so I guess it is natural that I would fit that profile when it came to eating and exercise. Completely no surprise.
Do I have regrets about the way I have done things in the past? Only if I haven't learned anything from them. I have. I have learned a lot. I am in the process of forgiving myself for being so hard on myself over the years. I am working to mend that relationship with myself. Be just as kind to myself as I would my children or husband or any random stranger off the street. It is harder than hell, but I am really working to remove my dichotomous view on the world especially the way I eat. I am working to establish that trust with myself and it is getting there. I am seeing more and more of it every day. I can sit down to a plate of cookies and eat a couple and drink a glass of milk and be done. Not having to tell myself, "I better not have any because I don't trust myself to stop at two." Because I know I can two -- or even more if I desire -- because it is all about balance. The balance I have with my approach to good nutrition knowing that I eat good but the world isn't going to quit rotating if, God forbid, I eat 4 cookies instead of two and I am not going to instantly balloon up and gain five pounds overnight. Because, quite honestly, it just doesn't work like that.
I can be happy in my skin. Right now. (repeats to self several more times). This one is tricky because I put so much internal pressure on myself. I want to wear my size 8's again. I do, I will admit it. It is harder than hell not to be able to. It is harder than hell at times to really trust the process, but I can do it. I can trust myself. I can like myself. Fact of the matter is this: I am a work in progress. As much as I hope to be able to wear those size 8's again, I need to realize that I might not be able to without going into restriction again. I can be happy with that. I can, I am convinced. Honestly, I feel happier now than I have in a very long time. I eat the food. I feel good about not restricting heavily on my calories. I do track my nutrition and work to make sure I am eating enough to sustain my workouts and busy life and to make sure I am getting enough protein (always a struggle for me). But I am to the point that I need to work to let go a bit more. I need to relax. Enjoy life and not take it so seriously. Enjoy the new muscles I am building and the fact that I am stronger than I ever have been before. I contribute that to eating the food. Pure and simple. Building muscle requires calories. It does. Dammit, I am tired of the constant struggle and having to build my life around rules of diets. I want to be able to go to BBQs and enjoy the food, the beer and not worry about the caloric content of my plate.
Most of all, I desperately need to mend this relationship from within. To fully trust. To feel good in my own skin because quite honestly, I haven't since I was that young mother crying herself to sleep because I was FAT. Hindsight being 20/20 as it always is, I would have never set foot in that Weight Watchers meeting that spiraled my life out of control for the next 15 plus years. I would have taken the more gentle approach and worked with things. But I can't go back. Again, I can have regrets, but I wouldn't be allowing myself to grow if I let regret rule my life, too.