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The Monkey On Your Back

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Have you ever heard the phrase "I've got a monkey on my back"? It refers to a problem or addiction that you are really struggling with. The monkey on MY back was binge eating. A little over a year ago, I really fought against it. I was at the highest weight of my life, 286 lbs. Every morning, I would wake up and promise myself that I would get that monkey off my back. I swore that I would not binge eat. Sometimes I would be able to keep that promise all day long, only to give in at night. Other times, I wouldn't even make it until breakfast before I'd binge.

I wanted to change so badly! I knew I had to do SOMETHING in order to lose all the weight, or else I'd be dead in a few years. I've said this before but I'll say it again...I really was killing myself with the extra weight, the sedentary lifestyle, and all the junk food I was stuffing myself with. It was fear of an early grave that finally got me to start taking care of my health, and trying to get that monkey off my back.

It was on March 1, 2012 that I finally got myself on track, and since then I've lost a lot of weight (71 lbs so far) and I've gained health, strength, endurance and flexibility. I've also gained confidence and self esteem. I am my own hero, because I am saving myself from myself.

But one thing I've learned is this;

“You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town.”
-Anne Lamott

What does that mean? Well, to me it means that although I have fought a good fight, there are times when I lose a round. I have not been perfect on my journey, and I know I never will be. Sometimes I go completely off track. Yesterday was one of those days. I'm stressing over things, and yesterday it just totally got to me. I ended up having a pretty huge binge. Afterwards, I was so disappointed in myself. But you know what? That binge wasn't a failure. It was a lesson. It was an occurrence. It happened, but just because it happened doesn't mean that I have to keep on letting it happen. Today is a new day and even though the circus will always be in town, I don't have to let that monkey hop on my back and take up permanent residence. I can (and I will) fight against it.

I will keep going, and as long as I have more good days than bad ones, I know I will make progress!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You said that so well. Everyone of us has the occasional bad day and we need someone like you to remind us not to throw in the towel. Thank you so much for your encouraging blog. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2288 days ago
    Wow! emoticon you already have so many comments. See them all dear spark friend and know people care and are very much in the same circus in different ways. I am new to spark people and everything seems so positive and they help you learn so much. You have come so far celebrate the good things and keep moving . We will cheer you on. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2288 days ago
  • CHERIJ16
    You really hit close to home for me this whole week! Thanks for sharing your encouraging words. emoticon
    2288 days ago
  • no profile photo YESWAKKA
    You did an excellent job of describing the "monkey on my back" condition many of us have. I saw my self as you were describing your monkey problem. Your attitude about not beating yourself up is so great. It will not help. I send blessings your way for courage during your times of temptation and healing blessings for the times when you do not do achieve what you want to. congratulations for sticking in there. You are courageous. And CONGRATULATIONS on all that weight you have already lost. emoticon Skinny pants are in your future.
    2288 days ago
  • 4KWALK
    What a great descriptive blog. I will remember this one for a long time to come.
    It certainly was a good time for me to read it. I have a monkey clinging to my back that I have to dislodge somehow. You have given me hope that I can do this too.
    Thank you.
    2288 days ago
    You are awesome. Take it one day at a time and you can accomplish anything.
    2288 days ago
    Wow! Talk about a lightbulb moment - I've spent a lot of time and energy wondering why that monkey keeps coming back! Thanks for sharing your story so eloquently, and keep up the great work!

    2288 days ago
    Thank you for posting. We all need a reminder and a reenforcement of our journey
    2288 days ago
  • no profile photo SNOOPYCOLLECTOR
    Thank you for putting this into words that got through to me. Every time I goof up I tend to give up for a few days. I need to remember this!
    2288 days ago
  • STHOMAS1009
    Pixie - great job on dealing with that monkey! I've got a couple of monkies on my back. I'm picking them off one by one.

    You are the bomb!

    Thank You! emoticon
    2288 days ago
  • no profile photo BARRAZAM28
    Do I know about the Monkey on my back, everyday I fall victim to my own addictions and its so heart breaking knowing I do this to myself, it's nice to see I'm not the only one who struggles. For me it's getting back on track, I had lost 120 pounds a few years ago and then I had my third child and gained 70 pounds back! Then I lost the 70 and almost made it to my goal just 30 pound shy, then I had my fourth child and gained the weight back, now at 237 I'm having a hard time getting back on track, but I hope with my determination I can overcome my addictions!
    2288 days ago
  • NETSUE64
    Good for you seeing a one time occurrence as just that, and not a failure! You can't fail if you don't quit!

    Keep it up!
    2288 days ago
    Great blog ... Kudos for the weight you have gotten rid of .... Spark on!
    2288 days ago
    Are we twins separated at birth? I could have written this blog, though not nearly as eloquently as you did. Had to post your Anne Lamott quote on my status today.

    2288 days ago
    YES! You are so right! I love the analogy of the monkey and the circus. And it is important to remember that. None of us are perfect, but we can ALL do better! Good for you!
    2288 days ago
    Loved this blog!! I can totally relate to the binge eating and the monkey thing. Glad you finally got in under control (for the most part) I still struggle everyday.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2288 days ago
  • no profile photo JANB47
    Just what I needed to read today! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story and a big WELL DONE from me! emoticon
    2288 days ago
  • KELLYD2112
    For someone like me who is still struggling to get back on track, this is very helpful. Thanks for the encouragement.
    2288 days ago
    "You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town"!
    What an awesome thing to remember... thanks for sharing!
    2288 days ago
  • KLASSY813
    What a great blog and reminder to do this journey for myself!!
    2288 days ago
    Just keep on trying the hardest thing in life is going forward YOU will make it !!!! emoticon
    2289 days ago
    Thanks for the encouragement and reminder! emoticon emoticon
    2289 days ago
    What a Great Blog, you are so insightful! emoticon
    2289 days ago
  • no profile photo DINGHY2
    Wow! I really needed to read this today! Thank you so much for sharing this totally inspirational message. I'm in the same boat, with the same monkey...hope to share something equally motivating one of these days! Keep up the great job!! emoticon
    2289 days ago
  • no profile photo DANIELTOMLINSON
    That was powerful. Thank you!
    2289 days ago
    Love your Blog! I Pray you have continued success. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2289 days ago
    Another inspiring blog! Thank you for sharing! emoticon
    2289 days ago
    I would love to hear how you stopped the binging cycle. I am just recently figuring out that eating disorders are not just for models!

    Way to go, girl! emoticon
    2289 days ago
    Your sharing of your journey couldn't have come at a better time. I have been losing weight, gradually now for a couple of months. I now must have surgery which will keep me from my meeting with others in my group and I so well know my past history of binging. Your quote re the circus is so appropriate, thanks for sharing and the best of success on your continuing journey.
    2289 days ago
    Oh how I know what you are talking about but my monkey is seasonal. I am circus free in the winter but in the summer the monkey comes with the big top and I am lost in the circus world. Maybe several monkeys on my back.
    2289 days ago
  • ANNIEM319
    First off, many, many congratulations!!! I think the biggest problem most of us face when it comes to losing weight is the all or nothing mentality. Finding the middle ground is the hardest path of all.

    Secondly, have you heard of a book called "50 ways to soothe yourself without food". Clearly you are already making great strides in this battle if you've lost 71 lbs, but it never hurts to put more resources in the tool box, right?!
    2289 days ago
    Love that quote. Boy, do we know that monkey! Just gotta strangle him sometimes! emoticon
    2289 days ago
    Excellent Post!! Keep up the great work! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2289 days ago
  • JENNYK8675309
    I like what you said about the circus being in town. I too struggle with that same monkey sometimes. Great job keeping it at bay and learning that giving in once doesn't make your whole story come to an end. I wish you the very best! Keep up the amazing work! emoticon
    2289 days ago
    Yes you can!!!! You are doing great! emoticon (My son would love your wallpaper!)
    2289 days ago
    Thank you for this blog. I binge also. Not usually during the day, but more at night time. Which I did last night when my husband brought home a box of Italian Cookies. Oops. I am back on track this morning, and found your blog inspirational. Thank you.
    2289 days ago
    2289 days ago
    So inspirational....thank you, thank you. I've only recently started on this journey, and I feel like I have tickets to the circus in my back pocket.....with the monkey constantly shouting at me to come and visit. It's encouraging to read your blog and know I'm not alone, and I CAN do this.
    2289 days ago
    Thank you for the honest feedback......

    I love the new day/ new opportunity/ new morning outlook . That truly is life. You are now looking forward, instead of past....to who you are becoming, not where you have been.

    This is a kudos to me. I had a pastry.
    And finally... I tasted it. Didn't inhale it. I ate it while people were watching, not behind the refrigerator door In hiding. This morning, I will have my protein shake as usual. The pastry isn't my focus , nor failure.

    And the bottom line? It tasted like a lump of sugar. I am looking forward to my shake and folks..... That is what the rest of the world knew, and now. .... Me too !
    2289 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/16/2013 8:02:59 AM
  • MAWMAW101
    Thank you for a great blog. Also thanks for the inspirational sayings, that was so clever.
    emoticon emoticon
    2289 days ago
    Go you!
    2289 days ago
  • no profile photo DEBORAHMORENO
    Thank you so much for your inspiring words and encouragement Still struggling just to get started feeling as you did that if I don't do something I will surely die. Knowing that no one can do this for me but me. emoticon I know that I have to take it one day at a time and get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Thanks again!! emoticon
    2289 days ago
    Thank you I needed this. Like the image of the circus and the monkey, seems fitting. Keep fighting the good fight and know that you are helping others with their fight too.
    2289 days ago
  • no profile photo MSJULAY2
    love this monkeys last night was not to bad start today NO MONKEYS went one week that's a start for me lose 5 BACK DOWN 5 START ALL OVER AGAIN emoticon
    2289 days ago
  • no profile photo BANNERMAN
    Thanks for sharing.

    2289 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2289 days ago
    I love Anne LaMotte's books and I loved this blog. Yup...the circus is ALWAYS in town and the monkey will always be there...but it seems with your tremendous success that you are able to not buy the ticket to the circus and to keep the monkey quiet!! How inspiring. Bless you for sharing this wonderful story!
    2289 days ago
    Thank you for your wonderful blog!! I am proud of you!! I feel like losing weight i s very hard for me!! You are doing Awesome!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2289 days ago
    you will always have a problem life, but at least you know,what not to do, keep the faith and keep living
    2289 days ago
    Thank you for sharing!
    2289 days ago
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