I’ve been a member of Spark People since June 2009. Some months I am almost obsessive about sparking and in others I barely log in to get my spark points for the day. I have been spending a lot of time reflecting lately. I’ve even started doing some searches to see who I can talk to about my fear, emotional eating, and self-sabotage.
You see I’ve been heavy all of my life. I remember being 119 lbs in fifth grade. I remember hearing the school nurse tell me I was almost the heaviest in my class. I felt shame and struggled with that shame for the next 36 years. I am still struggling with shame, though not as much as before. You see I made a commitment to myself at the urging of my beloved to do something about all of these feelings. I committed to losing weight for myself. I recommitted to that goal in March of 2012. Since then I have lost 43 pounds. At my highest weight I was 271 pounds. When I looked at those nifty BMI charts I was in the very dark grey section Extreme Obesity or as I called it “I’m going to drop dead any minute”. I would say it with a sarcastic laugh and play off my fear, but I knew that I was skating the edge of some very serious health issues.
I didn’t always watch what I was eating or even log it, I had ups and downs, thankfully more down than up. I plateaued and raged that my weight was not just melting away. I tried different exercises and found what worked for me. I walk. Early in 2012 a lot of the members of my favorite Spark Team, Go Swift Kick!, started talking about the FitBit. I hemmed and hawed and finally purchased one in April 2013. By fall I was walking 5 miles a day on the weekend. My average daily step count was 11k. All of that helped me break out of the Extreme Obesity category and move into Obese.
That move, along with the 43 pounds I have lost have left me feeling afraid. I have always been safe behind my armor of fat. I didn’t attract attention for my looks; I didn’t have to fend off unwanted attention from anyone. For reasons I’m not comfortable writing about here, I cannot handle aggressive sexual attention. I am facing the fact that for much of my life I have done nothing to lose weight because I am afraid. Now that I am making slow steady progress toward reaching my goal weight, I am engaging in some self-sabotage. I am buying things that I know I won’t eat in a portion that fits in my calorie count. I have made some progress though. I’m portioning out the treats so I don’t eat all of them at once. I’m logging them when I eat them. I can’t say that I have completely broken my bad habits, and my emotional eating has been kicking in a lot lately. Some days I have two or three portions of my high fat foods.
Friday I attended a work event and one of my employees looked at me and told me I was looking very good. She told me she could really see the weight loss. At the time I was distracted and didn’t pay attention to how her acknowledgement made me feel. Today I went through my dressers and closets and pulled out all of the clothes that I have shrunk out of. Oh boy, even typing that is making me feel very afraid. I packed them all up for donation, I am not hanging on to them just in case. I am trying to shed my armor in the physical world as I am in the emotional world.
I have reached a point of making better choices. For example when my beloved called me to say that her niece was selling Girl Scout cookies and should she buy some, I told her no. She tried to say we could freeze them and then only pull out a sleeve at a time. I told her no, because if they were in the house it would be too easy to get them. I finally have acknowledged that I have to treat things like Girl Scout cookies like an illegal drug, because to me they are.
So from this moment forward I vow to treat myself gently, celebrate my successes, acknowledge my fears, and work to overcome them. I recognize I am on a journey not a sprint, and promise to give myself time to reach the destination. I will not berate myself if I take a detour, and I will ask for the support I need to work through my fear. I will offer the same support and encouragement to my fellow Sparkers, and vow to be there for them as they have been there for me.