Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Battling my demon

Life is a journey filled with lessons and trials; we never "arrive" at our destination.  We are meant to grow, stumble, grow some more, stumble some more...... It doesn't matter what our goals are.  For me, the biggest challenge I have had throughout the course of my life is my weight.  That is my #1 demon.  

Recently, a high school/college friend commented on Facebook I was going to be nothing but bones.  What she can't see is my body fat.  Truly, weight and fitness are one's personal issues.   Bottom line:  I"m not happy with what I see in the mirror.   My entire life I have been made to think I was not good enough, not thin enough to fit someone else's idea of what I should look like--family, school mates, ex-, society.  My mind has battled all those put-downs.  Don't tell me words don't hurt; they do.  Even though my rational mind tells me, "It's none of their damn, fricking business," it has impacted everything about my life.  

When I look back at school pictures, there was a dramatic change between first and second grade.  I don't know what caused it, but it's there.  Fast forward to 6th grade when my parents put me in private school.  A vivid memory I have of that time is being bullied--yes, bullying has been around since the beginning of time, I'm sure.  Some of the boys gave me the nickname "Butterball," as in Butterball turkey, thought to be the biggest.  When I would recount this story to my students decades later, they listened with rapt attention; their teacher could relate to their being bullied.

In my senior year of high school,  I remember walking all around Forest Hills.  I had a regiment where I would eat dinner between 4 and 4:30 and walk.  I lost quite a bit of weight by doing so.  Fast forward to having my son.  I knew I needed to get the weight off, so my husband agreed to help me do Weight Watchers.  I excitedly brought a lot of diet food home, and then he announced, "I'm not eating diet food!"  I had to cook two meals, one for him and one for me, so fried food it was:  fried chicken, fried round steak and gravy.  It was horrible.  There was no support at all from his end; in fact, there was the opposite.

The stress of teaching and some work situations in particular would set me off.  I'm an emotional eater and stress eater.  I've never had an eating disorder, but I would often run for the snack machine at work,  I can remember occasions where I would get 3 or 4 bags of chips and eat them within minutes.  It got to the point where I could not carry cash to work.  It was not better at home with my son.  I bought him the snack size box of chips for his lunches or snacks, and you guessed it; I ate more of them than he did.  There were times when he went to them and asked what happened to them.  I know my triggers and just can't have unhealthy food in the house.  A few months ago I craved chips, so on my way home I stopped at the Dollar Tree.  Their bags are relatively small, so how much damage could I do?  Well, that bag ended up being my dinner.  While it didn't put weight on me, the next day or two I felt awful--sluggish and "yucky."

Fast forward to my current situation.  I have lived alone for two years now, and there is no excuse for me NOT to get healthy.  The worst food I have in the house is almond butter. (I can't keep peanut butter because I would eat spoonfuls right out of the jar.)  I literally have to leave the house and go seek any "bad" food.  Now, that does not mean I won't indulge when I want.  It just means I am more deliberate about my choices.  I will grab a burger and fries about once a month with a friend.  I will have off days.  That's ok because this is a journey; my goal is to eat healthy about 80-90% of the time.  Oh, and abs and biceps---I know I have them somewhere, and I'm on a journey to find them.

 Now that I am retiring this summer, I have made it a conscious decision to focus on ME.  I no longer have the stress of the job.  My part-time tutoring/mentoring work is keeping me as busy as I want, and my pet nanny job is gearing up as the humans prepare to make their annual trek to Cozumel.  That is looking busier into the fall as the mom has a work trip to Dubai planned, her normal travel for business,  and perhaps other countries with the hubby.   I am busy between those part-time jobs and visiting/doing for my parents.  I am getting my mind in a healthy place, and I am keeping it busy.  Fitness truly does begin in the mind.  I have told someone that her mind truly has to be in the right place.  Mine has been off and on for years; right now, it's focused.  I workout almost every single day, sometimes twice a day (when I feel extra-motivated).  My food is on point.  I am keeping stress to the minimum, and I am dealing with this demon head-on.

(Ha!  If you made it this far, I know it's due to the title.)