Why "Taking Care of Me?"

April 16, 2011 marked a new starting point for me. My sweet husband surprised me with a trip to a health spa, Fitness Ridge to be exact. It was literally life-changing, but didn't have the immediate results I, and I presume everyone else, expected to see. We watch The Biggest Loser and are amazed by their quick transformations and think- finally a difficult yet good way to finally lose the weight. Don't get me wrong I did start losing weight, but more importantly I started the journey to taking better care of me. That gift, when I remember to apply it, has been so vital in changing so many aspects of my life. Taking care of ourselves doesn't always look like spas, facials and massages. Rather it looks more like taking the time to cut those vegetables; getting a little less sleep to make it to the early morning spin class; taking the 5-10 minutes to pray and meditate at the end of the day. All because these things are really what taking care of ourselves look like.

Friday, November 9, 2012

When exercising isn’t enough: The case that eating accounts for the majority of weightloss.

Have you wondered why I haven’t posted my progress shots of me on my bike?  Well… read on. 
Weight is something I have thought A LOT about, in fact on a near daily basis.  Luckily my thoughts have turned to more productive- thanks in large part to Jen Morton (life ethic).  Most of my thoughts- especially negative ones would be in some way colored by the thoughts that I was fat, disgusting, unlovable and unloved.  Notice the “was”, because I have changed those to I AM a beautiful, happy, healthy, fit, faithful, kind, loving, strong, sensitive daughter of God!  The focus now is more on my relationship to my Loving Heavenly Father- than it is to my attributes- which sadly depending on my mood sometimes wax and wane in there strength.

So, back to the point of this post:  I have been working out pretty regularly, sometimes vigorously but generally for at least 4-6 hours a week and my weight has stayed the same.  I feel like some people wonder how that could be.  Let me tell you in two words: emotional eating.  Interestingly enough emotional eating affects MANY of us- overweight, underweight, tall, short, etc.  I believe- again with Jen’s help that I have been turning to food as a coping mechanism since I was about 4 years old.  YES- that was the first time I remember feeling like I wasn’t good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, etc.  I had been in a sledding accident and had scratched up my face pretty well and had a large fat lip for what seemed like an eternity to me.  My dad (and I could see myself innocently doing the same thing to my kids) was looking at some type of catalog and he showed me pictures of other little girls and said something- I don’t remember his exact words, but the feeling was that I wasn’t as pretty as they were and thus not good enough.  Sad but true.  I am fulfilled by words of affirmation- SO I am also hurt by words as well- even words that are spoken in jest.  That is why I try to never use sarcasm (that is worthy of an entire other post). 

I used to get teary-eyed thinking about that and other emotionally significant times from childhood, but I am moving past those and I can even laugh about them now-  which lets me know I have processed them and understand the truths about myself.  SADLY, I haven’t completely broken myself of 30 years of feeling those negative thoughts about myself.  I don’t know that I turned to food completely, but when I was 8 there was another significant event and it had to do with being overweight (albeit by such an insignificant amount), so I suspect I did start to abuse food at the age of 4.  NO pity here, just facts and facts that ARE helping me to get to the bottom of my relationship with food.

Jen put it well that at the age of four, I essentially took a contract that stated, “I am fat and ugly” and signed it in blood.  I laughed when she said that and she said it is funny, but its true.  Because I agreed that those feelings about myself would color my everyday interactions for my whole life- and sadly become self-fulfilling prophesies.  Although- now I realize that fat does NOT equal ugly!  And to put your minds at ease, I had a wonderful childhood.  I ran and danced and played outside until my mom thought that my darker joints from my tan were dirt and she’d scrub me till my skin was raw. J  And I had positive messages that I internalized.  I always felt intelligent, kind, thoughtful, loving and compassionate (among other things).  I just think that our society’s overemphasis on outward beauty only leads to comparisons and most kids to feel less than, and I do think more girls are prone to feeling that.

So, I mention that many of us do battle with some form of emotional eating.  Jen,  if you don’t remember or didn’t read past posts- no worries, if not, is the life coach at Biggest Loser Fitness Ridge in Ivins.   She gives a lecture that most of the people there not only struggle with emotional eating, but have for such a long time that it has become AN addiction!  It is every bit as strong and powerful as any other addiction.  Some addictions lead to physical death more quickly, but I would ad that all addictions kill your spirit at equal rates.

So readers, I have this to say to you, “Hi my name is Hilarie, and I am an addict.”  Haha, right?  But its true.  And I share this not because it dooms me to failure, but because knowing this about myself- it has and continues to help me make the changes that I need so that I will lose this weight.  And for those that have seen me bike and ad accomplishments to my fitness bucket list, KNOW that it isn’t holding me back… anymore!
I have also realized that with any addiction, I have to have a recovery plan that is so much more involved than watching what I eat.  Most people would be surprised at how healthy 80% of my diet is- I really try to eat whole and healthy all the time, its just when strong emotions hit (even happy and celebratory ones) that I binge.  And it isn’t even on just sugary foods, because I have done better at keeping those out of my house.  But if I NEED a fix, any food will do in a pinch. 

I put this out there for a few reasons.  First, writing about it helps me to process and apply what I have learned better.  I feel like with other important things in my life, when I can stop worrying and just make peace with it, then I will be ready to calorie count to help keep me aware of my intake and honest in what I am eating- I need it to not be guilt-inducing, or negative, or too tightly tied to anticipation of quick and lasting weight loss.  When I consistent- my goal will never be more than a pound a week.  I know all the math, most of the nutrition to make that work, but it’s the emotional eating that trips me up.   And this has to be something I do only for myself, I have tried putting it out there when I am being successful, but that seems to set me up for failure.  So, readers please know that I AM trying to lose weight, and I don’t need advice on that front (well maybe sometimes I do, but I will come to you for it).  It will come, I have that faith, and I have been surprised by how quickly other seasons have changed in my life, so this season may come sooner than you or I think.  I hope, but am no longer (and I keep reminding myself of this) waiting impatiently for it to happen, or allowing the extra weight I carry to keep me from being active and doing hard things.  You will know when it is working, maybe a few weeks after it is, and it may or may not still be a little bit back and forth.  I’m not expecting perfection, just management in a healthy way, and that means that I won’t ever be perfect, but I will find something that works, FOR me, because weight loss is such an individual thing.  What works for one person may not and in fact probably will not work in the exact same way for another person.  But I’m finding what works for me and already have had MUCH success on that front.

Also, as I mentioned before, writing this helps me in another way. I need positive affirmations, reinforcement, etc and this blog has been wonderful for me in that regard (no pressure to comment, but I do appreciate even those that read and tell me or comment on Facebook- it truly does help me).   Thanks for taking the time to read this- I know its lengthy, because it shows me that you care about me as a person, and I know that offers to help also come from that same place, so thank you for that as well.  And finally, I write on here because maybe this will help someone else that reads it.