By now, if you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you’ll know I’m a perfectionist, Type-A–personality woman who is the busy mother to four daughters, loves to read, has lots of projects, and struggles with mental health. It may not come as a surprise, then, that I struggle with my weight as well. Having four children and lots of projects keeps me busy, and the mental-health issues make me a little more fragile or susceptible to stressors than perhaps some others, I think. Add in that there are some serious addictive tendencies going a ways back on my paternal side, and — voila! — I comfort myself with food. Sometimes the compulsion gets so bad I feel I just can’t stop eating, and it’s frankly a bit scary. I feel possessed.
Because I also feel strongly about the issue of body image and beauty in our culture today, I am going to try to frame this discussion outside of pounds or before-and-after photos. I decidedly dislike going on Pinterest and seeing all these “fitspiration” pins that feature photos of teeny-tiny toned chicks wearing next to nothing and showing off their nonexistent tummies. I don’t care how great the tips are that lie behind those pins; I’m simply not going to look at them, and I’m definitely not going to perpetuate them by repinning. (For a really great discussion about this topic, go to Beauty Redefined and read their take.)
Yes, I am looking in the mirror right now and at recent photos of myself and finding myself ashamed and appalled. I am also into my biggest clothes and scared that I might eat myself right out of those into sizes I don’t even own. I stepped on a scale at my gym this week to find out exactly where I stand and wasn’t too surprised but also was definitely not pleased to see that I am now the heaviest I’ve ever been, barring the very end of my first pregnancy. So I am falling right into the trap of feeling bad about my whole being because of how I look. Not good. But that doesn’t mean that I should just accept where I am and move on with life.
One, where I am is not healthy physically, no question. Two, emotional eating is just a crutch, a way to avoid dealing with other issues, and I’m the type of person who wants to do things the right way, no shortcuts, no excuses. It pains me to think I’m using this crutch. So for my emotional well-being, I’d like to try to dig deep and figure out ways to toss this crutch. I’d love to complete that sentence with the phrase “once and for all,” but the realistic side of me recognizes that this may very well be a fight I wage for the rest of my life, much like any other addiction. Alcoholics never consider themselves cured; they’re always “recovering,” and I think that’s where I’m at. Right now, I’m off the wagon and wallowing in the mud on the side of the road. But I am starting to get up enough … strength? desire? motivation? … something… to get back on the wagon and try to stay on there for a good long while.
So this post is going to be the first of many. I’m starting a new category on this blog, about my “light life.” Like I said, I don’t want to frame this as a numbers game or show off before-and-after photos of me in little workout clothes. I want to come at this from a health viewpoint, that of my physical body and of my emotional and spiritual selves.
What I’m looking for is ways to help me get over my addiction to food and eating as a crutch. I’m going to start collecting some good articles and talking about them as I go. I’m still feeling pretty wobbly back here behind the wagon, and I’m not even sure I have the strength to grab for the wagon. But I’m going to put this online, so perhaps that will give me a little extra push.
Please comment and give me some direction as you think it might fit into this viewpoint. I don’t need dieting or fitness tips. I need emotional tips, encouragement, and some solid guidance as I try to find my way and get myself happier and healthier. No platitudes or cheesy dieting sayings (like the infamous “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”: I mean, really — if that were true, all of us emotional eaters would be skinny and loving it).
Weigh in on this topic. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.
I’m a book reviewer, editor, and writer with four daughters and tons of projects always keeping me hopping. I blog at Life and Lims and run the book review site Rated Reads.