a couple years ago, just about this time of year, i was confronted by the sad reality that if i wasn't going to exercise like a fiend, i couldn't eat anything i wanted. but the reason i used to exercise like a fiend had nothing to do with what i wanted to do... exercise was a way to control, to punish, and to sublimate a lot of very negative and hurtful feelings. i was in great shape... but to stay that way i had to be really mean to myself.
and i didn't like that.
i don't like to be mean to anyone, let alone me.
as soon as the overall stress level in my life declined - i moved in with Beloved, my ex crawled back under his rock, the kids got older and i quit imagining i'd ever find that elusive pot of gold at the end of everyone else's rainbow - the one called "gainful employment" - i was a lot happier in general.
i was running 7.5 miles a day, six days a week, and working out in a gym for an hour a day three days a week. i felt overtrained, overworked and bone-weary. i'd whipped myself into a size four, but i wasn't happy with how i felt doing what i had to do to stay that way.
however, this was not an easy decision.
i don't come from a long line of sylphs. i come from a long line of women who struggle with hormonal and thyroid challenges, and all sorts of weight and metabolism issues. my maternal grandmother was a strong athletic woman well into her seventies, but she was no size four. my mother began her struggle with weight in childhood. in each of my pregnancies, i gained at least 60 pounds, and growing up, FAT was a dirty word. "that makes you look fat" is my mother's fashion kiss of death.
so doing this - quitting dieting, quitting working out - felt like a leap into the great unknown. but i was determined i was going to learn how to be kind to my body, and how to be kind to myself. i wasn't going to run one more step or lift one more weight until i felt like doing so. i wasn't going to punish myself, i wasn't going to withhold anything - be it chips or chocolate or sloth. i was going to turn off the voices that said i "should" or "shouldn't" - i was going to listen to the voices that said... "annie, you go right ahead!"
so i quit working out, and quit being mean to myself about what i wanted to eat, and sat back to see what would happen.
to be continued...
and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.