Saturday, January 24, 2009

eating... the angel way - part one

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.


TuTu's Bliss said...

It's official, your a Comment Queen!! Congrats!!

Kathy said...

Wow size 4.

Chocolate is better I think. I don't know, since the last time I was a size 4, I was in kindergarten.

I need more Angel reminders. And I'm looking forward to the new purple food.

Missy's Blog said...

Love the new look of your blog!

Laura Rose said...

woohoo, your new look rocks!!!

Kim said...

I'm so glad you stopped being mean to yourself - you deserve every kindness.

boxofficegirl said...

I am so very happy to know that 'real' women such as yourself still exist out. More power to your elbow lady. I look forward to the next extract.

Curious Curandera said...

Nice changes to your blog.

Martha said...

I completely share your philosophy of food is meant to be enjoyed and shared.

April said...

Wow...running 7.5 miles 6 days a week and working out at the gym 3 days is a lot. I've cut back on my workout routine and I think I'm happier because of it. Learning to love yourself is never easy, but it can be done!!!

Patrice said...

I was particularly interested to read this, having seen you morph through various stages (hair and body-wise!) over the years. In my family, one daughter is heavy like me, and one is -- yes -- a size 4. She gets lots of strokes for that, and I wonder what it costs her to maintain it. Of course, she is only 18.

I've just finished "Body Clutter" by the FLYLady who inspires so many to unclutter their homes. I think they did a very good job of setting forth the need to love yourself by eating well -- but reading it didn't magically make me do so!

I'm in a similar stage as the one you describe, where I am newly settled in the life (and marriage) I have always sought. I'm not imagining that it will cause me to eat healthily all the time, but the lack of stress is really changing the way I feel about everything. We'll see!

Alette Siri Ane said...

to change myself to like myself better.It is something we work at constantly.You took a huge step.Good for you

koopermom said...

I think it's so hard to find a happy balance with food and excercise. I allow myself mostly what I want, as long as it's in moderation, and I do my weekly workouts!
BTW - LOVE the new look!!

Selchie said...

Yeah I know it's a struggle isn't it, what you feel like doing v's what everyone else feels you should be doing or look like.
Since i had twins and a caesarian my weight has ballooned and it is hard to get it back. I used to go to the gym every day in Italy and I enjoyed it. I found i had a lot more energy there. I wonder if it has something to do with the good food and veggies there.
I am now in that place of indecision as to what to do about my weight. It gets easier as the girls grow as they can walk further and I love to walk.) I guess it's all about balance.
Interesting post).

Spirit said...

I struggle daily with a happy and healthy lifestyle. It is a struggle to be guilt free, healthy and satisfied.

Walk in the Woods said...

Hey - yeah, angels aside (love ya angels!), the blog looks super!

PS ... I did "something" to my lower back - and I wasn't even exercising! In fact, I don't have a clue what I did to invoke the hot and angry pain. Can you recommend a chiropractor? :)

Allison said...

Congrats to the Comment Queen!
I love to eat, sadly my metabolism is slower than a turtle. Exercise is the antidote. The trick is to find something that you love to do. My loves are yoga and tango.

P.A. GIbbons said...

I struggle with the same thing. I used to run a lot, and then I broke my ankle 3 years ago. Oh how the body so rapidly declines at my age. Cellulite places I did not know it could go. I am still slender, but not the tight slender I was back....when. But then again, I am not 35 anymore either! So I do what I can, when I can. I prefer to walk outdoors, but not in the cold. I love yoga, but now have injured my shoulder. So I guess I will go to the gym when I feel like it for some lower body work out and breathe and realize, it all is what it is.

To joy and happiness, and health no matter what size we are in.

patti o


Mama Krit said...

Hey, Angelina Jolie gained 60 pounds too, and still looked great. :)
Be kind to yourself, and answer me one thing... how in the world did you run almost 8 miles a day and not pass out!?? I'm in awe.. :)

Stacy's Random Thoughts said...

Good for you not being 'mean' to yourself! :) Size 4?! Like Kathy said, the last time I was a size four was when I was in Kindergarten still wearing 4T! ;)

Lynette said...

We all struggle with body issues.
I know I fight daily with my body.
I do not like it and it does not like me. I am not good at any kind of diet. Yes it is a 4 letter word! But I do like to exercise in moderation.