My Relationship with Food

Yesterday I found myself in a place I never thought I’d be.

Over the summer I was on track to “writing myself right” and I was walking my way to health.

But then something shifted, and I lost my way again. A few weeks ago I found myself in my doctor’s office, looking at a number on the scale that was higher than its ever been before. My doctor terrified me with the words that, “if you’ve gone this high it will be not time before your weight doubles.”

I didn’t agree with her words. I’ve gained and lost my whole life. I know, deep in my bones, that I can beat this. However she convinced me to sign up for a Bariatric Surgery consultation. “You don’t have to have the surgery,” she said. “It’s really a program to help you deal with your weight.”

“I know what I have to do,” I said. “I know what I have to eat,” It’s just that my head knows but my body responds in its own way.

I went home and cried.

Yesterday I found myself in an introductory meeting, surrounded by people who (for the most part) had more severe weight issues than I do. I listened to the explanation about the program, the expectations before surgery, the different types of surgery. All the while my mind was screaming “How did I get here?!” and I fought back tears. I learned that I wouldn’t even really be a candidate for bariatric surgery, or at least for a surgery covered by insurance, because my BMI is not high enough. I felt relieved, but I still wondered how I’d even gotten so close to needing the surgery. Throughout the presentation I thought, do I want to follow this program in a non-surgical track? Is this program right for me?

At the end of the presentation a group of patients who had the surgery done went up and shared their stories. They all said how it was life changing, and hard work, and took commitment. They’d all lost (or were on their way to losing) well over a hundred pounds of weight. The all seemed happy, but . . .

They all admitted that they couldn’t see their thinner selves in the mirror. They still saw their overweight selves.

One of  them had admitted that she also had a tummy tuck, plastic surgery to remove the excess skin that came after her bariatric surgery. She was still in pain two years later.

A few of them said, “the excess skin isn’t beautiful, but it wasn’t beautiful before when we were fat.”

Why not? I asked. Why can’t fat be beautiful?

Now, granted, there are many health reasons to lose weight, and extreme obesity is a dangerous condition. But it doesn’t mean people who carry extra pounds are not beautiful.

I felt like I was at a sales presentation, marketing procedures that will make you beautiful and, in that way, make your world perfect.

It doesn’t work like that.

I left thinking, this program isn’t right for me. While they do include psychological help, as well as nutrition and physical therapy, it just didn’t feel like a match for me. Maybe I’m making excuses, but I have to go with my gut here.

But then again, my gut has been leading me wrong for a long time, or I wouldn’t have been there in the first place, would I?

This morning I woke up with a new determination. I am getting back on track. I’m going to find my way back to a healthy weight, by eating with awareness and exercising. I will go back to the plan to “write myself right”. I will believe in myself and my ability to do this. I will confront the issues that lead me to seek comfort in food.  I started today, eating a healthy breakfast and then doing a 1 mile power walk with weights (a video exercise program)

While I’m doing this, however, I’m going to get up every morning, look into the mirror and say to myself, “You are beautiful just the way you are.”

Lisa the fairy queen



The Line Between Success and Failure

Have you ever had one of those days when the universe speaks and you know you better listen?

I’m having one right now.

I wasn’t planning on posting today. I have kind of reached a stumbling block in terms of blogging. Not writer’s block, as I still seem to still be prolifically pouring out posts on a regular basis, but a block related to purpose. I don’t know why I blog. I am sensing a need for some change, but I don’t know what that means yet. Perhaps it is a re-purposing of this blog. Perhaps I need a new blog completely. Or perhaps it is time to move onto something else.

Only time will tell.

However, three posts caught my attention this morning. Three posts, three messages from the universe, made me sit down (well Iwas already sitting) and begin to write.

Message #1 

The first was a simple announcement from a blogging friend saying that she was closing up shop and starting over in a different blog space. Being the dedicated follower that I am, I wandered over to Deborah’s new blog to read her first post, where she wrote:

“I’ll be honest with you. Change freaks me out. All those moving parts, details to manage, so much upheaval. Things get lost, stuff isn’t where you remember. It gives me palpitations.

But that’s precisely why I like it, too. Great stuff happens when I’m slightly off balance. At least there’s the potential. That’s why I make myself go through the scary parts.”

My life has been all about change in recent years, but at the same time it seems like I am on a bicycle without wheels, peddling as hard as I can but unable to move forward. I don’t want my life to be like that. It’s time to push myself through the scary parts.

Message #2

Whenever I am looking for inspiration or motivation, or simply deep thought, I know I can turn to the fabulous blog Mirth and Motivation. Elizabeth always writes thought-provoking and calming posts. Today, she wrote “Inspiration: Embracing the F Word” (no, not that F-word. Get your mind of the gutter).  In my Morning Pages I have been writing a lot about failure lately, as well as trying to understand how I define success. Because, in reality neither of those terms have any meaning, except the meanings we ascribe to them. Unless, as many of us do, we let society define those words for us. I have done that too often. It is time for me to create my own definition of both failure and success, so that I can look back on my life without judgment. I want to be able to look back on my life and simply say “I lived fully.”

Message #3

The final message came from Terry over at The Incredible Lightness of Seeing. She always speaks to my soul with moving images, quotes, and brief snippets of her life. Today she shared her experiences conquering her own fears at Bandelier National Monument and I found inspiration from her journey. She writes:

“Trying something new and conquering a fear makes one grow as a person. When I began taking boot camp classes last year, I learned how beneficial it is for mind, body, and spirit to challenge oneself. Just because I’m nearing 60 doesn’t mean I can’t try new things. And I’m so thrilled that I did.”

I’m so thrilled that she shared that story, and the pictures that go with it (please visit her blog to see them, it is worth every moment). Perhaps it is time to try something new and for me to grow in a new direction.

The Meaning Behind it All

Yesterday Sarah invited a friend over for a play date, which seemed like a good solution for two people who seem to be constantly battling each other at this moment in time. A buffer of sorts. I watched the girls go exploring up the rocky hill that is my back yard, snapping photos of their journey. They discovered some old bark slabs, that they said “looked like a wooden skirt.” They brought a piece down to show me, and I said,”that would be a great background for a painting.” They went up and grabbed more pieces, and the creation began. They even grabbed a piece for me.

“I used to hate art,” Marissa said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I didn’t understand the rules.”

I kept painting, just following my whim and whatever instinct guided me.

“What are you doing?” Marissa asked.

“Just going with the flow,” I said. “To me art is just about going with the flow.”

“Me too,” Sarah said. “I learned that from Miss Jackie.  Just go with the flow, and if you make a mistake try something else.”

The messages are beginning to coalesce into a whole–I need to go with the flow, trust in my ability to change, and stop defining myself in terms of success or failure.

The line between success and failure is myself.

Unusual Angles, A View from the Outside

Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself and said, “that can’t be me.”

I do it all the time. I rarely let people take pictures of me, because when they do I cannot see me in the pictures. It’s more than just the “fact” that the camera adds 10 lbs (if that’s even true), but that my image of myself is completely different from the images that come out in pictures. I do not see myself as others see me, or at least as the camera shows me.

Allow me give you some examples:

My first reaction to this shot was, "Who is that woman with the really curly, busy hair? Oh, wait . . . "

Wow, I have big hair!

Of course, there is the inevitable, "how did I get so fat?" thought. This one included, "never wear that again.""

It's not just recent pictures either. This is one of those, "Wow, I'm short" photos. I am always surprised at how short I actually am. I don't feel that short (except when I can't reach something)

When did I become so round?

Now, before you say this is just me being overly critical of myself or hating myself, it’s not that. Pictures of me RARELY seem like they are pictures of me. I see myself completely differently than the world sees me. Not in a positive or a negative way, just in a different way.

Of all the shots taken of me recently, there are only a few where I say, “Oh yeah, that’s how I see myself.”

What’s different about these ones? It’s not that they are more candid. I think what I see is my concentration and focus–that is how I see myself.

To me the most unusual angle is the one where I see what other people see, and cannot reconcile it with what I see looking from the inside out.

[Nancy, from Spirit Lights the Way suggested that I try to write a response to  View From the Side’s, Weekend Theme . This is my attempt. What is your perspective on Unusual Angles?]

One more series of photos, as Sarah decided to give me a makeover after I made this post. Enjoy the results, and interpret as you will:

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