I read a blog yesterday afternoon (while avoiding doing the big project that I really just can’t be arsed with, but that’s another story) which has really resonated with me. Lyn over at Escape from Obesity is talking about when she stopped caring about herself as a person, and how that translated into her battle with her weight. There is just so much truth in this connection in my experience too, that I can’t stop going over and over it in my mind.
I haven’t spoken a lot about “my journey” in this blog, mainly because I’ve been trying to block it out for fear that thinking about it will bring back the binge demons. As time goes on, though, I’m gaining confidence that I have defeated that particular monster. Anyway, my background – I was an overweight child, an overweight teenager, and an overweight adult, all to varying degrees. I was a gymnast (well a trampolinist to be precise) from the time I was about 8 until about 16, so that kept the weight slightly in check, although I was very very large compared to the typical skinny minnies you find in gymnastics circles. When I quit the big training program, and kept eating like an elephant, I sort of became an elephant. I think I maxed out at about 120kg when I was 19 or so (at 165cm, not the best look). I got down into the mid-90's through my early twenties, rebounding up and down somewhat.
And then about 3 years ago, I made a big resolution, and really stuck to it. I went from 102kg to 67kg in the space of about a year. I exercised like a crazy person. My calorie intake was at a healthy level, but it was full of processed crap - because the processed crap had calories labelled and I could measure the intake. I lost the weight in an unrealistic and unsustainable way. My whole focus in life was on diet and exercise, I cut off connections with a lot of friends and family and lived within myself. I also thought about food every waking hour, which is enough to drive anyone to distraction.
While life was going along without too many major speed bumps, it all fitted in ok. But next to come were some major speed bumps - my dad (who I lived with at the time) developing Alzheimers, my mum falling into depression, me having a car accident, and having a big bust up at work and moving to a new department. This was a lot to deal with, and my completely useless flipping brother did nothing to help, so everything sort of rested with me for a while. Somewhere along the line, this translated into quitting the exercise, binge eating on anything likely to gain maximum weight in minimum time, and just giving up on myself.
I guess I didn't realise just how much I had given up on myself, given up on life, until I sat and reflected on it after reading Lyn's blog. I was going through the motions, and as always keeping myself pretty guarded, so general acquaintances would never have seen the state I was in. Truth be known, I don't think even my closest loved ones knew how low I was. It's all the little things that add up to just not looking after yourself - I stopped using face creams, stopped moisturising, some days even a shower was an effort. I stopped experimental cooking, stopped going to movies. Getting out of bed was a daily grind, and doing anything other than flopping on the couch after work was a miracle.
Well this is depressing. But what is not depressing, is that I have come through it, I have survived, and I am a stronger person for it. I don't know what has snapped into place, or why, but I am certainly glad it has. I have a will to live, a will to improve myself, a will to find joy in the little things. Yes I still have challenges to face, we all do. Dad still has Alzheimers, and naturally it's getting worse. I'm still living with it, but I'm not grieving it. We've all learned to cope better with what we've got to work with, and life is going on. I'm going to make the best of it.