I wrote the below post one year ago. At the time it was too hard for me to imagine sharing this with the world, but at the time I felt so broken I needed to get it out of my head. Right now, while I don’t have the body I did when I was 23, I do have a better perspective on valuing my body for more than it’s outward appearance. Being 9 weeks postpartum I’m focused on getting through the craziness that are my days, but I can slowly hear the demons coming back. The ones that tell me I shouldn’t have eaten a second helping of dinner, or that my stomach is too flabby and I should be exercising more. I’m sharing this post now in hopes to help quiet those demons a little, and maybe someone else can relate and help squash their demons too.
It all begins innocently enough, you have an event to attend and you want a new outfit to wear. You head into your favorite store (for me, its Nordstrom), peruse the racks picking out all these wonderful pieces to try on. You head into the dressing room convinced you will have so many awesome options, you may end up having to make a difficult decision on which to bring home. Then shit gets real.
The dressing room three way mirror. Designed to show you every angle of your fabulous self in the soon-to-be-yours fabulous clothes. Unfortunately you see nothing fabulous. You see your love handles from an all new angle. You see that your ass has about a thousand more dimples in it than the last time you saw it. You realize the seam of your pants has left an imprint in your leg.
Now that your self esteem is shaky, you put on the clothes…or shall I say you attempt to put on the clothes. It seems you have been wearing leggings so frequently you didn’t realize your normal pant size is now not a size that fits over your ass. The cute chunky sweater that you pictured being perfect on, makes you look like you put on Monica’s fat suit (Friends reference). Nothing looks how you thought, you feel fat and unattractive, and you don’t want to try any other stores, you just want to go home.
You are so mad at yourself for letting yourself get fat, yet the first thing you do is go home at eat your feelings. You think “I’m going to eat this now, and I’m going to start a diet tomorrow”. You think if you can get rid of the junk that made you fat in the first place, you’ll have a clean slate and a clean kitchen to get things started right. Only you can’t stand to see food thrown away, so you eat it. All of it. The moment it’s gone, and you come up for air, you realize what you’ve done and you berate yourself and lack of self control.
Once you’ve managed to collect yourself and commit to losing weight, you do it. You work really hard to eat less, exercise more. You skip dessert, you pass on pizza, you don’t drink your daily glass of wine after work. You are a woman on a mission and you’re succeeding. 6 weeks in you’ve lost 10lbs. You’re pumped, and even though your goal is to lose 20lbs, you start to get a bit lax on your regimen. You feel like you can still get to your goal, but you’ve missed cheese so much you just need a have a little here and there. Or when you eat out, instead of getting that salad that you are sooooo bored with, you splurge and get a burger. You tell yourself it’s just this time, and next time you’ll go back to the salad.
Slowly every day is not an exception, and the bad eating has come back as the norm. You mentally still ride the high of your earlier success, and to make sure you don’t knock yourself off your pedestal, you don’t step on the scale again. You begin living in denial that your weight is rising. You wear the clothes that feel comfortable, i.e. the leggings and oversized sweaters.
Now, return to the top, and repeat over and over for years. Losing the same 10lbs while gaining 12lbs back every time.
Where does this end? I don’t know. How do some people make a change and make it stick, while some can’t break the cycle? I don’t know that either. What I do know is that I’m trapped in the cycle and I want out.