I have been having a 20+ year battle. A 20+ year battle that is never easy. A 20+ year battle that often leaves me angry, frustrated and disappointed in myself, all which just serves as fuel to the fire.
Looking back at childhood photos it looks like the battle began around the 4th grade...so I guess that would make me about 9 years old and make this a 26-year battle. Prior to then school pictures looked different. Prior to that tightly permed hair and white sweater with purple and pink hearts, there was a thinner face and a thinner Patty, overall.
What happened when I was 9 years old, I have no idea?? Maybe I discovered t.v., maybe I stopped playing outside so much. Maybe I stopped riding my bike as much as I used to. I really am not sure. Maybe my taste buds changed, maybe I suddenly discovered my love for all things cheese and salt? I am not sure. Maybe it was when I discovered boys and started getting self conscious? Maybe it was when I learned that eating made me feel calmer and better.
What I do know is that I was not very nice to that little girl from the time she was about 9 years old. What I do know is that there are many times, days, weeks, months and years where I was that little girls worst enemy. So, as I write this blog post today even though I am hugely frustrated and rather disappointed in myself, I have my 9 year old face in my head and I am going to be kind and gentle. I am going to remember that this has been a 26 year struggle and that unfortunately like anything we battle as humans, it is not easy. Just because it isn't easy, doesn't mean it isn't possible and even more important, it doesn't mean it shouldn't be done without love and respect for myself.
I know, I know, so much easier said than done. I have written about my challenges with food so many times. From juice fasts, to Weight Watchers. I have written blogs at my heaviest and at my lightest and you know what, regardless, I am still me. Whether I am 30 lbs up, or 30 lbs down, I am Patty. I will always be Patty, so I need to continue to find ways to love the hell out of Patty even on days like today when I do realize that yup......
I basically need to start all over again, but at least I have the chance to do so.
So, I have successfully lost, pretty much, the same 30 ish pounds I think 4 times now? At least 3 times. It is amazing how easy it can come back and sometimes if feels like it sneaks back on and sometimes, like this last year, I know exactly how it happened. Excuses are not helpful right now, but in an effort to be gentle on myself, I do need to remind myself here it was an extremely difficult year. Full of major panic attacks, trips to the emergency room, starting on new medication, getting married, being promoted, my boss being fired and Norman passing away. I think I can safely say 2012-2013 was the most challenging time period in my entire life, so far.
Not a reason to turn to food, but clearly it was the reality.
So, here I sit on 9/8/2014 pretty much exactly where I was in October 2011 when I decide to do WW, yet again. I still have not yet decided what my next steps will be this time, I just have finally come to the hard reality that I am back where I started, yet again.
I have an entire closet full of clothes, yet again, that no longer fit me. In Feb. 2013 I did a total purge of my closet and got rid of all of my larger clothes. This was my way to say to the universe, this time is for good. This time I am not going to hold onto the bigger clothes anymore, just incase. I thought I was being confidence in this move and now I am fearful I was just foolish. Here I sit on 9/8/14 with a limited closet of clothes and a bunch of skirts and jeans that I hope to "meet" again some day soon.
For people that don't have food challenges I am not sure you get it, which is fine. There are so many things I just don't get. For people that don't get anxious with exercise, I really don't think they would get it, either. I turn to food. I 100% turn to food. When I am stressed or sad or mad or hungry the worst thing I can do is eat, but it is the thing that makes me feel the best. Unfortunately apples, arugula and celery doesn't make me feel the way that chips, ice cream and all things cheese do.
Similarly, while I am an active person by default living in the city--in that I have to walk everywhere--that is totally different than being active and exercising. A few years back when my anxiety and panic attacks really starting acting up, I started getting really bad exercise anxiety. I started paying way too much attention to my heart and my pulse. I was constantly afraid I would pass out, faint, or most likely die. :)
Now for those of you that have read my blogs, you are probably like, Patty, I thought you were over this. I mean, seriously, you had so many tests EKGs, Stress Tests, Echos, etc, etc. etc. My medicine def. helps me with general daily activity, but when it comes to runing for more than 20 ish min I suddenly start realizing I am doing ok and then I suddenly start over thinking everything and suddenly think there is a problem. Again, I have no doubt that eating better and exercising would certainly help me with my battle. I am not trying to make excuses. I am not trying to say I don't know why I am overweight, or anything like that.
What I am doing is saying that I have a food problem. I always have and likely always will. When something goes wrong and even when things go right, I am like a baby w/out a bottle and all I want is something salty, cheesy and or sweet. I have continued to find ways to work on this and improve what I turn to. Weight Watchers continues to be the only thing that ever works.
My problem continues to be that I just need to admit that this is a lifelong challenge and problem I need to manage. This isn't something that will just go away. This is something I need to work on and keep in check all the time. When I am on Weight Watchers and doing well, I track and I do well.
As soon as I stop attending meetings and stop tracking because I am certain "I have it under control and know have my healthy habits back" I fall off the food wagon and before I know it, there I am elbow deep in cheetos and popems.
I don't write this to make excuses. I only write this to once again try and make myself realize that this is a life long struggle. This is something I need to stay on top of. This isn't something that will just go away one day. This is something that requires work and as someone that can certainly be lazy at times, this is all hard to admit and a hard thing to swallow (no pun intended).
Seriously though, so here I sit on September 8, 2014 realizing that if I want to get back on track again, which for me, means going back to Weight Watchers and tracking, then I need to start all over again.
I find myself at this crossroads so many times. I am overweight certainly, but I am relatively healthy. I could def. be in better shape, lose at least 30 lbs and be more healthy. On the other hand, I could keep operating as-is, not stress about it and be happy how things are (and enjoy some cheetos). Honestly it is often my preference to choose the later. It is a lot of work, it is a lot of effort and for people that don't have the food craving issues you likely think I am crazy. For those that do, I can only hope to get it and empathize.
It is so much easier to stay, it is so much easier to keep operating as it. It is so much easier to sink down into the comfort food and comfort eating that just make me feel so much better. It is so much easier to stop eating when I am full, snack when I want and not worry about limiting. It is so much easier to just be happier how I am and continue to love 30+ lb Patty. I have found myself here for the since last November and have been pretty damn happy. Got married, have a wonderful new apartment and the best puppy, ever. Things are going really well....I live in this land for a long time. It is my comfort zone and the place I am more comfortable.
Then there is the place I know I am healthier. There is the place I know that takes more work. There is the place that I know I can get to with hard work, I just know it takes hard work. It is honestly really hard to give up the "whatever I want" for the "what I can have." It really is.
I don't mean to sound whine-y in any way, it is just hard. I am not certain what to compare it to, but it is hard.
In addition to the two lands I speak of...the 30+ Patty and the -30lb Patty, there is "the beyond" that -30 lb Patty. In all reality, I could lose 50 lbs and still be at a healthy weight. In reality, there is a Patty "beyond losing 30 lbs." It is a place I have never traveled as I always hit this serious wall at the 30 lbs mark. I sometimes think it is because my identity is closely tied up in how I am perceived by the outside world. I much prefer fading in the background. 30+ Patty fades in much easier than -30 lb Patty. What would -50 lb Patty be like?
The truth is that -30 lb Patty gets so many more compliments and that is a challenging place to be. Again, I would much prefer the wallflower Patty. If -30 lb Patty gets let's say 3 times the compliments as 30+ lb, what would - 50 lb Patty have to deal with. I know this may all sound like ramblings, but because my identity has for so long been that I am "overweight" or at least that I am "not skinny" it is hard for me to think of myself living in "that place." I don't know that I would ever be thin, but I could definitely be thinner.
Why am I so scared of the place beyond -30lb Patty. What scares me so much?
Re-reading all of this and I am exhausted. I am exhausted from thinking about all of this, I am exhausted from a 26 + year battle with all of this. I am exhausted from being so cerebral about all of this, except when it comes to eating, then I am totally emotional.
All I can do is put one foot in front of the other. All I can do is be gentle with myself and make the decision that is the best for me. All I can do is keep moving and realizing that yes, sometimes getting where you want to go means starting from the beginning. But, once again, at least I have the chance to do so.
and that's all she wrote....