I think I have spent many of the last 45 years of my life, on a diet, or exercise regimen of some sort. I’ve done Weight Watchers, TOPS (Taking off Pounds Sensibly- where you got on the scale backwards and they would announce in front of the entire group whether you gained or lost weight since the last meeting), Gloria Stevens, which was an exercise center when I lived in New Hampshire, Intensati, liquid diet, running- and probably many others. Always, the goal was clear: lose weight and get into shape. To meet up to an image that I thought that I should maintain, and feel better about what I would see when I looked in the mirror.
Or, so I thought.
A diet, always, every time, no matter how it was presented or set up, felt like deprivation to me. It was not as much a list of foods that were best to consume, or even to do what was best for my body. It was not being able to have any of the foods that I liked the most, or so it seemed every time. I went through much of my life, not eating cheese or nuts, equating that with bad food choices. Lettuce? Yes. Apples. Great. Anything that I craved, that was crunchy or gooey or extra tasty? Forbidden.
I would obsess about what I did, and did not, put into my mouth. I would rack myself with guilt, for “falling off the wagon”. I would binge on forbidden foods like chips, candy, fried foods, all because I had messed up anyway, so why stop there? Same story, different day, year after year.
Exercise never felt like my friend, at least, when I called it exercise. In my childhood, I would ride my bike or walk around town, but I didn’t ever move a great deal. I preferred to watch television, or hang out playing games. So when I started to believe that exercise must be part of the equation to lose weight, I would obsess about that too. I would run, even though I didn’t really enjoy it. I would do workout DVDs or go to gyms and feel good about it for the moment, but didn’t feel excitement about going in the first place. Yet, I felt like I had no choice; I had to do it.
This has been my pattern my entire life. Looking for an external motivator to make an internal change. And, it has worked over the years. I would feel so proud to be 118 pounds, wearing a size 2 or 4, seeing how tiny I appeared to myself in pictures. Then, a few years later, seeing my body after having my child, at 200 pounds, and being mortified. My love of myself was completely connected to how I judged my size and my shape.
I understand that change takes time. And, gratefully, I have compassion for myself and my many evolutions. I am an ongoing work in progress. yet today, I feel so inspired to have tapped into where it is that I need to be and to stay- I need to come from a place of Love. Love deep within myself. For myself. And, starting from that Love, I get to ask myself every day, what would feel really good to do for me, and for my body? What would feel really good to put into it? What energizes, excites and inspires me?
I am on a new path, a path that is not about deprivation, but Abundance. I am ready to give myself this beautiful gift. I am on a path, finally, that is not me telling my sad story, about struggling with my weight my whole life. I am telling a new story- a story of Love. Of Choice. Of Nurturance and Care.
A story of an Extraordinary Life.