Treading water. As a metaphor, I feel like I’ve been treading for a long time. Here I am, expending energy yet going nowhere. The juxtaposition at play is that I have an immense amount joy in my life. Immense. I laugh every single day. I love and feel loved to a degree that is impossible for me to articulate. I have a great life. However, in between (and in conjunction) with the good stuff, there are moments when I start to sink.
The world darkens and blurs behind a thick screen of water, foggy and warped. Sometimes, I manage to break the surface for a few fleeting moments, hours, even days, only to be tossed back beneath the unyielding waves. Occasionally, I will propel to the surface and break into an all out sprint – we’re talking breast stroke like I just shaved my entire body and shed two drag suits. However, these moments are fleeting. My weight keeps pulling me down. But the weight is not a metaphor. The excess weight that I have gained over the years relentlessly pulls me back, time and time again.
With every crash diet, the promise of success lifts me up only to send me plunging and hopeless the moment I fall off course. Suddenly, my arms and legs feel even heavier than before strained by guilt. How do I explain how I am feeling? How do I express myself? How do I get help when I am ashamed to admit that I’m struggling? I often retain control for about a week but a small slip up immediately sends me plummeting into the a dark tunnel of guilt, shame, and hopelessness. Why can’t I pull myself out of this? I should be able to put down this piece of chocolate cake. It’s easy to do. It should be easy — and I struggle. I fail. I binge.
The funny thing is, that during both of my pregnancies I ate well. I did not binge AT ALL. How could there be such a huge shift in behavior? I realize that it has to do with my self-worth. While pregnant, I was thinking of the health of my little ones. I would eat healthy foods and exercise regularly; ultimately, I made their health (and my default my health) a priority. This is what shifted.
It’s funny that my reasoning for eating well during my pregnancy was for my children. Well, my girls deserve to have a healthy mom. My husband deserves a healthy wife. I deserve to feel my best and to be the best that I can be. I deserve to feel good about myself and comfortable in my own skin. I do not want the extra stress that comes with having to pull at my shirts and struggle to hide my stomach in photos. I want to play with my daughters on the beach unencumbered and just enjoy them. I want to run into the waves. I want to be free. Free from the weight that has been pulling on me for years. I deserve to be happy. Despite my happy, joyous life, I deserve to feel happy about myself. And I’m going to try. On step at a time.
My husband told me that I need to get myself out of it. This sounds harsh and it hit me hard. But, it is true that if I want to change things, I am the only one who can do it. So I am digging. I am trying to clear the surface. I am trying to get everything in order – to stay afloat. There are so many things in life that are beyond my control. Tough stuff. There are things that are outside of my control that affect me, my family and my life. I cannot have the controllable factors add to the struggle. There are things I can control. I need to get my shit together and try.
I need to simplify. I need to take a moment, breathe, assess and then build. I need to make a commitment to myself. I need to make my health a priority. Starting now. I need to be a better me.