Growing up, there were two things about myself that I always knew.
- I would someday be a mom.
- I was fat.
Now that I'm 43, neither of those things is true. How did I get here?
A lot of hard work on both counts. I've accepted that I don't get to be a mother. In fact not only accepted that I don't get to, am to the point where I don't want to. I'm 43, halfway to 44. Diapers, formula, feedings in the middle of the night, lack of freedom to go to the gym after work -- no thanks. I've created a life without a baby.
And in that life, I've discovered the me I never knew I could be. It's more than the "book cover," but it is the book cover that impacts the inner me. In the last year, I've lost nearly 45 pounds. I've gone from a size 20 to a 12 (and sometimes, even a 10!). I get to shop in any store I want to. And that's a new mindset for me.
I went shopping the other night and instinctively headed to Kohls. And then I realized what I was doing, and passed on by. Banana Republic. New York and Company. Ann Taylor. I get to shop in those stores now. And I bought something in each of them. It was an amazing feeling.
I struggle with the nutrition still. I worry about gaining all the weight back in one week. I think that a few days of eating my feelings will somehow derail me completely. And then I remember the tools I've used over the past year -- not just physically but mentally -- and take a deep breath. I make healthy choices at the very next meal. I throw away anything that I've brought in the house that shouldn't be here. And I know my limits.
Some people can have sweets in the house and have one, and close the bag. Not me. If the package is open, I will continually go back for more. And so I don't even tempt myself. I don't have that stuff in the house. No cookies or candy.
In good weeks, when I feel strong with my nutrition, I might treat myself to a mini peppermint patty if I'm over in the academic building and visiting the dean with the candy bowl in his office. And sometimes I might pass it by completely. On Saturday mornings, after the gym, while I do my weekly grocery shopping, I get less than $1 worth of bulk candy at Wegmans...all different kinds. M&M's, Reece's pieces, caramel cremes, whatever I'm in the mood for. Just a few pieces of each. And it satisfies any craving I might have for sweet, salty, decadent.
In bad weeks, when I'm not feeling so strong, when I've been eating my feelings, when my hormones are raging, there's a little chocolate and then a little more, there's a daily Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry instead of a weekly one, there's popping candy in Dr. Ben's office one after the other, not even tasting them, just unwrapping and eating, unwrapping and eating.
And that usually happens not just because of hormones, or not just because of stress, or not just because boys are particularly stupid that week -- it's usually a combination, a perfect storm of those factors and my week being not a regular week. A week of lots of lunch meetings, or having to work late -- in other words, a week where I'm not in control of my meals and not in my routine. And when that happens multiple days in a row, all hell breaks lose. Or so I think in that moment.
Thankfully...luckily...the last year has taught me awareness. And I am very aware of what's happening. And I'm aware of it enough be able to snap myself out of it. And I'm also very disciplined when it comes to working out. I will never go two days in a row without sweating. Even if it means getting up at 5:30 a.m. and running before work.
It means having all the right foods in the house, and none of the wrong. It means planning my food for the next day. And it means putting in an extra 10 or 15 minutes at the gym for a few nights. As I learn how to live in this body, I become less and less freaked out when I slip. I let myself enjoy the food I'm eating. And I tell myself -- whether I truly believe it or not -- that I can get a mulligan the very next day, and get myself back on track.
And...knock on wood...every day, I have.