Monday, November 09, 2015

The Scale

I have struggled with wanting to lose weight for years. I've started and stopped many different approaches to improving my health. I was working hard at working out and was proud to say I worked out 5 days a week for 30 minutes. Then I got a bunch of tests done to try to figure out why I was so tired, and why I cannot seem to actually lose any weight--my cardio was good, but my weight remained high, too high for my comfort. The doctor informed me that all my results came back normal (thyroid function, cortisol, diabetes, etc) EXCEPT that I had elevated levels of bad cholesterol--meaning I don't exercise enough. WHAT?!! I was doing my 30 minutes a day! Thats the recommended amount! Obviously, I was only maintaining, but still, I was trying! And, knife in the wound, if you lose weight, your cholesterol levels should improve. Thanks :S

I started to cry. I really wanted a "reason" for why my weight wasn't just falling off. I didn't have one. So, to me, that meant, I'm clinically depressed. Thats why I'm so tired. Thats why I can't stick to a plan. So I asked for antidepressants. I rushed home and filled my prescription and started that day. I felt terrible. I felt nauseous and foggy headed. I didn't feel well to be driving. I couldn't sleep. I had long long periods of awakeness and then feeling terrible again the next morning because I couldn't sleep. I had to limit what I would do with my kids because I would lose my temper from being so fatigued.  I only took the pills for 4 days. Thats all.

I talked with some loved ones and asked if it made more sense to wait since the kids had just gone back to full time school (after summer break) and my youngest was even going to be in Preschool two afternoons a week--giving me a break. I decided that I had jumped the gun and that having all the kids in school would likely help me to experience some actual rest and refreshment and maybe even get to a place of energy again. I also realized that the thing that was depressing me the most was my scale.

When I look in the mirror, I think I look pretty cute. I have a cute body. Its got some curves and of course, some flaws, but its not crazy-out-of-control. I like it. Then I would step on the scale, see the numbers close or at 200 and then say "You're so fat! How could you let yourself get here?! Whats your problem? Why can't you lose weight?" And I would immediately feel terrible about my cute body. Its obviously not cute if it weighs 200 pounds.

So, after some good soul searching, I decided that I have disordered thinking when it comes to food and weight loss. I get anxiety or panicky when thinking about eating--afraid to eat--feeling like this whole weight loss thing is a trick. I've been on programs where you eat what seems like way too much, but you lose, so trying to just eat what feels right, seems like it could never work. Then people will say, don't do too much cardio, lift heavy weights, but then my heart and stroke foundation info, says to make sure cardio is a regular part of my week so I don't die young. So much to balance, but yet conflicting. I finally had to just give it all up. I also got to add anxiety over my elevated cholesterol--thinking no more fried foods or butter (I've been anti-margarine for a few years now) and was literally walking around thinking "I'm going to die. This is going to kill me any day now." I'm only 37.

So, I shared this with a group of ladies at a Bible Study and said I was going to not look at my scale for one month, maybe two and just see how things go. One of the women asked me to give her my scale. I thought that was unnecessary but then decided to just do it, because she is trying to be there for me, so why not let her (since I am trying to establish relationships in a new church).

So I did. I gave over my scale. Thursday October 22 (although I stopped using it earlier that week). I released myself from the judgment and pressure of stepping on the scale. Its a bit of a miracle for me. I was OBSESSING about my weight, about my eating, about my exercise--I am not obsessing anymore. I am exercising. I am resting when my body is sore. I am eating healthy foods and treats. I'm going for walks when I feel like it, or the weather is nice. I'm going rock climbing again. I am not punishing myself with food choices or exercising to exhaustion. I am FREE.

I love my body. I think its cute. I still hope to get smaller, and fit into my clothes better, and be lighter for climbing, but for now, its so entirely attractive to be FREE. Whatever peace I can have in my mind, and lower levels of anxiety--I am all for that!