August 15, 2014

The devil you know

A few months ago, I started drafting a blog post while my husband and son slept. It was very emotional content - feelings I've kept to myself for quite a while, things I was finally ready to share, with the hopes of being reassured and comforted by the little community I have for myself here.

As the draft was nearly completed, I heard my husband jump out of bed, and he stormed out the front door, muttering under his breath. After a few minutes of letting him cool off, I called his phone, urged him to come back, and sat on the couch with him, trying to talk about it.

We struggle so much with communication. We're both non-confrontational, so when something bothers or upsets one of us, we just keep quiet and keep everything bottled up.

Eventually, though, something has to give. Eventually someone explodes.

I wish I could say we had amazing revelations that day, and that our relationship has been smooth sailing since then. But the reality is, we didn't, and it hasn't. We still have a lot of work to do on ourselves, and yet this area of self-care hasn't been our top priority.

I bring this up in a post about my weight loss journey because in my past few months of soul searching, I've realized just how much of the work I need to do is mental and emotional. I know how to lose weight. I know how to exercise, and I enjoy doing it. I know how to cook healthy meals, and I know how to portion them out in a way that I feel satisfied but not stuffed. What stops me from making the right choices isn't for lack of knowledge, or even for lack of wanting results.

The problem is, it's easier to deal with the devil you know than the devil you don't.

If I lost my pregnancy weight, I would be left to deal with my the other trouble areas in my life. So I stay heavy, I complain about my reflection, I groan about not fitting into clothes - because it is easier than having to face the much larger issues. When I am this size, I can skip wearing my wedding ring with the excuse of "it doesn't fit anymore," rather than the reality, which is that very often, this relationship hurts.

I got my drivers license about a month or so ago, at long last, and I couldn't be prouder that my first thought upon hearing that I passed the exam was that now, I could get myself to the gym. It's open 'til midnight, our son is asleep by 8 at the latest ... I really have no excuses.

That said, I spent the first few days driving from store to store, indulging in whatever I wanted. I had earned it, hadn't I? Almost my entire time in South Carolina has been spent at work or at home, trips out have been at the mercy of my husband. I am 27, not 16, but still, with the license came a feeling of freedom, and an urge to fully enjoy my liberation.

After the first day, I woke up feeling lousy, and swore I wouldn't do it again - a resolution that lasted nearly four hours. This cycle continued for a day or two, until a rainy day with a few errands to run. I took my son into the post office, then we sat in the car for a few minutes so Mama could shovel donuts in her mouth - see, I'm still a fairly inexperienced driver, so I can't multitask like that. And in the backseat, my toddler started kicking his legs and reaching - saying Yummy! Yummy! Yummy! - and I was suddenly struck with guilt. What are my choices here? Share with him, and expose him to the kind of unhealthy junk that has been my substitute for dealing with emotions - or don't share with him, and be the mom who puts herself before her child, who abuses her drug of choice while her child watches, secretly praying that the trait of addiction ends with her.

I gave him a piece, then cried all the way home.

I am so sorry, baby.
Mama is going to try and be better for you.
Mama is going to do better for you.

It may be interesting to note that all this time, regardless of binges and skipped workouts, I've weighed myself regularly. I watched my weight climb up, up, up, and felt powerless to stop it. I know I want to lose weight, but I also know that right now, in this moment, as I hurt, what I want is to soothe my pain with unhealthy foods. Except - I'm not soothing my pain. I'm just burying it temporarily. I replace one pain with another, and once I've digested, I'm right back where I started, and now feeling guilty as well.

After my series of freedom-induced binges, I stepped on the scale and feared the worst - all three numbers changing again.


How the $!%& did I get back here?

Even though I know the answer.

The last two weeks, I've been on my ... I don't want to call it my A-game, because I've certainly faltered. But I've tried to be more mindful, and most important, I've tried communicating with my husband about what changes we need to make in order to be our healthiest selves again. This past Sunday, I was down to 293 - progress, but still a harsh reality as I head back to work for Fall semester and realize I'm 30 pounds heavier than when I started last year, and this time without a recent pregnancy for an excuse.

I'm trying to be good to myself and not over-scrutinize the missteps of last year. I'm trying to accept that it's hard to be new somewhere, it's hard to be a new mom, it's hard to be a newlywed, it's hard to find time at the end of an already loaded day to invest in yourself and your spouse and try to make the relationship work, and it's hard to be so far away from your comfort zones and your support system.

That said, I have given the last year, and especially the last few months, a lot of consideration, and I'm working on a game plan for moving forward. I want to recognize the things that have been successful for me, and I want to apply them as best as I can to my current situation. I won't have hours and hours every day to go to the gym - but I can do the best I can, when I can.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me in my absence. I needed some time to quietly reflect and process some things in a non-public forum, but now, I am glad to be back. I've missed this place.