April 7, 2016

Mantras

I've been teaching for eight years or so now, and yet I am always surprised at how quickly the end of the semester sneaks up on me. I've got four weeks left until I turn in my final grades, and between now and then, there's a lot of work to do. After a smooth start of the semester, I'm now finding myself very behind on grading, and scrambling to get out from underneath this mountain before the final deadlines.

My work with the trainers is going really well! We've been doing all different types of exercises, and they said they would make me a 9-week plan to continue the work after we finish up next week. We take our final measurements/retest in one week and I'm optimistic about what we've been able to accomplish in the month. As far as fitness at least, I feel like I am making good progress. The food is still a struggle though, more mentally than anything. I am following their eating plan, and I lost a ton of weight very quickly, then regained a little, dropped back down, and I've been 308 for several weeks now.

My body feels good, and that's worth something. Losing fat, building muscle mass, all that jazz. But at the same time, a 300+ pound body should be able to lose weight. *sigh* I just want to be out of the threes for good. I want the momentum that comes from seeing all three numbers change. It's so hard to find balance. And I start to wonder what all the years of yo-yo dieting have done to my metabolism, and even though on paper it says I should eat this much, maybe going back to my own way of doing things ...

No.

I'm trusting the program. It is SO HARD to not want to run back to what is comfortable/familiar. I'm just focusing on each day at a time and not letting the scale get me upset - next Thursday, if my body fat percentage has dropped/measurements are different ... that will be the mark of success.

Once school is done, I will be able to go to the gym more, and I'm optimistic that I'll make considerable progress this summer. I'm sure a big part of why the scale isn't moving is because I've been overwhelmed with work, too, so I have been spending my mornings catching up with grading and getting materials together instead of walking at the park.

I've been trying to prioritize sleep, too. One of my April goals is to be in bed by 10 p.m. every night except Mondays (when I have my night class), and so far, so good. I have this terrible habit of going to bed and laying there for hours, being an anxious mess and panicking about every little thing in my life. I've been making a conscious effort to not only be in bed early but also, to clear my mind of my worries. I've been focusing on a couple of mantras to help: "I can't solve this right now" seems negative, but it's actually been helping a lot. Worrying about something for three hours, fixating on negative outcomes ... that doesn't solve the problems. I can't solve these issues in bed at night, so I let them go and I just sleep.

The other thought I have been focusing on is "you deserve to take up space." Even before I got married, I felt very insecure, and I struggled a lot with self-confidence. The relationship made everything worse ... I felt like I shouldn't exist, like I didn't deserve to. Being cheated on wrecked me so much, and having him tell me I shouldn't be upset about it - it made me feel worthless. Not only did I not deserve respect, but I didn't deserve honesty. I felt like less than a person, and I overate and retreated so far back into my unhealthy habits because I just wanted to feel something. He made me feel so insignificant, and even though I logically know overeating doesn't solve that problem, it felt like I had control over something if I went to a drive-thru or bought a ton of junk at the grocery store to hide at home so I could eat whenever he made me feel bad about myself.

I deserve to take up space, and I don't need to use food to do it. I can sit in a chair, I can lay in my bed, I can drive my car, I can walk at the park, and I don't need to justify or excuse my presence to anyone.

Next week, it'll be 11 months I've been on my own. At first, I didn't think I could do it, and I panicked a lot. I still have moments of wondering how I'll get through the day, the week, the month, the year. It's more than not having extra hands to help, but not having financial help either. I have little anxiety attacks at night (cue "I can't solve this right now"), wondering how I can make this all work, and getting angry that I am stuck here, so far away from my family and friends. Angry that he got to run away and start over, and I am left here, entirely alone, with all the responsibilities - every second of parenting, every bill. I love my son so, so much, and holding him close and hearing him say he loves me is the greatest thing in the world. But it's so frustrating to be the only one here, to never have a minute to myself.

I get angry that we're in South Carolina, because I wouldn't have moved here if I thought I'd be parenting alone. I took the job because we were moving here as three. If I knew "forever" meant "until he gets bored," I would've moved to Connecticut with my family, or I would've stayed in Chicago with family/friends. I get angry because now I feel trapped here - I can't afford to move anywhere else, because I am the only one providing for Noah. I think about going back to school for a Ph.D., and then realize I can't because I can't afford rent, bills, daycare, and everything else with likely even less money than I am making now working full-time - plus the one school in the country that has the program I am looking at is just as far from my family as I am now, so I still wouldn't have any help, and as a student again, I'd need it more than ever. So I get angry.

The anger just builds up and builds up, and I can't eat myself sick to take the edge off of the anxious feeling, and I can't run off to the gym whenever I want to work out because I'm here alone with my toddler.

*deep breath*

I can't solve this right now.

Everything divorce-related could be resolved by this time next month, which is scary but also a huge relief. It's felt like a very long pause, and I'm ready to have a period at the end of the sentence. Ready for closure, ready to finally exhale this toxic situation I've been holding in. Ready to finally get some financial help, so I can see what I can do about relocating somewhere that is better for us in the long-run.

In the meantime, I am just taking it day-by-day, trying to do the best that I can for myself and my little family. I want to be in a healthy place before I become a Ph.D. student, with healthy habits down so I don't try to soothe school stress with food like I did for my Masters. And I'm trying so, so hard to be a great mom. I'm all Noah has, and I am trying so hard to be great while also being everything. It's hard. I lose my patience sometimes, and then I cry and hug him and apologize for getting frustrated. It's not his fault that his father is a deadbeat and his mother is overwhelmed. I want him to have a much better post-divorce experience than I had. He's almost 3 years old, and yet he's only 3 years old. I just want him to have as normal of a childhood as possible.

5 comments:

Jennie Palluzzi said...

Sending deep breaths. You are everything, you are enough, you deserve to take up space, and you are the best Noah has. He's lucky to have you as a mama. XOXO

That Loud Redhead said...

You are not alone, and Noah is so blessed to have a mom who loves him so much and works so hard for him!

Wii Fit & A Bet said...

Sometimes my mantra is as simple as "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" ala Dora from Nemo

halfdozen said...

You have your head on straight , and need to give yourself more credit. Noah in the end will admire what a strong mother he had. Keep on keeping on

Amanda said...

Many hugs, mama! You're doing great. Even if it feels like you're doing awful one day here or there, you are doing amazing compared to what some children out there have. You are putting your health and Noah first, and that's exactly what you should be doing. You got this.