Me and Fat – life long companions and enemies

My fifth grade school picture

Me in 5th Grade

I’ve battled weight all my life. I’m a text book yo-yo’er. I’ve lost over 50lbs more than 5 times in my life the first one being in 6th grade. Now I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. It’s not like it used to be to lose the weight either. I’ve struggled ever since I had Aaron to get back to a size 4 and 118lbs, felt a total failure at size 10 and 130. Now well, it’s not pretty because all the mental beating myself up led to just quitting. Really who wants to get up and be subconsciously harangued all day about being fat, a failure, and ugly? No eventually I just didn’t want to get up and when I did I stuffed that voice down with food. But it didn’t silence it, it just fed it more to use against me. Depressing isn’t it?

My eighth grade school picture

Me in the 8th grade

So of my own self-loathing will surprise even my closest friend. I come across as a cheery optimistic person and I am except when it comes to myself. Then I’m the worst critic ever and some aspects of my self esteem could move up to the gutter, other aspects are strong. Yet I find this voice holding me back when I find joy. I don’t wear the jewelry I make much because that voice says a fatty like me doesn’t deserve it. I freeze up writing because the voice rants how can be successful when I’ve failed so miserably at something so simple as what I eat. I don’t want to go places because the voice screams that I’m so ugly I should stay home, not inflict it on others. Yet I believe I can be a writer. I think my jewelry is beautiful and people will buy it. I want to do a cross country train trip complete with my own sleeper compartment. Consistency isn’t always my forte when going with my emotional realities.

My receiving my high school diploma from some guy I didn't know even then

High School graduation I was gaining it back

I can offer up excuses. Multi-glandular failure isn’t fun to work with nor does it help when coming to energy to exercise or metabolism to lose weight. Toss in the effects of aging with the wear and tear carrying over 50 extra pounds every day for over a decade and well it’s not the easiest to get up and look at dieting – which is die with ting on the end. Yes these are realities I face but not ones I want to define me. I don’t want to be the poor sap with medical problems. I want aging and medical issues to be an “and that too” in my life. Just another aspect I deal with and manage to feel the best I can with the givens of that moment.

However, after much journaling, looking at photos of myself, and soul searching I’ve come to a point where I need to quit competing or trying to be the 20 yr old me. Honestly, I’m much better than she was. I’ve learned and earned a lot of things in the past 20+ years. Now I don’t want to turn heads. I don’t care about wearing the latest fashions (honestly heels kill my ankles and knees). Glamour isn’t something I aspire to have. I don’t really care what size the label says any more. I can if it’s comfortable, can laundry well, and looks presentable. The things that motivated me in all the yo-yoing don’t motivate me any more.

I’m letting that go. Just the decision not to try to meet those extremes took some of the ammunition away from the constantly haranguing voice but it was still there. Then recently when I had an epiphany. I really don’t care about losing weight. I’ve reached my life long fear and nightmare as far as that goes. To tell the truth there’s hell of a lot worse you can do to me than this. I still create. I still have friends. I still have a loving husband. I still enjoy my pets. Life has some wonderfully shining aspects even in what would have been my ultimate horror 20 years ago. Sometimes you have to live your fear to see it’s not that bad.

Big time jump here this is my 20s. I'd had 3 over 50lb loss and gain backs between this photo and high school graduation

Big time jump here this is my 20s. I’d had 3 over 50lb loss and gain backs between this photo and high school graduation

Still I’d like something more. I’d like to not walk around feeling like a fat, ugly, f**ked up failure inside. I want to feel the best I can inside and out. So instead of stuffing down that voice with food I shouted at it to shut the F up! I’m done with you. Really voice, if your constant nagging since elementary school hasn’t helped-it ain’t gonna! SO JUST SHUT UP!

I don’t want to punish myself to hit a magic number on the scale or in waistband of my clothes. One thing I have learned from the voice is you can’t define yourself by what you aren’t. You define yourself by what you are. I want to be comfortable in my own skin by the time I’m half a century old. That’s it. That’s all. I figure I’ve earned it. I want to feel okay about going out into the world not steeling myself because I feel I don’t deserve to be seen. I want to wear the jewelry I make to the grocery store because I like it. I want to write without fear that I’m not deserving to do something I enjoy so much.

How do I go about doing all of that? Okay what I eat makes me feel like crap. I know that. I’ve felt it in action. So time to eat what makes me feel good and learn about how to eat to feel the best I can. No big sweeping away all I was doing and now do this. I want life changes for the next half a century. I will embrace being the tortoise instead of the hare. The object isn’t reaching a number as fast as I can the **dusts hands together** DONE! Rather the object is to keep moving forward steadily feeling the best I can at that given moment. Doesn’t matter what size I’m wearing or the number on the scale, what matters is how I feel.

Next step is shouting at the voice to SHUT UP! When I notice it. Then feed myself support to counter act that voice. It’s got decades of practice so this has to be brought to the forefront of the mind. It’s going to take effort and switching it up to overcome a habit so entrenched. First line of defense is the mad-as-hell-not-going-to-take-it-any-more shout a la Network. Next is putting a new voice in my ears, I found them on podcasts. I searched out regular podcasts that address nutrition, life changes, healthy living. No not the PS90 approach but more an understand the science of the body and mind approach. Yesterday while grocery shopping they played in my ear reinforcing choices to feel better. This morning I got up looking forward not dreading the mental beating.

Another jump from there to do today had one more 50lb gain & loss gain between

Another jump from there to do today had one more 50lb gain & loss gain between

I’m just starting this journey of leaving behind the misery of not being thin to the pleasure of just being the healthiest happiest me I can be. Honestly it’s not going to be easy. This path is new, overgrown, rocky and something I’m going to have to consciously think about every day. Sure some days that nice 4-lane paved self loathing with a side of chips & dip will lure me in. Who doesn’t like to cruise? But I don’t like where that’s going. This new more challenging path is heading in a direction that makes me happy deep inside. It’s been too long since I’ve even felt I knew which way that was.

As for photos. I’ll have more as I scan old photo albums if you want just watch my flickr feed for them. You can watch me gain and lose thinking I’m “fixed” and gain again until today.

I’m always thrilled to hear from you. Please comment here or you can catch me on Twitter (@marylouiseklund) or Google+ (+Mary Louise Eklund) or Flickr or e-mail me at either of my email addresses marylouiseeklund at yahoo.com or gmail.com.

Until next time!

3 thoughts on “Me and Fat – life long companions and enemies

  1. Wishing you the best in your journey to better health and fitness. Thank you for sharing your struggles and wisdom. Success is truly measured by how well you are living your life – if you are happy. Just like eating a bunch of junk makes you feel terrible, eating only salad w/o dressing will make you miserable. It’s a struggle to find the moderate space between. I believe you are moving in the right direction and look forward to following you progress.

    • Thank you. I agree the dieting extremes I did over the years did yield results but who can live that way. I never found the hard part to be losing the weight but rather to figure out how to live after. I was so focused on achieving the number/goal that I had no concept on what to do once there. One can’t live on plain salads, logging and measuring everything that passed my lips. I’m working to find health and happiness that I can live for the next 50 year.

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