Friday, June 28, 2013

The Journey to Becoming Comfortable in my Skin

I hesitated to even write this because any time I talk about eating or weight I get negative comments. But I decided maybe writing it out will prove therapeutic for me. I’m such a mess. I don’t know what it is, but I was doing really well before Memorial Day. I was not counting calories, feeling free, listening to my body and losing weight. Then the holiday weekend happened. I thought I was listening to my body, but I overindulged. Gained five pounds. I was so discouraged. But I am not going to cry over spilled milk.

Garth looked me right in the eyes one day and said “You are a beautiful woman that God created and loves. I love you no matter what size you are. You cannot let the scale define you. If you are unhappy with your weight, change it.” It really hit me. I let the scale dictate my day. I've been weighing in daily and if the number stays the same or goes down I’m happy. Overjoyed. But if it teeters in the other direction I get down on myself. Grumpy. Miserable. Like, literally can't even look at myself in the mirror I'm so disgusted.

That is not healthy. Clearly. Just typing it out makes me cringe at how shallow I seem. But my mind? My mind is a cruel, cruel voice.” You’re fat.” “You let yourself go.” “You pig.” “You aren't deserving of love.”
I told you she was mean. The voice in my head is wrong and my sweet co-worker turned mentor at work keeps reminding me that I deserve love. I deserve respect. Regardless of what I weigh. I have also started praying every morning for God to show me how he looks at me. To be reminded of my worth in Christ.

I get emotional and teary eyed just writing this. Then I get angry. Angry that I even have this baggage. I grew up with people who loved me unconditionally (and still do!)  and I had a normal, healthy, happy childhood. Never had to face any real tough issues in life. Having always been really blessed to have good education, good jobs, an amazing husband, etc. But yet I have this struggle. It is the result of living in a fallen world.

So what am I going to do about it? I certainly need to keep praying because this will always be a battle, but with God I know I have my worth in Him. As for the rest of it, I have started really working on getting to the point where I’m comfortable in my own skin. Maybe I won’t be in the best shape of my life, but I want to feel good in my skin. Happy with my body. Back in my old clothes.

I started reading Woman, Food and God by Geneen Roth and it has been eye opening for me. I am the type of person who always looks to the next big thing. I think in terms of “When we go on vacation I’ll be happy” which is ridiculous because I have a pretty amazing life and am a generally happy person. Why am I looking so much to the future? When I get married. When I have a house. When I get my dream job. When. When. When! But what about when I have all of that? It reminds me of the movie Coyote Ugly when the main character says, “What will you do when all your dreams come true?”

In my case, I keep looking ahead to bigger dreams. Vacations. Bigger house. More money. But what does that have to do with food? Roth says "Your beliefs show up in your relationship with food. So if I'm eating when I'm not hungry or bored, I'm basically saying I can't feel these feelings. 'Life is too much for me. There's no goodness in my life except for food right here, right now… You're basically eating because you've given up on something, some part of yourself." For me, I think I ate because I wasn't living in the moment. Enjoying the food. I was looking to what was next. Even while I eating. Maybe that makes no sense to you, maybe it makes perfect sense to you. I don't know. 

All I know is that something in me clicked. I wasn't living in the moment. I was living my life waiting for the next vacation, the next weekend, the next fill in the blank. So my eating reflected that. I didn't truly enjoy my food. How could I when I wasn't living in the moment? The here and the now. And sure, I'm sure there is some frustration in my eating because I'm not ready for the most obvious next step in my life. Babies.

I never thought I was a stress eater. Or an emotional eater. Turns out I am. Living in the moment has always been a struggle for me. I don't know why I always look to the next big thing. Maybe we all do that on some level. But reading this book made me realize how much I do it. Roth encourages really living in every moment. Enjoy the sunshine. The birds chirping. The taste of every bite. And that is my goal each and everyday. 

Not to get all sappy, but I am consciously making an effort to cherish the now. I enjoy listening to Garth's laughter. Letting it go that the house isn't always perfect, nor does it have to be. I rather sit on the deck and relax with Garth than constantly be picking up. Cleaning up. There is a time for work and a time for play. It's all about balance.

I think the book helped me realize my issues and become more aware of it. I plan to read Made to Crave next because I need the Christian aspect. I want to learn total dependence on God. I remember watching God at War and hearing this man talk about his struggle with food. He prayed God would take the taste away and he went on to lose a bunch of weight and run marathons, etc. I told my co-worker at work I started praying that and she responded, "But do you want God to take the taste of food?" And the truth is, I don't. God designed food to be a pleasure. It is all about moderation.

I think I'm making baby steps. I think reading Made to Crave will help further my growth in this area and get me even closer to living in the moment. Not eating because I'm stressed. Closer to my goal of being comfortable in my own skin.


The Pink Growl said...

I just read this book too! LOVED IT! I feel this exact same way Lindsey, no joke. EXACTLY! I have been on this emotional roller coaster with food ever since my break up back last nov. I've got to get my crap together! WE CAN DO THIS!

Kenya said...

This is spot on. I feel the same you do! You are not alone. It is a struggle but we will balance it and get in track. You are an amazing person and I know you will succeed!!!! We can all do this and this is a good reminder for us to read and get back on track. Thank you for your words which give me an extra push today!

Linnea said...

Thank you for sharing. I too am always living for the next big thing, rather than for the moment. I need to read that book. Your posts are encouraging knowing that others are struggling too with this. I also am struggling to get my eating under control.

Anne said...

Garth is right, you are fearfully and wonderfully made beautiful woman! And you have a beautiful kind heart on the inside. Thanks for being real. Love you!

Rebecca Jo said...

Thank you for your honesty... because I think you'll find, you are not alone. I think most women are exactly like this... & it doesn't make sense. Its like you said, perspective makes a difference, but its so hard to focus on it instead of the scale & the numbers & the calories...

I'm so right there with you...

& I never thought of it before, but I think I'm not a 'in the moment' person either... I'm constantly looking ahead - WORRYING ahead... this is truly eye opening to me!!!

Lauren said...

this is a great post friend! Sounds like a good read...and Garth is absolutely right, you are a beautiful woman inside and out...made in God's image and made just the way he wanted you to be!

However, I totally understand the frustration with always looking forward...I too struggle with just taking time to relax and unwind and just BE.

Lucky in Love said...

I have read Made to Crave and I definitely think it will help you. It's so interesting to realize that God understands people struggle with food. It's a real problem. You are definitely not alone. Here for you girl!

Anonymous said...

Great idea to live in the moment! It's so hard to do and most of us are always looking ahead to the future or waiting for the perfect life to just appear. in the moment is easier said than done. I don't know if you're brave enough to do it, but I think one way to help you battle this would be to just throw out the scale. Just stop weighing yourself. The scale is just a number, but the way your clothes fit and the way you feel is what matters so just get rid of it. You don't need it and you don't need to know how much you weigh.

Since you said so much of your day's happiness is dependent on that, figured that would be a good first step to truly being comfortable in your skin.

SnoWhite said...

So encouraging, Lindsay! I'm thankful that God is using this book to encourage you. Re-shaping it all is another book I'd recommend -- a great read.