If this is your first time reading this series you might want to read these posts first:
Sanity, Not Weight Loss
Since I started writing this series, I’ve had many inquiries as to what I eat. Quite simply, I don’t eat refined sugars, flour with gluten, white potatoes, white rice, oatmeal, and peanut butter. For some reason, an attempt is usually made to fit my food choices into a ‘diet.’
“Isn’t that really the Atkins Diet?”
“Don’t you do South Beach?”
“You don’t eat anything white, do you?”
I eat so that my body, mind, and soul feel good. Period. If I eat something and I don’t feel good afterward, I don’t usually eat it again.
Last week I talked about some of the insane food behaviors I engaged in while on diets. There was exercising insanity, too. I was either going to do it all or not even try. I couldn’t see it then but I set myself up for failure. Here are some things I did:
- I had to get a membership at a top gym that was usually not convenient to where I lived. I hated going there because it was all about great bodies and I sure didn’t have one. I ‘scheduled’ to go at a time that would never work in my life – like before work or late at night – and I had to work out for an insane length of time doing things that, physically, I wasn’t really able to do.
- Attending an advanced aerobics class when I have no coordination and was completely out of shape. Add to that, my knees were usually aching but still I insisted on jumping around.
- Deciding that I was going to be a runner. Not just any runner, either. I was going to train for a marathon.
- My body fat goal was 17%, that of a female athlete.
I was really trying to compensate for a huge sense of inadequacy. Maybe I was fat, and my life was a mess, but at least I could tell you I was trying to do something about it, and I was trying hard. No matter that I failed on a regular basis. I needed so desperately to make you see that I was more than just some fat girl, that I could be just as good as those thin girls. And if I was doing these bigger than life things at the gym, well, maybe you would think I’m ok.
Years ago, I read a book by SARK and she talked about living in the middle house. She wrote that she’d always lived in the teeny, tiny house where she was less than, not good enough, and didn’t even show up for life or she lived in the big house where she was better than everyone, overdid everything, and had huge, unachievable goals and plans. She said that she really just wanted to live in the middle house, balanced and sane.
Sanity and the Middle House
I finally came to a place where I couldn’t stand the pain of living how I was living. I had to do something different. Yes, I wanted be at a healthy weight, but more than that I wanted to be sane.
The funny thing was that when I was ready to change, the answers were right in front of me. It was so clear that I couldn’t eat wheat flour, sugar, or white potatoes without binging. I developed the willingness to let go, and after a few weeks the food cravings fell away. My mind started to clear. I felt better. I was no longer doing the starve- binge cycle. Instead, I was learning what it felt like to be hungry, what it felt like to be full, and how different foods affected my energy level and mental clarity.
My food choices today are a daily practice, maybe even an art form. Over the years I’ve developed an internal compass that tells me when I’ve eaten too much or not enough, when a food doesn’t agree with me and when one does. I don’t do this perfectly today. That’s ok. Perfection is not the goal. Sanity is.
I’ve finally come to know the middle house – I spend more time there than I ever have before in my life. The small house still creeps up on me and the big house still has it’s allure. I’m much better recognizing when I’m off and getting myself back on track than ever before.
My exercise practice is not exciting or record breaking. I walk my dogs every morning Monday through Saturday for 50 minutes. We have 4 babies – they’re all big – so I walk them in twos. But I do it religiously, even on those days when I would rather do anything but.
My husband started going to the gym again a few times a week, and since he’s gone so much I go with him. I do some basic strength training to keep my bones and muscles strong – it helps my osteoarthritis pain.
I weigh myself a couple of times a month, just as a benchmark. I have no idea what my body fat is. I’m happier this way.
I’m deeply grateful for the sanity in my life today. For me, the sanity had to come first. I spent years thinking that if only I was the right weight then I would be ok. I had it backwards. I had to be ok first. In the end, the weight loss was a gift, an act of grace.
What food choices do you make today that leave you feeling sane?
This week, I leave you with one of my all-time favorite treats – Healthy 5 Minute Blueberry Banana Ice Cream.
Next week, I’m going to talk about my pays-off from being fat.
May you find balance and freedom,