Wednesday, November 09, 2011

'Scheherazade Revisited' or '1001 tales about my life'...

I've probably tried to lose weight a thousand times – Like Scheherazade there are easily 1000 tales of my determination to conquer my weight issues. That is not hyperbole. I've tried, and honestly? I set down my pen. I gave up on that story in my life. Instead, I wrote about learning to be content with my body and my life. Even when I started this blog, it wasn't about 'losing weight' it was about getting healthy. I was afraid of failing again, of dusting off that old manuscript and writing yet another chapter on how "This time I am REALLY going to do it!"(no… really, I am) and then having to face not only a private failure but a public one. I just didn't have it in me to even try.  

It was after this summer that things changed for me. I don't remember making a conscious decision to try again to write that tale. I don't remember some big ‘ah-ha!’ event this time where I went back to that well-worn story with no resolute conclusion and got out my quill and ink. There was no fanfare, no big announcement about 'I'm losing weight!"  I just noticed I had a different relationship with food. This summer I had a sense of renewal in my life - a new perspective that also seemed to apply to my relationship with food.

What I didn't realize, was that while I stumbled to try again to write my tale of life, the Universe was already writing the tale with much more flare and delight than even I could conceive.

I expected to write the tale about once again trying to lose weight, alone. I thought it would be a tale of sharing how, on my own, I finally conquered my lifelong goal of losing weight.

I did not expect to find someone to share this experience with.

Funny thing how the Universe works, because for the last 30 years I have tried to do it "on my own". I thought I could "conquer" my weight issues by myself. Even as I deeply desired someone to love me for who I was and someone who wanted to make those changes with me, I felt like my weight issues were something I could ‘control on my own'. I didn't need anyone's help.

Thinking back on it, the most successful attempt before this at losing weight was when I lived with my sister. We were a team and worked hard to lose weight together. The connectedness and the teamwork between her and I made all the difference.

I only stopped when I freaked out in the dressing room.

Soon after that moment, I moved out from my sister’s apartment. I kept up with taking better care of myself for a while, but then slid back into my unhealthy relationship with food. Patterns and habits are so hard to break.

Then this summer. And that moment in the parking lot when I grokked* what it meant in my life to surrender – that moment when I stopped trying to tell the Universe what to do and how to do it, when I stopped trying to control everything and everyone in my life. That moment when I realized I was done trying so hard to force the world to my will. The moment I let go and realized control was an illusion and fighting for it was exhausting.

As my relationship to myself shifted so did the relationship I had to food. I realized that if I couldn’t control the things around me, I could control how I reacted to the things around me. One of which, was how I reacted to food. Once I understood that no one could ‘make’ me feel safe, I knew that I could take care of myself. It felt empowering. It felt satisfying. And I stopped running to food to comfort me and found better ways of comforting myself. I also realized I could better love someone because I didn’t need anyone.

I stopped trying to write my story and realized it was time to allow the Universe to work some magic and write the novel of my life for a while.  

Not long after I stopped expecting anything, when I realized I didn’t ‘need’ anything is when I found something. Or... someone. 

Unexpected, but not unwelcome. 

I'm fortunate to have met someone supportive. Someone with the same goals. Someone who's emotionally healthy and who desires to be physically healthy as well. I'm not going to write a lot here about the relationship. It is what it is and this blog isn't about another person, it's about me. But having someone to share the journey has been a wonderful bonus in my efforts to take better care of my health. While I know I can do it on my own, it is so rewarding to know I don’t have to.

I look at the scale and realize there are 30 pounds less of me since I started paying attention around the end of August. It is partly Weight Watchers, although honestly? I've done WW no less than six times. I think it has to do with a different outlook on my part, and having a partner who wants for himself the same things I want for myself. Sharing meals and the experience - the ability to talk about struggles with success and failures has been a great way to build a strong foundation on many levels.

Last weekend, I went through my closet and found things I had long ago put in bags for Value Village because they didn't fit. As I tried them on, I realized not only did some of them fit, but some of them were too big for me! I started dancing around the room, liking what I was seeing and feeling.

Turns out? Underneath all my weight, I'm hourglass shaped. Go me! *laughter* Granted, at the moment, it is a rather large hourglass but when I tried on the silver silk dress I couldn't even get past my chest two months ago and saw that even though it is tight, it fits – I could see the shape my body is moving towards. And it felt good.

Really, really good.

I have a long way to go, but to paraphrase the Tao, ‘the journey of a thousand stories starts with the first word’.

I am invested in being as healthy as I know how to be. I've done all the mental thinking about it I can do. There comes a time to act. There comes a time to ‘do’. Now? I am acting. I am doing. I count myself fortunate not to have to do it alone. My newfound strength to make better choices isn't dependent on someone else, it is enhanced.

I'm not gonna lie – sharing this experience is way better than trying to do it on my own. So hey, thanks Universe for knowing what I needed, even before I did!

By this time next year, I suspect I'll be pretty close to my goal. I know it won't be easy, and I have a LOT more weight to let go of - but when I tried on those clothes that were too small for me just two months ago? I knew I was on the right path.

Perhaps I finally understand that I'm not just letting go of trying to control the world, but letting go of the physical barrier that kept me apart from the world – and from living an emotionally, spiritually, physically healthy life.



* grok·ked, grok·king, groks Slang. To understand profoundly through intuition or empathy.