“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
It is very hard for me to write about my struggles.
I love to portray myself as the cherubic, butt-kicking, advocating Super Mom that we all aspire to be.
I like to think of myself as a combination of Rachel Ray, Erin Brockovich, and Maria from The Sound of Music.
But I struggle just like anyone.
Every last one of us struggles with something.
For me, it is food.
I friggin love it.
I find myself lost in it.
Daydreaming of eating it.
Sharing it with other people.
It is the first thing I think about when I’m stressed and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep.
One of my greatest loves is dreaming up a concoction of ingredients in my mind, creating it, getting it right, serving it to people I deeply care about, and seeing the pure bliss on their faces.
That might sound a little nutsy.
And I’m okay with that.
But herein lies the problem.
I am a recovering binge eater.
Not proud of it. But I own it.
To this day, my mind still goes to food first when something goes wrong.
I have just learned to control it.
For years after Zion’s diagnosis of autism, I spent my nights binge eating.
It was a terribly painful addiction, but I couldn’t stop.
I didn’t want to.
It was the only thing that made me feel better…if only for the moment.
The best way I can explain it is that when I was tractor-loading a full order of chips and cheese into my piehole, I could detach from reality.
From the pain.
The loneliness of being single and parenting alone.
Most of you know I have spent the past year and a half or so taking off a heck of a lot of weight, and disciplining myself to control that addiction.
I have become the queen of inventive recipes, water drinking, and moving my butt.
Except for the last couple of weeks.
I haven’t actually gotten on the scale, because well…f&$% scales.
But I know my body. And I have put on a few pounds.
More like 10.
Which honestly, shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
But it is a big deal, because with me…10 pounds can lead to 50.
Pretty much overnight.
Being transparent here, the weight gain is due to a combination of stress-snacking, crap food choices, and a lack of exercise.
I haven’t been to the gym with my crew in over a month.
Slowly my food choices have become less disciplined.
The night time snickety-snacking has crept back in.
I’m drinking way too much coffee and not enough water.
And slowly but surely, those things take their toll.
I’ve been in denial about it, a bit I suppose.
I mean, my clothes still fit.
But I don’t feel right.
Because I feel unempowered when I don’t control my eating.
So yesterday after working at my part-time weekend job, I just wanted to go out for sushi and shopping.
My kids weren’t having it.
So I honored that. I went and picked them up, we stopped at the market, and picked up a few items to make tacos and made plans to go home and watch a movie.
I admit I had a little bit of an attitude about it in my heart.
Because sometimes we all just want to be adults for a minute.
We can all adore our kids all day, but down time that doesn’t involve work or nurturing is awfully nice.
So we get home from the store, and I’m chopping veggies and cooking things up in the kitchen, when Zion walks in. I look up and he is beaming from ear to ear with a throw-pillow stuffed up his shirt.
I laugh and say, “Buddy, what are you doing?”
He pats his self-made belly and says, “Look at the big tummy.”
I laughed again.
But then he did something that cut me like a knife.
He walked over and touched my stomach and said, “Big tummy, mama.”
It was innocent.
It really was.
Zion doesn’t have a malicious bone in his body.
But it would have hurt less if he had driven a stake into my heart.
Because the painful truth is that no one who loves me is going to say, “Hey sister, you’ve put on a few pounds. Let’s eat a salad and take a walk.”
But my ears essentially heard just that when that precious little unicorn compared his pillow-belly to mine.
And I’m not going to lie.
I went to my room and sobbed for 10 minutes.
So as I sit here writing this morning, with my bulletproof coffee and my very sore heart, I have to take a look at a few things about myself.
Because that’s what I do.
I am falling back into old patterns.
Slowly….but it’s happening.
Uncertainty and loneliness and financial stress are sending me swan-diving into the chips and the carbs and the other garbage my body doesn’t need.
And when I don’t have the good sense to stop myself, my best teacher comes into the kitchen with a pillow stuffed up his shirt, and gives me a little reality check.
Five years ago, I would have covered that insult in a gallon of cream gravy and sopped it up with many, many biscuits.
But new Angie chooses to embrace the hurt, the reality. And allow that to incite change.
Because two things are for certain:
- Old habits die sooooo very hard.
2. There’s no insult like the truth.