This year for Lent, I gave up giving up. In short, I took a break from giving things up to lose weight, or change my body or whatever the hell I was trying to do. Instead, I tried to eat well, move more and just focus on being happy. I was pretty sure that after all the work God did creating this Universe and the people within it, he would appreciate it if I stopped beating myself up and just tried to be happy. Isn't that what any parent wants for their child?
But now, Lent is over. Do I go back to "dieting"? Do I sign back on to My Fitness Pal and start recording my calories again? Do I go back to worrying about every freaking thing that I put into my stomach and how far and fast I will have to walk to get rid of it?
I'm not going back on that carnival ride for several reasons...
- Over the past month or so, I've learned to look at myself differently. In having to accept my shape, I've learned to try and look past what's on the outside to who I actually am. While I'm sure some people might be put off by my appearance, those who I care about love me for who I am. Maybe I should too.
- Beyond who I am on the inside, I've made a concerted effort to look at my body in a more realistic manner. I've tried to actually see myself as I really am...as others see me. It's still a work in progress (trust me on that) but I've made some headway. For one, I see that I'm not nearly as fat as I think I am. I'm still not what I would call healthy, but I can work on getting healthy without the unrealistic expectation of looking like I did when I was 35. Let's face it people, that ship sailed almost 20 years ago...it ain't coming back 'round this way matey.
- I'm still addicted to sugar. But now I am looking at it, not as an enemy, but as something that is just not good for me. I was doing a really good job of doing the whole, "everything in moderation" thing until Easter. I, like many others, overindulged this Easter season with too much chocolate and a "to die for" Southern Coconut Cake that I made from scratch. As a result, I've been suffering with reflux at night so bad it wakes me up, burns my throat and has me od'ing on Tums and Tagamet and I still have to sleep propped up. I don't think that God (or Mother Nature or just my damn body) could send me a sign that's any clearer. Knock it off dumb ass. You did some damage with all that boozing and you ain't getting any younger. Time to get on the low sugar express! All aboard!!! Yep, I hear that one loud and clear.
- I actually like looking at food not as what it might do to my body, but what it will do to nourish me. I also like listening to my body and responding based on hunger and need (I tend to crave what my body needs - low on iron? I crave red meat. Low on potassium? Get me some bananas.). It's quite liberating to listen to your body and respond and then feel good about it. Hmmm...this must be what it's like to eat like a "normal" person.
I'm sure there are more reasons that I'm not getting back on that ride but the most important one, the fact that I'm happier, will have to suffice for now. Recovery from alcoholism has taught me a lot of wonderful lessons about how to live my life. The most important of these is that being happy is possible, is good, is something to cherish, is powerful.
So I will continue to eat well, move more, watch my numbers (blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar) and let nature worry about the size of my pants.
Because I like being powerful.