Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's not easy putting one foot in front of the other

It's been a couple of weeks now that that clinic added a meal together with my Optifast shakes.  I used to get so resentful when people who had already been through the program said that living on the shakes alone was easy.  Excuse me, but there's nothing about that process that is easy.  Living in a world where all your nourishment comes from liquid?  Not easy.  Dealing with social situations where everything is centered around food and you can't even munch on a freakin carrot?  Definitely not easy.  However, I do get what they were saying.  Their intention was not to say that it was easy, but easier.  Think about it ... you don't have to make decisions on a daily basis on what you will have for your meals, no issues of portion control, fat content, calories, sodium.  The only thing you have to decide is what flavoring to put in with your shake and maybe whether you'll blend it with ice or just mix it up in a shaker.  Sure, every moment you don't pick up actual food is a victory because it makes you feel stronger and better able to handle the days ahead.  But it's completely different when you are handling the very thing that can bring you to your knees if you truly have a problem with food.  Healthy living is not the easiest thing in the world, especially when your inclination might be to just pick a softer road lined with cupcakes.  Geez ... did you just get the visual like I did? 

For me, I have been doing pretty well when I remember to follow the guidelines the clinic established for the modified fast.  When I don't, it's more of a struggle.  The biggest issues for me are two:  being in too much of a hurry that I don't weigh or measure my food and not getting all of my shakes in.  The plan for me is to have 6 shakes a day and a meal that consists of 3 ounces of a lean protein, half cup of cooked veggies and two and a half cups of salad.  It actually is a lot of food for the entire day.  Getting used to that has been a challenge and it makes me not want to have all my shakes, even though I must have them to get all of my nutrients in.  When I don't, then I feel horrible.  And when I'm not weighing and measuring, I either want too much of something or not enough.  I know that I won't have to weigh and measure for the rest of my life, but right now it's what I need to do to relearn.

That's what I've really seen as important to me as I've gone through this journey.  I'm relearning how to eat right, take care of my body and love myself in a whole new way.  Some of it is completely new to me.  This morning I went into the office late because I'm conducting workshops tomorrow evening for students and parents so it was going to be comp time.  I had these plans to go on a five mile walk.  I was so excited about it, but then I received a call from my attorney's office regarding a worker's comp deposition I gave recently.  They were summoning me in to review the depo in case there were changes.  So I pouted that I couldn't go on my walk.  And as I got ready for my day this morning, I still was pouting.  Oh poor Kathy, upset that she can't go on her little walk.  No, I think it was more than that.  I wanted to go on the walk because it makes me feel good to take care of myself and the physical exercise really helps a lot with the pain I've been dealing with.  As I was trying to figure out what to wear, I think I tried on 5-10 shirts, hating every single one that I put on because of how my arms looked in them or because they were just too big on me and feeling frustrated how quickly I go through clothes. I sat on my bed to sort of shake off the black cloud I was feeling that was surrounding me.

Isn't it a good thing that I'm losing weight and that's the reason why the shirts don't fit well ... too big rather than too small?


Okay, and why is it that you don't like your arms in your shirts?

Because of the excess skin that is hanging.  

Alright.  And why do you have the excess skin?

Because I've lost a lot of weight.

Okay.  Can't you see that's a reason to celebrate?

I'm trying.  I just have a hard time focusing on that when I just don't like what I see in the mirror right now.

Boom!  I hit the nail on the head.   When you are in the process of putting on weight or living in a body that feels non-human because there's so much extra weight, you put blinders on.  You pretend the image that you see in the mirror, if you even dare to look in the mirror, is not reality.  Somehow you rationalize enough to make it okay until one day when it no longer is okay.  It's really a hard pill to swallow when you finally do open up your eyes.  My jagged pill is all the stretch marks that are left on my body and the excess skin that is now a part of me.  How do I look at those things and not want to cry?  Sometimes that's all I want to do and I know that's part of my grieving process on to a better life.

I finally did manage to pull it together and picked a shirt I could live with for today.  While I was at the attorney's office, I took a break from the depo review and went into the bathroom.  I looked up after I washed my hands and almost startled myself in the mirror.  When I saw my image staring back at me, I actually felt little.  I'm not saying I am little, but I actually felt it.  So much so that I took a picture.  Yeah, it's obvious I'm in a bathroom but forget that for a moment.  See the image I saw through my eyes for a minute.

Here stands a woman in a size 18 top and size 16 pants.  I used to wear a size 34.  In fact, you can't see it as well in the pic, but the pants were actually baggy enough on me today to have people comment at work.  A woman I used to work with, who has known me for eons, was at our school site today and did a double take when she saw me and said, "Kathy, you look FABULOUS!!"  She said it several times.  When am I going to get it through my head that there has been major change?  As I continue doing good things for myself, there will actually be more change.  I am well aware that other people are watching me to see how I'm doing.  I see them looking at me when they don't realize I can see them staring.  I get a lot of people that do that.  It doesn't bother me, though, because I know they care about me an awful lot and that's something that is very precious to me.  It's not easy putting one foot in front of the other, no doubt.  But I AM doing it no matter how much it scares me sometimes.  Are you?


Big Heart said...

You want to have a makeover night? I make you look velly preeetttyyy... :)

Kathy said...

Sounds like fun Sara ;-)

Big Heart said...

We'll talk about it on our walk!

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