Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Numbers Game, part 3

The weeks that have passed since writing The Numbers Game, Part 2 have been a struggle for me. Actually, using the word "struggle" is an incredible understatement.

I was determined not to step foot on the bathroom scale since declaring I would not allow it to be a part of my daily routine any longer. However, it began weighing heavily on my mind every morning as I prepared myself for the day. The scale sat in its usual place, taunting me, calling me so desiring to wield its power over me and dictate to me if I will feel good about myself today or not. I had resisted, until a week ago.

During this hiatus from the bathroom scale, I felt as if I were growing larger by the moment. My clothes all seemed to be shrinking and every morning I found something in my closet I thought was just a tad tighter than the last time I wore it. No one mentioned to me that it looked like I had lost weight lately and this compounded my panicky feelings. My days consistently battled with low self- esteem and of measuring and comparing myself to every other woman I encountered. I apologize if that makes anyone reading this feel uncomfortable, but I am trying to bear it all today in this post.

Fast-forward to this past week. Jay had a doctor's appointment and despite working out 3 days a week, he gained enough weight for his doctor to be concerned. Yeah, ok, so some of it is muscle weight, but he and I know that most is not. Additionally, I know that I had put on some pounds since mid-May, how much, I did not know. However, since he was going to be cutting back, I figured out I would be supportive and jump on the band wagon.

I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. I have been uncomfortable in most of my clothes and my eating habits have been completely out of control. As I stepped onto the scale, I let out an audible gasp, my stomach began to knot. I have gained 12 pounds since mid-May. 12 pounds.

Do I know how petty all of this is? Yes. Is it completely out of perspective? Yes. Are there a million more things in this world that are more important? Yes. Yet, I am con summed with this.

Control. There is it, that word again. Self-control, discipline, focus, manage; whatever word you want to use, it describes what I battle in my life. My control verses God's control. For 5 years, I have controlled my weight, allowing me to better deal with all of the other uncontrollables in my life - children, husband, death, work, house, etc. Now, even that is out of my control. My inner self has completely come unglued, chaos reigning and borderline depression setting up camp.

I can remember a time when my house was my controllable area. Cleaning an exorbitant amount - wiping baseboards weekly, cleaning blinds weekly, organizing and reorganizing closets. I chose this focus because my weight was so vastly out of control, I didn't even see it as an area under my influence. As the children grew and became more destructive to the house and I began my journey to physical fitness, my focus shifted to something I could actually dictate, food consumed. Compounding that were the added burdens of cancer and death - two variables completely out of my hands.

I am very angry with myself. My anger at my weight gain is superseded by my anger at myself for wasting so much emotional energy with this topic. I am extraordinarily disappointed at how I treat others around me when I feel this inwardly chaotic. I transfer my frustrations at failing at my own ridiculous goal of perfection to my children. I was very unfair to them yesterday and I am still struggling with that reality this morning.

Now I am scrambling, lowering my caloric intake, drinking water by the jug full, all the while growing agitated and completely aggravated by my constant state of hunger and desire for chocolate. For what, I ask myself? To feel in control again. The irony of the statement does not escape me; I know nothing is truly under my control.

I have had seasons when I was at rest in my life, when I was not running that treadmill of constant work and control. Short-lived these seasons were, but I have lived them. Disappointingly, I am back in this pit of numbers, scrambling on my own, by my own strength to gain footing to climb out of it. I know failure is assured with this method, and yet, my sinful tendency is to solve it on my own, with my own control.

I know what I need to do, but will I do it? It is another season of brokenness and I pray that it will be the last one with this stronghold I will have to endure. I pray for the end to this maddening numbers game.

1 comment:

Victoria said...

I've been living in this fat-suit for so many years that I had to stop calling it that. I had to let go of my claim to the skinny girl I had jokingly said was still inside, just waiting to come out. I never had a weight issue until moving away from family and friends in 2000. I gained something like 10 lbs a year until I found myself at my highest weight ever. Just when I felt nothing would change, we bought our house and the stress and move allowed me to drop 14 lbs. I maintained that until my last pregnancy. Being that I have high risk pregnancies, working out was forbidden. I was wheeled into the deliver room at 198. I came home 170 and thought that those extra 15 would be gone in no time...instead they stuck around and invited a few friends. I gained 10 lbs in that first year. Tons of failed attempts later, I decided to get control of my weight by working for a cause. I trained for the 5k and lost forward a year...and all 14 were back.

I hadn't found a way of eating that satisfied without overindulging. That is the key. This time around, I am making small life changes that seem to be adding up. I don't drink soft drinks in the daytime. I cut portions in half and I drink water. I make 2 quarts of sweet tea with 1/3 cup of sugar, and it's actually good. The only change that is really a struggle is having to drastically cut down on my mammal intake. Calling it that makes me laugh, so it feels a little better. I am so a meat and potatoes person, but I have noticed the biggest weight loss since taking this step.

I'm not saying the same things will work for you, but finding the compromise you can live happily with is what will help.

Most importantly, knowing that you are using this area as a therapeutic controlled area is the first step...follow it up with prayer and purpose! Losing the weight removes that stumbling block, but when we take away our negative source of fulfillment without replacing it with a healthy tool, we end up finding another negative way to cope.

Sorry for the novel, but you just opened up so much that I couldn't help but share all that!