I used to wonder what it would be like to go to the beach and not be stressed and horribly self-conscious in my bathing suit. Thin women had mysterious lives with thigh gaps and delicate wrists (and clearly marked ankles!). What was it like to go shopping, to be able to happily try things on—and have them fit!?
These seemed like things I’d never understand. I thought my misery came from my weight, so therefore thin women must enjoy life and have far more peace about themselves. And I spent a foolish amount of time feeling frustrated at myself that I’d never know what that peace was like. Because it was obviously my own fault.
I wish so much that I hadn’t wasted so much time and energy worrying about my imperfections as though my weight was all that mattered. As if that was the true measure of my worth—an idea I somehow had no will to fight against after years of bulimia and anorexia as a teen and young-adult. The notion was ingrained into my bones. And solidified after decades of doing things “right” through self- discipline and exercise that never did a blasted thing to budge the waistline, except in the wrong direction. It didn’t matter how much I counted calories, how hard I worked out, I was a “failure”.
The Wizards of Smart said: Just cut calories and move more.
Well, I did. And it didn’t help.
The Wizards of Smart replied: Obviously you’re not doing enough. Try harder.
As someone who deals with body perception problems and obsessive tendencies, this really didn’t help me heal (or lose weight).
The more I tried, the more I failed. And the less I liked myself.
It took an actual health scare to push me into the right direction. Well, more like shove. I was, in a word, desperate. I couldn’t face the “C” word again, which was being mentioned quite a bit. I felt like utter crap. And you could say, in my desperate search I stumbled onto therapeutic ketosis for cellular repair.
Yes, in my sideways search for cancer prevention and healing, I found myself losing weight. A LOT of weight, very quickly. Even as I worriedly raised my calories from 800 a day to 1700 for metabolic health, I just kept shrinking.
This is why I’ll always say, Ketosis cured me of far more than just autoimmune disease, carpal tunnel, digestive agony, and incessant heart palpitations. It forced me to eat. A LOT. I wasn’t allowed to punish myself or “count calories” (other than to raise them), I was nudged into discovering a healthier relationship with my food.
But this weight loss showed me an even more important thing: my mind was still as broken as it had been in my years of struggling with an eating disorder.
Because even after weight loss there were plenty of things that didn’t scream perfect or “sexy”. I’ve had four children, after all, all C-Sections. I’ve had a thoracotomy as well as an arterial chest port inserted, leaving several large keloid scars on my chest. And now I can add a good amount of loose skin and stretch marks to my list of things to squint at.
Revelation: it was never the weight. It was my vision. After losing more than 70lbs I was still picking a fight with my reflection.
Our silly brainwashed selves can always find flaws.
So, a couple of months ago I had this “Yikes” moment, I guess you could call it. I’d reached my “goal weight” and had been maintaining it for several weeks when I found myself complaining to my husband about a pinch of fat. As usual.
And he said: “Isn’t it ever going to be enough?”
I’d officially lost sight of the truth. It hit me like lightning, I’d gotten so used to being mean to myself, years and years of it, I couldn’t see right. At all. I knew all of this but somehow it just shook me.
Since then I’ve given myself a new goal over the last two months: to focus solely on kindness and clarity of mind.
I wanted to know: What does it feel like to be truly comfortable in my skin?
Because I’ve never known that feeling. I am hoping, however, that I’m now getting a glimpse as I only allow positive thoughts when I look into the mirror. I don’t count calories or steps. I focus on enjoying my weird love of food and food-science, and enjoy how strong I feel, how much energy I have, how much clearer my mind feels. On the calm that’s taking over.
And I’m happy. I’m settling into the bones.
What a relief. 🌷🍃