“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” Thomas Carlyle
Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
My words are:
flowers ~ showers ~ puddles ~ kittens ~ apples and bananas
They were submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
My weight loss update is a week late this month. I debated talking about it at all. When I last checked in, I weighed 208lbs. I purposefully only weigh once per month. I don’t want to be a slave to my scale like I’ve been in the past, allowing the number seen there to determine my course on that particular day. If I was a pound down, I’d celebrate by being lax on my diet or exercise. If I was up a pound, I’d be filled with self-loathing and soothe myself with poor food choices. Things I knew I shouldn’t eat, telling myself it didn’t matter anyway. Allowing myself to spiral out of control which fed the negative internal dialogue running day and night through my mind, on a loop. It was a vicious cycle that destroyed my self-confidence, gave credence to all the bad things I felt about myself and sabotaged any progress I might have made up to that point. I knew it was one of the many behaviors/habits that I would have to change after my surgery.
Before I stepped on the scale on April 5th, I was so excited! I just knew I was finally going to be entering the promise land. I was going, for the first time in over 10 years, to be under 200lbs. I was giddy. My stomach filled with nerves and the butterflies of excitement. I stripped down naked that morning and practically jumped on the scale, squeezing my eyes shut, counting to 10 before prying one eye open and glancing down.
WHAT!?!?!??!?! NOOOOOOOOOO! THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT! Oh, I forgot to take my ponytail holder out of my hair, that is clearly the explanation. Stepping off the scale, I rip that black rubber monstrosity out of my hair, and move towards the scale again. Wait! Maybe I need to pee. I mean I already went, but there could be some more hanging out there in my bladder. Right? Seems legit. I took my wedding rings off too, just to be safe.
I gently step on the scale again, closing my eyes tight. I send up a quick prayer. I wasn’t being greedy, I would have been ecstatic for a 199 lbs. I just wanted to be in ONEDERLAND! I’d also like to weigh less than my husband, but when he tops out at a buck fifty soaking wet, well… If he had been there, I probably would have punched him in the face. Misdirected rage to be sure, but I might have felt better. A little. For a bit. Maybe. I’m already feeling a tad better just thinking about it…in slow motion, over and over. Amazing what imagining a little physical violence can do for a girl. I can handle that number, whatever it is. Come what may, I open my eyes and look down.
Spittin’ kittens. That’s how mad I was when I looked down for the second time. I never really understood that phrase, but it works here, so I’m going with it.
When I started this journey, I knew it wouldn’t be all flowers, rainbows and unicorn showers. I knew the surgery wasn’t a miracle cure or a quick fix. I knew I’d have to work hard, and it would take time and perseverance. I knew that my attitude about my success and failures would determine the ultimate outcome and that I’d have to change the behaviors that brought me to 287 pounds in the first place. I’ve lost a total of
I’ve accomplished so much already. I know logically I have so much to be proud of and I am proud of myself and how far I’ve come. I don’t think I’m alone in judging my success or failure based on that stupid number on the scale. I hate that I can’t seem to find a way to celebrate my successes without beating myself up with the things I didn’t do or accomplish. Sometimes all I can see are the things I failed to do. I find it at times paralyzing and blinding, eclipsing the positive, dimming my joy. I can’t see the 7 pound loss. I just see those 2 pounds keeping me from 199.
It was a rough week. I just want all this excess weight to fall off into puddles around my feet, so I can kick it all away, never to be seen again. In the past, I would have let this disappointment control me. I would have chosen the cookies and pizza over the apples and bananas. I would have sunk into despair, beating myself up.
I was angry.
I was disappointed.
I allowed myself to feel everything I was feeling. I didn’t bottle it up. I didn’t use food to self-medicate. I didn’t throw myself on the couch, binge watching Netflix, hooked up to a chocolate IV with a jug of wine at my side. I was pissed. I felt cheated.
I got over it. It took a few days, I won’t lie. Things got a bit dark. It was actually anger over something else and a lesson at church that delivered me out of my funk. I was at church. I hadn’t had breakfast, and I was starving, so I grabbed a blueberry donut, then I went to make myself a cup of coffee. I’m standing in the little kitchenette juggling my donut, trying to pour myself a cup, when these two women came in. I don’t know them. They are having a conversation about shoes or something. Then the one lady looks over at me, and says,
“At least I managed to avoid the donuts today…”
The tiny bite I had taken turned to ash in my mouth. I just stood there, as they continued to talk around me about eating healthy. I blinked my eyes quickly to stop the tears building up. I don’t think she meant to food shame me, but everything I’d been feeling throughout the week, just bubbled up and hit me all at once. I felt once again like that 287 pound girl, guilty and ashamed. I hate that feeling. I never want to feel that way again. Ever. I threw that donut away and walked to my Sunday School class. Angry. Frustrated.
Our lesson that day was about how God is always with you, and an analogy from the movie “The Bear” was used. It’s a movie about an orphan bear cub that gets adopted by an adult male bear and follows their adventures, it came out in 1988. There was a scene where the baby bear runs into this mountain cat that wants to eat him and he raises himself up and lets out this tiny baby bear growl. The mountain cat hunches down and slinks away. Baby bear is feeling all proud of himself. What he can’t see is his friend, the ginormous adult male bear, standing behind him, raised up and roaring, scaring the cat away. We are the baby cubs and God is always behind us, helping us fight our demons, our battles, chasing them away with his strength and power, awe and might. We don’t always see Him, and we think we are alone, and we forget to lean on Him, trust in Him. We try to take control and handle things ourselves, forgetting that He’s always behind us, ready to push us or catch us. Always meeting us where we are with what we need.
I’d forgotten. I’d allowed myself to wallow in self-pity. I’ve lost 86 pounds! 86 pounds! I’ve already done more than I ever imagined I could do. I didn’t do it alone. Not only has God been beside me, behind me and in front of me, but He sent friends. All of you people that cheer me on, encourage me, love on me and pray for me. I couldn’t do any of this without you. Thank you. Thank you for believing in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
It was the encouragement I needed at the exact time I needed it. My mood lifted. The sun came out. 7 more pounds down. I patted myself on the back. I’ll get to ONEDERLAND. It will be glorious, all the more so not in spite of the hard work, ups and downs, successes and failures, but because of them.
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams
Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts: