As we all know, weight loss is not a one-and-done thing, but an ongoing management of our relationship to food. It’s all too easy to slip back into old, destructive patterns of eating. Discipline is key to staying on track, as is maintaining good emotional health.
It’s important not to feel like you are alone on this journey. All over the world people struggle with the same issues—spinning out of control or losing focus. Whatever the reason, it is important to go easy on yourself, remember your value, and get back on track!
I Haven’t Stopped Eating Since Mother’s Day
It has been one year since we have moved into our new home, which we chose for its fully equipped and furnished one-bedroom, ground-level apartment. It was going to be perfect for my parents, but before they could move in, my mother passed away. So, instead, my son, daughter-in-law, and new grandson now live downstairs, which is an amazing gift.
For Mother’s Day, we planned an awesome brunch. After a day of eating and lounging, we cleaned up and everyone retired for the night. The next day I ate leftovers, and the day after that, and the rest of the week. I was fully aware of what I was doing, and also not sure why. But, once the leftovers were gone, I just said, “Well that is it, get back on track.”
But I didn’t. I continued eating the entire next week. At the same time, I began an educational series by Neale Walsch, bought the 90-day Wildfit Challenge and a Bowflex! But at the end of week two I was still eating!
On Saturday, I went to friend’s party, had fun and didn’t eat too much, but I did have dessert. Then Sunday was my father’s birthday. We ordered out (pizza and salad), had dessert, and I ate seconds after everyone left. I felt gross and full. I still didn’t know why I was eating.
During this entire time, I was doing my “I am’s,” doing major work during my morning meditation, and getting my shopping list together. So, I did not sabotage my other inner game efforts, which was a change for me! And, one thing I do know, I did not judge myself too harshly over the last two weeks. I’m not saying I didn’t criticize myself, but it I was trying to be gentle because I know I have changed. Something was going on, and I needed to figure out what it was.
So, after my dad and brother left, I stepped into our beautiful living room and told my husband that my mom would have loved it here, she would have really loved living here. I suddenly realized that I did not think of my mom once on Mother’s Day! And the weird thing was that I didn’t feel guilty about it, nor I did not judge myself—that’s just what happened, but it is obviously worth mentioning.
I walked out of the living room and down the hallway and began to cry. I went onto the front porch and sat down. I began to think about my childhood, my mom, and how I used to feel so upset and guilty leaving her. Like when I went to school in the morning, or when I left the room to go and play, or went to a friend’s house for a sleepover.
I took care of so many things in my parents’ home. I cooked; I cleaned; I watched my brother; I did lots of other chores outside—I took in the wood, raked leaves. And, I always volunteered to do stuff for my mother because I felt sorry for her. There was something deeply vulnerable about her, something almost helpless at times. I felt I needed to be there for her.
That night on the porch, for the first time since she passed, I talked to my mom. I felt compelled to tell her that I loved her very much and I knew she loved me. Right or wrong, I surmised that it was my job to take care of her. Right or wrong, I thought she needed me to help her, but now I didn’t have her to care of her anymore. She is in a place where she is well taken care of. I did not realize till now that there was a void in my life which I was filling with food. I did not realize that I didn’t close the door on the chapter of my life as caregiver to my mom.
What Did I Learn?
I looked back and recognized that I kept doing the good things for myself (class, Wildfit Challenge, Bowflex, “I am’s”). Even though the old self came out big time over those two weeks, my habits of taking care of my inner game, the healthy habits that I have been instilling for years did not stop. And that is major progress!
I can now stop sabotaging myself and my self-care efforts due to the fact that I am not taking care of my mom. It was so ingrained in me to think about her and her needs. Now I don’t have to do that any longer. I know the message I received that night on the porch was that it is time to focus on taking care of me and just me. In fact, I am supposed to be doing that and I now have my own permission.
In the month since that night, I have not had the desire to eat out of control. We are all a lifetime’s worth of information. Peeling back the layers will continue to help us see who we are and what makes us tick. If you are willing to look at the inner game and ask why, then you will be rewarded greatly!
In honor of this realization, I have come up with a new affirmation: I am free to take care of me; I have my permission!
I say this every day and will continue to do so until I see that I am doing this without reminders!