Tuesday, February 26, 2013

shedding the weight.

{one of my new favorite treats--frozen fruit in almond milk}

about 8 years ago when we were living in rexburg, my friend andrea, my mom and myself went to a few classes offered for BYU-Idaho's education week.  our curiosity was peaked by one that was specifically targeted for using the gospel to help with weight loss.  we sat down in the back of the classroom, opened up our scriptures and notebooks, waiting to hear the secrets of dropping pounds that the speaker would bestow upon us.  

within 5 minutes, we were each looking at each other, snickering and rolling our eyes. 15 minutes into the class, we quietly snuck out of the back doors.  once we were out, we started talking about how ridiculous the lady teaching sounded, directing us that when we desired to eat a cookie, to reach past the cookie to pick up our scriptures and "feast upon the word" instead, asking ourselves, what am i hungry for?  how can i fill myself up spiritually and emotionally rather than physically?

feeling she was quite possibly insane, we dismissed the 15 minutes of her lecture.  

when mama wants a cookie, she's gettin' a cookie!  i thought to myself.  sidenote:  sometimes i call myself 'mama.' 

well,  i get to eat a piece of humble pie, pun intended.  one made of leaks and kale and other leafy greens.

because today i am 30 pounds lighter than i was at this same time, last year.  

i didn't do this with pills, or surgery, or an addiction to green tea or caffeine.  it has come off slowly, sometimes the scale going back up before it's gone down again.  it started when i decided to finally do something about my addiction to sugar.  it was something i can say i really REALLY didn't want to do, because oh how i love my sugar.  it's been my best friend for...about 30 years or so.  but my best friend was only offering me outside comfort and immediate gratification instead of long-lasting nutrition and deep-down fulfillment.  

so last march, i decided to go off of refined sugars for 40 days.  i wanted to do it to prove to myself i could.  i have never touched alcohol, smoking or drugs in my entire life--the main reason being that i didn't want to put something into my body that could control me.  where i could wake up the next day and not remember things, or have details become fuzzy...that thought scared me.  not to mention i had raging addicts on both sides of my family, i knew i was probably predispositioned to head down the same destructive path.

and yet even without those other substances, i realized i was an addict of the worst form--the one who was in denial--feeling i was the exception to the rule.  i could walk the line, eating whatever i wanted, whenever i wanted to without repercussions.  in fact, diets made me angry and i stood in judgement of those who were perpetual dieters.  i didn't want to live that way, constantly depriving myself of the things i wanted in order to have a smaller waistline so i could feel better about myself.  i wanted to either love and embrace my body just the way it was, or to have an amazing body and lightning fast metabolism because i just did, like some of the friends and family i had around me.  like a 2 year old with a temper tantrum, inside i was yelling it's not fair!   to prove to myself how unfair it was, i ate sugar wherever and whenever i wanted to, and lied to myself that it was all in the name of "loving and accepting my body" when it really never was that.  

the truth is, i just didn't want to admit i was out of control.  

but last year, i had a moment when something inside told me that i had been fooling myself all along.  maybe before that moment i hadn't been ready to see it, ready to admit that i had a problem.  

i made my announcement publicly, wanting witnesses to help hold myself accountable.  those 40 days were surprisingly easy and surprisingly hard.  easy in the way that i realized i actually could say no to my best friend without feeling guilty.  guilt became replaced with empowerment.  the hard part was realizing just how addicted i actually was.  there were days when i would see something sugary in the cupboards or on the counter and i would obsess about it.  i could not get it out of my head for hours, sometimes days.  then i would get mad again, realizing just how much it was consuming my thoughts.  

and the ironic thing is?  when the obsessive thoughts got really bad....i reached for spiritual or emotional outlets.  whether it was through prayer or calling a friend, or emotionally investing more into my kids and husband.  by reaching out in this way, i found myself on the other side of obsession. i also did affirmations and wrote some of the most emotionally difficult blog posts during this time.  

so i guess that lady in rexburg knew what she was talking about so many years ago.  during the 40 days i lost 8 pounds.  

after it was over, i celebrated with a homemade chocolate chip cookie i had frozen and saved for myself for just this moment.  i didn't want to have to live completely without sugar for my entire life, but instead wanted to find a way to balance it without letting it take control of me again.

since that time i have done another 30 day sugar fast, for the same reasons as the first time.  to keep myself in check after my willpower lost all power during the holidays.  

i still love sugar, and still consume it, but it's in much smaller quantities and i'm constantly checking my emotional state when i'm eating it, searching to see if there's something else i'm avoiding while replacing it for a quick fix of physical satisfaction.

so i'm sitting here, typing this, 30 pounds lighter than i was this january of last year.  i can now see how much losing emotional weight coincides with the losing the physical. the emotional weight came first--fighting to gain control over my thoughts, actions and addictions, becoming vulnerable with not only myself but also publicly, continuing to work on codependency and self-worth issues with loving affirmations and positive thoughts.  

the shedding has taken both emotional and physical work, but today i'm sitting in jeans that are 4 sizes lower than what i was this time last year, and like myself a lot more too. the emotional shedding came first, and in my personal opinion is the one that matters most, because i was healing from the inside out.  but honestly, both feel amazing.


Jill said...

Ok, we really are sisters or cousins of some sort or maybe even twins separated at birth. Are we the same age? When is your birthday???

Anyway, this post is directed at me, I'm sure of it. I would like to lose ten pounds. Not much, right? Sounds pretty easy. But those last ten are the hardest! And when faced with yummies, I find myself saying "Well, I'm doing good. It won't hurt. I'm fine." But after telling myself that several times a DAY, it's definitely counterproductive. I'm struggling to find the willpower. You would be proud though that I did throw half a container of chocolate frosting in the garbage today, leftover from my daughter's birthday cake. So, that was a good step.

I feel that food addiction is real. (I'm sure CJane will have a post on it soon enough). I eat when I am happy, excited, stressed, depressed, kids are giving me a hard time, etc.

What are your thoughts on food as part of LDS culture? Baby blessings... food. Baptisms... food. Weddings... food. Someone needs help... take them food. Also, it would be interesting to discuss and/or study if there is any connection between babies who are "demand fed" who grow up to be emotional eaters. Just a thought.

Thanks for the inspiration and congratulations on better health, in all forms!

Jill said...

P.S. Before and after pictures??

Rachel Chick said...

You are so awesome! thank you for helping to motivate ME to do the same. It really HAS been life changing! Ten pounds down, 15 more to go. I love you so, you know! :)

Rachel Holloway said...

YOU AMAZE ME! Seriously, LOVE reading this and am SO inspired!!!

ohmylanta said...

Good Job Lyns!!

I remember trying to join you on that sugar fast! Andrea was kickin it, and I was in denial. A true sugar addict. In High School....the few friends that I had called me SUGAR. The nickname that still sticks with me. I surely need a support group.

Though, I am proud to admit that I have been changing my ways this year too. Topping the scale at my heaviest weight ever was a motivating factor! I am seeing very slow progress, but I do feel good about making better food choices and limiting my sugar. I have also learned that addictions in any form can affect our spirits.

Keep going. (and...post more food ideas!) wink wink