Have you been freaking out because you gained back most of the weight you lost? You're so not alone. I'm right here beside you. I did the same thing and I want to share my story with you in hopes that you will see your own journey from a much more gentle and self-compassionate perspective.
That's me in the photo above proudly celebrating my daughter, Cara's graduation from The Culinary Institute of America. Since last week my precious Cara has flown the nest and she's out in Maine with a newly secured chef position cooking for an Assisted Living Community in the town where she now lives.
The reality of being an Emptynester has settled in and I now realize that much of the four years I spent anticipating being separated from my kids and losing connection with them was precious time wasted. By the time my son, PT moves into his dorm in 96 more days on August 21, I'll be a new relaxed and chill version of myself, ready for anything. But it's been a long road of healing that's brought me to this place of peace.
Choosing a slow road to getting healthy
It took me a little over a year to gradually release 28 extra pounds and clear my body of Prediabetes. It was relatively easy and very doable because I refused to diet and never deprived myself. Instead I learned how to eat to support the way I wanted to feel.
I discovered that the extra weight I had been carrying was a physical reminder and metaphor for all the stress and chaos that I had carried as a burden throughout my life. In addition to using the many stress-relief techniques that I teach my coaching clients, I worked together with Susan Holmberg, a nutritionist friend of mine who coached me through the process of getting healthier. Here is a blog post that I wrote about my work with Susan that details my discoveries of what worked for me:
Beyond the whole vanity thing, the best part about being healthier was no more joint pain and my allergies and eczema had disappeared into oblivion.
Making peace with re-gaining back my weight
But within a space of 4 short months from December - March, I regained back 23 of those 28 pounds. I willingly open myself up to criticism because I know that many people may call me a failure, or a fool. It doesn't matter because I feel at peace with the choices I've made and what I have done. I have my reasons and they feel really valid.
After nearly a year of unrelenting financial, legal, marital, family, work, physical and emotional stress I just couldn't handle the pressure in my life anymore. The weight of my burden was far too much for me to handle. I had reached my breaking point and lost my sense of self-preservation and slid into apathy. Thoughts of attempting suicide became a grim reality.
Unwilling to cause my family any undue pain by my untimely death, I cracked under the pressure and turned right back to food. Despite having the knowledge and experience of tons of stress-relief tools at my fingertips, I felt crushed by the weight of my depression and fear, watching every aspect of my life falling down around me. Much of my sadness was around my mother, resolving the past, fearing aging, anticipating the loss of my connection with my kids, re-evaluating my marriage and fearing becoming an emptynester. It was like my whole life got tossed up in the air and everything that used to be so certain and sure had become uncertain. I was filled with fear. I felt like I was just fighting to survive. The Juicy Woman in me was gone.
During those 4 months of emotional darkness, nothing short of ice cream felt right. I just wanted to eat and fall into a food coma, blissfully ignorant to the chaos around me. Unlike the previous year where my strategy for weight control was forgiving myself for overeating to break the binge cycle, this time it didn't work. I forgave myself and more ice cream led to more ice cream.
According to Louise Hay, every part of your body and physical condition has an emotional component connected to it that when acknowledged and intentionally balanced will release that health issue from your life. In her book, "You Can Heal Your Life" she breaks down the different aspects of being overweight relative to several body parts as follows:
Overweight - Oversensitivity, Often represents fear and shows a need for protection. Fear may be a cover for hidden anger and a resistance for forgive.
- Arms - Anger at being denied love.
- Belly - Anger at being denied nourishment.
- Hips - Lumps of stubborn anger at the parents.
- Thighs - Packed childhood anger. Often rage at the father.
Keeping this in mind, each time I struggle to button my jeans, or look at and touch my newly rounded belly, chunky arms and bigger butt, and thicker thighs, I feel the deepest levels of compassion for my body.
Today after seeing Susan's blogpost in my Facebook feed, I gathered the courage to
step back on the scale to do a sober assessment of where I am now. 229.8 pounds. - short of 5 pounds away from where I started at my most unhealthiest of weights this time last year.
Facing the truth about my weight regain, the old Andrea would fall into a ball and cry, and then plunge headfirst into the nearest food that I could stuff into my mouth to make me forget how I feel. But that's not me anymore.
Over the past year I went through a really tough time, and got pretty depressed. At several points along that journey, food seemed to be the only answer to making me feel better.
Between bowls of ice cream and lots of tears, I knew I had to get my life together so I stepped away from coaching others and put my energy into coaching myself out of the blues.
I got out of the house, started a new job, began coaching and working with clients in a totally different environment, let go of all the things in my life I couldn't control and started counting my blessings.
A short time later, I fell madly in love with my new life. The lesson taught me that my biggest gift is leading others out of depression.
None of this could have happened if I would not have found my strength by letting go, trusting my faith in God and making forgiveness and taking responsibility my biggest priorities. In order for me to get my head screwed back on, and deal with all the changes going on in my life, I had to stop making other people the bad guys in my life.
I've been working hard at doing that and I'm finding a lot more peace with the changes in my life.
I realize that I'm older and so much wiser. Now that blissfully I'm on the other side of my own self-induced hell and I'm safe, unharmed, healthy and my marriage and family is intact, I'm in a much better and resourceful place to handle all the other things on my plate in addition to the very small issue of being fat.
I credit myself with already having figured it out once before and now I'm ready to come back again better than ever. Again I'm in no rush and just want to get healthier step by step, day by day. That's the plan.
To stay up to date and get the latest news of my progress and the challenges that I share with other women to up their game, click the image below to join my FB group 30 Days to Lovin' the Skin You're In.