I Am That Girl Now

Monday, January 23, 2006


First of all, sorry for going off-radar for so long. Believe it or not, the day after the last time I posted, my Hub got sick, and I spent the whole Martin Luther King Jr. three-day-weekend nursing him, not to mention nursing a lousy sinus headache (which has since been cured by adding a humidifier to our apartment). By late Monday, my Hub was feeling a bit better but I was starting to feel lousy. Tuesday, I was running a fever, and to make a long story short I only got back on my feet yesterday.

There's really nothing to throw a home into chaos quicker than having both occupants sick at the same time. It's also unsatisfactory to be sick and seeking sympathy from someone else who's sick; we both tried to give appropriate sympathy to the other, but the weak half-assed amount of sympathy that we could muster was just not enough to satisfy the inner MOMMY, I'M SIIIIIICK child.

Happily, not only are we both back on our feet, but an extended period of time in which we had no fresh food in the house and no energy to cook properly has completed the job that the holidays started: we're both well and truly sick of take-out and meals consisting of mostly meat and starch. We've spent most of the weekend in an orgy of consuming green things and fresh fruit, and cooked so much yesterday that we don't really have to cook again for the rest of the week. (We will anyway. We missed cooking, desperately.)

In the down time, with not a lot of energy to accomplish anything else, I've spent a lot of time considering what I want to do from here out. One of the principle quandries I've had in the past is the question of whether or not I'm capable of dedicating myself to both mental health and weight loss/maintenance. In the past, that answer has been NO, every time. Every time I do the weight loss thing, I get sort of unbalanced. And frankly, I'm up twenty pounds from where I was a year ago, most of which jumped on me when I got depressed and has stayed on as I gingerly work my way into mental health. I'm not really comfortable with the weight and my clothes are not fitting the way they used to. It's annoying.

The thing is, weight loss can't be the reason for exercise and a proper diet, not for me, not right now. I'm going to have to go into this with my mental health as my main priority, and my physical health as a secondary priority, and my appearance a distant third. So whatever I do, I have to do it so that I don't stress out, and I don't beat myself up with it. I'm not going to apply stern rules and standards. I am not going to hate my body, and I'm not going to count on losing weight.

My, this really has turned out to be quite a different approach from where I was when I started this thing, hasn't it?

I had this idea in my mind that there was no way I could ever let myself be comfortable at any weight except The Weight, because then I'd never have the will to keep exercising and eating right, and I would then promptly balloon up to being even fatter than I was before. It's the same theory that makes it so that it's hard for me to accept compliments about how I looked when I was fat; the theory that says if I let myself believe I was okay back then, that I was beautiful to my Hub, then I'd get fat again. I keep examining these notions and discovering that on both the "on" side of dieting and the "off" side, my self-esteem and mental health wasn't a priority. My priority was either losing weight or guiltily enjoying non-diet time. Neither one of those was about keeping myself sane. It was either about indulging and self-comforting myself to the point of emotional coma, or being All About The Diet And The Rules.

I think maybe the difference this time is that the last cycle of fat and fast-- the last five years-- happened while I was slowly working my way into actually becoming mentally healthy. It has been something of growing importance for me, and as I became aware of how my mental health impacted my weight, it became even more important to me, but the thing is, until the point where I came down clinically depressed it wasn't my top priority. My top priority was still my weight. I was not willing to take the chance that I could sabotage my weight-loss success for something as trivial as staying sane and balanced and healthy. I wasn't going to go completely mental for it, but up until the point when it looked like it was going to become an either/or situation, I wasn't willing to risk getting fat again. Thanks to my binge eating, though, it rapidly reached the point where either I dealt with this stuff in my brain, and made my mental health my primary concern, or I was going to end up with a real serious eating disorder of the health-threatening kind. Whether or not I got fat finally, gradually, grudgingly became a secondary concern.

I'm done with therapy, at least for the time being. I've been on Zoloft since September. I've made it through the holidays, and gotten well and truly sick twice in two months. I think all of that has worked together to put me in a place where I'm ready to sort of start over, and so now... I am.

The thing now is to just do this stuff for its own sake. Where cooking is concerned, I'm presently taking more of a Kathleen Daelemans approach: cook good stuff that I really enjoy, and try to limit the portions. The main reasoning here is that, well, it pushes me gently in the correct directions without also pushing me to stress about the results. Her cookbooks, I must say, rule. Big thumbs-up.

Back to basics. Exercise, good food, get some writing done, and maybe find a way to start voice lessons again-- something I haven't had in my life for seven years. Do things that make me happy. Love myself. And if that means that I lose weight, that's okay, and if it keeps me where I am, that's okay, too.


  • I truly think this is one of the sanest, healthiest postings I've ever seen - congratulations!

    By Blogger Denise, at 6:18 PM  

  • What a wonderful post. The last paragraph is particularly great.

    I hope you're well and truly recovered from your flu! It really sucks! My husband and I were like that last winter - on our week off from work!!

    Take care xx

    By Blogger philippa_moore, at 9:20 PM  

  • i like your style! so glad to see ya writing again.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:16 AM  

  • A bit of unsolicited advise from a stranger here. As far as prioritizing your mental and physical health, I would suggest you look at them as equally important and inextricably linked. I see a lot (a lot, a lot, a lot) of my story in yours in that I lost 40 pounds 8 years ago, sometimes struggle with the maintenance, and have been clinically depressed more times than I can count. For me, I have mentally had to learn to deal (all the time) with the stress of physical maintenance. Otherwise, it all goes to hell - I end up overweight and depressed if I let either go. It takes work but you can live with both in the forefront. Of course, your situation might be different, this is just a thought for you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:29 AM  

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