Weighty Matters

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Pain Turns to Medicine

Fair warning, friends.  I will probably cite from Anne LaMott’s amazing book Small Victories often in coming days.  Her insights are sparkle like gems, resonate like soul-filling music in the best concert hall, and open my eyes and my mind to new viewpoints.  The book reveals what she calls “small moments of grace”.  For me, it’s uncovering small moments of understanding.  If these understandings lead to grace, so much the better.

Earlier this evening, I read a passage that, forgive the cliche, spoke to me.  I won’t retype the whole thing, but my small moment began when she shared a quote from Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet.  The quote reads, “Through love all pain will turn to medicine”.  LaMott says that the pain and failures she experienced slowly restored her to the person she was born to be.

She talks about experiencing the eating cycle of binging then dieting, binging then dieting, binging then dieting and never felt full without being stuffed.  Gradually, through school and life experiences, she began to,” … learn the secrets of life: that you could become the woman you’d dared to dream of being but to do so you were going to have to fall in love with your own crazy, ruined self.”

Later she shares that she had to accept that life was not going to be filling if she tried to become somebody else’s idea of who she should be. and when she got to that point she no longer needed to stuff herself “to the gills”.

Nothing was going to fill her except love and what I interpret from her description as self-acceptance, self-nurturing, self-care.

This is all such powerful stuff for me.  Now I’m not going to sit here and say that I hate myself.  That isn’t true.  However, I don’t always treat myself with the love that I deserve, the love that I would show to others.

Going back to Rumi, I feel like his quote means that the negative of pain cannot withstand the positive power of self-love.  When we let in the love, we transform the other emotions into something nurturing and healing.  The pain becomes medicine which treats the negative conditions so that they heal.  The emptiness is filled and we no longer need to plug the hollowness with food.

Day Four is winding to a close.  I’ve had another good day food-wise.  It wasn’t always easy today as I dealt with some circumstances that were unpleasant and upsetting.  However, I prevailed and didn’t seek to reduce the effects by stuffing in food.

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Home From the Holidays

I arrived back home in the Florida Keys about an hour ago at 8 p.m. after a full day of travel from Pennsylvania which was prefaced by a crappy night’s sleep.  Although that trip was smooth with no delays, I am exhausted.  For the life of me, I do not know how I handled traveling when I was 386 pounds.  The sheer effort of slogging between parking garages, terminals and concourses is enough to make anyone want to collapse for a nap on their luggage or, better yet, crib a ride on one of those rented luggage carts.

Complaining aside, I loved spending time with my family and friends.  I always try to drive around and see as many people as possible, yet even with my best effort and planning, I never managed to see everyone.

My weird ailment on Friday eased up on Saturday in that I no longer needed to throw up every few hours.  I continue to have some lingering discomfort in other, shall we say “tuneful”, ways but I’m sure that too will pass.  (Hah, what a horrible, unintended pun. *snicker*)  I don’t have much appetite, which is not a bad thing as, prior to my illness, I was eating too much of too many things that I don’t normally consume — or at least don’t normally consume in meals so close together.  This eating pattern very likely contributed to the gastric issues.

This leads me to looking ahead.  As you all know, because I keep talking about it, I’m recommitting to my recovery plan.  For the longest time, I’ve been thinking about this in terms of finally, finally, finally, losing the remaining pounds that I want to shed.  The third year anniversary of my weight loss surgery is approaching.  While I cannot lose the weight by that date, I truly am determined.

However, in recent days, my approach to achieving the ultimate goal has shifted.  That is because the ultimate goal itself has changed.  I owe it all to Anne Lamott.  If you have not seen this post, about what she refers to as the Anti-Diet, I urge you to read it.  It provided an “aha” moment, the likes of which I have not experienced in quite some time.  If you aren’t on Facebook, don’t worry.  She must have her profile set to public.  You can read it without signing in to FB.

So many things she says in her post hugged my heart.  This anti-diet idea is about treating ourselves with love, gentle acceptance, more love, and self-care. It’s about doing for ourselves what we would do for others; preparing and serving ourselves food in meals that we would offer an honored, loved guest.  It’s also about not letting our clothes and how we fit in them define our self-esteem.

If you were coming to my house for dinner, I would not feed you unhealthy crap.  I would take the time to select fine quality, fresh ingredients and cook you a delicious, balanced, nutritious meal that you would, hopefully, love.

Sitting across from you at the table, I would eat the same tasty, healthy meal, savoring each bite instead of mindlessly shoveling it into my mouth.

Food is not love.  Eating nutritious, balanced meals in a healthy manner is, however, a way to practice good self-care, to treat myself with love, respect, honor and kindness.   By keeping this in mind with my food choices, I will support my recovery in a number of ways.  With the commitment to my physical exercise for health and good eating, I know that, ultimately, weight will come off.  However, the bar for health will be in the way that I treat myself, not the numbers on the scale or the way my clothes fit.

Before I left the mainland on the drive home this afternoon, I stopped at a well-known produce stand.  I bought fresh fruits and veggies that delighted me with their quality and bright colors.  Kale, romaine, green beans, spaghetti squash, pineapple, Florida strawberries and a mamey sapote.  In deference to my slightly shaky system, I augmented this freshness with some soups from the supermarket.  The intention is to eat lighter than usual over the next several days to see how my body reacts.

Most of all, now that I’m once more home from the holidays, I’m going to commit to not dieting, but to nourishing myself – body, heart and soul.

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