What I Really Did

Hardly a day goes by that I don't receive the comment (either in person or, more often, via messages on this blog) of how amazing it is that I "beat the odds" and lost (and have kept off) the weight. Now, don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful compliment and I'm definitely so grateful for the lightness and freedom that I feel each day that is a result of shedding this excess weight. However, my biggest accomplishment is not changing how I looked on the outside but, rather, changing so many toxic things that were at the core of who I was.

We can approach this from a spiritual, new age angle and say that I changed my thoughts and, therefore, changed my reality. Or we can take the clinical approach and say that I implemented behavioral modifications that resulted in a more positive outcome. Either way, I changed so much about myself that I can hardly recognize who I used to be, so much so that it seems so unreal to me now that I was able to live that way for so long.
After years of feeling a way that I can only explain as...."blah", I began to feel weary. The food that had once been used for celebration, comfort, etc. had now turned against me and made my body almost too large to function. It didn't really even taste good anymore, especially when I knew how it would almost instantly make me feel once the taste was gone. The drone of the t.v. no longer soothed me...it actually began to prickle the little hairs on the back of my neck (it often still does). Avoiding housework and other life things that just sat undone all around me no longer gave me a sense of freedom and relaxation. In fact, it began to leave a permanent knot in my stomach and drain me of the little energy that I was even able to wake up with in those days.
And, then, there sat this new helpless little person who looked to me for everything. What did I have left to give to him? Not much. I barely had anything within me to begin with. That is probably what finally pushed me over the edge and forced me to decide if I wanted to continue to "get by", spread myself a little thinner with my new title as "mommy" and just make the best of it or if I wanted, instead, to grab my life by the throat and choke the shit out of it!!

And that is exactly what I did.
When I left my house, my 12 year marriage and career that I had worked so hard for (because of my lust for money) in 2009, I would love to say that I walked out with my head held high, hell bent on making a new, better life for myself and never looked back. The truth is, I was broken. I collapsed into my parents' house a messy heap of a person...barely a person. Years of numbing myself had taken it's toll. Who was I? I knew what I DIDN'T want anymore but what did I want now?

The only thing I knew for sure is that I didn't want to feel this empty and miserable anymore. Something else I knew I wanted was....a boyfriend. In retrospect, my priorities were most definitely screwed up but, all I knew, after years of a passionless marriage, I was starved for it. And, it turns out, when you have low self-esteem and are desperate for a man that you don't always wind up making the best decisions. Who knew?!

I won't rehash, once again, the lows I went to in my pursuit of a man who didn't want me. I will, instead, talk about my ascent out of that low place and into the light. Because, just like my weight, my willingness to lower my expectations of what I needed and deserved, and to make myself look like a crazy love-starved fool to get it, was symptomatic of my tendency to focus on external things for happiness instead of looking for it between my own two ears.

We all have that hole that needs to be filled. Some people fill it with food, some with drugs, some with video games, others with sex. The slightly more sensible ones fill it with work, their children or religion. I filled mine with the easiest, best feeling things, whatever that happened to be at the moment. Once I stopped focusing on those various things and turned my focus inward, my life changed forever.

I've spent hours upon hours of writing blog posts that can best outline and explain the changes I made that led to my better, happier, healthier, more complete and amazing existence but I feel they all fall short. If I could sum up the catalyst for all these changes and the vehicle that helped drive them in one sentence I guess it would be "I remembered myself." Each and every time I felt weak and powerless, I began to recognize that there was one common thread, I was focusing on something external. This empty, exhausting feeling would vanish almost instantly as soon as I consciously turned the focus back onto myself.

One of the ways that I began to find a more lasting good feeling is in a way that I have repeated over and over again in many other posts, although I am sure it is not the glamorous, fun solution some people might want to hear about. Exercise. It became my thing I did for me. After a lifetime of finding new and creative ways to avoid moving, I was going out of my way to make it happen. I began to realize that anytime I thought about how I could improve my health through exercise and nutrition, I began to feel energetic, inspired and focused. It became how I dealt with feeling out of control.

The times that I suspected Mr. Not-Right-For-Me was cheating on me or when he added another bullet point to the ever-growing "Things That Are Wrong With You" list I would, of course, start by feeling helpless, hurt and/or angry. Then I would feel something else. Determination. I would turn that pain and lack of control into something amazing and I would propel myself toward my next fitness level. I started to become addicted to this feeling of control and started to use it whenever I felt out of control in ANY situation in life. Then I started to progressively realize that I felt empowered any time I could control ANY aspect of my life. Where I once would let laundry pile up for weeks, I began to feel addicted to the feeling of sliding the last drawer closed after putting away freshly laundered clothes. I craved a clear, clean space and am now acutely aware of how an unmade bed drains my energy and makes me unfocused.

I no longer go through the motions while living a numb, half existence. My heart is in this! I am living with purpose and meaning. Passion for life is a sustainable passion that can not be taken away by an external source.
Now, a couple years since I left my old life so directionless and out of control, I know who I am, what I love and what fills my empty spot. When I nourish my body with food and exercise, my mind with constant growth and my soul with self-love and freely giving of my self and my love to others, I feel so completely full. It is a fullness that all that food and all those poor choices in life never afforded me. It is a fullness in the depth of my soul and my cup runneth over.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tammi, I can relate to everything you said. Its like you have written my life in your words. The only difference is that I was fit once and used to love myself. But a long, exhausting relation made me feel bad about myself and I let it go. I gave someone else the power to control myself and this started to fill the gap with food. And we all know what depression and un-happiness does to our body. Like its said, obesity is not a problem, its a solution our body develops for some other problem. I have to lose 30 pounds and I have just started Insanity workout with healthy diet. wish me luck. Please read my day to day experiences at http://lose-fat-not-mind.blogspot.in/