Reflection on 2017: Relationship with food and body

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I started my umpteenth weight loss journey at the start of the year. I was near 160 pounds @ 5'5"- 10 pounds higher than my highest weight, ever. The difference between this journey and others is that I came to realize over the course of it that my problem wasn't food, it was the THING that caused me to run to food. Food addiction was the result of a bigger issue; I'm sure most of you can relate. This THING was that I was completely dependent on food to regulate my emotions. When I was happy, stressed, sad, or bored, I ate. Even when I wasn't binge eating sugared treats, I was overeating even healthy food. I was addicted to eating itself. Last fall was the most stressful semester of my college career and the bulk of my weight and dysfunction with food manifested worse than ever. Lattes, donuts, cake, candy day after day after day. I was out of control, y'all. And I didn't know how to stop. I didn't know how to manage my stress and anxiety and the emotions and thoughts that caused them.

So, 2017 has been the year of struggle, but in the best way. I have VERY SLOWLY and with lots of bumps changed my relationship with food and body. I'm hesitant to use the phrase "body positivity" or "body image" in my discussion bc they are so overused and I have observed, often, their conceptual misuse to encourage body abuse in culture. But, as I educated myself on nutrition, WHICH TOOK MONTHS to build even an elementary understanding of the human body's nutritional needs and how deficiencies affect the body, how I looked at my own body changed. Even while I was unhappy with its shape. I won't post photos bc I'm a modest person and most my photos show more skin than I'm comfortable sharing. But, I found some photos this morning and the change from January to now is DRASTIC. It's made me appreciate the work I have done so far even though I can be impatient, now, to get to the fit physique I'm working toward. I'm really learning to enjoy the journey and I've noticed that bad habits are fading out as I become stronger in saying NO to them and YES to the good. My strategy for doing this is that I focus, daily, on getting in all my nutrition, and as my nutrition usually fills in my caloric needs (yes, I loosely count calories and it's been a beneficial tool for me. Especially as an overeater who started with no concept of proper portion size), there's no room for the bad stuff. Over time, my taste for the bad (that tastes so good) has lessened. My personal goal is to be refined-sugar free, eventually. But, for now, when I have days like yesterday when I eat a slice of cheesecake and a series of oatmeal raisin cookies, I don't panic or lose sleep or try to think of ways to punish myself like I usually would. I tell myself it's okay and to just keep going. Keep training my body. Keep training my mind. And keep focusing on giving my mind and body what it needs to be its best.

I'm not going to lie and say I look good at any size or weight and that I look as amazing overweight as I do now. I don't. I'm not going to lie and say my fitness goals are all about health or strength bc they aren't. I don't look good at any weight or size and looking good is a big motivator for me. However, if it were my only focus, there's no way I'd be where I am now MENTALLY or physically bc I'd have given in to my emotions for good, once again. It starts with honesty; it starts with acceptance of my current self as both worthy of care and validity - I had to look at my body and say, "Yikes - I don't like this. But, you are smart and funny and your life has value, both to you and the people in your life"; it starts with acknowledging the damage that has been done and why; it starts with telling yourself "It WILL be hard; you WILL stumble and regress some days or weeks"; it starts with acknowledging that true change takes time and consistency - especially when training the mind.

Anyway, wanted to share this bc it was on my heart and I've come to hold a deep fondness for this community. Not to mention, I had some mental struggles this morning that I've been working to overcome and sending this to y'all has been therapeutic and motivating.

Here's to an AWESOME Monday.