Jump to content

The Road Back


Recommended Posts

It all started about two years ago.


Well, if I'm going to be honest, it started way before then. In middle school, to be exact. Circa...oh, 1990? The struggles with food. Or, really, the struggles with comparisons, identity, rejection. Ultimately the struggle with feeling not enough.


Fast forward way too many years to March 1, 2012, the morning my husband left. And logically, my mind tells me it's because of his own issues, his own demons. But my heart says the same thing I've been hearing for 23 years - you are not enough.


And so I eat to sabotage myself. I exercise to punish myself. And always with me is the guilt. The repeated refrain of "not enough, not enough." I vow to do better next time. To force myself to be more perfect. But it catches up with me again and I find myself in the same cycle.


Since that morning last March, there hasn't been a day I haven't wrestled with myself over food. Not an hour has gone by that I haven't spent at least one minute thinking about food or feeling guilty about what I ate or making empty promises to myself. During high times when I think I might have it slightly together, it is still there in my mind - not quite enough. And during low times like last week when I lost my job and went through a painful breakup, it is a constant soundtrack - not enough, not enough, not enough.


I am tired, ready for a change, looking for the road back to freedom. And I have a daughter now who's five and constantly watching me. I want to save her from the fight I've fought for all these years. And that starts with living a life of freedom myself.


I found It Starts With Food on the Kindle website and read it in one sitting. It makes sense to me and I've dabbled in the Paleo lifestyle before and had great results when I stick with it. But it's more than that. It's about changing my deep-seated habits and my relationship with food. My relationship with myself. It's about taking care of myself for my daughter's sake and my own. Stopping the thoughts of being not enough and replacing them with the realization - the hope - that maybe I am enough right now, this moment.


So I start tomorrow and my goals are simple...


1. Take care of myself by getting 7 hours of sleep and by spending at least 15 minutes a night doing something that I love.

2. Instead of arguing with myself about food during meals, I will sit at the table and look into my daughter's eyes and listen to her precious little voice.

3. I will be brave enough to share my ups and downs, my fears, my fights during this process. I've kept it in the dark, trying to seem perfect, for way too long. It's time to admit that even though I'm not perfect, I already am the perfect version of me.


Here's to a new day. To the road back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish I could give you a great, big, totally-non-creepy internet hug!  Best wishes for you, your journey, and your daughter!!!  



Also, if you don't know of it already, you might check out Glennon Melton's blog, Momastery,  It has nothing to do with Paleo, but it has a lot to do with (im)perfection.  (Some might call her a Christian blogger, so her style might or might not appeal, but she is definitely on the inclusive/tolerant side of the spectrum, more so than some of her followers would like.)  


And further, if you don't already know the work of Brene Brown (PhD, LMSW), I would definitely check her out, particularly the book The Gifts of Imperfection.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day One:


Minutes spent laying on the floor, waiting for death to take me because I couldn't eat a chocolate fudge brownie covered in buttercream frosting: 10.


Number of doughnut glaze kisses from my daughter that were even better than actually eating the doughnut: 7.


Breasts of free-range, organic, grass fed, blah, blah, blah chicken: 3.


Cups of vegetables: let's just say enough to make sure everything was cleared out of the nether regions. Multiple times.


Calls from the ex: 2.


Emotional breakdowns due to aforementioned calls and aforementioned non-eating of buttercream frosted chocolate fudge brownie: 2.


Emergency Starbucks meeting with best friend: 1.


Refusal of generous offer for Starbucks cake pop: 1. (Can I get a holla! on this one?!)


Interviews for new job: 1.


Overall I will chalk this day up in the victory column. Thanks forum friends for the kind comments, suggestions and support! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day Two:


A huge blessing in this sudden unemployedness (jobfreery? non-workingtime? employment unexistance?) is lots of time to spend with my daughter. Today we visited the zoo. It was a gorgeous day and there were all kinds of animals to see but of course she wanted to head straight for the rickety old roller coaster. My stomach immediately tensed up because I'm all about being in control and this godforsaken deathtrap is completely out of control. But we do anything for our kids and so I paid the price in more ways than one and slid into the back seat (which I might mention had no seat belt). 


Now anyone who knows anything about roller coasters knows that the very front and the way back seats are not good places for a phobic control freak (read **me**) to sit. But I did it under the advisement of my five-year-old. And I wanted to put on a brave face for her which I think I pulled off fairly well until we took that first hill and I screamed like...well...like a five-year-old girl. 


I took a breath from the crazy screaming and glanced over to see how my daughter was handling the hellish ride. And what do I see but my precious girl with a big smile on her face, arms thrown high in the air - the picture of complete happiness and wild abandon. I thought to myself, Andy, what are you doing wasting your life trying to fit everything into neat little boxes and missing out on the joy of just letting go? 


So I risked my life riding that coaster two more times today. And I'd like to think that I screamed less and loosened my grip a little more each time. Turns out the things I fear most can actually bring the greatest joy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Days Three and Four:


It's been a hard couple days of cancelled interviews, tough conversations and being just generally critical of myself. I wonder am I cut out for this parenting thing (much less the single parenting thing which is a whole different ball game)? I mean, really, when my five-year-old asked me how ants make babies, the best I could come up with is it only happens when ants love each other and are married in a church. Didn't consider that I would then have to explain where ants go to church. But I digress.


So I woke up this morning feeling sorry for myself. Physically, I'm not feeling great yet. (Tiger blood?! How about turtle blood?) Being jobless isn't great for the self-esteem, either. And with my daughter at her dad's, the house was quiet and I was lonely. Cue sappy Celine Dion song and wailing sobs.


Stopped at a red light on the way to pick up my daughter, I looked to my right and saw a woman and her little boy sitting at a bus stop. She was wearing a McDonald's uniform and no wedding ring. Now, I don't know this woman's story but the first thought that came to mind was that I have a good life. A great life. Sure, I may not have a job but I have a car. And a home. And family and friends who would literally sell all they have to help me.


It's trite but it's true so I'll go ahead and say it. Gratitude is a great antidote for self-pity. On that note, a few things I'm thankful for today...


1. Crazy dancing to Reel to Real's I Like to Move It Move It with my girl.

2. Avocado. And toasted coconut flakes with cinnamon.

3. A comfy pair of yoga pants.

4. Indoor plumbing.

5. The surprise $10 bill in the bottom of my bottomless purse.

6. My snooze button.

7. Red OPI nail polish called I'm Not Really a Waitress. (What's not to love about that name?!)

8. Five-year-old hug attacks.

9. Sleeping diagonally across the bed just because I can. And...

10. Please oh please oh please tiger blood when I wake up tomorrow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOLOL...I love the line about where do ants go to church. My first thought? "Ant Michael's!"

Anyway, you are doing so well and I love reading your log. You have a true gift for writing and conveying your struggle.

You are not alone. Many of us struggle with that "not good enough" demon...it's best friends with the sugar demon in my brain.

Thank God we have each other.

Keep on...I look forward to reading more. I never thought I could do this...I tried and...what did someone call it? Oh, LEARNED. Countless times in the last year. Now I'm on Day 27. As far as I'm concerned, it's a dang miracle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing your journey. You are an incredible writer. Inspiring, really!

I'm on day 80-something. I found that it got easier. Sometimes a new tricky bit would show up - but I felt more in control as I went along. And to me that is the biggest gift in this process - knowing that I am in control of what goes in my mouth.

Happy eating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This goes back a bit, but here is a HOLLA for turning down that Starbucks cake pop!


I love reading what you write: you express yourself beautifully and with such emotional clarity.  Your turn to gratitude is inspiring, and I hope you are able to dig deep and find that gratitude whenever you need to in your journey!  :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all your sweet comments! 


Joload30 - I got the coconut recipe from Well Fed. Heat a non-stick skillet over med-high heat (I go with medium because I'm not great at paying attention and have burned a few batches). After about 2 minutes, add 1 cup of straight up unsweetened coconut flakes (the only place I can find these is at Whole Foods or online at Amazon.com). Spread them evenly around in the pan and stir constantly (!!) to avoid the burning I just mentioned. It should take about 3 minutes to get them toasted. Mix with 1/4 t. salt and 1/4 t. cinnamon. Be sure to do this in a bowl and not in a Ziploc bag as the hot coconut flakes will burn right through the bag. Obviously I'm not the sharpest knife in the kitchen. 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 7:


Well. It's over. The first week is done. In honor of that, let's grieve a bit, shall we?


A few things I missed this week...

1. Massive size chocolate chip cookie filled with chocolate fudge that's hidden in the most obscure place in the Kroger frozen foods section. But I discovered it. Actually, I think it called to me. With the sound of trumpets and harps and angels singing in the background. And boy was it calling me this week. 

2. The scale. It's a love-hate relationship that I share with my scale. Most of you can probably relate to that. It was so hard not to weigh myself. And I will admit to evaluating...well...obsessing in front of the mirror a teeny tiny bit. Is my butt maybe a little perkier? My least favorite place on my thigh - is it like 1/8" smaller? And my boobs - did they shrink?! Oh crap. I think they shrunk...

3. My old, slightly, um, fluffier boobs.

4. The comfort of old habits. This was a rough week emotionally and often it was a physical fight not to turn to the chocolate fudge filled cookie or even that extra piece of fruit when I was feeling inadequate and at a loss. And boy did it suck to just sit there with the pain instead of covering it up. To be honest, I'm not to the point of loving the pain-sitting yet. Just not my idea of a good time.

5. Tall, skinny Caramel Macchiato with a cheesecake brownie and a side of guilt. (Not so much missing the guilt.)


Ok. Now let's dig down deep and find the up side to this week.

1. Avocado. And olive oil. And the lovely feeling of actually being full after a meal. For like four hours!

2. Those extra two hours of sleep. Oh, back of my eyelids, how I've missed you!

3. Really, uh, smooth sailing in the bathroom department.

4. Never thought I'd say this and please don't tell my mom because she'll be all I-told-you-so...but I've actually enjoyed cooking. Nothing like sitting down to a good meal (on the third try but, hey, who's counting) you made yourself.

5. Knowing that there are other people out there who are like me - trying to make better choices for themselves and the people they love, sometimes failing but always fighting.


So. New goals for this week now that I've got seven days under my belt. (And I promise this is my last list. For today. Total list addict obviously.)

1. Focus less on judging myself by my boob/butt/thigh size and do more heart checking, more what I'm thankful for lists (lists!! love it!!) and more just going easy on myself.

2. This is a really hard one and I so don't want to type it but...no fruit this week. In all honesty, I've been using it as a last resort to avoid anything I don't want to face. Pathetic, I know, but there it is. And now it's set in Whole30 Log stone and there's no going back.


Pretty sure number two is going to give me a run for my money so we'll leave it at that. Here's to another (easier?) seven days and maybe a little tiger blood. Or at least some cute baby kitten blood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

How is your progress? Missed your updates.

I am on day 16. Feeling ok, wanting chocolate or something sweet. Resorted in taking toothbrush into work to clean teeth when I feel the urge as generally I just need a beer taste in my mouth.

Hope you are well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...