It's Throwback Thursday...
It wasn't really that long ago. I hated pictures as much as I hated mirrors. Actually, I hated pictures even more. At least I could avoid mirrors and reflections. Pictures simply show it, the fake-half smile, the general look of misery--the uncomfortable moments when someone pulls out the camera and here we go again, more photos I hope I never see.
My perspective has changed. I can look at this photo and see beyond the physical. The core elements of who I am existed in that physical version of me the same as they do today at 230 pounds. But I was miserable at that weight, not just because of the obvious physical limitations. I was also miserable from the constant self-hatred, the always holding myself down and the ignoring of the good in exchange for a constant self-loathing. I don't want to go back, ever. And I don't exclusively mean physically. I don't want to ever go back to that way of treating myself in such a constantly negative way.
For me, taking care each day means far more than minding a calorie budget, exercising and abstaining from sugar. It also means making a conscious effort to feel good about me, as a person. This kindness we extend to ourselves is needed regardless of our weight. We can lose incredible amounts of weight and still not like ourselves. Treating ourselves with self-loathing and contempt and wondering why the weight loss didn't magically fix that, too, is a very common thing. I've been there, my friend.
My worth, your worth--it isn't something determined by the size we see in pictures. Our worth is determined by all the unseen things in our hearts and minds. Just as I challenge myself each day to find and nourish the constant, inherent good, I challenge you to do the same.
Every now and then I like to go back into the archives and read what was happening exactly one year prior. What was I writing about one year ago today? Here's an extended excerpt from July 16th, 2014:
I really feel like I'm into a solid groove these days. I've found a balance. I've had more than 80 days without eating straight sugar, I've written eighty-four consecutive daily blog posts, I'm approaching 100 days binge free, I've exercised regularly and I'm eating better than I have in my entire life. I must pause occasionally and express incredible gratitude for this dramatic turnaround. I say a prayer every day that this balance maintains and everyday it feels like it's here forever. Yet, I know better than to ever settle or relax my stance with an attitude of "I got this."
I was in a very dark place with all of this not too long before and on more than one occasion entertained the thought that I should possibly just let it all go. The weight, my health, my hopes and dreams--all of it, just let it go. I gave it serious thought. Delete the blog, get off Facebook and convince Amazon and every other book seller to stop selling my book. I was losing the fight and about to throw in the towel...but I couldn't do it. I kept getting messages from people, some just discovering my book and/or blog--and the messages were overwhelmingly positive about how my story was helping them with theirs. When an in-patient food addiction treatment center replied to my inquiry about rates and a possible stay, I grew even more depressed. It was going to cost $14,000 for a 30 day stay. I couldn't afford it, but I couldn't afford to stay out of control, unless I was willing to let it all go.
People would still love me, my kids, my mom--family and friends, they would hurt for me, but their love and support would never go away. Perhaps I wanted too much, to be free? Maybe living at a healthy weight wasn't meant to be? Simply not caring would possibly be easier, I thought, but I was wrong. Not caring would be easier in the day to day actions but impossible for me to accept in the bigger picture.
What was most damaging to my psyche was the misalignment between my actions and the public persona I felt I needed to maintain during my deepest and darkest struggles. I wouldn't allow myself a shred of self-compassion over this, brutalizing myself constantly with negative thoughts and actions. Through it all, surprisingly, I never lost the ability to genuinely encourage, support and give fantastic advice to others, but at the same time, finding my balance personally felt a million miles away.
To be where I am today is miraculous to me. It's been a very quick turnaround complete with epiphanies that will forever affect my life in positive ways. My hopes and dreams are alive and well. I'm comfortably on my way back to my healthiest weight. And most importantly, I've learned valuable lessons I needed to experience in order to live my best life, for the rest of my life. I'm still learning. Had I never faced the struggle of the regain and all of the emotions and negative energy in that direction, I wouldn't have felt as prepared as I feel I am today.
I didn't give up. I almost did. But I didn't. I could have closed the curtain on that deal a long time ago, but I was constantly being shown the light peeking through, calling me toward it. I have so many blessings to be thankful for these days. There's always light. Even on the darkest day the sun is shining on the other side.
There's a lot of hope to be harvested.
Today was good. I took care. I made sure to get a nap. I took some time to catch up on the incredible comments over the last few days (thank you for the incredible support!) And I prepared three good meals, too.
I celebrated my love for the creative arts by acting in a play. It was opening night. I had opening night jitters and my performance wasn't bad, but could have been better. I'm looking forward for my chance to hit a nice groove in the next four performances of this very limited run of Dog Sees God: Confessions of A Teenage Blockhead. I wish you could see it. It's a great play.
I did some light body strength exercises prior to the start of tonight's performance. I'm loving being a part of this production, and I'm not trying to rush it--but I am looking forward to getting back into a more consistent exercise schedule and more specifically, a more aggressive strength training routine. I did some reading this afternoon about body weight strength training and the difference that is possible in a very short amount of time. It truly has me excited about my physical fitness.
A reader known simply as "M." offered this on last night's weigh day post: "...goal is a weight and maintenance is a range."
Very true. Excellent perspective.
My Tweets Today:
Dark roast with half and half (2 tblspns) and hazelnut extract. X2 cups= 80 cal. pic.twitter.com/ycxXzaHYqC— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) July 16, 2015
Avocado omelet w/3 egg whites & 1 whole egg, 81g avocado, 198g fresh peach, 153g strawberries. 377 cal. pic.twitter.com/AV62eNnkFY— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) July 16, 2015
FF/SF Bean (130g) & Muenster (2slices) tostadas w/lettuce, salsa & light sour cream (15g). Cantaloupe (268g). 436 cal pic.twitter.com/Lmuiys8JMu— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) July 16, 2015
Afternoon cup of dark roast with two tablespoons half and half & a sprinkle of cinnamon. One now, one a later. 86 cal pic.twitter.com/GkcGKUHKD6— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) July 16, 2015
Veggies in the pan... pic.twitter.com/GEwjTNOSDu— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) July 16, 2015
Sirloin steak (5.5oz), sweet potato (165g), squash, red onion & mushrooms w/O.O.spray (3sec) & pear (6.6oz). 563 cal. pic.twitter.com/fmROugnThQ— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) July 16, 2015
4 cups water over the next few hours. #watertracking #wateraccountability pic.twitter.com/ea3UIEBpYu— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) July 17, 2015
Props set. Fake roll, fake milk, real almonds (21g) & real approx. 5oz banana. Will be consumed during play. 205 cal. pic.twitter.com/Mi89RBPWhz— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) July 17, 2015
Curtain on opening night in 40 minutes! #slightlynervous— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) July 17, 2015
Having this as my #lastfoodofday Relaxing cup of dark roast w/2 tblspns half and half & cinnamon. 46 cal. pic.twitter.com/qnkvm94zzx— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) July 17, 2015
Thank you for reading and your continued support,