Facing fears and finding me…

Part of truly being yourself is owning your story. Today, I’m owning a pretty big part of mine…

I did something today that absolutely T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D me, something I have avoided- successfully or not, depending upon how you look at it- for years. My heart is still pounding a bit, but thanks to one-click shopping at Amazon.com I didn’t have time to stop and think before I tossed it into my virtual cart. Boom, it was done. No going back. I had to face this once and for all.

Anti-climactic, I know, but the big, scary thing I did was order a digital scale, something I haven’t owned for years. For many people, hopping on the scale is not a big deal, but, as a person that has battled an eating disorder for a good share of my 40 plus years, the thought of owning and stepping on a scale is absolutely terrifying. This scale, for me, represents the fact that I have kicked my disorders in the ass once and for all. This scale represents the fact that I am ready to honestly and openly tackle my weight issues. I couldn’t be more scared and excited at the same time. Correction, I couldn’t be more absolutely terrified…

My descent into the world of eating disorders started around junior high. Bulimia, coupled with an exercise compulsion, was the eating-disorder-drug-of-choice for me.  I also had my days that I didn’t eat at all but those days were always followed by giant binges, hours upon hours of exercise, and usually ended with me hovering over the toilet puking my guts out. For me it was about control- one of the few things I could control at that time in my life- and of course, the weight loss. Thus the ride began, a ride that I’d be on for years.

The very worst of the binging, purging, and exercising lasted until high school then it tapered off a bit, rearing it’s ugly head time and time again when my life spun out of control. I finally kicked the purging in my 20’s, I didn’t want my kids to have a mother that was so messed up. I quit puking cold turkey and considered my battle done. Boy, was I wrong.

A funny thing happened  after the purging stopped, the binging got worse. The weight crept on and before I knew it the scale topped 200 pounds. That’s when I stopped getting on. To actually own up to that number makes me cringe. In my head I wasn’t an obese person, but photos told otherwise. The person I saw in the mirror wasn’t me.

A few years into my weight gain, with the encouragement and support of my best friend, I joined Weight Watchers. I had to get on a scale every week. The shock of my starting weight still haunts me but the shock factor must have worked. The pounds dropped off. I looked and felt like ME for the first time in years.

The weight stayed off until my early 30’s when I returned to a desk job, quit smoking, and got lazy. I don’t remember gaining weight or buying bigger pants, it seemed to just sort of happen. Before I knew it, I was in a size 18 and back to where I began years earlier. This time around though, I somehow developed a huge fear of owning and getting on a scale. I wonder if there is a name for that? Scalaphobia maybe?

The last time I weighed myself was probably in 2003 and it wasn’t pretty. The scale, an object that I had obsessed over incessantly when I was in the grips of my eating disorder, had once again become an obsession for me. I had suddenly become obsessed with never getting on one. Weight is so much easier to ignore if it doesn’t have a number. It doesn’t have a number if you never step foot on a scale.

Over the years, I have rationalized this avoidance of the scale by blaming my eating disorder itself. Crazy isn’t it? Self-talk is powerful. I justified my not owning a scale by somehow convincing myself that I could easily slip back into the grips of  my disorder if I were to resume getting on one. That excuse worked for me for years… until today that is.

It suddenly struck me (more like a giant thump to the forehead) that I am a very emotionally healthy, well-rounded (no pun intended) adult. I have accomplished so many things in my life yet my weight issues are always front and center in my mind. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it. It’s time to put on my big girl panties (once again, no pun intended) and face it once and for all. I am so excited to face my fear and find ME again after all these years.

I know that ordering the scale is just the first step in the long process of dropping the weight and sustaining it- but, it’s a step, no it’s a leap, and a HUGE one at that. I know I still have to get on the darn thing. I know that I still have to make big changes but somehow I know that it will all fall into place. Things are so much easier when you just suck it up and face your fears. There’s no going back now…


Thanks for the great advice Liz!

Liz was definitely onto something when she made that statement. A good slick of lipstick always brightens my mood. A little drink on top of that when life begins to unravel? Well, that would just be the icing on the cake. If only it were that simple, right?

All kidding aside, some days, we take every day life WAY too seriously. We make mountains out of molehills and drama takes center stage in our lives. We react instead of act. We freak out instead of letting it go. When we behave like drama kings and queens we lose sight of the things that should really matter in our lives. When we continually focus on the negative, we stop being thankful.  What if we decided to stop making mountains and climb one instead?

Last week, when my car had a major breakdown, I made a choice to NOT freak out and I must say, I’m pretty proud of myself for making that choice.

My youngest kids were driving to Iowa and were 2 1/2 hours away from home when the car died. It happened on a Monday, one of the busiest days of the week for me. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s personal growth, or maybe it’s something entirely different, but, I didn’t freak out. No drama here. Flipping out would have gotten me nowhere. A few years ago, I probably would have had a little meltdown or more likely a  major one. Instead, all I could think of was how thankful I was.

I was thankful that my kids were safe, thankful that I have a coworker that is awesome and goes with the flow, thankful I have a job with flexibility, thankful we had access to a trailer to retrieve my car, thankful my oldest is so incredibly smart and mechanically inclined, thankful that I got to spend unexpected time with my kids, thankful my parents live close and are so gracious with their extra vehicles, thankful we are able to get the car fixed… even though it was a major bummer,  I kept it together. No lipstick (or drink) required!

Everyday we have the opportunity to choose whether we react, freak out, focus on the negative, and let drama take over. Or, we can choose to stay in control, act responsibly, and focus on the positive. We can choose to be thankful for what do have and to be thankful for what is going right in our lives. Things work out so much better when we don’t make that molehill into a mountain.

Unfortunately though, life can be incredibly tough sometimes. We all have have our bad days. And you know what? That’s okay. We are all entitled to an occasional tantrum- OCCASIONAL being the key word here.

Imagine for a moment if we all chose to follow old Liz’s advice and just simply pulled ourselves together every time we faced adversity in our lives. What a crazy, happy, colorful, intoxicated world it would be! Thanks Liz for your words of wisdom. If it were only that simple, right?

P.S. Here’s my disclaimer! I personally do not advocate for ‘taking a drink’ when times get bad, especially if you are a person with an alcohol addiction. However, this quote by Elizabeth Taylor was too good to pass up. 

Plus, if truth be told, I can totally envision myself cracking a cold one, putting on the lip gloss (and big sunglasses of course) and literally “pulling myself together.”

Some days all a girl needs is good gloss and big sunglasses to get through a tough day. A drink would just be icing on the cake!