“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” – Chinese Proverb
One day, just over a year after giving birth to my daughter, I realized that I was becoming my mother. Fat. Unhappy. Miserable. I had given up.
Sitting in the bathroom, crying, I realized I had two choices: Continue down this path and lose whatever last vestige of me that remained or change things now.
I did not want to spend the rest of my life suffering like this. It was not worth living in such a miserable shell. I still marvel at that moment when I decided that I was done. What made that point so much more powerful than all of the other times in my life when I had looked in the mirror and cringed at the unhappy stranger I saw staring back at me? I don’t know.
But I dropped everything and changed into baggy running shorts and a T shirt and “ran” five miles. I use the term ran loosely. Very loosely.
In the evenings I would cram one of my kids into a jogging stroller after dinner and run/walk in the park while listening to angry music as the sun went down. I started using an app to count my calories every single dang day. I got my hair and nails done.
And then I bought a new outfit. Not because I had lost a crap load of weight. I bought it because I decided that I deserved it. I had purposefully not bought any new clothes after the pregnancy, telling myself I didn’t deserve it until I lost the baby weight. Never mind the fact that the clothes I did have didn’t fit right and it all looked terribly frumpy on me. Never mind the fact that I was a professional who worked long hours every day and was up all hours of the night with two kids and a pager. I just hid my hips and thighs behind my white coat and a plastic smile.
Now, I have lost weight. I feel better. I look better. I have my life back! And I did not use medication to get there, which is something I am particularly proud of, even though the fact that those meds were there if I needed them gave me peace. I still have good days and bad days but I am much kinder to myself than I used to be. The whole experience has taught me compassion on a completely different level, particularly when it comes to obesity and depression.
I also don’t wear the white coat any longer. I don’t need it to hide behind.