June 4th, 2013
by Jodi · Filed Under: Ponderings
This whole series came about because I wanted to send a wrap up email about my last series and when I tried to do that I just about lost my mind. I simply wanted to say that I knew what those folks were going through because I had been there in some shape or form in my life and I could relate but it was not coming out of my fingers properly; hence, Reverse Engineering. There is a distinct difference, though, between what I am about to share in this series and what those women were doing which is that I thought about all I did, they actually said all that they said. At the time I was going through all of this, I don’t believe anyone knew how deep it went but I am sure I had some frayed edges somewhere. We all do at some time…
My youngest cherub was born January 11, 2006 via emergency c-section. He was 5 weeks early, less than 5 pounds and looked like a greased up Cornish hen awaiting the oven; he was adorable. Why he came early is another series for another time but I was ecstatic because I was HUUUUYOOOUUUUGGGGGGE. I mean wooly mammoth huge because I had issues with my amniotic fluid and yadda, yadda, yadda so getting him out early was a blessing. I know I have said this on here somewhere before but babies are THE BEST THING to reset your metabolism. If you have been yo-yo dieting for years and now it takes an act of nature to move the scale, pop out a baby as your act of nature and you will see the pounds fall off after that (ask Jennifer Hudson). Do I even need to tell you that I had plans—no, I mean plans–for my maternity leave? This was right after I just gained a half of a llama during Armageddon and then immediately got pregnant so I had spent 8 months dreaming of this day to come to “get back to normal”.
As planned, I breastfed him but for only 3 months because I had issues there, too, but again that’s for that other series at another time but it, like my pregnancy, was an omen that hormonally I was still not right. Sometime during the middle of March I am given the ok to get back to working out and I get to it like a crack fiend in a back alley brawl. I was a psycho about it and for 9 straight months I pounded the pavement in every way I knew possible. I dieted, lifted, did cardio, thought light thoughts and so on. Basically, if it was possible to do—I did it. I lost nothing. No…I mean…nothing. Zero, zilch, zip, nadda, not one. stinkin’. pound. I will tell you, if you told me back then that that was possible I would have told you that you were a liar. I was shocked. Actually, I was a whole lot of other things but you’ll find that out by the end of the week. For now, shocked is a good word. I was raised to believe that if you ate right and exercised you would lose weight. It is was a simple as that and up to that time I had great genetics in that if I even thought about losing weight, I would. If I was ten pounds overweight, I just took an extra poop that day and dropped off 7 of those ten pounds and the other two would come from cutting back on something. I had never ever gone through 9 months of dieting and exercising and not lose even ONE pound. Did I say not one? This set me up for the longest year of my life, 2007, aka Damned If You, Damned If You Don’t.
Every so often I run into someone who lies like a rug. They say something cute like, “I love to workout. I love the way it makes me feel. I’ll never ‘not workout’.” Let me preface this by saying that they are always in shape, they are never overweight or could stand to lose a few. Typically I ask them, “Have you ever been heavy?” and they always answer “no” and I then tell them in a very nice manner to Shut. Up. Do NOT talk about what you have never experienced because you are full of crap. Do you want to know why we like to work out? Because we can see the fruit of our labor and it affirms the thoughts we already have of ourselves: we work hard…can’t you see? The minute you take that away you will see how hard it is to keep that fire burning. It. Is. Hard.
The year 2007 was the second worst year of my life (the first being 1994 but I’ll never talk about that year unless the photos show up on the internet somewhere and at that point I’ll plead the 5th) because it was the apex of all that I talked about in The Most Painful Diet. This is where it all came to a head and I began to truly understand that I didn’t just mess up and gain some weight, I royally screwed up and did some irreparable damage to my body and this was not going to be a quick fix. If I had a desk job, I am sure I could have handled it a little better. But I did not…I was a coach who put girls on stage for fitness, figure and bodybuilding. Oh joy. This is like finding out I just inherited my father’s tobacco company a day after getting a prestigious position as a director of a cardiology department at a famous hospital. You have to be kidding me. So essentially I am large and in charge and wishing I was decked out in camouflage. Awful. In come the struggles:
I struggled with authority:
Why in Heaven’s name would anybody listen to me? So, I became really good at what I did to shut everybody up and a total *B* to shut everyone down.
I struggled with mean comments:
“Do you take your own advice?”
“How many plans do you give out before you do one yourself?”
“Clearly living what you teach isn’t necessary. What do you need then to do what you do?”
So I stopped talking to people.
I struggled with the loss of control:
I still couldn’t quite accept that I just couldn’t “diet” to lose the weight so I had manic fights in my mind that I must just be lazy and why couldn’t I work out harder? So I berated myself for being lazy or I worked that much harder at my job to silence the noise. I did not emotionally eat; I was a starver at this point.
I struggled with working out:
The thing that used to bring me happiness at one point in my life now brought me nothing but pain. Why am I bothering? What’s the point? No one thinks that I do anyways. If I do, nothing changes. If I don’t, nothing changes. Everyone wanted to tell me how to diet and workout even though I, myself, was putting girls on stage. Unreal.
I justified, reasoned, denied, did a good bob and weave, emotionally stuffed, rebuffed and at times just gave life the finger. I lived out my folly publicly and had no idea how much this truly affected me until November 2007 when I went to see a naturopath. This woman, who was as disheveled and scatter brained as I was at the time, told me in the most calm, sweet voice all that my blood work told her and it was not good. She spent 30 minutes telling me all about my adrenals and a bunch of other things that we were going on and then in the most matter of fact tone said, “You’re not lazy, nor are you crazy.” With that I stood up, went to my car—it was pouring rain outside—and I sat in it for 30 min crying so hard that I think I pulled a tummy muscle. Sobbed like I lost a child. I had no idea how badly I needed to hear that but that ended the “Year That Never Was” for me and I realized I had to change my mindset if I was going to move forward.
First, self pity is not your friend. He is a menace and you need to stomp on him right away. I was too far into a pit to even realize that I was wallowing in it, but I will tell you that I was definitely wallowing in it. Here is the thing that you need to be mindful of if anything like this ever happens to you (like an injury that sidelines you for a while): self pity doesn’t look like self pity when it creeps up on you and you vacillate between it and everything else I’m going to talk about this week. It is nowhere near as defined as just sitting around in marinating in your own juices. It ebbs and flows and it disguises itself in many insidious ways mostly by bogging your mind down with nonsense justifications. We can smell it on other people but we are impervious to our own. Get a good friend to come in and tell you to get your head out of your butt after she has you empty your heart of all your junk.
Second, I had to realize that what happened to me was a reflection of my stupidity but not my work ethic. That was huge. If everybody wanted to judge me by how I looked then God Bless ‘em but I’ll be darned if I begin to believe that I am not worthy of being a nutritionist anymore because I looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Now who understands that that took me a while to really get that into my marrow before I could truly walk that out? There were times of justification, pain, anger, resentment and so on but on a whole, that thought guided me like no other. I was good at what I did and I was more than what my body was telling people.
Third, I am more than just my work ethic. This is our struggle ladies. This is it in a nutshell. We lament gaining 5 pounds or having anyone seeing us less than ideal because they are not judging our appearance, they are judging us. How smart we are, how good we are at what we do, how talented we are and so on because we excel at all and our body is no different. If you see me looking “less than” then I must be lazy, out of control, not disciplined, not fit to be a [mother, sister, friend, leader, trainer, etc] so we should just hang it up now and the list goes on. Our weight says we are ‘worthy’ and I can tell you after this many years since Armageddon that that is a lie from the pit of hell.
All or None is tomorrow. This is just the tip of the glacier. Woop woop!