If this is your first time reading this series, you might want to catch up here.
Last week I talked about how being fat was a coping mechanism for me, one that let me play it safe and hide from life. I had a fantasy that once I was thin, I’d be able to do all of those things I’d dreamed of for so long. It didn’t happen that way, though. I was the exact same person in a thin body.
Being thin and still scared of life, I was confronted with myself. All along, I thought my weight was the problem. But it wasn’t. I was the one constant. I was the problem.
I’d spent years living half-way. I was tired of watching from the sidelines as other people went after their dreams. Deep down, I wanted more from life. I wanted to live a full, meaningful life.
What does living fully mean to me? It means having the willingness:
- to take chances.
- to fail.
- to succeed.
- to work hard for what matters to me, especially when I don’t know the outcome.
- having the courage to stand strong in my beliefs and do what is right for me.
- to admit when I’m wrong and own when I’m right.
- to love, to hope, to dream.
- to treat myself and my life with care and respect.
In order to live fully and peacefully in my own body, I had to first accept reality as it was and stop hoping and
wishing for ‘someday’ to come, which necessarily included:
- accepting that my weight is not a constant. Sometimes it’s a few pounds more, sometimes it’s a few pounds less.
- accepting that I am perfectly imperfect – and letting go of the unattainable idea of perfection.
- learning to be grateful in all situations.
I’ve had help along the way – friends and mentors who have loved me and believed in me through difficult times when I couldn’t love or believe in myself. From that, I’ve developed a relationship with my God, as I understand Him. It’s a personal relationship that is in no way religious. Instead, it’s a spiritual connection that works for me, one that I do not push on anyone. I take the same attitude with my relationship with God as I do with my food – there is no one size fits all!! I have to do what works for me and encourage others to do the same. And, hey, if you don’t believe in God that’ s ok with me too. This is just my take on it. I don’t need you to agree with me.
This was the single most important turning point in my life, the real starting point for developing a strong sense of Amy, of who I am, which is not connected to what I do, my bank account, my home, my weight. Instead, my sense of self is grounded in knowing that I am never alone, that I am ok just as I am this moment. I have a soft spot to fall.
My husband has also been an incredible source of love and support, but more than that I’ve grown from watching how he lives his life. Joe is one of the most brilliant sales and marketing executives in the US today. (Believe me, you’ll never hear him say that, nor would you know it if you met him. He’s the most humble man I know.) Does he know the most? Probably not. Is he the most educated? Nope. Has he written books? Not my husband. Brilliance is in none of those things.
Last year he was working a huge deal – one that had gone on for almost nine months. He’d taken calls on the weekends, during dinner, left town on a moment’s notice, and did everything the other party asked for and then a little more. He’d been promised that the deal was his.
When it came time to close the deal, though, the other party backed out.
Joe was devastated – for a time. But it didn’t stop him for even a second. He accepted it for what it was, refused to fight it, and moved on to the next deal. He looked for things to be grateful for in the situation – and found them. Soon, a bigger, better deal came along and was handed to him with no struggle at all.
Brilliance, you see, is in the action. I learned that there is no failure as long as you don’t quit.
This is why fantasizing about being thin and hoping for ‘someday’ but never doing anything different didn’t work. Today I take action, even if it’s small, to live each day fully. Food is not the answer anymore. Being the right person is, which necessarily includes taking the right action to take care of my body, my health, my mind, and my soul.
Next week, I’m going to talk about how gratitude has helped me change all situations, and especially how it helps me today to not use food to avoid life.
I’m sharing with you one of our favorite dinners – quick and healthy meal for busy nights – my mushroom frittata. Every home cook needs a few good egg recipes in her back pocket. Put this one there, too. It’ll save you when you get home late or haven’t had time to go to the market.
May you find balance and freedom,