Friday, April 15, 2011

Living a Life with Purpose

One of the unforeseen benefits of losing weight that I never saw coming was the absolute scrutiny it places on your life, emotions, and day-to-day routine. For a long, LONG time, I thought I was living with purpose. I had a plan, Abbie's Master Life Plan as the people I am closest to fondly refer to it, and there was no wavering. However, looking back, I have no idea how the plan was even created. Where did I get this need to be perfect at everything? Why does it always seem like there was an outside force pushing my future, yet I failed to recognize it at the time of the pushing?

I realize now that I rebelled at this forced niche through eating. Eating past the point of fullness, just stuffing down the thoughts of an unfulfilled life, the struggle with finding a person inside of me worth fighting for. I ate sometimes just to go to sleep. Not in a suicidal way, just in a let's-eat-way-more-than-necessary-to-be-stuffed...therefore causing the carb-coma and sleepiness. I just wanted to avoid. I still sometimes unconsciously use food as avoidance, and it's still a struggle for me to avoid that habit. However, I consider it a great success that I've even gotten this far. To the point where I recognize when my emotions are driving me to eat in that mindless way. In the long war of Abbie & Emotional Eating, I would say I at least am winning a few battes :). And, the fact that I do recognize the emotions simmering under the surface helps me map out a plan of attack to conquer those feelings in a healthy way. Aka call a friend, take a walk, read a trashy magazine. Cry. Whatever. I've found that food just doesn't get rid of that emotion, no matter how much you eat. It's still there, only now you're full, sick to your stomach and fat.

Relating this back to exercise...when I exercise, I feel powerful. I feel purposeful. So THIS is the way to healthily deal with unpleasant emotions, bad days and things that don't necessarily go your way. Why didn't anyone share this with me? Lol.

I feel like weight has always been my biggest obstacle, a failure that is easily seen to the outside world. And, as I'm (still) trying to conquer it, this means I can do anything. My mom referred to me as her "little athlete" the other day. Me? The girl who used to huff and puff around the track at the gym while the thinner girls with their lanky tanned legs lapped me? I'm an athlete? That completely redefined my world. I was recently thinking of an old friend who I hadn't seen in a couple of years (we had a pretty bad falling out). I was thinking of that person I had been 2 years ago. Although I will (try to) never look back on that person with shame, it's still hard. How did I live my life that way? Sometimes, I have these crazy self-abusing thoughts, like, how could you have eaten what you did? You always felt terrible, but never related it back to the daily fast food meals and complete lack of exercise. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

However, I have to (continually) remind myself that this is a lifestyle. And I wouldn't be at the (much healthier, much more forgiving) place I'm at now without the drive of my past self.

This led to something new I've been thinking about: purpose and balance. Can those ideals coexist? But for now, I must go do my actual job. That will have to be saved for a later post.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'm still here...

Haven't had time to write, or really felt compelled to write, in a very long time. However, something has been on my mind lately that I felt I needed to get down. That is, how much weight loss has taught me about patience.

In my life, everything is structured. I realized that I basically have my life down in 30 min - 1 hour increments. It's sad, and I haven't been able to shake the panicked, rushed feeling since school started back up after Christmas. We, as consumers, people of my generation, people of the US, etc., have become accustomed to getting things fast. Fast food, Netflix instant downloading, Google searches downloaded in seconds. However, when fast leaves you with the unsettling feeling that you're missing something, is it really all that worth it? When I ate fast food, all I got was an upset tummy and extra baggage on my body. When I'm glancing at my watch at family dinners, worrying if there's somewhere else to be, I'm missing out on the joy of the experience of being with my family. When I am so focused on the future, I am completely missing out on the preciousness of the present.

Tuesday, I ran for 30 minutes. That was the first time I have ever ran that long, or far, in my entire life. And I remember feeling, almost to the point of tears, so very grateful that my legs can carry me through these runs. Grateful for a healthy diet that allows my body to be strong. So, so very grateful for a decision to be healthier made almost one year ago today that changed my life.

So I've only lost 40 pounds and the scale hasn't moved since September. So what? Yes, 3/4 months. I realize how long ago that was. However, there IS growth. My body is losing inches, I know I'm in the best shape of my life, and I am fitting into the smallest clothes I can remember. Although I've never pushed my healthier lifestyle on them, my excitement for this new way of living has convinced some of my family and friends to be inspired to put their health back on their priority list, which is a wonderful accomplishment in itself. The drive is still there, and if it takes another year to lose the remaining 40 pounds, that's ok. Because, if I hadn't started this journey a year ago, where would I be? Still unhappy with my body and 40 pounds (or more) heavier. Just for kicks, I would like to publish a couple photos...

Taken November 2009.

Taken this past NYE.

Definitely growth.

So I will be still (mentally, of course) and recognize the preciousness of the present. While looking towards the end result of an even happier, healthier me that I know is in my future. Stay tuned.