The Camera Adds 10 Pounds

This weekend I’ve eagerly awaited the arrival of our annual family photos. This year we opted to do them inside our new home, so I’ve been dying to see how they turn out.

I’ve also been dreading the new photos. It’s no secret that I’ve gained almost 20 pounds since the onset of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to see, especially in our family photos.

I know it’s been hard on everyone, and a lot of people have gained weight. I know that I should love myself no matter what. I hear others say that I’m beautiful no matter what, but my anxiety and eating disorders speak louder. They always have.

Because we just moved in, a couple of our bathrooms don’t have mirrors hung yet. At first it was annoying but now I’m relieved I don’t have to look in the mirror. It doesn’t matter how much positive self talk I spew — I just don’t like what I see. My weight is tied to my confidence, and sadly, my self worth. Right now, it feels like I’m worth nothing.

The family photos will just confirm what I’ve already been telling myself: I’m ugly, fat and unworthy.

Except, here’s the thing — my daughter is watching. And listening. If I admit these truths aloud, she will for sure hear them. And my voice will become her inner voice. My actions will becomes hers as well, and I’ll be damned if she cultivates this ugly self-hate that’s just rotting my worth and self-esteem.

I’ve talked about this before, many times. I have to change the way I talk to myself, treat myself. I’m raising kids, but really my goal— and what all our goals should be — is to raise healthy adults. I don’t know much about that, but I have my missteps to guide me.

The first thing I’m going to do is post the family photos — no matter what they look like. I’ll frame a couple in my house, not just because I’m trying to set a good example, but because damn, that’s what I look like now. This is what my family looks like after nine months of a deadly pandemic. We have survived, and even if I survived in a way that led to tighter clothes and an expanding waistline, I’ve survived. And that’s all that matters.

I want to thank Jennifer Stewart for capturing out family in our new loving home. I want to thank my body for supporting me during this time. I want to say that I do love myself and I’ll try harder to love it no matter my size. They say the camera adds 10 pounds, but maybe it’s time I stopped buying into that.

That I stop buying into diet culture and equating being then to being happy. I need to be happy now, instead of waiting until I’m a certain weight. Fuck that.

I’m going to be happy now, because both my daughter and son are watching. And that’s OK that they’re watching — it’s OK that they see me struggle, and even when I’m sad, but they’ll also see the fight in me, the determination and my grit. I’m all for them seeing me as human, because I am — just a perfectly imperfect human. That’s all we can be.

Edit: Our family photos were not available at the time of publication. I will add them in once I receive them.

Body Back

Today is the first day I’m doing Body Back, a Fit4Mom HIIT class that is intense, hard and invigorating once you’re finished. It really transforms you – physically and mentally. I’ve done Body Back before and I lost 6inches and 9 pounds. It’s no joke. But I’m scared to go today. I’ve gotten so use to my unhealthy lifestyle that I’ve been really comfortable and I know I’m about to be VERY uncomfortable. I need that. I need to get uncomfortable and start living a healthy lifestyle. No more overeating, downing Diet Coke every hour and being sedentary, My husband has lost 70 pounds and I’ve gained almost 10. More importantly, I need to show my kids how to be healthy and I need to be around to watch them grow up and be there for my husband.

I’m also scared because this session will be different than any of the other sessions and I hate change, lol. You see how badly I need to do this.

When I made a list of hard things I’ve ever done (to prove to myself how strong and mentally tough I am) Body Back was definitely on the list. You’re not just working out, you’re pushing through mental blocks and challenging your body to go harder, faster, better, stronger. Once you get through the class though, you get about 15 minutes to meditate and reflect on what you’ve accomplished and it feels so good.

I just need to remember that I’ve done this before. I’ve run a 5K. I’ve given birth to two large babies. I’ve fought depression and suicidal thoughts for years and haven’t given up. I’ve done some hard things.

So I can do this, right? I guess I don’t really have a choice. I have to start living a healthy lifestyle.

So, here’s to burpees, squats and sweat.

Saboteur

I had an epiphany today. I realized that I am not mentally healthy, which is completely different from being depressed or having mental illness. I flat out don’t do anything that would promote mental health, which no doubt affects my depression.

Recently, I’ve had trouble with overeating. My husband and I order out a lot and every chance I get I order something unhealthy and then proceed to overeat. It’s not a new practice, I’ve done it for years. What starts off as “I don’t feel great, I need a treat” turns into a habit that are incredibly hard to stop. But today I decided to stop.

Not just the overeating, but the way I look at myself, the way I talk and treat myself – it’s horrible and I would never say or do anything like that to another person. I pride myself on being compassionate and nonjudgemental – the oppotisite of what this saboteur in my head does.

I listented to a great podcast, Brook Castillo’s Self Assault, and learned that what I’ve been doing is assault – inflicting harm or attacking. This is what I do to myself day after day. Not only verybally but chemically as Brook Castillo put it – using chemicals and substances to inflict harm. That includes overeating, drinking massive amounts of Diet Coke and abusing meds, which I have a tendancy to do. I always need a hit whether it’s food, shopping, soda or relying too much on my anxiety pills.

So I threw out all my Diet Coke. I wrote down positive affirmations. I jotted down mean things that I said to myself and then disputed them.

And even though I begged my husband to order out tonight, we cooked a healthy meal. It was good but also sucked because I couldn’t overeat or have Diet Coke with it. I realize now that I’m constantly seeking false pleasure in things. I actually cried because we didn’t order out. But that’s just me being uncomfortable with change – losing my blankie, if you will. I have to get uncomfortable. I have to stop treating myself like shit if I don’t want to feel like shit. Again, this behavior can not be helping my depression one iota.

I also realized that I didn’t have any goals set for myself anymore. I used to set goals, acoomplish them and make new goals, it was just what I did. The fact that I don’t have any goals told me I don’t think I’m worthy or even capable, which isn’t true. Where does all this hate and sabotaging behavior come from? How on earth did I learn to talk to myself with such animosity and disgust?

Wherever I picked it up, I’m trying to put it down now. I know it’ll take sometime to break bad habits but I just have to do this. I have to be as healthy as possible. I have to set an example for my kids and husband. I have to love myself and feel worthy of that love.

Tell me, friends, how do you self sabotage and what do you do to be mentally healthy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nighttime

The past few days have been great – I’ve had more energy, been in a better mood, going to the gym and I can see hope on the horizon. I’m so busy during the daytime but it’s after the kids go to bed, when night falls, that I start to struggle again. How can you have such a good day and then crumble? I don’t know but as soon as I’ve tip-toed out of my little girl’s room in the evening and head downstairs the anxiety attacks at full force.

Is it because I know I only have a few hours until I have to sleep and wake up and do it all over again? My daughter’s having some potty training issues. It’s very frustrating.

I don’t know.

Is it because I know there’s an internal battle coming up?

Maybe.

I have a few options: I can take an anti-anxiety pill. I could color in my adult coloring book. I could read a book. I could meditate. I could employ any positive coping skill I’ve ever learned but I usually don’t. See, I have certain compulsions when I’m depressed and anxious, which is pretty common for a lot of people. My fallbacks are compulsive shopping and eating. Not binge eating per se but overeating foods that I know are not good for me. When I’m in turmoil, I cannot stop these behaviors. I wish I could and sometimes there is inner dialogue with a lot of cussing and arguing but usually the compulsions win out.

The shopping is easier to control because you have to have money for that but it’s the eating that I have real trouble with. It’s especially hard to talk myself out of it at night after I’ve had a long day and the anxiety has already hit me. I need something good to eat after all I’ve been through that day. I need a pick me up. I need that high. I need to forget about the anxiety.

And of course it’s worse on Sundays. Tonight I ate an entire pizza. I’d say I have no regrets but my pajama pants disagree. I didn’t get much of a high, I’m still anxious and my pants are too tight.

When I’ve asked my therapist about this, she agreed that these are compulsions and sometimes I will not be in a good place to stop them. She continued saying I can’t stop these compulsions anymore than I can stop a migraine with my thoughts. She also said I need to be an adult and learn to say no to myself. She’s right on both counts, especially me saying no to myself, but that part sucks so let’s get to that later.

I know it’s my brain that makes me depressed and anxious. I know these aren’t character flaws or personality issues. After all, medicine doesn’t go to your heart and change your feelings, it goes to your brain to fix misfiring neurotransmitters and such. But I can’t help feeing a little despaired that I’m not able to control these compulsions 100% of the time. I also know it could be worse.

I don’t know what it is about the nighttime that does this to me but it always has. I think about having alone time all day and then when I get it and have the opportunity to relax I’m the furthest thing from it. The only time I’m at peace at night is when I’m sleeping and I need a pill for that.

But as weird as this all sounds, I’m still improving from where I was. I’ll take being happy/content during the day and anxious at night. But at least there’s sleep.

Anyone care to share your compulsions? Your negative or positive coping skills?