“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
This would be a perfect time for me to shake my fist at God. I’m closing in on nearly a year of sobriety and my eating is more troubling than ever.
My biggest problem isn’t as much what I eat, but what I think about what I eat. I’m actually eating pretty well, but it’s taking so much effort. What I eat and how much I eat takes up a ridiculous amount of space in my brain; space that used to be consumed by thoughts of alcohol. Which makes me think that there’s a special, compartment inside my head dedicated to driving me nuts. It would talk me into drinking too much, and then tell be like, “why did you do that?" When I removed the drink it found a replacement in food. Since I can’t remove food from my life, I have two options. Control and restrict my eating, or fix that compartment of my brain that’s making me crazy and miserable.
As a fitness trainer and a coach in the wellness world, It’s not easy for me to admit that I deal with the same struggles that so many women come to me for help with. But I’ve come to realize that it’s a blessing that I do.
The most powerful three words I could ever say to a client is “I get it.”
Most of my life I’ve wished I were smaller. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my muscles; I love the feeling of being strong and capable, but it bugs me that my arms are so big. Seven years ago I lost 20 pounds of mostly muscle and my arms were tinier than they’d ever been in my adult life. I was forced to be sedentary for several months due to knee surgery, and I was terrified of getting fat. So I was somewhat relieved when my body decided to atrophy away instead. My arms were small and so was the rest of me, and it was one of the worst emotional low points of my life.
That experience gave me a new perspective and I achieved a new level of acceptance and appreciation for my body. As soon as got off the crutches and back into an active life, I gained the weight back and my body returned to its 20 pounds heavier happy place. And I was able to stop pursuing skinny. It just wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
It wasn’t an overnight awakening, but that experience was the catalyst for a slow and gradual shift. Maybe I could stop chasing a look, or a number, or a pair of pants to fit into. Maybe I could stop fighting and resisting the body I’ve been given. And most importantly, It’s pretty clear that the negative thoughts I’m having about myself aren’t coming from God.
And I was able to see the thoughts for what they were; low level, fear-based lies.
I still have them. Maybe I always will. But this journey is about persistence, not perfection.