Slap Upside the Head

I knew what I was doing.  Put the cookie in my mouth.  Look at the bag; put another cookie in.  I knew this was not the best choice, or even a good choice. But there were only a few left.  They’ll just get stale, right? Once you’ve had two, what’s one more?

At midnight, the chocolate chips squishing between my teeth with that perfect balance of flour and egg that makes the dough, I tried not to think of the morning when my pants will be snug.

I wish the weight I had put on over the years would just go away, puff! Then I could wake up and have my twenty-one year old body back.  Cookies at midnight are not the best way to make that happen. I know. I know. But really, would instant weight loss be good for me? I don’t mean medically—I mean that other stuff--- where the mixed feelings and the protective instincts live.

Here, have another cookie.  They taste so good, don’t they? Tomorrow is another day. I’ll think about it tomorrow, just like Scarlet O’Hara.

I admit I'm a little slow sometimes.  Don’t tell anyone, okay, it will ruin my reputation for quick wit and clever banter.

But the other night I had an ugly encounter with a mirror, a bathing suit and my self esteem.  My self esteem lost.

After an anxious session of berating for allowing myself to get in the condition where a swimsuit I felt sure would fit was actually quite small, I overcame that revelation and went to the water aerobics class anyway--- wearing a lacy cover-up, of course, which got soggy and heavy in the pool.

So, I had to get a different, bigger, size for my next class. Pride swallowed is better than a cookie swallowed.

Perhaps it was the newly released endorphins from the water aerobics class, but it hit me like a slap upside the head what a friend told me about her OCD symptoms.  She had learned that all the repetitive behaviors, like hand washing and checking and re-checking doors to make sure they were locked, actually saved her life. Saved her life?  Yep, she had learned that those behaviors kept her from other, worse behaviors, and served to buffer her against the pain she was feeling.

In the dark of night, trying to fall asleep, it dawned on me.  This revelation, this epiphany, was that the behaviors I have engaged in: the close to total lack of exercise, the overeating and eating the wrong foods and the imitation I’ve been doing of a turtle pulling into a shell, were necessary to help me deal with the things that had dragged me down. I was relieved and grateful that these unhealthy behaviors may have actually saved me.

How, you may ask, is soaring cholesterol and pounds, oh so many pounds, of extra flesh, a means of salvation? Well, here's my take:  I had been sucked into a long lasting down and these defensive behaviors helped me cope. When I was finally able to emerge from this down, through a variety of resources, then I was able, yes, able to join a weight loss group and actually show up at an exercise class. I needed a new understanding, a new insight into how and why I got here in the first place.  Now I can be grateful for the life saving techniques that helped me cope.  I can let go of those techniques and move forward into healthier--- that is cholesterol lowering, heart unclogging, get off the couch behavior.

I am oh so grateful to the woman who told me about this group and the wonderful women in my slimming group who applaud each other during our journey, not only of pounds lost, but understanding gained.