It occurred to me today as I was thinking about that catchy little, make you want to punch someone in the face if you are dying from a workout and they say it, phrase "no pain, no gain" and how ironic it is.
Yes, gaining a foot hold in getting back my health and healthy weight is painful. Sometimes every step hurts, sometimes only every other step. If you are working to go from couch potato to athlete you already understand the cost. Breaking through those fitness obstacles is daunting. Aches, pains, shortness of breath, fatigue - these are the enemies but also the acid test of recreating your body, your life. If it is hurting, within reason, you are probably progressing.
Then the pain of sacrifice - buttered popcorn, cold beer, pizza, 2nd helpings, late night snacks and ice cream, chips and salsa, chips and any kind of dip, coconut pie, a nice merlot, you cannot have these in unlimited quantities and lose weight. You must plan, sacrifice, learn to recreate those flavors in other things and new ways. Giving up fats, salts and sweets can be excruciating. I truly believe I was addicted to fat. I feel like I went through withdrawals when I started cutting the heavy fats out of my diet. But, I also believe once I went without them for about 6-8 weeks it got much easier but it is a slippery slope and I could painfully trip and tumble right back down that slope and back into the abyss at any moment if I let myself. It is painful to walk the tight rope and try not to fall.
But hey - no pain no gain right?
Now change that thought. No pain No gain. If there had not been pain, there would not have been gain. One thing I didn't know when I was pencil thin and hating on fat people was that many people are heavy because of pain in their life. Pain = Gain on both sides of the fence.
Which is why I found this media hail storm extremely disturbing. I used to be her. Although I don't think my abs ever looked like that. In the 80's women didn't sculpt their abs or shave their - well never mind. Anyway, we all know this story by now and everyone has made their decision about how they feel about it but it hit me wrong on soooo many levels. Guilt that I was once like her, judgmental and pious and guilt that I have made many excuses over the years for not being healthy. But after the first wave of guilt fueled anger faded the next wave was sadness. Has this young lady overcome adversity in her life? Has she ever been challenged by her mistakes and the mistakes of others? How many times? Enough times that she decides she can no longer fight against the forces of evil and gives over to them the reins of her life? I doubt it, but she still has time.
Some of us succumb in round one, some in round two, some in round three and on and on and on. I was once a go-getter, an aggressive achiever and often over achiever. I was in your face, I was in my face, I was nice but I was tough. After a failed marriage that left me with two little girls and no car and no job I pulled on my big girl boots and started kicking ass and taking names. Get in line or get out of my way kind of thinking. It was a shallow façade but I lived it and lived it well for many years.
But life had other ideas for me as it does for many of us. I am no victim here and I don't wear that mantle. Life is hard but as we age sometimes life begins to erode our resolve. Sometimes we start to listen to the voices in our heads that tell us how bad we are. (Sometimes we need to listen to those voices, just like the character in YaYa Sisterhood who says, "All the real damage - I did to myself".) We can be our own worst enemy really screwing up the good and pure things in our lives. Yeah those nasty regrets! But we don't need to get into bed with those voices, embrace them and let them become the dialog of our lives. Feel what you need to feel, hurt, cry, scream, but let it go.
Forgive. I'm no counselor but if I have learned one thing in life. Forgive. Move on. You will make mistakes, forgive yourself. Others will surprise you and wound you, forgive them. The governing agencies will let us down, forgive. You will not get to be first in line even though you should be, let it go.
To live in pain is a waist of time. Yes a WAIST of time not a waste. Every year you live in pain and use food as your drug you will contribute to that waist. Think healthy. Eat healthy. Emote healthy. Do not let pain dictate your body. I wish I had listened to this voice instead of those others.
Don't be surprised if letting go of the fat makes you wonder if the person who made her pain known and bearable by gaining weight is now going to fade into nothingness. I was surprised to feel this way. When losing weight in the past it became frightening at times like someone was taking away my security blanket and exposing the vulnerable child. If I shrunk back down to "normal" was I letting people off the hook? Was I letting me off the hook? The truth is, there is no hook. And the realer truth is, the fatter I got the more vulnerable I looked! People saw my sickness, my hurt, my failure. Oucheee - they still do. And an even truer truth I have learned, finally, is that almost all people are vulnerable but some people just hide it better than others.
So now what? Now I am trying to work through my pain. I am practicing more acceptance and forgiveness. I am trying harder to let it go. I am pushing out those negative voices in my head that speak to me with disrespect. I am owning my screw ups and letting other people own theirs and when necessary and possible I am telling people how I feel. Without drama, without a need to win, just simple honesty. And let it go, if you can change it - change it, otherwise let it goooooooo!
Okay this was a long post.(If you made it to the end - that was nice of you to hang with me.)
Pain Pain Pain - It is the pain that put me here and by golly it's gonna be the pain that pushes me out of here.
I thank God and my husband for this time of reprieve where I can work on me and the pain that brought me to this place. I am thankful I have time to cook healthy, shop healthy and exercise all the demons, both physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. I am not going to say I am thankful for the pain that brought me here because I am not, but I am thankful for the wisdom it is building in me and the endurance, grace and strength.
That's all (thank goodness) ~ Thanks y'all!