Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fresh Starts All Around

So many people are using this new year as a launching pad for healthy changes in their lives. It really helps knowing there are so many of us doing this. I love fresh starts: new day, new week, new year. I love clean slates and do-overs and the chance to make better choices this time around.

I am in need of a fresh start. When we got answers to the great mystery of my poor health (two years ago?), I was so motivated! I completely changed my diet, lost that fifty pound burden of extra weight, got my brain back, and felt great.

But I'm not there anymore. I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what happened. Partly, it got hard to maintain that rigidly limited food world over the long haul. It was especially difficult anytime I left the house- for baby showers, bridal showers, church potlucks, lunch with friends, eating on the road while out of town.

One of the most difficult parts of eating right is those situations where everyone is celebrating with something like a beautiful cake. It was hard enough not partaking. It was even harder, knowing that if I didn't have a piece, I'd hurt the feelings of the person who made it. I try very hard not to hurt people's feelings in general, and it's very tricky to avoid at times like that. For example: at a wedding reception, where there was a whole array of beautiful desserts, made by someone I respect and care about, the bride's mother...and where there wasn't a big would be so obvious if I didn't have any. And feelings were already a little tender, because so few people came to celebrate the wedding of this family's beautiful daughter.

It is also very difficult, being the person who always says, "Sorry, I can't have any," because after a while some people start to see you as picky or selfish. I don't actually enjoy having a big public "thing" about why I don't eat things, every time I'm in that sort of situation. I got tired of explaining, and defending my choices. I got tired of people arguing with me about what I could/couldn't eat. Very very tired.

I was also very surprised at the negative feedback I got when I lost all that weight. Surprised, and hurt. Here I was, finally eating a whole and healthy diet, finally returned to my "real" weight and size, and my husband was about the only person telling me I looked great. It wasn't jealousy over my weight loss, or mean-spiritedness. The comments came from people who really care about me. They were concerned that I got so thin.

On top of the deep and widespread frustration of trying to eat my limited, healthy way in a world thick with unhealthy foods, getting such constant, well-meaning but negative feedback from so many people was more than I could take. It hurt. It shocked me. It was discouraging. I was feeling so good, and so proud of myself, and so full of energy, but being confronted constantly with such negative feedback knocked my feet out from under me.

I gave up.

For about the past year, I have turned my back on almost all of the healthy changes I had made. I have pigged out on real pizza, eaten real ice cream, polished off bags of Lindor truffles. I have gone to potlucks and eaten those cheesy casseroles, and the desserts! I have gotten little sleep. I stopped taking all the nutritional supplements that helped me so much.

And I feel it.

Of the fifty pounds I lost, I have gained back about thirty-five. I feel tired and sluggish. My memory is affected. I have little energy, little motivation, and struggle to carry through on simple things. Just like the bad old days.

But no more. As we move into this new year, I hunger for change!

I made a good start. I figured out what are the most critical changes to make, and I started slowly. We're not even through January, and I have already floundered, but I am taking another fresh start. I'm applying everything I've learned, about healthy eating, and about myself.

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