I almost didn’t write this today – I was actually going to write about the paleo diet breakfast quiche I made (good, and good for you). Then I went onto WordPress and saw the stats for my blog. Someone searched Google yesterday for “fear in a box” and got pointed to my blog. Yikes.
That got me to thinking about fear, and the boxes we put ourselves into.
A few days ago my svelte yet wiry husband wrote a blog that made me laugh out loud. He titled it “End of an Era” and in it, he recounts his brief flirtation with Crossfit training. He was not enamored with it, and is considering something a bit more… well, his speed. His crossfit hijinks and fish-out-0f-water pain is pretty damn funny, but what interested me more about the blog was his willingness to admit to his lack of fitness; his ability to just say “gee, I’m not as slim any more and I’m not fit. I should do something about this.”
Just like that. No ego.
For me, it has taken me a few years to even admit that I may have, you know, gained a bit of weight. For the past few years I’ve somehow managed to be in my body but not really
even look at it. I clothe it, feed it (yup, I sure do) and deal with my increasingly ahem weighty presence by sort of, you know, ignoring it.
I have, as they say, let myself go. I’d even go so far as to say that I’m fat. As I wrote that line, it ended with “all of a sudden” in my mind, but really it isn’t all of a sudden. It’s the result of a multitude of things – stress was a biggie, and I quit smoking (two years next month woot!), and I got older and my hormones are all out of whack…
Oh yeah, and I ate a lot and didn’t exercise. That’s what happens, people.
Like my husband, I was for most of my life able to eat anything I wanted and not see the deleterious effects of it on my body. I am now fairly sure that while genetics played some part in that, I can also say that smoking (sometimes two packs a day) and excessive coffee intake was the “magic” behind my skinny frame. I also had a healthy childhood. Sure, we ate our fair share of Devil Dogs and candy bars, but I was always running around, riding my bike, and not eating half as much crap as I do now. I don’t think there was as much of the processing in food back then, either. Less high-fructose corn syrup, less sugar.
I was active. Occasionally, I was even in really good shape. I would go through phases of enthusiastic gym membership, and even with the hampering effect of smoking, I was fit and my body would do what I told it to do. I was able to coast along for years, doing nothing, because I’d started with a healthy and fit body.
Now? Not so much.
I love and admire that my husband is so willing to be open about it, and it made me think about the shame that I have been carrying around about my own body. I’ve managed to engage in all sorts of magical thinking, but I’m fairly sure that the only solution is to just stop eating as much, stop eating bad stuff, and start moving more.
For me, being fat has generated a kind of apathy. It has coincided with aging – there’s a big difference between, say, 36 and 46 – the last decade has not been easy, nor has it been kind… I’ve aged, right? Between 26 and 36 you can sort of pretend that you haven’t changed, but that next decade is a doozy. I’m invisible in a way that I never used to be – in a way that my husband probably can’t even identify with, because it’s bound up in ego.
I’m not invisible to him, of course, but to the world at large I’m – all of a sudden – an invisible silver-haired fat lady. WEIRD.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about my weight here. It’s a process, though – this getting to know my new self and accepting that something needs to be done. Hell, it took me more than one try to quit smoking…. the tools I used to effect that change will come in handy as I struggle with my sugar cravings. I’m becoming more and more convinced that processed sugar and carbs are akin to nicotine, and that I should treat it as such – something I need to avoid.
I’ve tried a bunch of things and the only thing that seems to work is to eat properly and to exercise more. It’s not a quick fix (drag!) but I think it will work. Every time I eat natural whole food that’s good for me and take a walk or move my body, I am rewarded by having more energy, and clearer thinking. That positive reinforcement isn’t always enough to stop myself from having french fries (last night) but it does have a cumulative effect. Eventually, I’ll get it.
I’m tired of being tired. Tired of not having a waist.
Tired of being an invisible fat lady. And hell, if my husband can admit it and work on it, I can. I mentioned earlier that I’d let myself go…. I am letting myself go, but not in the way we normally conceive of that.
I’ve been working so very hard to get my brain/emotions straight that I forgot that my body is me. Ego has been holding me back. I’ve worried about being fat, of being unattractive, of admitting to myself that I’m aging (duh). It’s hard to admit your ass is no longer cute, and harder to admit that it was important to you that it was…. Ego is a bitch. Ego is a child, and it’s not always good to just let that little dictator tell you what to do.
So I’m letting that go… it’s a good lesson to learn; surrendering the ego is the only way, really. What I’m looking for can only happen with the humility that this sort of surrender generates: Harmony. Lightness. Room to breathe.
And, oh hell. Here’s the quiche recipe.
Preheat oven to 350 F
for each quiche, use one egg. Whisk eggs together with a splash of water. Divide the eggs evenly into the muffin cups.
Chop a selection of veg and meat. I used fennel sausage, red pepper, baby spinach, cilantro and delicious cherry tomatoes from Den Haan’s.
Plop it all into the egg mixture and push in a bit. Crack some black pepper over it all.
Pop in oven for 15-20 minutes.
9 thoughts on “Fear in a box? I don’t think so.”
Sugar and carbs set up a desire for more, just like drugs and cigs. I am not too conscience of my body (except there is more of it than there use to be) because I have never really felt where the edge of my body is. Maybe that’s why I am pretty clumsy. Does that sound weird?
Cool muffin tins. Where did you find them?
Love to read your blog but I really like talking to you for real.
Boundaries (our edges) are hard, especially with kids etc. I totally get you. I only started gaining weight when I lost sight of my edges…
The muffin tin is actually a fancy pants popover tin.
I love that you read Box 761, but I hear ya – in person is always better.
I hit the same wall about 5 years ago when I was 46. I accepted that I had to change my diet forever and exercise regularly forever or risk a slide in to decrepitude. Two books I found helpful were The Five Factor Diet for filling but not fattening recipes and Younger Next Year for solid scientific reasons for why exercise is necessary if you want to retire comfortably.
With the kids out of the house and you and the Mr. on the same page it will be easier to change the food you keep around the house and the meals you prepare.
Thanks Jeff. I’ll look for those books. You’re right, too – I have run out of excuses. I cleaned out the pantry about a month ago and (like I did with smoking…) I find some days I have to literally avoid the grocery store because otherwise I’ll buy junk. The lure of processed sugar is very strong.
You should consider having your thyroid hormones checked, if you haven’t already. I put on a ton of weight and felt tired and miserable and blah for way too long before finding out I was hypothyroid. I hate the idea of being tied to medication forever, but it does help. Immensely. I didn’t lose any weight, unfortunately, but I regained enough energy to make life worth living again. It’s definitely worth looking into.
Thanks for the suggestion – I’ve had that checked and no, I’m just fat because I eat and don’t move enough!
Wow, you — somehow missed this brave and beautiful meditation last month — discovered it today. It’s a fabulous and thought-provoking post. Thank you. And, having seen you quite recently, I can attest to your beauty. Xx
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