She shyly giggled and shared how she once ate an entire 9 x 13 of brownies after paying her bills and feeling stressed. She sheepishly looked around the room of young moms and asked if anyone else had done that. I thought she was out of her mind. Of course, I had never done that. Goodness. Well, here I am 10+ years later, fighting my own way out of that…very…thing. I think of her often. I think about how different I thought we were at that time. How arrogantly I viewed my way of handling stress (controlling my diet and exercise). Funny how I’ve changed, and what once wasn’t a struggle in one decade suddenly becomes one in the next.
I kept changing the outside factors
Change is hard. In every way, change is hard. I think it is hard figuring out what needs to change. I think I often find myself falling into self-help or fix it mentality when what I actually need is freedom, not fixing. I read a book last year called Finish by Jon Acuff. It was great to read. I really thought once I finished that book, I would finally get serious about losing those extra pounds I put on from stress eating. Nope. I joined a gym that I adore, and tried the meetings with the trainer and thought this will be what changes my stress eating…accountability. Nope. I decided if I ate food from a health company I temporarily joined, then I will finally change. Nope. I did a litany of things and programs. I was missing it. I kept changing the outside factors but wasn’t dealing with what was driving me to the pantry and fridge late at night. It wasn’t about the food. The exercise. Accountability. It was about getting freedom in the area where I was truly stuck.
See, somewhere along the line, I allowed myself to get wrapped around the axle with one of my kids. Our relationship became the determiner of me feeling like a good mother and subsequently determining my value. If she and I fought = bad mom. If she did something I didn’t like = bad daughter = bad mom. If she was rude to me = bad daughter = bad mom. If she didn’t believe what I had taught her = bad mom. I had allowed my relationship with her to define how I felt about myself. I was allowing this child and our interactions to define my success or failure as a parent. I would have never guessed that I would struggle so hard with that. And what child wants to be that determiner?
If the scale doesn’t move, I will still feel lighter
With a combination of life events, counseling and a really good book I read with some friends (Mom Set Free,) I began to make some changes in my approach to my child. I began to change how I viewed this child. My child wasn’t the problem, my emotional responses were. I changed the words I used. I changed how I listened. I learned from this incredible child. I learned from the counselor. I approached my faith in a new way. Suddenly, one night I realized that the temptation to go the pantry in the dark or for the 3rd time wasn’t really there. I didn’t have to really fight urges and cravings, because, for me, the driving motivator was gone. Healed. I was free from its hold on me. Free from feeling successes and failure as a mom dependant on my child. Not because everything was perfect, no, but the emotional cycle I had allowed to shackle me no longer did.
Now, I do have to deal with the subsequent fallout on the scale from those years, but I’m not worried about it. I figure if my outsides reflected my insides during those years, that in this new season my outsides will eventually reflect my healthier insides too. But, if the scale doesn’t move I will still feel lighter.