And I don’t know how I feel about it
For the last two years I have watched my weight creep up the scale. I tried not to let it bother me telling myself that I was more than just a number. But as my clothes started to become more uncomfortable, so were my thoughts on how I looked in pictures. As a result I try to stay out of the pictures and focus on taking pictures of my children.
I’m a runner and even though I’m still running semi-regularly, I’m unable to maintain my weight. Usually when I train for a half-marathon I tend to lose about 10 pounds from all the training. The last time I ran a half-marathon, I noticed I only lost 5 pounds. I took notice after the fact, but didn’t focus on it. But over the last two years I’ve watched my weight continue to climb and I’ve chalked it up to turning 40.
Fast forward 18 months from that last half-marathon and I found myself facing HER2+ breast cancer. One friend, who is also a nurse, asked me if I had noticed an unexplained weight gain. YES! She said, it was probably because of the cancer. Everyone else said it was because I turned 40. I don’t know who is right, but here I am 20 pounds heavier despite the exercise and eating healthier. I’ve changed my eating habits and I’m still not noticing a change. Something had to give and it couldn’t be my self-esteem. I have bigger things to focus on like healing from cancer.
About two weeks ago my virtual running program advertised a small group 8-week course focused on nutrition. I vacillated between taking the course and forgetting about it. I polled the other women in the group to see who had taken it and their thoughts. I did not want another “diet.” I actually hate the word “diet.” Every time I start denying myself something, it’s like my brain malfunctions and that’s all I want to eat. Every.single.time. I also didn’t want to invest in shakes, pre-made packaged food, or a subscription service. I’ve done all the above and you know what? It’s just not sustainable for me. I also feel like it makes me feel like I’m on a diet instead of a healthy journey. It means watching my family eat yummy food while I feel like I get a less appetizing version.
After several days of online discussion I decided to give it a try. The price isn’t cheap, but I’m looking for something to be long lasting and help me hone in on what I might be missing. This isn’t a one-on-one deal, I’m doing the program with 39 other women and I’m okay with that. I’ve always been a fan of accountability and a cheering section, it’s a good motivator for me.
But registering for this course also makes me feel somewhat like a failure and resigned. For crying out loud, I am in my forties and I feel like that I should be able to figure this out on my own. I feel like there’s something wrong with me, other than the cancer. I don’t think I have problem with self-control, but maybe I do? I don’t know. Is it chemo-induced menopause? Is it the cancer? Is it the medications I have to take? Whatever it is, whatever I’m doing right now is not working. So here I am: reluctant, resigned, and ready.
This week I began the program. I have not followed the goal for this week a hundred percent, but I am changing my mindset. It should be no surprise that I haven’t lost an ounce either. Actually I’ve gained. But I’m letting all that go. There is no promise for weight loss in this nutrition group, but there is a promise to help us reset our focus and our approach to food.
One thing that struck me about the group is that I’m not alone. There are 39 other women who feel the same way. There are others who are in perimenopause and menopause. There are other intelligent women who are trying to figure this out with me. I feel like I’m in good company. Maybe it’s not just me. Maybe there it’s just something I’m missing and I need guidance and redirection.
Something else that struck me about this nutrition course is how the nutritionist said that this is not a “diet” and that she is hoping that by giving us an opportunity to try an abundance of something we wouldn’t notice some of things that will naturally be taken out of rotation because we are filled up with other yummy things. She also wants us to savor our food.
So often when I’m denying myself something that I think is delicious I don’t find myself savoring the stuff that I could be enjoying. Too often I associate a change in my diet to something that is bland and unsatisfying and as result it is not sustainable.
So while I haven’t lost any weight this week, I have been savoring and enjoying my veggies. I haven’t had to take anything off my plate, but I am finding myself gravitating to healthier snacks without consciously thinking about it.
I’m looking forward to what the next 8 weeks will bring in helping me find a healthier version of me, no matter the number on the scale.