The Journey to a Better Me
One of the toughest things I’ve ever done is quit smoking. I smoked my last cigarette on July 21, 2006. It was a beautiful summer day and my husband and I were attending a baseball game in Philadelphia with my husband’s parents. Mark and I had be talking about trying for a baby and I had decided that for the sake of my child’s health I would quit smoking before I got pregnant.
It was a rough road to fully quit the evil nicotine sticks. I tried using the nicotine patch but I had an allergic reaction to the adhesive and had to stop using them. I started spiraling as my chronic depression and anxiety came back to haunt me. My doctor thought an antidepressant would help but I ended up breaking out in hives and having trouble breathing. I had an allergic reaction to the antidepressant. Dr. K suggested that I should try Chantix, a new drug on the market for smoking cessation but by this point I’d been smoke-free for a month and I told the doc that I think I was ready to just go it alone. From that point on every time I wanted a cigarette I remembered the allergic reactions and decided I didn’t want to go back. Twelve years later I’m proud to say I am a non-smoker and quitting is really no longer an issue. I don’t even really think about smoking anymore.
I bring up this story to illustrate a point. Compared to smoking, healthy eating is harder than quitting cigarettes. When I quit smoking all I had to do was stop buying cigarettes and not put one in my mouth. However, I can’t just quit food. I need to eat to live. The irony of weight-loss is you have to feed your stomach and fuel your body while at the same time creating an environment where you burn fat and shed the pounds. It’s a constant battle and as with most wars, some battles are won and some are lost.
I have moments and even days where I’m afraid to eat. Every morsel I put in my mouth feels like a burden. However, I also have good days where eating is easy and I have no trouble staying on plan. Then I have days where the plan be damned I’m going to eat and feed this demon inside me and to hell with the plan. People who have never needed to lose weight don’t understand this struggle and as a result the bad days are accompanied by guilt, shame and plenty of self-loathing.
So what do I do? what is going to make THIS time around different so I stick to the plan and shed the small person I have living inside me? (With 100+ to lose I really mean I need to shed a small person.)
- For starters, I have to change my habits. I have to focus more on lean protein, fruits and vegetables in my diet. I need to limit fast food and I need to start packing my lunch every day.
- My support network is very important to me. I talk to friends on the same journey and we share recipes, secrets, frustrations, and encourage each other along the way.
- This blog is incredibly self-indulgent but it keeps me honest. It’s also a source of love and support as my family and friends read about my journey and encourage me.
- I’m seeing a therapist to help my manage my depression and anxiety and change my relationship with food.
- Fear. Fear is a great motivator. I’m afraid of losing my marriage. I’m afraid of losing my health. I’m afraid I can’t keep up or even be there for my special little boy. I need to stick to this because I have too much to lose.
I don’t have all the answers but I know that the recipe for success begins with my attitude and my actions. No one can do this for me. I have to do it for myself. So with one step in front of the other I’m headed down the road to a healthier me.