Friday, August 8, 2014

Let go of things that weigh you down and lead to overeating

Good morning everyone!  Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work, I reached into the bottom of my purse to get some lipstick. I pulled out a tube and when it wasn’t the one I was looking for, I tried again. I always tend to carry a large bag…sometimes two…because I am an admitted “pack-rat” (but in my defense, I’d prefer to say that “I am an always prepared….just in case…..kind of girl”) and I noticed that my purse had gotten particularly heavy.  I reached in again and pulled out another tube; still not the one I wanted.  SO….I thought perhaps it was time to clean out the purse.

I dumped the contents into a box and to my surprise…. I had seven (yes, I said 7) tubes of lipstick/gloss; 3 pair of tweezers (don’t ask why…I have no idea); 2 different vegetable peelers (so THAT’s where the blue one went?); half a dozen protein bars, a peach, apple, fiber one bar, and 2 packs of sugar-free gum (a big girl NEVER wants to be without  “stay-on-track” food…just in case!) and a whole plethora of other “unnecessary” things.  Yikes!  I sorted through the stuff and returned the essentials back to the purse and put the other things away, but thus began the “thinking process.”

I’ve always been a pack-rat and have accumulated way more “stuff” than I need. Many of my ‘treasures” have been inherited or given to me by friends and family members. Those are the things that I find it hard to part with…because in some silly way….having something that belonged to a loved one makes me feel like part of them is still with me, but in reality, I know that it’s just a tangible reminder of the person/people and their presence lives in my heart, not in my garage. It’s an area that I continue to work on “in my head.”

An important part of my weight-loss journey has been to shed “emotional things; painful memories; and irrational thoughts and feelings” along with the excess pounds.  I discovered that a big part of the reason for the excess weight (not the ONLY reason but a significant reason) was that I was hanging onto emotions that were weighing me down and I was trying to protect myself from dealing with them with a layer of fat.  Grief….sadness from the death of loved ones; rejection….from a job loss that truly defined my self-worth and purpose in life; Fear…of commitment, being loved, trusting….well, fear of all sorts of things; and whole bunch of other things like resentment, unforgiveness, jealousy, worthlessness, etc. were all things that consumed my life. Those were the things that were ‘weighing me down” and creating a sadness inside that I was trying to eliminate and mask with overeating and isolation. It was almost as if a bag of potato chips and 2 liter bottle of soda could make me forget “what so-and-so said or did” or that yet another loved one had died in my arms. Oftentimes, it did make me forget….temporarily.  Food; alcohol; drugs; shopping….whatever your vice….sometimes makes you forget…for a while, but then…it comes back and brings the side effects of our behavior with it. But, only if…..WE CONTINUE TO CARRY THE PAIN AROUND WITH US….. “Just in case we might need it one day” much like those 6 extra tubes of lipstick in my purse. It doesn’t have to be that way.

As I’ve said many times before, “Changing the way I THINK has been key to my journey.” When I decided to change my life a few years ago, I obviously made some major changes in my eating habits, but I also spent a lot of time working on my “thinking habits.” These are both areas of my life that will ALWAYS need attention if I hope to continue to become healthier and enjoy my new life.  I had/have to continually ask myself, “Theresa….are you REALLY hungry….or are you trying to avoid dealing with whatever feeling/thought/emotion that is bothering you at the moment?”  More often than not, it’s an emotional thing.  When someone disappoints me, I want to eat; when I’m tired, I reach for a protein bar; when I’m stressed….. agitated…..or even excited/happy; I often confuse that with hunger.  It is so much easier to treat an emotion/feeling/thought or even boredom with food than it is to deal with, confront, or process it in a healthy way.  It’s much easier to “hang on to it” than it is to “forget, forgive, ‘talk about it’ or let it go”….just in case we need it someday (for what….a fight down the road….a reason to be mean….and excuse not to do the right thing, or just “because” we feel justified in being mad, rude, hurt or  unkind?).

 Like tubes of lipstick in my purse, I sometimes accumulate “Emotional stuff” that I absolutely DO NOT need to carry around with me; it just weighs me down and makes life harder. It certainly doesn’t make me the kind of person that I want to be. It does, however, make me less desirable to be around; usually only “like-minded” negative people enjoy the company of others like them. (birds of a feather….?)  In my former life, that’s exactly what I wanted….to be alone in my pain so that I didn’t allow others to get close enough to hurt me again….or die.  A bag of chips or pizza could only disappoint me if they were stale or burnt. But… I didn’t want to live like that anymore….and I don’t want to be that person either. I want to be free from that “stuff”. How about you?

We are all a “work in progress” and so today, I am going to focus on one thing:  I’m going to work on getting rid of any of those ‘emotional things” I’m hanging onto that are weighing me down. In just a few minutes, before I leave for work, I am actually going to go outside in my driveway with a bottle of bubbles and I am going to blow bubbles into the air….and as each one rises to the sky…. I am going to ask God to help me “let go” of any of those “things…..hurts….pains….fears….anxious moments….petty jealousies….undesirable weaknesses and traits (God will show me those things when I spend a few minutes praying about it) so that they don’t weigh me down and hinder my progress on this journey.  I’m also going to ask that any temptation or desire to eat things that are not nourishing or essential to my body be removed as well and replaced with the hunger/desire to do good and help others.  (YES….I’m really going to do this as soon as it gets daylight…and YES, I’m glad I live in a rural area! J)

These kind of symbolic things work for me, but likely won’t for many/most of you, but that’s what a personal journey is all about: Finding a plan, tools, and lifestyle that works for YOU!  I do encourage you, however, to find a few minutes this weekend to think about those things that you are hanging on to…..and ask yourself if they have anything at all with the reason you overeat or indulge in other behavior you’d like to change.  Chances are, there may be a connection….and if so, I encourage you to “let it go!”  Let’s not carry around things we don’t need; things that weigh us down. Even if it has nothing to do with your weight or burdens, certainly letting go of those things will make you a kinder, more loving person, even if you never lose another pound or give up an unhealthy habit.  Have a great day, my friends… I’m off to blow bubbles!  LOL