A rite of passage? I certainly hope not. Although there are many rites of passage you may accomplish as you enter college, like turning eighteen, registering to vote..., we (girls) always hear about the dreaded Freshman Fifteen. Another thing to add to the packing list: sheets, books, pillows, clothes, laundry detergent, pens, notebooks. Fifteen extra pounds doled out in ones, fives, and tens. Check.
Let’s face it, dining hall food isn’t the healthiest food available. Consisting mostly of pasta, pizza, a cacophony of carbohydrates, and other foods posing as “healthy choices”, dining hall selections are slim at best. But although Amanda (my youngest daughter and first year college student) lives right next door to the newest dining hall on campus, complete with its own soft-serve ice cream machine (her weakness), she hasn’t gained any weight. But I have.
After a fairly smooth transition, I actually thought things were going to be just fine. She was going to be just fine. I was going to be just fine, more accurately. Until we were all faced with a hellish fall. My father became ill and trips back and forth to Boston increased exponentially. With Kate living just around the corner from the hospital, at least I had a place to crash. My mother’s health, always a source of worry, was to be challenged even further. Amidst all of this, my beloved husky got ill and passed away just before Christmas. A tragedy I still can’t comprehend, never mind write about. Things weren’t so fine then.
I turned to food to get me through. Food has always been a source of comfort for me. So much so that the pounds started piling on year after year after year. I became exceedingly overweight and completely unhappy as a result. Until I finally wised up.
After my Year of Better Health commenced. I had kept the sizable amount of weight I had lost off for two years. Things started to fluctuate a bit the winter before last, but I was back on schedule the following spring. Now I know for a fact that in order to lose weight successfully, and keep it off, you have to work your ass off. Literally. Making good food choices and exercising regularly/vigorously/daily is a must. There are no shortcuts. And my body won’t have it any other way. I can eat healthy, but if I’m not exercising, it doesn’t matter. I can exercise, but if I’m not eating healthy, it doesn’t matter.
So I find myself in a place I never thought I’d be again and I’m angry at myself for allowing it, for not taking better care of me. Enter more food. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle as many of you may know. We eat our feelings to suppress anger, resentment, doubt, insecurity, shame, failure. Round them all up and let them get in line. Whatever your beef, you want it with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.
So what did I do? I wallowed for a while, which only compounded the problem. A long while. And then I made a decision: I stopped wallowing. I could accept the extra weight and be happy with myself, albeit still trying to live a healthier life, or I could get back on the horse, as the saying goes, and start again. So that’s what I did.
I’m back on my bike. I’ve hit the floor. I’ve stopped over-indulging. I’m back to square… three. Because I have to start somewhere and here is much better than where I began.
Photo: Fit Approach