Surprised at the title?
“It really makes more sense than you know. If you know how you gain weight then you have a better chance of knowing how to lose it.”
I feel and look like I have gained weight. Clothes that used to look good on me, are now tight. How can that be?
I am checking the scale and I have not gained more than maybe one or two pounds, yet I feel really fat and when I see my reflection as I walk past a window or mirror I look fat.
I am not really asking you how as I know exactly what has happened. And no I do not have a problem with an eating disorder. All I am saying and I am sure you have experienced this is that I notice a shift.
Let me tell you the story of how this happened.
For the past year, I have been struggling with a family members illness. This illness directly affects me as I am this persons only life line, and only grounding. Unfortunately the illness is one that affects the mind, and part of it is that the person affected does not believe they are ill. So making ever getting better very difficult. It is not a new diagnosis, but this year has escalated and I have become isolated.
Isolated in the sense that I only go to work, and come home, primarily because I need to make sure this person is safe and again I am her only connection to the real world. Being alone on the days that I work she tends to dwell in very dark places in her mind and when I come home she is often very angry having been thinking all day of things that others have done to her.
The process of isolation began gradually. I can’t really say when it started. I did decide however that for my business I needed my own private space to create in. So I created an office in my home. It turned out beautiful and I love it.
So much so that I began to come home and go directly into my office. Many of the times just so that I did not have to deal with the anger that had accumulated in my daughter. For the past year I have tried the same tactics to defend my rights in my own home which for the entire year have been unsuccessful. Even though I know that it the definition of insanity in itself according to Einstein;
“doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”
I guess in some sense we are all insane according to this definition, especially in regards to losing weight.
It is frustrating to say the least. Dealing with a person who you love and have watched slowly disappear in front of your eyes as well as trying and trying to lose weight over and over and over again and always with the same dismal results.
A couple of weeks ago it was brought to my attention by a wonderful woman Tiphani Montgomery who I met through my business school and have watched her online business soar, that isolation is a destructive tactic that is designed to keep us from achieving our goals and from getting our gift out to the world.
After I read her email and watched her Periscope on the subject, it seemed that every time I turned around I was hearing about isolation and how detrimental it is to your mind and your soul. In Tiphani’s email she even said, “Maybe you are isolated because of a family member”
I knew then that I needed to do something different.
I decided I needed help. However that proved to be not as easy as it sounds. Everywhere I turned the advice was the same, that she needed to agree to take medicine. The support is very thin for the families with loved ones with mental illness. I found a group though and the first meeting I heard my story coming from almost everyone there. Stories of having homes destroyed. Stories of hiding from their loved one to avoid facing their rage. Stories of multiple hospitalizations and promises to stay on meds only to be short lived and then back into the same pattern. Even though the stories were not uplifting somehow knowing that I was not alone gave me some encouragement.
I began working, not on my online business but in my other area of creativity, my home. I have been fighting to maintain my home for this year, as my person’s obsession with herbs, and other works of nature, rocks, sticks, moss, bark, dirt, wood, have all found their way into my home as art. I have had to put into place guidelines of what is acceptable and find myself constantly sweeping up after her. Literally and figuratively.
Now that you kind of get the feeling of what home has been for me for the past year, this is what happened to me. Over the winter I stopped walking. Gradually I also stopped doing my 3 minute workout, and then I began to give into my cravings. I also became addicted to Netflix and Youtube movies. My office my computer were no longer my creative space and tool, they had become my escape from reality. I kept tracking my food intake but not consistently and gradually stopped cooking or prepping my meals. I lost my appetite, nothing tasted good.
“I became depressed.”
Many years ago I took a class for women in transition and one of the lessons talked about climbing out of the pit. There was a cartoon strip that showed a woman first walking and then falling into a deep dark hole. The next panel showed the woman climbing out of the pit. The next panel showed the woman doing the same thing. The next panel showed the same woman walking towards the pit and she put the ladder over the hole and walked over it. The next panel showed the woman walking towards the pit again and simply walking around it. This cartoon has stayed with me for over 28 years.
“The idea is once you have been in the pit, you know how to get out. The hard part is remembering it and then doing what it takes to get out or avoid ever going down there again.”
Are you seeing the connection? I became depressed and in my attempts to comfort myself I turned to my old patterns of comfort eating and escaping reality with my drug of choice….movies.
I stopped my short bursts of exercise, the one thing that kept my neurotransmitters firing and producing dopamine and serotonin. I stopped accomplishing goals which also produces feel good hormones and neurotransmitters. I stopped feeling good, so then I didn’t look good and then I felt worse.
I am gradually working my way back into the routine. I have purchased my TRX bands which I found that I loved when I was going to the gym. I can do a short effective workout easily in my own bedroom. You will never guess what keeps me from doing it…I have to hang it up every time! So that little glitch is enough to through me off. That is how far down I have gotten. I simple hook will soon be installed to keep it up so that I can get up each day and do my lunges and chest presses. It truly is a great piece of equipment.
I have started walking everyday and sometimes twice a day. At my best I was walking 4 miles a day. I do not see myself as a failure, I am an expert not only at the 3minute fitness program, but in climbing out of the pit.
This time it was a little bit harder as I do not have little children that are depending on me, to force me to get my butt out of the pit pronto. Like I said I have been isolated. That is why it is so dangerous. You are on a little island and no one knows you are there.
My next step on the ladder out of the pit, is community and healing. Building community, go places and join groups where I feel wanted, loved and appreciated. Listen to my body and take cue to do what is necessary to heal myself.
I will let you know how I accomplish those things in the weeks to come.
I am posting this so that the one person out there that needs to see that they are not alone perhaps will join me in this journey.
I will close with the memory of yet another cartoon by my most favorite cartoonist Mike Twohy. It was of a man looking similar to Tom Hanks in that movie Cast Away, on a desert island. You know the one with the one palm tree. He is hiding behind that one tree as a rescue ship is passing by. The irony of that cartoon, cracks me up to this day. Yet that is what we are all capable of when we isolate ourselves. We become used to it until it is more comfortable than really living.
Let us come out from behind our palm tree on our tiny little desert island and start living today!