In my last weekly weigh in, I talked about my slight weight gain and getting back on track after the death of my grandmother. I wish I could say that I’ve been taking my own advice. Since that post, I’ve been wishy washy with my eating and workouts. Consistency hasn’t been part of my life and I desperately need it now! It’s been a roller coaster of emotions to say the least. Today is December First and it’s the start of a new month and a new week. I’m ready to put myself first again and do the work to keep going on my weight loss journey.
Grief is such a taboo topic but it’s the one thing that connects all humans, regardless of race, religion, or economical class. I haven’t wanted to talk much about it on my blog for fear of scaring you away but the truth is that right now it’s been a huge part of my weight loss journey. It’s the reason for my inconsistency. I feel that I need to address this here before I can move forward and get back on track.
Who is that Person?
I’ve found myself pissed off at how horrible I look lately. I feel like I aged ten years over night. I’ve never had to worry about wrinkles or dark circles and all of a sudden, they’re taking over my face. Growing up as the “fat girl” I could always disguise my fat and enhance my curves. I could rely on my pretty face to make up for my size. I cried when I saw myself in a recent pic. It didn’t even look like my face! I also feel like crap because of my inconsistent eating and lack of workouts. I’ve been angry that I’m exhausted from pretty much doing nothing. I hate that I haven’t felt like myself.
I’m the type of person that needs to see a clear plan of how to get from A to B. I need to know exactly what’s expected of me and how long it will take. I need to be in control of the situation including the grieving process. Death and grief are life’s reminder that none of us are in control.
Feel the Pain Without Food
For about a week after Nam’s death, I would get this overwhelming uneasy feeling around 8pm every single night. It was a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. Even if I just ate, my stomach felt empty but yet swollen and painful. I felt like I was going to come out of my skin. I couldn’t sit still. I would pace around the room, back and forth over and over again. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t do anything to get rid of it. This pain was so foreign to me. I later read that it’s perfectly normal and it’s part of the grieving process. I also recognized that it was so uncomfortable because I was actually letting myself FEEL the pain and not numbing it with food or alcohol. I remember that same feeling when I was in therapy and starting to “sit” in the pain instead of overeating.
I kept asking my husband, “how long am I going to feel like this?” Remember, I need timeframes, people! I need to plan out how long I’ll look and feel like shit! He gently reminded me that there isn’t a time line. Grief takes TIME and it takes as long as it takes. He also reminded me that I’d been through a lot in the past few months. I stopped to reflect and soon realized he was right. Damn it!
Not only had my Nam died. . . I had spent the past year worrying about her health when she was given the cancer diagnosis. The past year was full of doctors appointments, radiation treatments, emergency room visits, and transitioning to a nursing home. The two months leading up to her death were the hardest. That’s when things took a turn for the worst and I realized that my grandma who had been independent for 89 years was slowly dying right in front of us. Those months were full of trips back and forth to the hospital after work for weeks until ultimately watching her take her last breath.
Watching a loved one slowly die and slip away is absolutely heart wrenching and takes every ounce of energy from your body. Celebrating your Dad’s birthday a week later and Thanksgiving a week after that are stabbing reminders that she is gone. Reality that your life is forever changed and every holiday and accomplishment going forward will be bittersweet.
When I put that into perspective, I was comforted that everything I was feeling was perfectly normal and part of the grieving process.It’s ok to not feel like yourself for awhile. Once I accepted that, I could give myself grace and kindness to just BE.
Suddenly it was ok that I had been living in leggings and hoodies. It was ok that my hair had been in a permanent ponytail. It was ok that putting makeup on took all my energy. It was ok that my housework was falling WAY behind. It was ok that I had extreme dark circles under my eyes for the first time in my life. It was ok that I was doing the bare minimum for my job. It was ok if I needed a power nap in the middle of the day. It was ok if all I did today was BREATHE!
Grieving is like an emotional injury. If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t be expected to be “back to normal” in only a few days. Grief takes time and it requires you to FEEL the emotions and let them pass through your body. Believe me, it DOES get easier.
Be kind to yourself. Give yourself and others grace. The weight loss journey also takes time. It’s ok to be a little bit slower than usual. If you keep going through it, you’ll eventually get to the other side. It might take longer than you expected but you don’t have to let grief or a tough time take you completely off track forever. That said, I know I’ll still have good AND bad days but I’m ready to fully commit to staying on track . . . even on the bad days.
"And no one ever told me about the laziness of grief." ~C.S. Lewis~