Saturday, December 10, 2011

Always a Work in Progress

The other day at work I had a really negative experience and I felt like I needed to share it.  I realized lately I haven't been able to share much personally due to being busy.  I have been sitting on this experience and felt if I could share it maybe I could gain some perspective.

And if you are reading this and you would like to comment or share, please feel free!

At work we have  a great juice and smoothie bar.  From my weight loss in the past I have a fairly good idea of calorie content in food because I calorie counted for over two years and occasionally revert to food journaling if I am feeling a lack of control in my eating habits.  I had had a few clients early morning, worked out, and needed some sustenance to carry me over until later on in the day.  I grabbed my favorite smoothie and headed down to the locker room where I was confronted by another employee by my choice.  He asked me if I knew how many calories were in what I was eating.  I told him I hadn't eaten in six hours and this was my meal replacement.  He then proceeded to "school" me on bringing snacks to work like Clif bars (which I don't usually choose because they are too sweet) or yogurt to eat between meals.

I told him I figured the smoothie was between 450 to 600 calories which, in my opinion, seemed reasonable.  When he kept at it I just said okay and shut down because I didn't feel like having the conversation any more.  I was really angry at him.  I didn't want to confront him about my feelings on the subject.

I don't have a great relationship with food.  This stems from my childhood and adolescent years where my parents felt that since I had a hearty appetite they should intervene because they were afraid that I would be heavy.  I wasn't heavy YET, but they were hoping that by commenting on the amount I ate I would become self aware.  It worked.  It worked too well because I spent many years feeling inadequate about my eating habits.  I felt anguish about every bite of food that went into my mouth.  I couldn't enjoy eating because I was afraid that it would make me fat.

When I got to college I hit a wall and I decided screw it, I am just going to eat how I want to eat.  I got heavier but I felt free in a way.  It was like a big middle finger to everyone.  I never had problems meeting guys and dating and having friends.  I was an actress who sang and danced well so I never felt limited except when a certain role would pop up and I didn't "look the part" because I was bigger than other candidates.

When I moved to New York City after college I started to eat more because I felt insecure about living there and competing as an actress and then September 11th happened and the food made me feel secure in an insecure world.  Then my sister was ill and I moved home and this was the first time that I knew I really was fat.  Not just oh these pants are tight kind of fat but fat like I have to shop in the big girls store fat.  I was out of control.  I was sad.  I was angry.

When Jocelyn died I was so sad I don't even remember the three months between her passing and when I decided to start working out for the first time.  I remember spare memories, but the rest of the time is like it didn't even happen.  I do remember eating and eating and eating because I wanted something to comfort me from such an enormous loss.  Starting to exercise was the first step in taking control of my life, then watching my food, then losing the weight.

It hasn't been an easy journey.  I have become obsessed with the scale, obsessed with the food, felt like people wouldn't love me unless I was at a certain weight.  It has taken many years to realize that I have to do it for me and not for my parents or a boyfriend or a casting agent or my friends.

I was angry at my coworker for calling me out for something that is none of his business.  He touched on a subject that is so hurt and scarred and private.  My first thought was how dare you judge me or judge my choices.  Who the hell are you?  The food police?  I was angry for not speaking up or standing up for myself.

The moment has passed and I have armed myself for the future should the coworker every mention it again.  But it was interesting to think back to why it bothered me.  I realized that every day is a new opportunity to work on myself and I will never be finished.  I am thankful for this medium to help me share and I love that I have such an amazing community of support.

At the end of the day I am ultimately responsible to be the change I want to see in others and I must lead by that example by not allowing the judgements passed on me to not affect me and to be there for others who feel like they are being judged.  As my hero Patricia Moreno always says, "Live a life you love in a body you love right now".  I am learning to love a little bit more every day.


  1. This post hit home in so many ways. For me, its my mom. I feel like that little girl who could never do anything right when anyone criticizes me or questions my choices. My husband doesn't do that so I don't understand why other people feel they have the right. My mom still makes me feel like she is even if she maybe isn't. That feeling of being judged stays with us. I didn't realize how much it still bothers me until I read your post.
    As I recover from ankle surgery, I have had A LOT of time to think and evaluate. Each passing day, I appreciate my body for the simplest thing. I feel like I am have physically and emotionally been broken down and am working on coming back together (in & out). It sounds hokie, but this injury/surgery has been teaching me to love what I have right now.
    sorry to ramble!
    thanks for the post!
    formerly known as @jeninRL

  2. Catching up some more, and I'm with Jen on this. In fact, my mom and I just got into it on New Years Day. It started with me having 3 cookies...3 cookies, her saying something about me having no willpower (casually), me saying something about temptation is always in the house so I can't practice willpower like I should (cause I live with my parents and they aren't overweight like me so why would they try to eat healthier too, right?), and then she went on a rant about how she was just being a good mom giving her kids good meals & that I was the only one of her kids whose body "exploded"...

    Which is a lie. One of my brothers was overweight too, but he joined the Marines and took unhealthy supplements to drop the weight. I did mention to my mom that none of those were realistic or healthy options.

    I know these kinds of things have been happening ever since I went through puberty and my body, emotions and eating habits spiraled out of control (for many different reasons besides hormones), but they happen far enough apart that I can forget the words. But the emotions and judgmental wall is always there.

    I guess I can take comfort in knowing I'm not the only one who has this issue. Makes it easier to fight the good fight.