Camen Design

© copyright

The following was written by my wife Eve and republished here due to Posterous shutting down.

Purge

I have danced around the issue for long enough — now it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty. I shall spill the scary numbers in this post, and will be posting updates once every few weeks. I need to do this for myself, so the next time I become inclined to pig out on something awful and embark on some self-destructive behaviour, I can remind myself of how far I have gone and decide whether I really wish to throw all this away.

I ended my recent relationship on the 19th of March and went into hibernation mode for about a week. By hibernation mode I mean I took on extra shifts and split my time between work and sleep, and did nothing else physically. Mentally, my brain was in an overdrive. What I never expected was how utterly and completely lost I felt after the relationship ended. I wasn’t mourning the loss of the guy as much as the loss of the children and the house and the dog/cat that we were going to have and the cushy little life we had vaguely planned together. This stage lasted one week.

After this, through thought, analysis, and lots of lengthy phone calls, closure came. I have realised that somewhere along the lines, I have lost so much of myself in this (and the ones before this) relationship, that the image of my perfect man and my perfect life has been shaped and chiseled and has turned into something that I don’t really want. My personality has changed as to fit in with my ex’s life and I tried so hard to become his ideal woman that I managed to be neither — I wasn’t his perfect woman, but I wasn’t myself, either. I have realised how bad the communication between us had got towards the end, thanks to playing games and hiding our true faces from each other. How well do you know the other one when you don’t know what they are truly thinking? Ultimately, we both wasted time on a stranger and the only way to make this matter is to learn from it.

My mum came to stay with me for a month at this time. Even though this had been pre-arranged, the timing was good. Although my mum is not one for emotional chats, she provided some common sense and perspective when I needed it most. As always, my time with mum is a time of plenty. It is the only holiday she gets, away from the stress of her daily life, looking after nan, working almost nonstop, and being there for heaps of people. It is only natural that I want to make it the best time of the year — we go places, see people, do a lot of sightseeing, buy things and spend money on frivolities. One of these is food - mum is a sucker for KFC and Chinese, even more than I am. I have recently discovered a Chinese buffet restaurant which offers a ridiculous number of Oriental and Asian dishes. I remember leaving the place one day, feeling physically sick — I had to lie down because I ate such quantities of food that it was bed or saying hello to the toilet bowl. That sushi is deceptive! It may look small but boy is it filling!

Mum left on 10th May which was the first day of my new life. I had been building up to this point for years. I finally got to the point where I have had enough. I've had enough of being unfit and fat. Yes, I had been wanting to lose weight and be healthier for a long time, but I was never ready. The workout DVDs were sitting on my shelf wrapped in their original cellophane, the rebounder was securely packed away behind my sofa. The free weights? I didn’t even know where those were. The juice extractors were collecting dust in the kitchen. The depression made everything an effort. I would pull myself together and get the food shopping done, only to look at opening the fridge door as a mammoth task (forget cooking!) and go without food for days on end (soft drink and chocolate don’t count as food, I may as well have been eating plastic… on second thoughts, I practically was — what is Sprite anyway?), until my body won and I got so hungry I was shaking, at which point I would cave in and order masses upon masses of take-away food. I would then proceed to eat much much more than necessary and need to lie down and have a sleep to digest it and hide away from how awful I was feeling about myself. I think the only thing that tied me to reality in some way was my work during the last few years before the break-up. And when you work with highly chaotic people with sometimes severe mental health issues, and consider this the most normal part of your life, you know there is something wrong. For years, I was the support worker with as many issues as my clients — just hiding them better.

I dropped mum off at the airport and came home. I stood on the scales and wept angry tears of defeat. The scales, unfortunately, don’t lie. I may be able to hide from myself, avoid mirrors, talk myself into complacency, but the scales won’t lie. I used to weigh myself in kgs for years and stopped about 3 years ago, switching to pounds instead. For years I used to be the same weight. I was always between 60 and 62kgs, from the age of 16 till about 23. This is, according to my trusty Google converter, 136.7lbs or 9st 7lbs. On the 10th May, the scales showed me the scariest number ever. They showed a round 250lbs (113.4kg; 17st 9lbs). I felt physically sick when I realised that this is something I have done to my own body, willingly, and with a vigour worth a better cause.

I took all the knowledge I have about nutrition and health (which is a fair bit, if I say so myself) and I picked and chose the easiest bits to accomplish. Between 10th and 30th May I lost my first 18lbs. This was the easy bit, achieved with minor adjustments to my diet, and a major readjustment of my outlook on life. I went from moaning about having to do exercise to being grateful for being able to. From complaining about not being able to have as much Chinese as I'd like to being thankful for healthier options. I became happy not to want to have a piece of chocolate in my mouth at all times. All these things came just with a shift of my perception, which then led to a new set of attitudes and acceptance of the situation as it is, no better or worse.

After this, June was stagnation on the weight front — I didn’t put on any, but I didn’t lose any more, either. However, I started going to the gym and built up a bit of stamina and strength. I started getting used to moving my body in new ways (I say new because they haven’t been applied for over three years). Suddenly, climbing the 6 floors at work didn’t kill me anymore. I started walking part of the way home from work. Bouncing became the joyful and exhilarating experience it should be. Swimming started cleansing my mind of clutter.

In July, so far, I have lost another 9lbs. This is probably some fat lost and some muscle gained so I cannot tell exactly how much fat I have shifted. All I know is I went from a very tight size 22 to a loose size 20/tight 18. Depression is a thing of the past. I am more disciplined around food, mainly thanks to my other half who eats like a horse (don’t you hate it when the guy is thinner than you???), and — shock! — he eats three meals a day. I would have three meals in a week, if lucky, before. Massive meals consisting of several portions, but only here and there. My poor body sitting in a constant threat of starvation, holding on to all the fat it could.

Well, no more. I still have around 86-90 lbs to go (40kg or over 6stone) but I am confident I will manage. I will get there, sooner or later. Knowing myself, sooner rather than later as I am incredibly impatient when it comes to anything concerning me.

I want to put in the hard work and document it, record it for all to see, but mainly for myself. It will forever be a reminder of what I have done to myself and how I worked hard to remedy it. And I don’t want this journey to be just about weight. I want to purge my life of unnecessary clutter, get my finances into shape, face my fears, sort out my career, grow as a person. No small feat but then, I am a person of extremes. Putting it all out in the open is a way of me committing to this new life a 100%.

I am ready to bring happiness into my life. As painful as growing is, I am ready to grow into the woman I know I can be. This is an exciting time of change for me. There may be a good reason why The One above sent my perfect man into my life at this time — who knows when he can push me and when I am not ready. How amazing! I wonder what more is in store for me, but whatever it is, I know I can handle it. Quitting is not an option. Bring it!