The Elephant In the Room…

Life got turbulent. Really, really turbulent. And as everything around me felt like it was falling apart, I let myself fall apart too.The elephant in the room is… me. I am not supposed to gain weight. I am not supposed to be overweight. It’s not allowed. I am a nutrition coach. People pay me to help them lose weight. Only a hypocrite would gain weight while telling others how to lose it. But I did. Life got turbulent. Really, really turbulent. And as everything around me felt like it was falling apart, I let myself fall apart too.
Flight attendants always tell you:
“If cabin air pressure changes, masks will deploy from the ceiling. Grab the mask and make sure there are no twists in the tubing. Gently place the mask over your face. Oxygen will begin to flow immediately into the mask. Place the mask on yourself first and then help those around you who are unable to assist themselves.”
My oxygen mask in life is my health. My oxygen mask is keeping my stress level low, it’s being physically active, it’s feeling engaged with my family when I spend time with them, it’s eating healthy, and it’s having the energy to enjoy my life. These are the things I need to sustain me in life. I know that when these things are not my top priority, I get stressed. The stress builds and builds and eventually it snowballs so fast I don’t know how to get control back. When you’re on a plane that’s losing cabin pressure, if you don’t get your oxygen mask on in time, the oxygen depletion causes your brain to become confused, disoriented and you may not be able to get your mask on before you lose consciousness. I didn’t have my oxygen mask on and as life got bumpier and bumpier I became so overwhelmed that I didn’t know how to get back on track again.
I can’t pinpoint when I took my mask off, but it’s been off for at least a couple of years. As I mentioned, life got bumpy. The cabin was losing pressure. Parts of my life felt like they were spinning out of control and, instead of putting on my oxygen mask, I scrambled to regain control and stop the plane from crashing. The harder I tried, the more depleted I got and I became so depleted that I couldn’t see how crazy it was to think that I, in my depleted state, could stop the everything from crashing down. The harder I tried to control everything the more depleted I became.
The first half of this year the stress finally took its toll. I was exhausted all the time. I started losing hair by the handful. I was experiencing anxiety on a daily basis, at random moments feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. The anxiety was building to the point that I knew I was on the verge of having full blown panic attacks. I was having cognitive problems and found myself googling Alzheimers on a regularly basis even though I knew, in the back of my mind, my cognitive issues were stress induced. And on top of it all, I was gaining weight at an unbelievable rate. Weight gain would suck for anyone, but when your job is to teach people how to lose weight, it’s humiliating. And of course the humiliation only added to my stress-level. Being 44, stressed to the max, and having a family history of heart problems and cancer, I was terrified of what would happen to me if I didn’t get my stress under control. I felt like I was in a do or die situation. In June I made the decision to let go of saving the plane and I put on my oxygen mask.
I won’t lie and pretend the past three months have been rainbows and unicorns. I have struggled with stress management since I was a child and I now I have to make stress management and self care a priority so I don’t fall back into old habits. My hair has finally stopped falling out, my energy level couldn’t be better, I no longer worry that I have Alzheimers, and the anxiety has been gone for several weeks now. 
Now, I am ready to tackle the weight. It’s embarrassing and scary being the nutrition coach who has to lose weight  but I have never been the coach to tell people they have to focus on their weight-loss above all else. I believe we all have battles to conquer and you can only successfully fight one battle at a time. I have told many clients that they need to get their stress under control before they can focus on weight loss. And now I’m doing exactly that. Don’t expect to see rapid results. I’m mom to a 9 year-old girl and as I lose this weight, I will be ever mindful that she is watching and learning from me. Every step of the way I will be asking myself, “How do I want her to feel about her body when she’s older?”
Oh, and my turbulent life that was crashing down? A funny thing happened when I started putting my own needs first. My turbulent life got a lot less bumpy. I still experience minor turbulence from time to time but I refuse to take my oxygen mask off so now I am always prepared no matter how bumpy life gets.
This entry was filed under: Healthy Habits, Love Your Life, Stress, Uncategorized, Weight-loss | Tagged: ,