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In search of the mythical eighth try

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be willing to bet a dollar that if you were to ask this loaded, emotionally-charged question of anyone – no matter how attractive, well-adjusted, or privileged they might appear to be – you would find that there is something they wish they were able to change about themself. Oh, they might not choose to share it with you (or even acknowledge it in their own mind, for that matter), but there is always something – a pesky fly in the ointment, a painful thorn in the flesh – something that nags and worries and holds them back from being exactly the person they want to be.

With some people, you might think you wouldn’t have to dig too deep to find out or guess what that “something” might be. If you were to see ME in person, for example, you would probably assume that you knew immediately just what it is I’d change about myself if I could: my weight.

But you would only be partly right.

Sure, I AM fat. (And yes, I held my nose and used THAT WORD… despite the fact that it is pretty much the hardest word for me to say.) My excess weight isn’t a hidden secret – it’s out there in plain sight, waving its flabby arms and calling attention to itself, in your face and indisputable to anyone crossing my path.

Yet in spite of what might seem like a blatantly obvious flaw to you, my weight isn’t actually the real problem. It isn’t the “something” I would change about myself if I only had one wish.

Because you know, being fat would be totally fine by me… if that’s all it was. If the state of my being fat was nothing more than a simple fact – such as the FACT that I am female, for example, or the FACT that I have green eyes – it wouldn’t even be an issue. I would find a home in the fat acceptance movement, love (or learn to love) my shape and size, ignore the judgment of others, and get on with living my life. I wouldn’t let being fat preoccupy me, or hold me back, or affect my self-image… any more than my having green eyes or being female is in any way a problem.

sculptures

So what’s the real problem, then?

The real problem isn’t that I am fat. The REAL problem is that when it comes to the issues of food and eating, my brain has a seriously faulty connection. Although I generally consider myself to be a person of reasonable intelligence, someone who normally makes good decisions and wise choices in life, when it comes to thinking and acting sanely about the food I eat the wires get crossed and all bets are off.

And this short in the system, this lack of control, this humbling, illogical weakness colours everything about my life and the way I see myself and leaves me helpless and broken… and yes, FAT.

THAT is what I would change.

It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have tried for the better part of my adult life to squash this bug in my system (and I am getting OLD, so that’s a very long time). I have tried, and succeeded, and then stopped succeeding, time and time again.

Thankfully, I am fairly stubborn and I refuse to give up. “Fall down seven times, get up eight” has become my go-to motto, and, to give myself credit, I really am quite an expert at regularly and enthusiastically (if somewhat wearily) getting back on the horse.

falldownseven

I lost count ages ago, but each time I get up once again I hope that THIS is going to be the mythical eighth try… the time I actually succeed, for real, for good.

Though over the past few months I’ve been quite discouraged and having a really tough time in this particular area it’s possible… just possible… that there might be a pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel.

The other day I read a post by a fellow blogger, Joy Weese Moll, in which she talked about her own battle with overeating. So many of her words resonated with me, and when she mentioned a book that had helped to set her onto a new and healthier road – The Beck Diet Solution – my eyes drifted over to where that very book in its bright pink cover sat on my shelf, unfinished, unopened in years, and slowly gathering a film of dust.

Perhaps THIS could be my eighth try?

I don’t know, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

I’ve been practicing gratitude lately, and while it’s not particularly difficult for me to be thankful in most areas of my life, I believe that it’s just as important for me to count my blessings in a challenging situation such as this.

So I am grateful….

…that I have been blessed with an innate stubbornness and spirit of perseverance that refuses to allow me to give up.

…that I stumbled across and was motivated by the right blog post at the right time, and that I happen to have the very book I need to capitalize on the inspiration, right at my fingertips.

…that I have an abundance of support in family and friends.

…that my answer to the question, “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?” turns out to be something that I actually DO have the power to change.

I will not stop trying. I refuse to give up.

And one day, I will succeed.

Inspired by NaBloPoMo writing prompt for Wednesday, November 6, 2013:
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

NaBloPoMoNovember2013

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Joy Weese Moll (
    Twitter:
    November 6, 2013

    *happy tears* I’m humbled and honored that my post inspired this one. Beautifully expressed.

    And, on a practical level, email me if I can help.
    Joy Weese Moll ( recently posted… Readers’ Workouts — November 5My Profile

  • SunbonnetSmart.com
    Twitter:
    November 6, 2013

    Woo-woo, Laurel! This NaBloPoMo thing is really turning out some GREAT, and I do mean GREAT posts. What a spellbinder this one is! You are so engaging about your – is it pain? – and line of thinking. (Like your hyphens and their use, BTW. Copying them immediately, as you can see.) You are something. How neat to decide upon a new course of action and feel confident enough to send butterfly kisses out to the blog-o-sphere in order to establish a dialogue. Count me in! And, in addition, I am delighted to learn of the Beck book. You are right about every word of your thought process. I think gratitude is calming and restorative, providing more opportunity for spiraling upward than censure ever could. So, away we go. Let’s both be thin for BlogHer ’14. I am tired of that thin and attractive Sabrina Lovejoy getting all of the second glances. Time to show her what’s what. Much Love, Fondly, Robin

  • Sabrina November 6, 2013

    So. What I wanna do is name all the areas where you’ve show tremendous discipline. I want to tell you all the things I really love about you and how all that you are far outweighs what you’re not. But you’ve named many of the awesome things that I’d name and I know sometimes, no many times, it’s not about others contributing to our feeling better but them simply hearing us. I hear you. And whether it’s a perceived external flaw or an internal one, it’s a really big deal to us. Thanks for putting it all on the table. You’ll bless more people than you know. That mirror of transparency might seem pretty clear from where you stand but it’s caused me to pause as well.

  • Lorraine November 6, 2013

    I found your blog post through NaBloPoMo, and I just wanted to drop a line and tell you that I really enjoyed reading your post. You have so much insight into your own self that most people don’t have. And resiliency and determination. It is really admirable. I hope that you find the solution that works best for you 🙂
    Lorraine recently posted… Goodbye Bread and Milk…My Profile

  • Lois Alter Mark November 6, 2013

    Such a raw and honest post, and one that so many of us can relate to. Here’s to getting up that 8th time.
    Lois Alter Mark recently posted… blogger idol: i really need your votes this week!My Profile

  • Life Breath Present November 7, 2013

    Well written post again. Particularly liked the end when you said, “…turns out to be something that I actually DO have the power to change.” 🙂
    Life Breath Present recently posted… Breastfeeding – Problems and SolutionsMy Profile

  • Walker Thornton
    Twitter:
    November 7, 2013

    I agree with Lois, a very honest and touching post. There are several things I would change, most having to do with the ‘tape’ that runs in my head- a compilation of things my mother said to/about me over the years. I’ve let them accumulate. One of the side effects is my emotional eating patterns! Stuck in that right now, as it provides comfort in the midst of loss over these last 6 months.
    What I love most about your article is the focus on the behavior or habit not the issue of being fat. That emphasis is so important.
    Walker Thornton recently posted… Adventuring Into the Unknown-When We Dare to Trust the JourneyMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      November 7, 2013

      Thank you so much – I’m glad I have a place where I can be open and receive such great feedback. And thank you for sharing what you would change as well.
      Laurel Regan recently posted… My Writing SpaceMy Profile

  • Karen Lynn November 7, 2013

    you are awesome, I just wanted to tell you that. 🙂
    Karen Lynn recently posted… Day 6 of GratitudeMy Profile

  • anexpatinuk
    Twitter:
    November 7, 2013

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s not easy to change and start new habits, but it is definately possible. And yes, I think we all have the power to change, break old habits and start fresh, little by little. One step at a time and the first is to acknowledge it to be able to take action. Here’s to the eighth try!
    anexpatinuk recently posted… GRAB(ook) Club: Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnMy Profile

  • Haralee November 7, 2013

    I am so glad Joy sent a link to your post and I had time today to read it. Refreshing to read such honesty!
    Haralee recently posted… I Wore Out My RangeMy Profile

  • Linda Anselmi
    Twitter:
    November 7, 2013

    The “if you could change one thing” question drives me nuts. Good for you, Laurel, for changing the prompt into a positive salute to gratitude and fortitude and stubborn determination. Hugs. And may you find what you need in the mythical 8th try.
    Linda Anselmi recently posted… Honoring Creativity: A Special “Giving” AdMy Profile

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