Katie: Finding my true strength

I’m writing today’s blog post from a good place, having survived mastered a difficult 3 weeks. I learned a lot in the past few weeks about just how strong I am and this time it has nothing to do with weight lifting.  I am kind of nervous about sharing this post, as its deeply personal but I think its a good one to show that we all struggle in our  own ways, that no one’s road is an easy one.   I think today’s post is also a good one to share because it translates well to anyone that suffers from binge eating episodes, stress eating, emotional eating…the list goes on.

My husband was out of town for work 3 weeks in a row (home on weekends) and I was left with 100% of the parenting duties.  The first week was kind of fun and filled with ‘just girl time’.  But by the second week my 3 year old turned into a monster and my days soon became filled with an ever growing frustration that left me feeling like I was going to explode.  Not having hubs home to hand off to for a break, or just to double team trying to wrangle the kids was stressful.  When the stress hits old habits come knocking at the door, and stress eating and wanting to numb yourself into a brief state of bliss becomes very tempting.  

Yes, when stress hits old habits come out of the woodwork…..for me it wasn’t just the solo parenting stress but the fact that I was on my own…all ALONE in the evening.  When I was much younger and entrenched in bulimia being on my own was a huge trigger.  So I found myself in the past few weeks, alone in the evenings pulsing with stress and wanting to reach out to food for comfort like so many of us naturally do.  The night after halloween was the first night it hit me hard.  I put the kids to bed and came down stairs shaking with frustration after a particularly hard night, and went straight to the bag of halloween candy.  I dug through and made a huge pile of my favourite candies, with every intention of eating them.  I literally sat in front of that pile of chocolate and thought I am going to eat all of this…but I was frozen…frozen with fear because I knew that their was another voice inside me saying it was ok to eat it because I could purge it.  I sat there.  frozen.  fearful.  Then I prayed and I asked for help.  I picked up the phone and I called my husband and told him I had a pile of chocolate in front of me (I left out what the other voice was saying) and while talking to him I bagged up all the halloween candy and took it outside to the trash on the curb.  Even I had enough strength not to dig through the garbage on the street for a fix.  I even posted about my near miss on the Losing it in Ottawa forum (again leaving out the that other voice).  I went to bed feeling calm, strong and thankful.

So the days went on, while I was on my own, the days were very stressful (some of the toughest days with youngest to date) and I found myself fantasizing about food and exactly what I would eat.  I was seriously flirting with disaster.  The evenings would come, the kids in bed, and me on my own.  The anxiety would rise and the battle would begin.  I think for 3 nights in a row I fought to not give into those old demons.  I can’t describe how powerful the urge to binge and purge was.  That even though it has been over 10 years since this had been a problem, it all felt like yesterday.  The lure of loosing myself and the stress and frustration in a binge coma was so tempting.  This is where I proved just how strong I am.

  • I had to slow my mind down and really think about what this was I was thinking of doing, I needed to slow my mind down and my racing heart
  • I thought about the food first, this so called ‘glorious food party’….stuffing cookies, peanut butter by the spoonful, or whatever your drug of choice is down the old gullet in a craze is not the same as sitting down to a delicious treat that you savour and enjoy.  Its certainly not like choosing a Sticky Toffee Pudding at Moxie’s and enjoying it with conversation with my hubby.  My so called ‘food party’ was going to last what a few minutes? 10 at the most and then what?  The calm and the numb that it brought for that brief period will be replaced with horrible guilt and anxiety and oh yes more STRESS!
  • then I thought about this ‘so called loop hole’ the purging.  Yes the purging, lets really talk about that.  Its not the easy out you think.  I made myself remember what that was really like.  I made myself picture what it looked like, and how it felt (the puffy red face, swollen eyes, sore stomach)
  • I slowed my mind down and broke it down, and in doing so it was like breaking a magic spell that revealed the rotten apple. The whole things lost its power over me. 
  • and to make sure it was good and dead, I drove the final stake through by picturing my two sleeping girls upstairs (I write this part with tears in my eyes as the emotion is still so raw)

I went through this scenario 3 nights in a row.  You would think that after one night, it would have been done with.  But sure enough as soon as the stress and frustration creeped back in, like a drug addict I found myself right back in the same spot on my chaise breaking it down and fighting my way back to sanity.

Here’s the thing, I hate…I HATE..that at 34 years old I am having to struggle with these ‘disordered thoughts’ again.  I thought I had left that demon at the curb at 23.  I hate that the ‘journey’ I have taken to get healthy and loose weight brings up these old ‘thoughts and feelings’.  But that is what they are OLD THOUGHTS and FEELINGS.  I refuse to give them power, to feed them.

I know my mom and heck my husband too are reading this and worrying.  I am writing it not to do that but to hopefully help others that struggle with anything similar to this.  To share that the lure can be broken, that you can quiet your mind and see reality as it is.  Most of all I am writing it for myself, to keep me honest, to keep myself on the healthy path.

I have been working hard on finding my way, I recently posted on my blog about adjusting My Fitness Pal to allow for more calories to support my workouts, and I took some time off to rest.  I have also been easing up on being so ‘rigid’ and enjoying ‘treats’ in moderation (like the Starbucks Christmas Cake Pop).  I think that I am much less likely to obsess over these foods if I allow myself to eat them in moderation, savouring them, and without guilt.  It goes back to letting go of that all or nothing thinking again.  I also registered for a ‘Sugar Sense‘ seminar next week to help me figure out these sugar cravings and how to make healthy ‘treats’.

We are all struggling in one way or another.  We have different paths to follow and are at different stages on this weight loss and health journey.  But at the end of the day we all want to be loved, to love ourselves, to feel good and to be happy. Here’s to finding our way!

Number one on my list of reasons to be strong, this Family! Picture taken by Paola Mateus Photography

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About Katie Squires

I am a stay at home mom, with two little girls ages 3 and 5. A former couch potato turned fitness enthusiast, I am on a mission to empower other women to live their best active life. You can follow me at http://fitmominbarrhaven.com/
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25 Responses to Katie: Finding my true strength

  1. Shona says:

    What an amazing, strong woman you are! You speak the truth and it resonates with us.

    Wow.

  2. Rachel Tops says:

    OH MY DEAREST KATIEROO! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! I have seen this struggle in you for the 7 years we’ve been close .. and I have never heard you stronger than you are in this post! You take that gorgeous face of yours and lift it high … your chin should be up and you should FEEL PROUD! Your honesty here WILL make a difference to someone who struggles as you do .. YOU ARE SO BRAVE even on the days you don’t feel like you are! I am beyond PROUD and INSPIRED of you my sweet sweet friend .. I am IN AWE!

    Hugs and snugs and I am ALWAYS HERE FOR YOU! I am “YOUR PERSON!” ;)
    R
    XOOX

  3. Laura says:

    You are one of the strongest women I know. Stay focused. You have done this the healthy way. You’re proof that it can happen the “right way”. Also, we need a girls night out soon (and not at the gym!).

  4. Jayda says:

    Katie! This post is so powerful! Your willingness to share openly is audacious. It will not only benefit others it is helping you heal. How did you feel after you hit ‘post’? How do you feel reading the comments? Your journey is an inspiration to many. I look forward to meeting you IRL in a few weeks and I am excited to play a (very) small part in your understanding of cravings.

    BTW, I think I need you to be my workout coach…something I struggle with;)

    • Katie Squires says:

      You know what Jayda, I felt ‘lighter’ after I hit publish…I felt ‘free’ and after reading the comments…I felt so very BLESSED :) So very much looking forward to meeting you in real life next week :)

  5. Lara says:

    Saying things out loud is a great way to conquer the fear and to give yourself guidelines. I think its awesome you’ve done it here and you should be very proud of your strength!

    Also, Paola did an amazing job!

  6. Katie Squires says:

    Thank-you Lara

  7. Liz says:

    Wow! Katie….your strength is so inspirational. You are beautiful, funny, strong, and from what I can see a dedicated, incredible mom, and wife. Thanks for sharing your struggle. We all have them, and many of us do not have the strength to share…so…thank you, thank you, thank you for your honesty….:)

  8. Tara says:

    You are the true meaning of inspiration! And I think you are an incredible role model for everyone around you, including your 2 baby girls! Woman power!!!!

    • Katie Squires says:

      thank-you…..thank-you all so much I was feeling a little nervous about being so ‘honest’….I don’t feel nervous anymore :)

  9. Chantal says:

    Katie, Wow you are amazingly strong. An amazing woman! So much power in you! Wow!

  10. Rosie says:

    I only recently began reading your blog and since I have you have helped to inspire my to begin taking better care of myself. To do so will help me in my role as a new mom but it will also benefit my son in the long run. I look forward to seeing your work in the Move More, Eat Less workshop starting in January. From the bottom of my heart (and on behalf of many moms out there), “Thank you!” for keeping things real.

    • Katie Squires says:

      EEEEEEE the Move More, Eat Well workshop…I am so excited about that!! Looking forward to getting to ‘know’ you better there and thank-you for your comments on the blog :)

  11. wordywort says:

    Your honesty is humbling and inspiring, and your posts always give me something to think about. I admire that you were able to break the cycle by making space for your feelings. And I couldn’t have survived three weeks alone with two kids.

  12. Katie Squires says:

    space for my feelings…I like that…that’s all they are…feelings…not these big ugly demons I make them out to be in my head…I like that…thank-you

  13. Karen Melbourne says:

    WOW Katie, your notes brought tears to my eyes for several reasons somewhat different then yours but they still fit in the same hard place. I used to think it gets easier with age (not), it gets better with age and knowledge (somewhat) but what usually gets me thinking about how wrong or right I feel is READING blurbs off your blogs. You amaze me, I feel blessed to know someone just like you even if we are far apart, we share some similarities that most people won’t believe and I thank you for being open and honest and to allow yourself to write about this stuff (I have not). I am starting to think you should consider becoming a Life Coach or something around there, you are on the right track and finding out all the tricks that make it go, stay on your track Katie and I am sure you will help others stay on theirs. (hope this makes sense)

  14. J. says:

    “Here’s the thing, I hate…I HATE..that at 34 years old I am having to struggle with these ‘disordered thoughts’ again. I thought I had left that demon at the curb at 23. I hate that the ‘journey’ I have taken to get healthy and loose weight brings up these old ‘thoughts and feelings’. ”

    congrats on winning this round. I do think it’s the victories during adversity that mark the progress, rather than the periods of easy quiet in between, so hopefully this was a time that moved you further away more permanently.

  15. blown away Katie, thank you for this, as wordywart said, “humbling and inspiring.” So many things resonate and what a gift for our daughters.

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