Fat Is Like Quicksand

I want to exercise. Seriously, I do. I want to in the way that makes me get up and put on workout clothes every single morning because TODAY, if nothing else happens, there will be yoga or a hike in the woods. When the children come home, my daughter says with big smile on her face, “You do yoga, mom?” She (and just about everyone else I’ve ever met) knows how much I long to do yoga and hike in the woods. She seems genuinely excited for me, until I say, “Um… no. I meant to but it seems I never did actually DO it…”

Strangely, she shows no judgement of her pathetic mother.  Clearly, the same cannot be said for me. I feel sort of pathetic… okay, terribly so. At least, I did until today… when I was hiking in the woods.

Somewhere around 17 years old, I started to put on  “the weight”. It seemed in my blurry memory that I went from little girl to an overweight young woman in one fell swoop, like when I stopped growing up… I just kept growing out. But, it was not so. A few years ago, I was looking at old pictures and realized that I started putting on the weight around 17 years old, right after I met the man who a couple years in married and had babies with me.

No, he wasn’t some deranged food pusher. This was my first really serious relationship, not that I realized that at  the time. Before him, I’d been sort of consumed by relationship chaos… one “boyfriend” after the next. I was searching for “the one”, which I later realized was me (much, much later that is). Either way, being in the security of our relationship put an end to that chaos and then the chaos shifted into my relationship with food. Also, I spent so much time being young and “in love” that I wasn’t engaged in any sort of physical activity. Getting serious with him did not change that, my focus was on him… not me. I was already living my life from the outside in.

That’s what I found out in the woods today. I’ve always seen myself from the outside in. Starting this journey to lose weight, I would wake up every day with the intention, the need, even the desire to move my body… but I could not make myself do it. I realized I was stuck, in the way people are when they hire me to be their Life Coach, so I reached out to mine.

My Life Coach is an extraordinary woman and working with her has changed my life, just like the two wonderful coaches who came before her. She said to me, “Christy your adult self wants these things – to eat healthy foods and exercise – but there is some part of you that does not believe that you are one who does these things.” We dug around a little bit and found some inner child work that was ready to be done, and then today I had an epiphany in the woods.

About one mile into my five-mile hike my body was already beginning to ache. I looked down and noticed my belly, a good bit of the 60 pounds lives there, and I could hear my coach’s proposition. It was true. Looking down, I recognized for the first time that I still perceived myself from the outside and “she” absolutely doesn’t look like the kind of woman who hikes five miles in the woods or does yoga, or eat healthy foods for that matter.

So, I dropped in… deep inside my body. I felt my muscles working in a whole new way I felt my breath rushing into my lungs, my heart pounding in my chest, and my bones… I have bones! Underneath the fat, I have bones and muscles. I am strong. I am the kind of girl who hikes and does yoga and eats right. Deep down inside of me, I am the kind of girl who is strong and powerful and cares about myself.

The weight, I realized today, is like quicksand. Once I was in it a little bit, I got stuck, and I’ve been thrashing around most of my adult like trying to get free of it… only I was watching myself from the outside and I looked like I was drowning. I little progress here or there, always followed by a backslide. I believed that I was stuck because that’s what it looked like from outside. Being idle and eating crap meant more weight, more stuck. Until today, when I reconnected with myself from the INSIDE OUT.

From the inside, I have access to the strength that comes from being the woman I am.  I am done flailing around and making my situation worse. I feel calm tonight, crafting an exit strategy to get out of this mess. This means doing “the work”, getting sweaty almost every day , and learning the stuff I don’t know how to do. It also means asking for help from my coach, teachers, and support system. All of this is possible to do from in here… it’s an inside job.


What about you? What are you trying hard to change but can’t seem to pull it off? Are you living with this sort of inconsistency? Can you relate to my experience of seeing myself from the outside?

Photo Credit: toholio via Flickr


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a             y m.
g d c.3 years ago


K s Goh
KS Goh3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Stephanie D. L.
Stephanie D. L.4 years ago

Once again, Christy, you get it just right. I got stuck looking at the outside and seeing the obese me, with surprise, actually. When I'm not looking, or trying to get up off the floor, or up the steps, I am not aware of her. Then I catch a glimpse of her in the mirror and wonder who she is... that not me, me. Perhaps I need to go back to the inner me and ask her how to get me together.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Lia R.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing this Christy. Between this and your earlier article, "Drawing the Line in the... Pants?", I feel like I might be able to relate to you, on this subject.
When I was a sophomore in high-school, at almost 5'2, I weighed a healthy (depending on your definition of the word) 180(ish) pounds, and wore somewhere around a size 18. I didn't like my body. At all.
When I started college, I discovered something: I was losing weight. Better yet, inches! A year or two into college, I was down to about a size 12-14. Amazing! Here, finally, I began to get a sense of comfort with my own body. Sure, I wasn't any kind of model (even on an athlete's exercise program, that ain't happenin'), but I felt physically healthier than I had since... well, before puberty hit (that's when all the trouble started). It, was, awesome.
At 24 years old, I now weigh a very healthy (that's my story and I'm sticking with it) 195lbs. I'm back to my size 18 things... and that's if their generously sized. I still own a couple of size 16 jeans, that actually HURT to put on (wearing one of them now actually- laundry time!). I have to tell you though, unlike that silly high-school girl I was, I'm actually okay with my body now. I'm still no model, and yeah I wish I could do something about this darn belly... but I'm okay now. Size 18-20 pants and all. Even if my doctor thinks that even though I exercise, eat healthily, feel great, and have no real health problems, I need to lose 30lbs. HA! :p

Robyn L.
Robyn L.4 years ago

lightbulb moment, Christy. Thanks!
Next time that critical harpy starts talking the negative self-talk, I'll drop in, check in, sink, sense and release.

Tana M.
Tana D.4 years ago

I can definitely relate. When my fiance and I still had our gym memberships one of the biggest reasons I didn't regularly go was because of how I perceived myself. I was so concerned with what people would be thinking of me, I thought they'd be looking at me and judging me, like what is that girl doing on the elliptical? I still struggle with that, except I don't have the gym membership anymore. I want to do things, but I feel out of place because of my weight. It's great that you finally went hiking! You are an inspiration and maybe someday soon I can change myself like you are changing yourself.

Hugh Mcintyre
Hugh Mcintyre4 years ago

great article!

Kerry Stuparitz
Kerry G.4 years ago

Great article! My weight has also crept up over the last 6 or so years, and most drastically when I started dating and moved in with my current boyfriend. Why do we let ourselves care for everyone but..ourselves?? Thanks for the inspiration.

Monique D.
Monique D.4 years ago

Thanks very much