I happen to be living the sweet life at the moment. Just Married to the love of my life. I not only have a driver’s license, but I even have a cute little car for running errands in a cute Kentucky town. There just happens to be a 2 mile path around my house for me to jog in the morning. Robins and daffodils are everywhere. And I’m writing and learning to knit socks. People used to tell me, “put boundaries around your food and your life will get better.” But that first day that I put boundaries around my food, I could never have imagined that they meant *this*.
It took years of not putting sugar, grains or starch into my body for me to untangle myself from my false notions, bad behaviors, and manipulative ways. It took years to get free from my self-loathing. To be willing to take an honest look at myself and my character flaws and change. There was no way I could have fathomed this kind of happiness. But that is because I could not have guessed the self-love and freedom that exist in integrity. I would have wanted all of the “prizes” but I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea what it was going to take to get them. And if I had known, I would have been terrified of the work.
Work used to terrify me. Discomfort was the boogie man, it filled me with dread and panic. In the end, I had to make friends with discomfort. It was the only way to grow up. Only children expect to feel good all the time.
I can imagine on an animal level why instant gratification is a necessity. Eat the food when it’s there. You never know where there will be more food. But when you have a car, gas, a local grocery store, and you do know there will be food, instant gratification means higher obesity rates and a rise in the number of obesity related illnesses. But I’m not just talking about food, either. I’m talking about discomfort in general. I’m talking about sacrificing a fulfilling future for a comfortable present.
I am not one of those people who looks forward to exercise. (Do those people really exist? Are they all underwear models or motivational YouTube celebrities?) What I look forward to is having done the exercise. I like being energized. I like feeling accomplished. I like the endorphins. I like feeling like I am doing some long-term planning, investing in the future. A future with less pain and better brain function. A future where I continue to love my body and care for it, and it loves me back.
And I still marvel that this body can jog for 2 miles. This body that I was sure was such a curse. This body that I was so ashamed of and disgusted by.
But that just brings me back to my point. How could that me, the one who constantly diminished and criticized myself, ever have had a glimpse into this future?
They told me if I put boundaries around my food, my life would get better. So I did the work. And my life got better. So I kept doing the work. Yep, I still do the work. But I have to admit, I’d do this much work for a lot less. I mean, it’s not always easy, but it’s really not that hard either. I’d do the work just to be free from my obsession with food. I’d do the work for the guilt-free eating alone. But this whole thing, the love and the peace and the joy, the “prizes”, the life beyond my wildest dreams, this is something else. This is some next-level sh*t.