When I first got my eating under control 8 ½ years ago, other people that I knew who had done it before me said, “Put boundaries around your food and your life will get better.”
And like magic it has been true. A little at a time, I have changed drastically from the 28-year-old girl who couldn’t stop eating, couldn’t pay her bills, couldn’t be honest, to the 37-year-old woman who loves herself, lives in a comfortable body, and has a profound relationship with her own integrity. (Not to mention a life beyond her wildest dreams!)
I know that I have mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. Particularly because I just qualified for insurance for the first time since I stopped being eligible for my mother’s insurance.
Frankly, it doesn’t seem like the biggest of deals to me because I have had very few health problems in the past 15 to 20 years. Certainly nothing that was going to break me financially. Which, in retrospect, is a big deal. Because I was incredibly poor for almost all of my adult life.
That is not a complaint. I made certain choices. And I am not sorry to have made them. I don’t even mean that in the “what’s done is done, you can’t change the past” kind of way. (Though of course that’s true…) There are many things I “would have done differently” if that were a possible reality. But the choices I made about money and work and “career” are not among them.
The truth is that money has never been that important to me. I knew that I needed it to get by in life. But I was not particularly greedy for things. Not that I never spent money on luxuries. But I never needed the biggest, best, most expensive. (Unless we are talking about apples and cantaloupes. Then I spared no expense.) I worked enough to pay the bills (once I put boundaries around my eating and got some integrity around money.) But money was never how I judged my success. And “success” the way our culture defines it was actually not something I cared about either. I made choices about money based on how I wanted to spend my time.
But those choices were stressful in their own way. Not that I was unhappy. I was not. But there was little room for error in the way I lived. I could not have gotten really sick. I could not have gotten appendicitis or broken a bone, and still have been OK financially. I could not have had a fire in my apartment. I could not have withstood any number of ordinary life occurrences. I happen to have been very lucky. But I was not stupid, blind, or naïve. Nor did I think I was invincible. So there was an underlying fear and anxiety in my lifestyle.
And I never thought it would be resolved. I fully expected to go through my life with money troubles. With financial stress and anxiety. I expected it to be the direct result of the choices I made many years ago. I expected it to follow me as long as money ceased to be important to me. And this anxiety was so much a part of my daily life, that I didn’t even notice it on a day-to-day basis. It was a low-level hum in the back of my mind unless something happened. Like I got a particularly large bill, or some unexpected expense.
But now that is gone. It’s just plain not there anymore. I no longer worry about money. And now I have insurance. So there is another thing that doesn’t have to worry me.
And I know that this shift is the result of putting boundaries around my eating.
You could argue that it isn’t. That it has to do with the job I took. And the relationship I am in. And you would not be entirely wrong.
But both the job and the relationship, and so many smaller choices that affect my job and my relationship, are the result of putting boundaries around my eating.
8 ½ years is really not that long to have become essentially an entirely different person. The changes have felt so slow while I have been going through them. But really, when I look back at myself, even just one year ago, I am hardly recognizable.
Just like I was promised, when I keep boundaries around my food, one day at a time, baby step by baby step, my life gets better.