March 1, 2010

Dear Shelley,

Well it looks like we “made it!” and we did it! I know there isn’t anyone harder on you than you are on yourself. For years and years you ate your feelings away, you ate when you were happy, sad, angry, and nervous, you ate to finish your meals as a child because that is how you were raised, “you took it, you eat it.” You avoided conflict around the family dinner table by burying your face in your plate and just comforting yourself fork to mouth, and eventually continuing the “we won’t waste food” scenario finishing your kids’ plates if they left anything on them.

As you grew, eating grew into a love for cooking and entertaining. You would get out the cookbooks line them all up, pick out which recipes you were going to make and spend hours and hours on this. I know you really do love to cook, and you are a pretty good amature chef too if I must say so myself.

Somehow as a mom you encouraged your children to only eat what they wanted and NOT clean their plates, instead if anything was left you finished those last bites. I’m sure you weren’t even hungry most of the time. Come on you just finished your meal, how could you possibly be hungry?

I never realized what actual “hunger” felt like. I mean everyone get’s “hungry” every once in a while but most of my life I ate when it was “time to eat.” Wake up, breakfast, a few hours later, lunch, evening dinner and probably some type of snack. But I never ever stopped to really think about “eating” and how it actually impacts our bodies. I mean what does the nutritional value of constant “picking” look like to the inside of your body?

We all know I wasn’t fortunate to get the good genes that grandmom had with eating butter and high fat meats and not having a cholesterol problem; instead I inherited the “bad cholesterol” gene… I never stopped to think what an internal visual of that would look like. What could I do to help this so that I might possibly not have to take cholesterol medication daily?

You should have gotten a small clue when the ding ding ding was going off when you were pregnant with your oldest. Exactly how many gallbladder attacks did you have until they told you that the lining was so diseased it had to be removed? Oh yes, six weeks after a c-section, that was not exactly an easy time for you. Back to back surgeries not fun at all. But why wasn’t this a wakeup call for you?

We all know your life has been a little harder than most raising a daughter with cerebral palsy and that too has been a huge weight on your shoulders, no pun intended there but I know there were many many nights days when you ate your heart out over this. There is nothing easy about being a mom of a child with a disability and coming to terms was very difficult but the worrying about the unknown future also has eaten you up inside too.

You have never been a real “athlete” as an adult. I mean you liked to swim recreationally, the best you did at that was when your oldest was little and you swam a mile every morning. Meh, maybe it wasn’t so much that you weren’t an athlete but you just stopped taking the “time” for yourself to help yourself.

Sooo Finally the light bulb went on! One day I don’t know what you were doing but finally you realized that if you weren’t going to take care of yourself no one else would. I don’t think I was visited by three ghosts but I could have been. I know there are a few things in life that we do by ourselves, we are born, if we are females we give birth, and eventually we die. Pretty much those are things we have to do on our own. For me, coming to grips with the fact that I am an “emotional eater” who is killing herself one day at a time was a wakeup call and along the line of I have to do this myself. I mean my husband and children support me 100% they always do! But then again they supported me while I picked and picked and said, “Meh on Monday I’ll start a diet to knock off this extra weight.” It had to come from within… the little nagging voice in my head that said “hey, don’t you want to be around to see your grandchildren get married?”

So kudos to you Shelley for stepping up to the plate and realizing that food is actually something your body needs to survive, nutritionally. For realizing just what nutrition is all about and truly taking it to heart.

God Bless you for saving my life!

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