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Pam's Journey - Part II

"Don't let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries.” - Astrid Alauda Confession: I’m an emotional eater.

I eat for a gamut of reasons: I eat when I’m sad or worried. I eat when I’m lonely. I eat when I’m stressed, and I eat when I’m bored. I eat to remove discomfort from my life. When I use food as my crutch, I only have one goal in mind - to make my discomfort and negative feelings disappear. After years of starting and stopping numerous attempts to live a healthy lifestyle, I recently made a personal commitment to hit the reset button and try again. “This time”, I told myself, “will be different.” This time there will be no self imposed pressure or timelines to live up to. This time I have a strong desire to get fit. This time I have a coach who truly wants to assist in helping me to achieve my goals. This time I’m going to make a commitment. This time it’s going to work! Yes... this time is definitely different. Things got off to a great start. I started my healthy lifestyle program with excellent adherence. I trained with my coach 4 days a week. I prepared a variety of tasty and nutritious meals. I logged plenty of steps on my Fitbit. I got adequate sleep. I even started drinking more water. Everything went as planned... that is, until a totally unexpected obstacle got in the way. On the morning of 11/6, I received a phone call from my brother who lives in Atlanta, GA with my mother. “I’m calling to tell you about Mom,” he said in a barely audible voice. “She’s in the hospital. She had a seizure, and the doctor thinks she might have brain cancer.” What??????? A seizure? Brain cancer? I was stunned by the news. At 83 years of age, my mother is relatively healthy, strong, and as sharp as a tack. As a matter of fact, she even works part-time as a Medical Technologist at the hospital where she had been admitted! Surely there’s a mistake. Surely there’s another explanation for the seizure. Surely, my mother doesn’t have brain cancer. I sobbed so hard that I found it difficult to breathe. I instantly felt lightheaded and sweaty. My brother picked up on my distress and tried his best to console me. I hung up the phone and laid down in an attempt to calm down. It took some time for the panic attack symptoms to subside, but the anxiety and discomfort didn’t go away. I experienced deep emotional pain, and I was desperate for relief. In that moment, I needed a distraction. In that moment, I needed comfort. In that moment, I needed food. I don’t recall what I ate, but I do remember the sensation of eating. Each bite gave me an uncanny pleasure in the moment. Each bite temporarily removed the stark reality of my mom’s seizure along with the uncertainty of her future. Maybe you can relate. Food is just food, yet too many of us give it far more power than what it deserves. We believe that food is a remedy for resolving our negative feelings and discomfort. People often say that food provides comfort, but we all know that it never works out in the end. Two days after receiving that dreadful call from my brother, I arrived in Atlanta. From a lifestyle perspective, things unraveled after that initial “comfort meal”. One messed up meal led to another and another. I felt that I had completely fallen off track from my program and before I knew it, I was living my old lifestyle. No more workouts. No more nutritious meals. No more commitment. Even my sleep pattern became unpredictable. Maybe you can relate. I’ve been in Atlanta for 3 weeks now, and thankfully, my mother hasn’t had another seizure. And we’re almost certain that she doesn’t have brain cancer! Although we rejoice in the news, we continue to navigate the unknown as we consult with various specialists in an effort to find a treatment plan that will restore and maintain my mother’s health. So that’s it, my update for the month. In all honesty, this month’s post is a LOT different than what I had envisioned. I had hoped to write about how I was killing my workouts, eating nutritiously, and how I saw a reduction on the scale. I wanted to talk about things that would inspire others on their journey because like I said before, if I can do this, anyone can do this, but unfortunately life had different plans. That happens sometimes.

Obstacles often come along and derail us from our plans, but that’s okay. Sometimes we can walk away from an obstacle with a new perspective and a better plan. As the expression goes, “every cloud has a silver lining”. In the midst of my pain, confusion, and fear, I had my own silver lining moment, and I look forward to sharing more about it next month. For now, I’ll end this post by wishing everyone a safe and healthy holiday season. Love yourself, be thankful for what you have, and please don’t neglect to tell your loved ones how much you love and care about them. In Strength, Pam

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