I Am Spartacus, Not Sisyphus

At some point during The Great Regain (when I was feeling particularly down and defeated), I thought to myself, “Well, I guess they’re right (whoever They are), I can’t win.  I can’t keep the weight off.” There was a movement in my psyche to just regain everything that I had lost, to just sit down and eat until I was back in those size 20 clothes, until I was back in danger of needing a seatbelt extension on an aircraft, until I didn’t fit in a stadium seat anymore.  I had lost 94 pounds and I thought that I was a failure because I regained 30 of them.

I felt totally defeated.  Like Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill every day just to have it roll all the way back down to the bottom each night, a part of me believed that I almost had to gain it all back and start completely over rather than stopping the process where it was. How’s that for completely illogical thinking?

My weakest self was busy playing defeated victim and gathering up white feathers to join the Cowards’ Club, when my stronger self stood up and said:

“Well, screw that!”

My father and my son showing the Doty Spartacus attitude in Chicago.
My father and my son showing the Doty Spartacus attitude in Chicago.

My stronger self is a fan of succinct speech and believes that I am Spartacus (minus that whole being killed by a Roman Legion thing).  My stronger self believes that I am a warrior who may become tired and may lose ground, but does not give up, believes in the fight and continues it.

I have to acknowledge that I had unhealthy eating habits for literally decades and that two years of habit change is not going to completely reboot my brain.  I still have times of insecurity, weakness, doubt, hurt and anger.  From time to time, I am going to revert to bad habits during those times.    From time to time, I will fail.

But not every time.

When I was pregnant, my cousin Tammie gave me the best piece of parenting advice that I ever got … and it’s turned out to be a fantastic piece of life advice: You decide every day, with every interaction, what kind of mother you are going to be.  No one else decides that for you – you do.

As a mother, there were times when I just blew it.  I lost my temper, I handled a situation poorly, I was inattentive, whatever.  I blew it.  When I realized that I had blown it, never once did I think, “Well, I’ve blown it today, I might as well just keep acting like a jackass and start over tomorrow.”

No.  When I blew it, I recognized it, asked my son’s forgiveness and got back on the right path. That very minute! That only  makes sense, right?

So, why would I do any differently with my diet?

I blow it from time to time. In a moment of weakness, Little Debby kicks my butt. I have actually thought, “Well, I blew it today.  I might as well eat this five pound bag of M&Ms and start over tomorrow.” WHAT?!  That doesn’t even make sense!  But, I’m betting you’ve thought it, too.

Look, we’re not perfect and our struggles to establish and keep healthful eating habits are probably going to be lifelong.  Well, okay, then.  They’re lifelong. We are going to win some and we are going to lose some.  We just have to continue to struggle in earnest and win far more than we lose.

Spartacus was a slave who was eventually killed by his masters.  Let’s not let our food masters do the same to us.


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