“Don’t let anything become a habit where you emerge feeling worse.” I read that recently in an advice column. Habits, bad ones, in my experience are complicated and insanely difficult break.
As the glowiness of married life started to fade a bit, Marc and I settled into a comfortable, I’m wearing sweats at night, kind of routine. We sold my little house in the city and purchased a house in the burbs of Portland where I grew up. A big backyard for the dog and a great school district for our future kids. Marc worked long hours building his insurance clientele and hosting his late night radio show while I was busy trying to satisfy two hundred overworked, underpaid employees which felt like nailing Jell-O to a wall. After work, we liked to relax with take out, a cocktail, and political news shows. Mexican food and martinis with Hannity and Colmes, or Chinese and chardonnay with Chris Matthews (or Bill O Reilly depending on our mood). Friday nights were spent at our favorite pub enjoying cheesy enchiladas and strong, icy lemon drops. I pretty much ate what I wanted, but surprisingly, I was also drinking what I wanted. Not a good combo for a woman with body image issues.
I’d been known to enjoy a drink or two throughout my adult life (ok maybe a little before), but keeping my consumption in check was never difficult for me for one big reason. I was raised in an alcoholic home. I saw firsthand the chaos my mom’s drinking created in our family and I knew there was a genetic component, the risks. So, I was careful. But drinking was something Marc and I enjoyed doing together. Wine tasting on crisp fall days while overlooking the lush Willamette Valley, grabbing a drink at a crowed bar while listening to live music, enjoying flame lit Spanish coffees after a romantic meal on the coast. If our relationship was a jazz band, alcohol was the saxophone, without it, something was missing.
By this time, I had long been out of the habit of weighing myself, and quite frankly I was afraid to get back on the scale for fear of what it might read. I did however have an unspoken rule that I would never wear a size larger than an X. (When it comes to specific sizes and weight I will speak in generalities,triggers.) The weight was creeping on and this time I was noticing. I didn’t like the way my clothes were fitting, the waistband digging into my midsection. I hated the second chin that seemed to emerge when I smiled, and my stomach, ugh, the pooch was back. Our consumption habits, while fun in the moment left me feeling worse in the long run heavy, lacking energy and frustrated I couldn't control myself when it came to the amount of food and drink I was consuming. And yet, I wasn’t ready to give up Mexican martini Mondays, I felt stuck. Again. But wait, I had been in this conundrum before, and I knew exactly how to control this.