Hi everyone - I've been a longtime lurker who finally felt brave enough to join the forums today. This seems like a very honest, intelligent, welcoming community of people who have similar ideals and philosophies to mine, so I thought I would give it a shot and introduce myself.
A short autobiography: I'm a single mom in my late 30s. I've struggled with food and body image since I was a teenager and my weight has fluctuated wildly. I discovered Geneen Roth back in the very early 2000s, and I flirted with intuitive eating here and there but could never really figure out how to truly honor my hunger and continued to obsess over food. Exercise and physical activity was never a problem for me though - I am thankful that I've always loved to run, bike, hike, lift weights, do yoga, etc. and have continued to do so through the years.
I finally thought I had it figured out. In 2012, due to a combination of things (a calorie counting app, a stressful divorce, and discovering I had a bit of a talent for 5K/10K running and becoming competitive on the local circuit), I lost about 15 pounds and was in the best physical shape of my life. I was able to maintain my lower weight for 4 years. I kept on calorie counting but was still able to fit in beer, ice cream, bread, lattes, etc. I was running 30-40 miles a week so I could pretty much eat anything I wanted as long as I kept it within my weight maintenance calorie budget, which is pretty high when you are running that much! All the while, I was winning local races and had visions of qualifying for the Boston marathon. My body confidence was at an all-time high and my obsession with calories, hunger, and food in general diminished. It was still there, but since I didn't think I ever had to worry about my weight again, I didn't let it bother me.
But around this time last year things started to fall apart. I just got burnt out from all the running. I had started dating a new guy 6 months earlier (we are still together) and while he is super fit and eats well/exercises a lot, I guess I started to get that feeling of "settling in" to a relationship. No longer did I want to get up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday to go out for a long training run. I just slowly started cutting back on exercise to a more reasonable level. I gained about 5 lbs, and since then I've developed a few aches and pains - no serious injuries but the extra weight and the soreness makes running a lot less enjoyable these days. And I am a lot slower than I was a couple years ago which makes me a lot less motivated to go out for a run. None of my clothes from a couple years ago fit right anymore and when I look at myself in the mirror I just hate what I see after years of loving what I saw.
I am really stuck between the idea of just "letting go" and just accepting myself and my body at this level/being a healthy role model for my son, and obsessively wanting to drop 5 pounds, get lean again, and get back to where I was. But that amazing "willpower" and motivation that I seemed to have a few years ago just...isn't there anymore. And I don't know why.
My boyfriend loves my body and constantly tells me that I look great and reminds me that I am almost 40 and eventually things are going to change a bit, lol. But I am not ready to accept that.
There is a lot more to the story but I've written a lot so I'll stop here for now. I'm sure much more of it will come out as I post more.