Good afternoon! It’s a beautiful autumn day here in East Texas. A crisp 52 degrees, leaves the color of the top of a rainbow scattered across the back porch, some dangling, perhaps jingling, like Christmas tree ornaments from their branches. A Christmas CD made by my Dad, who went to Heaven a year ago, plays softly. I’m listening to Barbra Streisand sing “My Favorite Things,” and I could curl into a ball and listen for hours without feeling the least bit restless. I wouldn’t even miss Facebook or Words with Friends on my iPhone. And that’s saying something.
But where was I yesterday…oh yes, Taylor Swift and how my reaction to an over-the-phone, 45-second breakup was less than graceful. I’d been with the heartbreak kid for two years. That was 1/9 of my life, at the time! We were truly, madly, deeply in love, just like the Savage Garden song said! But apparently, college changes things, and marrying my highschool sweetheart just wasn’t, to use a fortune-telling term, in the cards. But instead of leaving the situation in God’s hands, I took control in all the ways I knew how.
Working out had quickly become one of the highlights of my day. After tennis practice, I couldn’t wait to drive over to the gym and learn a new exercise, lift a heavier pair of dumbbells, or complete five more reps that last week. It was an extremely gratifying feeling to see and feel the changes that came with being stronger, fitter, and more confident in the gym as I was on the tennis court. It also was something I was in total control of.
I didn’t notice the significance of this, but when I finally pulled myself off the living room floor after the lovely breakup conversation (more like a monologue than a dialogue), the first place I went was the gym. I also didn’t notice that each workout became longer. Even after my sessions with my trainer, Michael, had ended, I continued to do pushups, situps, pullups, crunches… And when I got tired of the weight room, I hopped on the nearest piece of cardio equipment and ran, stepped, or cycled ’til dinner.
Dinner. That brings up another key player in my self-prescribed healing regimen. Soon enough, slashing calories became as much of a newfound priority as burning them. I ate normally at the dinner table. After all, my family didn’t know I was mentally calculating the calorie content of the salad dressing, roll, baked potato, and filet with the intent of burning it all away the next day.
Six months post-breakup, I was eating lunch in my car. Two-hundred and fifty calories max. I avoided social events if they interfered with my two-hour workout. At restaurants with friends, I became expert at moving my food around with the fork so it looked as though I’d eaten more than half of my entree. At that point, I was repulsed by the oil and butter I knew was lurking beneath the nutritious facade of grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. It was never “healthy” enough.
Well, I’m at 514 words now. Time to bring this post to an end and give thanks again that I am not where or who I was five years ago. Good timing too — “Christ Child’s Lullaby” by Dianne Reeves is beginning to play…