During the fall of 2010, when Boyfriend and I got serious (and a dog), I was teaching at a college not-so-close to home two days a week. I taught three classes that were a few hours apart; during my downtime, I used a vacant office as my own. While everyone I came across in the department where I was teaching was very nice, I didn't feel at all like I belonged there - this is common to adjuncts, we teach a lot but aren't considered real faculty. I used the office as a little hiding place. Also, I was tired a lot from dealing with the new puppy, teaching a full courseload, and trying to do my own scholarly work. This was the fall where I really packed on the pounds, and that borrowed office had a lot to do with it.
The vending machine was just around the corner from me, and I would visit it frequently. I ate a lot of Lance crackers that semester. I can remember sitting in the office, feeling overwhelmed and lonely, shoving the crackers (as well as other vending goodies like pop tarts and chocolate bars) in my face, washing it all down with endless diet sodas. I didn't think it would make that much of a difference, but for four months, two days a week, I'd eat $5/6 dollars worth of vending machine junk food. Looking back, it's no surprise that I gained something like 25 pounds between October and December.
Recently our local grocery store changed ownership, meaning crazy clearance markdowns. Lance crackers were on sale, and I thought they'd be perfect for Boyfriend's school lunches. Yesterday, I ate a package myself, and was flooded with emotion. The taste of the crackers reminded me of that depressing time in the office, feeding my anxieties with vending machine crap. While I'm only about 10 lbs lighter than I was then, my body is in very different shape, and my attitude is almost unrecognizable. I feel really embarrassed when I think back to that office, to that girl sitting in there not knowing where her life was going to go next. I remember feeling helpless, unsure of my career choices, worried about making it all happen for myself.
I realize now that even if I have a few days of not tracking, I know I'll get myself back on the straight and narrow. If I skip a workout or two, I know it is only a blip. I know these things deep in my heart, because when I ate those Lance crackers, I understood that I am not the same girl that let her health and fitness spiral out of control. I have no desire to eat Lance crackers again because they tasted like isolation, sadness, and shame.
Uh, it makes me feel sad even to write about it.
I've been working all day, and I'm tired. My writing isn't flowing, and I'm stuck on some big ideas that are probably going to prevent me from hitting a deadline. Boyfriend and I are going to have a date night, and he just got home. I put my run off all day, and even though I just want to drop everything and curl up with the man, I'm putting my sneaks on and heading out the door. No one if forcing me to run, but I'm going to because that's who I am NOW.