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Elbow-Deep in a Half Gallon of Ice Cream

I always find it funny when people comment or say how much they “prefer the way Swim Bike Mom used to be.”  I have to stop and think for a minute on that one.  Do they mean ME, personally? Or the blog? Or what?  And what does that even mean, anyway?

“Hey you’re okay, but I liked you better before…”  Really? Who says that?  [Oh, I have a list of people, actually.] SO for those of you who feel that you miss the Swim Bike Mom train wreck, today’s post is for just for you!  Ding ding ding!

Today’s post is something like a throwback Thursday post. Except it’s like Throwback Train Wreck.

Yes, I have been pretty darn good about my nutrition and not boozing, and doing the healthy things.  I have a countdown clock of time with my new way of eating and life and it’s been pretty consistent for 425 days, give or take, along with my ever-growing sobriety of 191 days.

I credit my nutrition getting through a stress fracture for 12 weeks and actually losing a pound versus the old way of injury meaning: now is time to eat all feelings and gain copious amounts of weight.  I credit the nutrition with giving me a purpose behind eating and learning about my emotional triggers and stopping the insanity. I credit my raised RMR (resting metabolic rate), the semblance of a strong core (hidden by a fine layer of blubber), and smaller pants—yep, I give all of the credit to the food (or focus behind it).   And actually, I will even give the start of my sobriety credit to SBF… because going through the program, made me SEE the issues. I couldn’t ignore them anymore.  [Sidebar: I think there are many ways and paths to sobriety–whether it’s AA or the Hip Sobriety way.  There’s a million ways to skin a cat, as the Southern folks will say. (Who came up with THAT saying, by the way?). I am not a nutritionist myself or an addiction counselor–these are just my thoughts.]

So yes, I have done “great” and I am “proud” of my progress.

But deep down in my soul, I am a rebellious person.

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As a kid, I grew up with a thumb over me.  So when I could rebel, secretly and behind the scenes, I would take every chance.  But not publicly rebel–I was still some form of the “good girl.”  Perhaps why food and alcohol became such a problem for me–it was something I could do behind the scenes, and no one would really know much about it.   This rebellious tendency undoubtedly led to a not-so-private alcohol problem later in life–an acceptable, public rebellion of sorts. I could do something “bad” (drink like a fish) in public, and it was “okay.”

But no matter what, I always felt like I was being judged.  I was, I guess. It’s probably pretty shocking to watch a 36 year-old woman put down an 8 ounce steak filet, baked potato, salad, one or two martinis, bottle of wine and dessert–and still be standing ready and poised to go for a 100 mile bike ride the next day.  I mean, I guess I was a bit of a novelty.

The way Swim Bike Mom used to be.

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So, in the spirit of the way I used to be, I had a bit of a rough day yesterday.

I haven’t eaten great for the past few days… but the slip-ups were more along the lines of “healthy junk food”–things like gluten-free pizza and too much dark chocolate.  Not any large-scale tragedies by any means, but for me, I must be careful.

After dinner, I declared that I was heading straight to the grocery store and I did.  And I bought a half gallon of Breyer’s Reese’s Cup ice cream.

I rebelliously and shamelessly had two VERY large bowls (why I even bothered with the bowl, I don’t know). The Expert looked on, not with sheer horror, but rather a face of amusement.  He hasn’t seen this behavior in quite a while.  I figured it would scare him.  Didn’t appear so.

I ate wildly, with a purpose, and with a clear head. With a sense of accomplishment, and almost duty.  I washed out my bowl, then promptly threw the 1/3 remaining into the trash (after pouring soap into the container—any other food addicts reading, well, you know why…  #truth).

The conversation afterwards with the Expert went something like this:

Him:  It’s okay to have ice cream, you know.
Me:     Yes, I know that.
Him:   Do you?
Me:     Yes.
Him:   You’ve made really great progress. It’s okay to have ice cream.
Me:      I know that.
Him:    It’s okay.

I was nodding.  Until, I really thought I might lose it.  And I felt like that scene in Good Will Hunting.

It’s not your fault.
Yeah, I know.
It’s not your fault…

Of course, only I would made a bridge of physical abuse and my current state of ice cream.
[Give me a break I was an English major. You’re lucky I didn’t find the Christ figure in my Breyer’s.  Although I totally can…]

But, it’s funny how much I can get absorbed and wrapped up in these minor things. My other life food has been sort of sucking lately… my stress levels have been far too high.  And I am obsessing about things like ice cream.

Yes, I ate about 2,000 calories in ice cream. Yep, I had the farts like I have never had before until the wee hours of the morning. My stomach was pissed.  My face was puffy as all hell when I woke up.

And guess what?

And by this morning, I had moved on.  Beating myself up was not not part of my script.

We miss the old Swim Bike Mom.

The old Swim Bike Mom would have woken up and said, “F*&@ you. You worthless, fat woman.  Why can’t you hold it together? You suck.”

This “new” Swim Bike Mom acknowledged the massively puffy eyes, and said, “That’s what 2000 calories of peanut butter dairy sugar equals: puffy eyes.”  She acknowledged that the ice cream made her feel rotten…but not that she was a rotten person. She is not useless. She is not disgusting.

Some of you may miss the old Swim Bike Mom… but I sure as hell don’t.

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She was so sad.  So self-destructive.  So miserable.  Swimming, biking and running away and away to try and make sense of it all.

And thankfully, I appear to have done enough swimming, cycling and running to come to a semi-place of love… with myself.

[Okay, maybe not LOVE… but LIKE.   And hey, Simply LIKING someone can sometimes be better than loving them. ]

For those of you who were born with an innate love for yourself, you may think of me: “Oh poor woman who thinks so poorly of herself.”  Sure, feel free to criticize me for it. (As usual, I await your blog comment about how you have your act together. #sigh ).

But working with and coaching women, I’ll tell you there are FAR more of us than you’d ever imagine. The self-loathing epidemic for us as women I think is shockingly massive… it’s so terrible and sad, and it has been a part of my script for so long.

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So… the reason I shared this post today? I was elbow-deep in ice cream at 9:00 last night, and this morning at 9:00am, I was buying wild cod at Fresh Market and eating it for breakfast.  I enjoyed the feeling of the hot Georgia sun on my shoulders in walk from the parking lot.  I enjoyed sipping my cold-brewed coffee as I started my work day.

I didn’t hate myself for something as simple as ice cream.

For me, the difference between growth and stagnation is directly proportional to my ability to acknowledge and move on.

When I acknowledge things as they are– even when they are hairy and ugly, but acknowledge them–and I move on, move forward to do better, to change what I can, with the grace I can give myself… that is when I have seen real, seemingly permanent changes (food, sobriety, health, job).

When I ignore the facts, when I beat myself up, and when I give myself no grace–that is when nothing happens, and the old Swim Bike Mom shows up.

So even if you are elbow-deep in a half gallon of ice cream right now, it’s not a permanent state.

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None of us actually live in a Breyer’s factory (thank God).

So making things better for ourselves is sometimes just as simple as acknowledging the status of things–really looking and accepting–and then taking the baby steps necessary to just keep moving forward, in a good way, with good intentions and kindness towards ourselves.

#HappyMonday

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35 Comments

  • Beth

    June 20, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks as always for your honesty. It’s quite refreshing in the blog world these days.

    Have you ever read “Grace for the Good Girl” by Emily Freeman? It’s amazing. I’ve read it 4 times, each with a different color highlighter. I’d highly recommend it!

    Reply
  • Laural

    June 20, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    What a beautiful post. I’ve followed along with you, and a lot of my journey over the past few months has been similar. (except, I started on anti-depressants, followed a slightly different diet, etc). I was at my coaching session last week (after a year off) and one of the coaches said to me “you’re running better, but it’s not really your form or pacing . You just seem to be running … happier.” That was probably the best compliment I could have received!
    I like the new Swim Bike Mom! Way to be you.

    Reply
  • Leslie

    June 20, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you for this. Good timing, as I have let some of my good SBF lifestyle habits slip and I’m using this week to refocus. I love your honesty.

    Reply
  • Missy Knowles

    June 20, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    For what its worth, I read each and every post of yours hoping that I can get to where you are now, just like I did when I read your book a few years ago. When I apply the things you talk about, I realize that I am on my way. As a 9/15 SBF group participant I swallowed up all of the wonderful information, but I didn’t absorb it completely then. Today I pulled out all of the material, and I’m going back through it now. Even if I take baby steps, they are steps in the right direction just the same.
    Meredith, you are such and inspiration to so many. I am so grateful to have come upon your story, and I admire your honesty and bravery in sharing it with all of us. You have changed my life in a magnificent way just by being yourself. Thank you so much!!! 🙂

    Reply
  • Jo

    June 20, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Haters are gonna hate. Just keep on your path. And if you don’t mind, please keep sharing because it really is inspiring in every way.

    Reply
  • flybigd

    June 20, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Good for you. People miss your train wreck because it helps them justify not changing their own story/habits. “Haha I am such a disaster” but the joke gets old doesn’t it? Hard to change but you seem to have found that it’s worth it.

    Reply
  • Alice

    June 20, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I think you’re my new girl crush (no worries, I’m a married mom of two so I won’t show up at your doorstep ;-)…). Thanks for your honesty, it’s refreshing. You definitely inspire me!

    Reply
  • Dee

    June 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    The irony of reading this while eating Ben & Jerry’s (following Taco Bell) is not lost on me. I’m looking at my second of FIVE sprint triathlons this season this coming Sunday. (Um, did I mention that it’s my first season?) Must. Step. Away. From. The. Food. Luckily I can say that I no longer drink (massive amounts of) diet Pepsi at least. Progress!

    Reply
  • Laura

    June 20, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Meredith,

    Congrats on your sobriety and for continuing to light the path. I need to remember how I feel when I eat healthy and train consistently.
    I got injured in April and am just now getting back on the trail. MVs post was timely. Hope I can join sbf after July.

    Reply
  • Lisa

    June 20, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    When people need to justify their own messy state they like to see others in the same mess. I think it gives them an excuse not to change. I think your transformation is nothing less than inspiring and am enjoying your posts more than ever. I can’t wait to see what you do next:)

    Reply
  • Weekend food monster

    June 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Must be in the air… Friday I had an awesome 6 mile trail run then ate a pizza(thanks Digorno you jerks! ?) Saturday wonderful 30 mile bike followed by a whole bag of Boulder Canyon malt salt and vinegar chips (yes, whole large bag…save the applause people) then a pint of Luna and Larry’s coconut milk salted caramel ice cream (amaze balls FYI) Sunday, well not too bad because I felt so awful and had a great food hangover ?
    Today I made it good…. Rowed a half marathon on my indoor rower then hiked 3 miles up/down Kennesaw Mt in 45 minutes BOOM ??

    See it’s all good Meredith, you are never alone ! ?❤️ We always get back on that horse in the SBM Army ! ?

    Reply
  • Rhona

    June 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Meredith, one of your best posts. Loved it. Love you. (And I totally have done the pouring water and dish detergent on the half eaten bag of chips, cookies, ice cream, etc…otherwise, would be digging in the garbage at 2am for it.)

    Needed this post today. Thanks.

    Reply
  • Joyce

    June 20, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Love the way you have grown up! And you are so lucky to have The Expert on your team. But, can you actually LIVE in the Breyer’s factory???? Asking for a friend….. <3

    Reply
  • Kristin

    June 21, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Can’t seem to stop singing the line from Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off…” “Haters gonna hate, hate hate…” For those who grieve the “loss” of the old Meredith, let them hate. Your personal growth and raw honesty, that is what matters and what keeps people in your corner. Much love.

    Reply
  • Janice

    June 21, 2016 at 11:54 am

    This post was appreciated. MV’s post from the other day about fixing the OTHER things in your life was timely as well.
    Thank you for being so real and so transparent.

    Reply
  • Jennifer Dyke

    June 21, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I LOVE the newest version of you. If anything it gives hope that the journey is possible that if you are swimming biking and running to figure it all out, if you binge then beat yourself up so much you cry, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.Seeing your struggles and successes makes women on a similar path feel normal. I’d say carry on your path and let us follow as we are on a similar one. We all want to wake up and not hate ourselves over silly things like pizza and ice cream. Thank you Meredith for all you do and mostly all you share!

    Reply
  • Cindy S.

    June 21, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    I love you. Keep being awesome. With a happy heart, have a great rest of your Monday. 🙂 And is there really anything better than ice cream? 😉

    Reply
  • Jo

    June 22, 2016 at 1:47 am

    It’s inspiring to see that the script can be torn up. That we don’t have to stick with the one we somehow picked up along the way and kept with us, guarded closely. It’s inspiring to see you change. You shine the light.

    Reply
  • RichG

    June 22, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    This is so, so good. As someone who has been elbow deep in ice cream many times, and all the associated self-loathing in the morning, I am now on day 93 of OA. I have lost about 30 pounds and am so much better on my bike. But most importantly, when I wake up in the morning and my brain scans for what terrible thing I did the night before, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Even if I did have an ice cream, I have learned that I am not perfect, and never will be, but I can like myself just the way I am. Keep up the excellent work.

    Reply
  • Amanda

    June 23, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    No ice cream for me today ….. yet. But I ate enough Life Saver mints to keep them in business. I just watched the Swim Bike Fuel Launch Party from last August & signed up for the July session. I’m missing a key part of my nutrition. I think I’m in the category of those who aren’t consuming enough calories for my training. And the stress. I won’t get into it here but the fat on my tummy can tell tales. Shouldn’t be this hard, I know I’m missing something, which is ridiculous for all the research I’ve done and as long as I have been at this. Hoping MV has the key to my issues. I’m ready to slim down & ramp up. I have IM dreams in my future and can never seem to get past the 70.3 distance. Ahhhhh!!!

    Reply
  • Michelle

    June 28, 2016 at 11:49 am

    You’re an absolute rock star. I definitely find you to be a role model through your honesty in your accomplishments and progress. Thank you for your openness on this journey!

    Reply
  • David

    June 30, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I enjoy watching you grow and change. I found this blog 1 year ago and it has inspired me with my battle with sugar. Thank you for all you do, keep it up and keep growing and changing. Thank you very much.

    Reply
  • David

    June 30, 2016 at 9:42 am

    You can make your own ice cream that is healthy!! I have healthy ice cream cook books that have great recipes in them!! It satisfies my sweet tooth urge with out spoiling my diet! One of my favorites is Avocado Ice Cream!! Also love Peach Ice Cream as well!! It is super yummy and good for you!! You can redefine Ice Cream as something that can be good for you when you make it yourself!

    Reply

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