Several contestants referenced having a different relationship with food during the temptation challenge. To truly make a lifestyle change, you definitely have to interact differently with food, but as so many contestants said, making good choices is hard. During the maintenance phase of this journey, I'm used to the occasional splurge, but this past week was different. I'm not accustomed to having so many temptations and reasons to make bad choices. For a long time I lived in denial that I had a problem with food. Lately I've struggled with making good food choices. Between my birthday and extensive travel, eating clean and healthy has been a chore. How I wish once you lost the weight, the maintenance came easy. I came to the stark reality that food will be an ongoing battle for the rest of my life. Losing the weight is hard, but staying the course long term is harder. It's taken me this past month to come to that clear realization.
Watching O'Neal tonight brought me to tears. To see that kind of raw pain... Sometimes I think it's harder to watch someone hurt than to actually feel the hurt ourselves. I can't imagine suffering the onset of such an enormous loss in such a public venue. I applaud O'Neal for being so real and open with his emotions. His willingness to express his pain in such a healthy way paves the way for healthy grieving and the ability to eventually move forward. As hard as those feelings are to face head on, they must be felt and dealt with. So many people when they meet me say that they know their loss or grief is not as "bad" as mine, but I disagree. Hurt is hurt, plain and simple. When something completely rocks your world, be it the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, a divorce, a break up, or whatever, it hurts! The easy way out is to simply not deal with it. The problem that arises is that then you can never heal from it... which makes things much harder in the long run.
When you are in the midst of grief, you seek things to make you feel better... even if they are temporary fixes. For me, I sought comfort in food. Other people escape through alcohol, drugs, throwing themselves into work. Whatever keeps you from feeling the pain and allows you to escape the hurt is not healthy. I urge you to allow yourself to feel your grief... at your own pace, and deal with it appropriately as it occurs. As hard as I ran from the pain, it eventually caught up to me and sucked the joy from my life. But just like the food battle never goes away, the grief battle doesn't either. It is an ongoing struggle that must be faced, felt, and dealt with. It's certainly not easy, but it is worth it, because life is meant to be lived fully and completely.
This past weekend, a new, dear friend of mine posed a hard question. Though things may not be well with your circumstances, is it well with your soul? Today I can answer yes. Though my circumstances are not perfect, I find joy in the small beauties this world beholds, and it is well with my soul. I pray for peace and wellness for YOUR soul.
Next week's episode brings you to the great state of Texas! You will also get to see a glimpse into my hometown of Mabank as well as the local high school. Jillian was incredible with so many of the students, and it was amazing to bring her into my slice of life. It was definitely a "do-over" day when we filmed, and I'm looking forward to getting to relive it next week.