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In search of the mythical eighth try

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be willing to bet a dollar that if you were to ask this loaded, emotionally-charged question of anyone – no matter how attractive, well-adjusted, or privileged they might appear to be – you would find that there is something they wish they were able to change about themself. Oh, they might not choose to share it with you (or even acknowledge it in their own mind, for that matter), but there is always something – a pesky fly in the ointment, a painful thorn in the flesh – something that nags and worries and holds them back from being exactly the person they want to be.

With some people, you might think you wouldn’t have to dig too deep to find out or guess what that “something” might be. If you were to see ME in person, for example, you would probably assume that you knew immediately just what it is I’d change about myself if I could: my weight.

But you would only be partly right.

Sure, I AM fat. (And yes, I held my nose and used THAT WORD… despite the fact that it is pretty much the hardest word for me to say.) My excess weight isn’t a hidden secret – it’s out there in plain sight, waving its flabby arms and calling attention to itself, in your face and indisputable to anyone crossing my path.

Yet in spite of what might seem like a blatantly obvious flaw to you, my weight isn’t actually the real problem. It isn’t the “something” I would change about myself if I only had one wish.

Because you know, being fat would be totally fine by me… if that’s all it was. If the state of my being fat was nothing more than a simple fact – such as the FACT that I am female, for example, or the FACT that I have green eyes – it wouldn’t even be an issue. I would find a home in the fat acceptance movement, love (or learn to love) my shape and size, ignore the judgment of others, and get on with living my life. I wouldn’t let being fat preoccupy me, or hold me back, or affect my self-image… any more than my having green eyes or being female is in any way a problem.


So what’s the real problem, then?

The real problem isn’t that I am fat. The REAL problem is that when it comes to the issues of food and eating, my brain has a seriously faulty connection. Although I generally consider myself to be a person of reasonable intelligence, someone who normally makes good decisions and wise choices in life, when it comes to thinking and acting sanely about the food I eat the wires get crossed and all bets are off.

And this short in the system, this lack of control, this humbling, illogical weakness colours everything about my life and the way I see myself and leaves me helpless and broken… and yes, FAT.

THAT is what I would change.

It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have tried for the better part of my adult life to squash this bug in my system (and I am getting OLD, so that’s a very long time). I have tried, and succeeded, and then stopped succeeding, time and time again.

Thankfully, I am fairly stubborn and I refuse to give up. “Fall down seven times, get up eight” has become my go-to motto, and, to give myself credit, I really am quite an expert at regularly and enthusiastically (if somewhat wearily) getting back on the horse.


I lost count ages ago, but each time I get up once again I hope that THIS is going to be the mythical eighth try… the time I actually succeed, for real, for good.

Though over the past few months I’ve been quite discouraged and having a really tough time in this particular area it’s possible… just possible… that there might be a pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel.

The other day I read a post by a fellow blogger, Joy Weese Moll, in which she talked about her own battle with overeating. So many of her words resonated with me, and when she mentioned a book that had helped to set her onto a new and healthier road – The Beck Diet Solution – my eyes drifted over to where that very book in its bright pink cover sat on my shelf, unfinished, unopened in years, and slowly gathering a film of dust.

Perhaps THIS could be my eighth try?

I don’t know, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

I’ve been practicing gratitude lately, and while it’s not particularly difficult for me to be thankful in most areas of my life, I believe that it’s just as important for me to count my blessings in a challenging situation such as this.

So I am grateful….

…that I have been blessed with an innate stubbornness and spirit of perseverance that refuses to allow me to give up.

…that I stumbled across and was motivated by the right blog post at the right time, and that I happen to have the very book I need to capitalize on the inspiration, right at my fingertips.

…that I have an abundance of support in family and friends.

…that my answer to the question, “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?” turns out to be something that I actually DO have the power to change.

I will not stop trying. I refuse to give up.

And one day, I will succeed.

Inspired by NaBloPoMo writing prompt for Wednesday, November 6, 2013:
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?


Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.