Today, I was biking along the shoreline of the Atlantic ocean in sunny South Florida. I felt enormous gratitude! Here I am in the most beautiful setting while others are really cold somewhere out there.
I was recently in Chicago (see photo!) and it was 26 degrees below zero! My face almost fell off! And now…here I am peddling along the beach with the temperature nearing 80 degrees. How great is that! Today I witnessed many cloaked in little tiny bathing suits knowing somewhere out there (Chicago!) there are many bundled up in their multi-layered clothing.
As I was pedaling I was wondering how I would be able to keep my exercise in tact if I lived up north. Here in Florida my goal is to exercise 6 out of 7 days a week. While in Chicago, I was not able to meet my goal. As I am peddling along the shoreline, with seagulls keeping me company, I wonder how others fare living in a cold climate. As I pondered this thought, I went back in time when I did live in Chicago. Around this exact time of the year (mid-January), after the holiday festivities came to a halt, and my body was up a good 30 pounds from eating from Halloween until my New Years resolution, I would fall into a deep depression until April when the sun resurfaced and the pale gray slated skies disappeared. Some would call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Perhaps they were correct.
I don’t have those “dark” days here in sunny Florida like I did when I lived up north. It was one winter back in January of 1986, standing on the platform waiting for the El train, when I decided no longer would I give in to another winter of cold. It was a cold and blistery day. I decided out loud that I had enough…I was moving to Hollywood (Florida that is!). And in May of 1986 off to Florida I went and never looked back.
Often in my past history my weight would fluctuate 100 pounds up and down. My last year living in Chicago was one of those times where I was able to control my weight to some degree. Although my eating disorder was flourishing even then, I was able to hide it (weight wise)because I was doing so much walking living in the city. Although I did not exercise regularly because of the cold, I was walking to catch a bus or a train every day several times. In addition, I was taking the stairs (at De Paul University) rather than the elevators. I was trying to eat clean for the most part and then would succumb to a binge on the weekends. Back then, I did not know about food addiction. I thought I was weak-willed and that I did not know how to “do it right.” Now of course I know different.
Today, I know I am a food addict and there is no cure for food addiction, only recovery. I work my recovery every single day, whether I am here or in Chicago, or at my little beach home on the west coast. Eating sugar, flour, and wheat is not an option. Not exercising for long periods of time, is not an option. Today, as I rode along the shoreline of the Atlantic ocean I smiled on the inside and the outside all at the same time. I suppose onlookers might have thought I was a bit “touched,” but I did not give it a care. I am free of food addictive behavior, my weight is “normal,” and I feel spiritually balanced. All worth my efforts of vigilantly working my program.
Some say they could not eat the way I do, or exercise regularly; but, I say it beats being in Chicago freezing my you know what off and wearing an extra 100 pounds. Today life is centered and balanced for me. How about you? Is your life centered and balanced? How do you work your exercise program in the winter? Are you still pumped from your New Years Resolution? I want to hear from you!
Photo taken by: Lisa Ortigara Crego
Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.