February 6, 2012 jennyrain

Monday Weigh in | Solitude

Solitude and I have long had a love – hate relationship.

When I don’t get time every day on my own, my skin starts to creep into my brain and scream for silence. When I have too much solitude, my brain-talk becomes so loud I can’t hear myself think.

I have greatly appreciated this new schedule because it has given me two days just.for.me. No expectations. No husband. No requirements to be much of anywhere… just time for me. Yet even now I am fighting the battle to justify or explain myself in my desire for solitude seemingly caving into society’s expectation that we shouldn’t need or want too much time alone, especially when we are married.

Maybe it is an only child thing… or maybe it is just the way I’m wired.

As I have journeyed into weight loss this year, I have realized that there is a difference between desired solitude and being alone.

When I am seeking solitude, though I am alone, I never feel alone. With this weight loss, it has been a battle for me where many times I am left feeling alone. On my own. Alone with myself.

Food and I have had a long-term battle going all the way back to 7th grade. We don’t interact, we fight. Sometimes it wins, sometimes I do. But it is a very unhealthy relationship.

Food is a necessity, but its a necessity I have used in my life to usurp control from others, including myself when I feel that life is out of control. Food has been a source of comfort while simultaneously being something that makes me extremely un-comfortable.

In my fight with food and weight, because it is all stemming from a deep seeded discomfort with “self” I’m realizing a pattern of abandoning “self” thus leading to feeling alone.

When I was chronically underweight because I wouldn’t eat… I abandoned my body’s needs for sustenance and nutrition choosing control over health. Since being married and gaining consistent weight over the last two years…. I abandoned my heart’s needs choosing food for comfort over working things through in my marriage.

Either way the scale has swung, the results of this strange battle leave me feeling alone. And alone is not the same thing as solitude…

So I committed to a weigh in each Monday.

I lost another two pounds this week, an inch off my thighs, .5 off of my waist and hips. My achiever is ridiculously pleased and both my coach and I were happy. We talked about the benefits of losing two pounds per week versus ten a week and I realized I completely misread her last week when I thought she wasn’t pleased with my progress. On the contrary, she is delighted that I am losing consistently and healthily.

So despite this strange interaction of feelings that arise because I’m no longer food-depriving or food-comforting… the weight loss has been gratifying, even when I feel alone.

I’m thinking about starting a Monday “Weigh In” linkup where we can create a community of weight-losers … encouraging others on their journey too. Not sure yet if I will do it, but I’m thinking about it… it is important not to feel alone with a journey like this.


The pictures above & below are me, today – unedited {eek!}- at the encouragement of some very dear photographers who have inspired me with their own self-portraits (Alicia and Kelly as well as Jill Samter’s “I am Beautiful” project that I have literally run from for the last 18 months). Here’s to hoping I can also improve my self-concept over the next year too!

Poetic Winter Photography Challenge

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I break things and trip a lot. I like to chase things like dreams, goals, ideas, and raindrops. I create things with words. Writing has been an outlet since I first discovered the magic empty space of a journal. Words dance around in my brain and often land amidst scraps of paper, find their way into journals, or etch themselves into blinking pixels. I hope my words fall like rain on tender souls in need of refreshing. Finding photos in random moments helps me share stories. During a trip to Africa the perfect trifecta of my first DSLR, mission trip, and dream-location happened and my love of photography became a reality. I'm currently writing my first book, "Will They Laugh if I Call You Daddy: Growing up with 2 Dads in an Evangelical World," I'm a board member for One Million Kids, and I believe that every kid of an LGBT parent should have an opportunity to #ChangeTheConversation with their story. My bio remains in process because I am.

Comments (20)

    • jennyrain

      Thank you friend 🙂 I felt very Kelly’esque with that one pic above 🙂

  1. Lovely self-portraits, Jenny! I’m going through a weight loss journey of my own as well. In fact, I shared a “before” photo on my blog today. I’ll share a “now” photo in a few weeks. I can certainly relate to some of the things you’re going through and I think you captured those emotions in your portraits. 

    Thanks so much for joining us in the Poetic Winter Photo Challenge. We’ll be moving on to a new theme on Friday – Warmth. Don’t forget to stop by my place to download this week’s texture freebie if you haven’t already done so! Have a great day! 🙂

    • jennyrain

      Kristi – I just saw that you are weight-losing too! Love it 🙂 I’m still thinking about a linky… we’ll see if I go that route.

      Read my comment to Alicia above too – LOVE your challenges because they always build community and that is so cool!

  2. Anonymous

    Jenny bean your one of the most beautiful people I know
    love you

    • jennyrain

      Thank you sweet friend, YOU I value greatly… part of the reason I have even gotten to this point goes back to a hallway conversation we had almost 8 years ago! Love you bunches 🙂

  3. alicia

    Your are beautiful!! These are beautiful! So happy to see you in front of the camera! I understand that love/hate relationship with solitude. You said what I am unable to properly articulate, so thank you! Good luck on your newest journey. And thanks so much for joining the Poetic Winter Challenge! Love your work and appreciate the support! Hugs! 

    • jennyrain

      Thanks Alicia – love being part of the community that occurs everytime y’all do a challenge. It truly is such an encouragement to me!

  4. Jenny – there is so much I want to say to you.   I’m SOOOOO proud of you!   I’m here for you.   I will cheer you on and encourage you.   I will pray for you and I will send you love any time the voices in your head try to lie to you.   You have already done a HUGE step by posting this for others to be set free with you.   YEAH!   And by the way YOU ARE STUNNING!!!!!  not beautiful STUNNING!!!!!!  no editing needed – BREATHTAKING in so many ways.   i have a health blog that I have been writing on for over two years – check it out some time and be encouraged to know your journey is NOT alone.   BIG HUGS!!!!

    • jennyrain

      Yay! So glad you are doing this challenge… it has really encouraged and pushed me this last 18 months. I can’t believe it took me so long to start posting about it, but I’m glad I didn’t let your challenge go in my heart 🙂 You are a blessing!

  5. Michelle R

    Jenny – I have both a mix of tears and a huge smile on my face as I read this…. big HUGS!!!!  

    That first part you wrote about craving time to yourself, but yet feeling guilty about it: that’s so my heart, too!!!  I so enjoyed those 2 evenings to myself – one one else, well, except for the dog, but she’s a perfect companion in solitude! 🙂  Now, I don’t have that precious quiet time and miss it so!  As I kept reading and discovered your struggle with food, I wanted you to know that you are NOT alone there!!! Oh — I sure have those days where I feel no one understands, no one else is going though what I’m going though… and that’s so not true!  Stink, here’s the two of us, right??? 🙂  I used to be (almost) anorexic in high school (almost, cause I would eat, but very little) then when I met my then-boyfriend-now-husband, I was constantly encouraged to eat and eat (“need to fatten you up” I heard a lot!), and bake/cook (cause I’m awesome in the kitchen! hehe!) — and not the healthy stuff, either!  Then when you live in a house of 25+ people, you learn to stuff as much food as you could down as fast as you could, cause there wouldn’t be 2nds later most likely…. and so I went from my hard-(unhealthy)earned size 6 to my present size 18/20.  This year too, as I turn 31 and realize any kind of good/healthy physical change is going to be even harder now, I decided (with LOTS of encouragement and pinching from my best friend!!) enough was enough, I wasn’t going to stay this size and continue to get bigger and I needed to not let food be a comfort or a control over me.  It truly is one of the hardest bondages to break because we need food to survive — but when approaching it with the right heart and attitude, it totally is possible!  And slowly but surly, I’m starting to see some positive changes!

    You are not alone.  You are beautiful, just as you are today, just as you were last year, and just as you will be next week.  Yay you for reaching out in the midst of your struggle and opening yourself up to see that you truly are not alone!  Yay you for getting on the right path and making healthier choices, both with food and with exercise!  Yay you for being excited about the changes you’re making!

    Definitely take the time to check out Jill’s health blog — she knows her stuff and is an awesome cheerleader!  🙂  And don’t run from “I am beautiful!”  😀

    • jennyrain

      Thank you so much Michelle! Your authenticity in your comment definitely ministers and encourages my heart. I can relate to so much of what you are saying… you know, we never hear these struggles w/weight from men… why is that? It is just us women. oye…

  6. RATU

    Jenny, i almost didn’t recognize you in the picture…Whoa!!!

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