Is Life a Journey or a Battle?

Laurie on the hiking trail on a sunny day giving thumbs up.
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I give myself thumbs up for hiking as my first exercise 10 days after I was sick. I was weak and tired and it was hard to get back on the mountain.

Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

Waving the White Flag on My Latest Battlefield

I have to give props right away to new BC Dave who triggered this whole idea for me via emails. How we refer to our challenges, be they disordered eating, chronic cluttering, overspending, or even sickness, can make a big difference to our mindsets and our actions. Often we talk of ‘Battling’ our demons, or our disorders or our circumstances.

Lately, I’ve been pretty dang sick and wiped out from either food poisoning or the stomach flu, but have I been actually battling this condition?

Hmmm. I don’t think so. I think I have been pretty much going with the flow. I have been doing WHATEVER it takes to support myself through this horrible, though not lethal, bump in the road. I have been as kind to myself as humanly possible. Ms. Inner Critical Bitch for SURE took a breather during this acute experience. Why?

When one is going through immediate pain or trouble, I don’t think we take the time or energy right in that moment to berate ourselves. Au contraire! We DO WHAT NEEDS DOING. Feeling and recapping comes later. We can choose then to view the event or events through a filter of critical judgement or dispassion or Pollyannaish lemonade. Events in the past have no sway over us really. It’s all about point of view.

Oh Lordy Do We REALLY Have to Hear the Gory Details Again?!

Kinda, but I’ll keep it limited to my point. Think back to your last “battle” with sickness. Does it make sense to BERATE yourself for being sick?

Self: “Laurie you IDIOT look at us going through this misery! It’s ALL your f-ing fault you incompetent boob”

Me: “Er, Self can we talk about this later…blech”

Self:”There you GO AGAIN tossing our cookies when I’d rather be sleeping. There is just no CONTROLING you!”

Me: “Well Self, I’D rather be doing something else…ANYTHING ELSE too!…blech”

Self: “So why DON’T you?!”


Well you get the point. In the middle of crisis, we do not think about having conversations like that. It would be ridiculous.

Is it any less ridiculous to have them after the fact?

When Recapping Does Some Good

In my example, my sickness was either food poisoning or flu. It made sense to try and figure out the CAUSE, because if it was food poisoning, SOMETHING in my house had triggered it. And I needed to GET THAT OUT OF THE HOUSE. So Mark and I tossed out everything we could think of that I’d eaten in the 48 hours prior to my critical event.

Now if I had gleefully used a knife that had just sliced raw chicken breast on some tomatoes and popped them, Russian Roulette-style, into my mouth, it might make sense to give myself grief over that after the fact.

But if food poisoning was the culprit, it was nothing I knowingly did. So what makes sense is to rationally recap my actions and to try to eliminate another bout with the awful stuff for myself or for Mark.

On the off chance it was flu and NOT food poisoning, it made sense that Mark limit his exposure to me and my area and we scrub the bejesus out of everything with germ killing warfare. THIS part was an actual battle.

Battles Usually Have an End AND a Winner

Battles, by definition have a duration that ends. They are temporary events that usually include a winner and loser. Mark and I battled the possible causes of my sicky sick attack with vigor. We thought we won as I got better. BUT Mark came down with the SAME crap one week later. So either we didn’t toss the right ingredient, or it WAS the flu and he didn’t stay far enough away to avoid catching the bug.


Get Back On Point Would Ya?

Ok back on track to my analogy about battles and journeys.

When I think of my life long experience with compulsive overeating, binge eating disorder, skewed body image, yo-yo dieting, extreme exercise and the rest as a BATTLE, then I have lost over and over again. ALL of my ‘wins’ were temporary at best. If I think of my life as a JOURNEY, then I can view all of those things simply as events. I didn’t win or lose. I just had various experiences, which, like my sickness of late, can be recapped in order to see if a new course would benefit my current life goals and wishes.

When I lose a battle, I berate myself, feel defeated, and give up.

When I hit a roadblock on a journey, I find another way.

Life as a Journey

Did you notice I wrote, ‘When I think of my LIFE as a journey’ not ‘When I think of my eating disorder as a journey’? That was on purpose. I no longer separate my eating or its surrounding thoughts and experiences from the rest of my life. Not from parties, not from going out, not from my emotions, not from anything. How I eat and why I eat is all just part of my life. It isn’t a problem to be solved. It’s part of how I am living. And if how I am living can be tweaked to give me more joy, more meaning, more authenticity, then I will adjust and explore a new path.


I think I just won a battle.


Very large oak tree giving a large patch of shade

This large and shady tree is a resting place near the very start of the trail. I don’t usually need a rest right here, but today I did.

Three hikers in front of Laurie on the trail

I fall behind a pack that overcame my progress. The second hiker is actually carrying a TODDLER on her back in a hiking backpack!

Laurie rests on a natural bench formed by two large rocks.

I rest on a natural bench formed by two large rocks.

Comments box:

14 thoughts on “Is Life a Journey or a Battle?

  1. Dawny

    everyday is a journey it seems..

    Im wishing you well, and I know your going to find your way, as we ALWAYS do.. that’s what we do…

    Im fighting my inner worst critic right now and it’s leading me NOWHERE productive, or where I want to be, you’d think I d get something from that message, however…

    I will find my way… as we ALWAYS do.. that’s what we do….
    er.. uh…

    It does look mightly lovely in your sunshiney photo op, and love me some tye-dye.. beautiful

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Ah Dawny, don’t I know that every day is journey worthy. Two days ago while hiking, I was happy that those pants were fitting well and loosely, making it easier to move. Two days later – TIGHT AS HECK! Baely can button them. Wah? Haven’t eaten much, and I’ve come off that week of almost nada. AND I have to report today for my civic duty and brave traffic yada yada. The pants might be due to water retention from the exercise that’s shocked my system, or stress hormones from having to worry about getting to downtown and dealing with traffic etc. again. Who knows? Bottom line, I would RATHER NOT FEEL FAT TODAY! But these are the cards I have. So an extra cuddle with Tiger the cat, go find my stretchiest business slacks – early start and breakfast downtown and try to make the best of it. (she said wishing it was another PJ day).Hang in there. Maybe write down what your inner critic is telling you. Sometimes in black and white it helps to figure out what’s really the picture or dispute old tapes in your head. xoxoxoxoxo

      1. dawny

        thank you friend, I REALLY needed to see your analogy today, because that’s exactly the point I miss some-times, the fact that one day can mean NOTHING.. Nothing is different but yet our bodies are.. interestingly, the craptacular feelings of yesterday when my body felt ugh, today, I feel great, feel light, content happy ‘in my body’ (my head is a diff story) but I step on the scale and it reads higher.. whoa.. talk about a mental f@ck.. lmao.. *sigh*
        Im adventuring into a new place now tho, and ive been doing some REAL searching as of late, about ME and my body and interpersonal and and and, this new leg is going to continue me along that searching journey and helping me learn stuff about me and my journey..
        thank you SOO truly for all you give to me, there’s not enough gratitude to give to you

        1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

          thank you SOO truly for all you give to me, there’s not enough gratitude to give to you

          You are welcome indeed. It is easy as I am just trying to figure myself out and passing on my own thoughts. You and the other BCs share as much or more with me, than I do you. It’s all good, and I’m just glad that we can all get ideas from one another.xoxoxox

  2. dawny

    Sorry your called to the ‘civil duty’ and have to endure all the yucky traffic etc.. but make the best of it and have a GRREEEAAT adventure dear friend….

  3. Nola

    Congratulations on winning that battle! I’m so glad you’re feeling well enough to get out for a walk. There’s nothing like a bout of illness to make us appreciate our good health.

    Once again you seem to be inside my head with this post. I’ve been riding my bike to work for several years. At one point I rode through the winter but for the last two years I haven’t been quite so hard core. After taking the winter off I just got back into it this month and I’ve been working on getting my stamina back. Although I’ve kept active with walking all winter it’s not the same as riding a 20 mile round trip with a 650 foot elevation gain on the trip home. Anyway, the first few days were a struggle. Then on my trip in to work on Monday I started thinking about my weekend rides when I’ll go for a long rides up and down hills, against the wind at times, and enjoy every minute of it. Why did it seem so much harder when my destination was work? I decided to think about the ride to work the same way I thought about one of my weekend pleasure rides – the destination didn’t matter, what mattered was the journey. All of a sudden it wasn’t so much of a struggle. Even the uphill trips home became more enjoyable! Wow – I think I won a battle too!! Mindset can indeed make a huge difference in how we perceive something. Now to get rid of that 15 pounds so I don’t have so much poundage to hoist up those hills!

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Hi Nola, I so get where you are coming from. That first time back on hill work is SOoooo tough when we’ve been away from it. But when I just practice my breathing and let my speed and gear be whatever it needs be without expectation, it is much easier and I progress faster. I’m with you too on wishing I would drop some pounds as hiking AND biking would be much easier with every pound gone. BUT I’m happy I’m strong enough that I can do what I do now, even though my weight is quite high for me (I’m guessing) and I am willing to give myself all of the time in the world to see what will be. Otherwise, I would drive myself insane. Happy riding thoughts from me to you!

  4. Cheryl

    You know, you may have just put your finger on the reason I relapsed last fall and started to gain some of the weight back. I was doing what you were talking about, lumping it all in as my life journey. But then something happened and all of a sudden I was back to thinking the other way again. I think I was too tired to fight a battle on two fronts. There’s got to be some military strategy somewhere for that! Going to have to really pay attention to what mind set I’m in from now. on. Great thought, Laurie.

  5. Sue

    I hope the civic duty went well, Laurie.

    I’ve had a physio appointment today and despite her not actually touching me, the movement and exercises have left me very sore to the point where a 2 hour choir practice tonight provoked painful backache. We have a long car journey down to London after work tomorrow as I am singing in a choir several hundred strong in the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday. On Sunday I get to see my son and daughter in law for the first time since last February as they have been in Japan. I can’t wait to give them a big hug.

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Oh Sue, I am so sorry about the pain you are in. Fingers crossed and healthy back vibes for your concert. It should be thrilling, and I hope you get to treasure every note without pain and worry. Have fun with your kids and big virtual hugs for you! xoxoxoxoxox


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