“TRIGGER WARNING” This blog contains information about abuse, which may be triggering to survivors.
It has been quite a while since I did a “Losing It” blog post. Some of you who followed the series have asked how it is going. I am excited and terrified to report that I am only ten pounds from my next big goal. I have been working towards this goal since January 2010. I lost 65 pounds, put back on close to 20, and now have lost those plus another 8 for a total of 73 pounds. Achilles tendon surgery followed by knee surgery last May has hindered my progress.
I actually started this process in January of 2007. I not only joined the gym but I actually worked out 3 times a week. I started a food log and did all the right things. I started losing rapidly at first. It slowed down but stayed constant at about 3 pounds a week. It came to a screeching halt when my friend Jan died.
Two things happened at that time. I blamed Jan’s death on her gastric bypass and loss of over 100 pounds. If that is the toll losing weight took, I wanted no part of it. The second thing was reverting to my old way of coping-emotional binge eating. Food has been a way of dealing with pain and anger since I was a child. Food never let me down. I was in control when I ate (or so I thought.) Science has shown that binge eating effects brain chemistry releasing serotonin and endorphins. It is in essence “getting high” on food.
The first time I remember this type of eating was when I was nine years old. I was already a “chubby” child so I feel sure this wasn’t the first time. My “relative” had come to town for the weekend. He always stayed at our house. He took me with him to visit some friends that Saturday. I knew how this day would end but I tried to put it out of my mind.
I read a blog by Joy Cannis the other day. http://joycannis.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/3-things-the-girl-in-your-life-needs-to-know/
She says, “We females are born with the same questions we are asking in our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 100’s… Those are these;
Do you notice me? Am I beautiful? Am I special?”
I didn’t feel any of those things-not at home, not at school, not at church. So I was willing to take them any way I could. And when “relative” came to town, I felt all three. When he left town, I felt empty, confused, and ashamed.
Monday after lunch, Grandmother went to the store to pick up a few things. The new McDonald’s was next to that store. I asked permission to get a soda while she shopped. I walked up to the counter with my five-dollar bill and ordered not only a soda, but also two cheeseburgers and two fries. It felt so good while I was eating them. I ate them quickly and headed back to the car with my soda.
Grandmother got in the car. I handed her the change. I was ready with a great lie if she asked about the change. She didn’t look at the change, but quickly shoved it into her purse.
“What is that smell?” It smells like French fries. Did you eat fries when you were over there?”
I wasn’t prepared for that question. “Um, no I didn’t. The store smelled like fries so maybe the cup or me smells like them now.” She started the car and we headed home. Narrow escape, but I was in the clear.
As time went on, I became better at hiding and lying about my food consumption. For a period in my life, alcohol and drugs replaced the food. Once I was free of them, food came back as my high. It was another addiction to face.
In January 2010, my therapist helped me confront my challenge with food. It was the last thing we worked on together. I often hear people say that smoking was the hardest addiction to overcome. While it was extremely difficult to quit, my lifelong affair with food is my greatest challenge.
Yesterday I attended a celebration of volunteers with my job. We had some of the best food there. There was BBQ, chicken, pasta, a variety of side dishes, and or course desserts. One table was set aside for the sweets. When I walked anywhere near the food area, my eyes were drawn to the luscious chocolate layer cake, the decadent brownies, the creamy butter cream frosted sheet cake, the mouthwatering homemade cookies, and other delectable goodies.
I turned away, refusing to let their lies seduce me. “One won’t hurt you. You can make up for it tomorrow at the gym. Don’t be rude, your friends worked hard on this. Come on, you have to give in once and a while. You have been doing so well; certainly you can enjoy a special occasion like this.”
I fixed my place taking only fruit, cheese, and a few wheat thins. I kept the portions very small. Later I returned when someone brought the most delicious chicken with garlic. I did allow myself to have one cookie. I asked a friend to get it for me. It was one of those weird cookies with chocolate and oats. I did rationalize that oats are a good source of fiber. And even though I was proud of my victory over the dreaded dessert table, there was a bit of sadness about losing an old friend.
I told you I was excited and terrified to be so close to this goal. I am excited to reach goal and move on to the next one. The next one will be my final goal. Of course, maintaining the weight loss and staying healthy will be my life long goal. I am terrified of failing to reach it. I am terrified of reaching the goal only to lapse into old habits and regain the weight.
Today I have the same request I used when I first posted “Losing It-Part 1” I ask for your support and encouragement. I ask that you NOT give me advice on how to eat or lost weight. Believe me, I have read every book, magazine, article, or blog ever written. I ask you to be honest with me if you see me falling into old ways. I ask you to accept me as I am no matter the outcome.