When I was younger I thought of food as the enemy. I hated that I had to eat and I found ways to get around it. I loved that I could lose weight so easily by just not eating. I loved seeing how long I could go without eating and I loved having that empty feeling in my stomach (I hated feeling full). It didn’t really matter to me how it made the rest of me feel to not eat (tired, listless, drained, etc.), I just needed to be thin.
Most of my family is larger and I saw what that did to them. I became afraid of it. My mother put on most of her weight when she hit 16. She loves to tell the story about the time when I was 4 I told her how much I hated throwing up but at least then I won’t be fat. In my teens (as most do) I put on some weight and I was really struggling with it. I got on the scale one day and my mother informed me she was never that big at that age. I didn’t understand at the time that she was struggling with her weight and who she was just as much as I was. All I took away from that comment was that if she were smaller than me at my age and now she is the size she is I need to work harder to stay small because I am already behind. When I would try to lose weight by eating healthier and exercising more she and some of my family members would always put me down and belittle what I was doing so I felt it was wrong. Not eating I could hide. It was mine.
Please don’t think I am blaming all of my issues on my family. We all have our struggles and we have all grown and are doing much better with being able to talk to each other and be happy for each other and positive. It is just a cycle that had been going on for years and none of us knew how to be any different. I believe that cycle is changing now! We will no longer pass it to the next generation!
Sometime in my early 20s I went through some life altering things. Of course, I decided everything would be better if I were just thinner so I went back to the old fail safe and dropped a severe amount of weight. This was the first time I had people outside of my family comment on it. People who would normally never say anything to me about something as personal as my weight were getting concerned and just wanting to make sure I was ok. I was told I looked emaciated and wan, etc.
In that time I became very secluded. I cut off contact with most people and spent a very large amount of time alone. I went from a very active job and lifestyle to sitting all the time behind a computer screen. I suddenly developed a love for food. It became my best friend. I stopped smoking and replaced that with food also. I couldn’t eat enough. I actually skipped sizes with the amount of weight I was gaining. I went from an 8 to a 16 in about two months. I was miserable but I just couldn’t stop eating.
I am writing this because this is a secret I have kept for most of my life. There are very few people I have shared this with. I have learned that a secret kept to yourself is huge and overwhelming and you give it more power than it deserves to control your life. If you will let that secret out it starts to lose is power. It no longer seems as big of a thing to you and you can start taking back control of your own life. (Besides secrets are never as secret as you think they are.)
So this time, when I made up my mind that I wanted to turn things around and be healthier, I decided I was going to do it the right way. This has been a struggle at times. My first thought is always to just stop eating. This is the easy way out. It just seemed like so much effort trying to figure out healthy eating habits. Then it went to feeling like I was being deprived and I would start sneaking things again and then feel horrible and throw them up or take laxatives.
I realize this is long and everything in me wants to delete it and not put myself out there. I needed to get this out though. I needed it out of my head so I no longer feel like I can fall back on it when I want to. This is not to be negative but for me to look back on and use as a positive reminder.
Fast forward to now: I feel like something has changed within me. I feel stronger. I am working out like crazy and I love it. Yes my body is exhausted but I am finding I can go further each day. I can do more each day. I suddenly feel solid, no longer flabby and jiggly. Maybe that dang scale is still hating on me but I am not. Whatever my weight number, I am getting better. I am learning to eat healthier. It isn’t always yuck! I feel strong. I am noticing these amazing changes that I have EARNED and they mean so much more to me. They make me want to work harder toward something I can be proud of.
Food is a tool! It is no longer my best friend or my worst nightmare. It is fuel to use so I can become a better me. It is there to help me push my body farther and be able to appreciate more of what it can do. It will no longer control my every moment. I am in control now, not food.