I found this sign on a bathroom door. I liked it for obvious reasons. It does not have much to do with this post except that it is a mermaid. However, I will say the mermaid in the picture looks a little sneaky. I feel like a rebel right now in some ways, so I guess I can make that leap. Why do I feel like a rebel you ask? Well, thanks for asking. I will tell you. About 5 months ago I took part in a treatment program for my Eating Disorder. How did I come to learn I had an eating disorder? Well, through much reading and soul searching. However, I will tell you, my journey to the program actual started as a way to conquer my recent “inability” to stick to any weight loss program. I was gaining weight despite repeated and constant attempts to lose weight. I came to recognize that I was obsessed with food, my body image and weight loss. Was this a new thing in my life? No, it started at the young age of 12 when I began my first diet. I lost weight, sure, but I gained something else. I had unknowingly added a new obsession into my world. One, that I continue to fight to this day. You might ask, do I think ALL dieting is bad? Not really, I have actually seen a few people that want to lose some weight here and there and do not have an unhealthy obsession with it or their body’s. They seem to just do it without feeling like their whole world is riding on the results of it. Do I think overall understanding the body’s hunger cues, understanding intuitive eating, and understanding the emotional component to why we eat is probably a better strategy overall? Yes, I do.
So, five months ago, I have to admit that I literally had nothing to lose when I entered my program. I was in deep with my obsessions and I knew it. I felt trapped. They told me, “this is not a weight loss program.” Ok, I thought, time to get real. Time hit my real problem head on. I just wanted to find joy and happiness again. I could not obsess any longer about food, dieting, my body etc. It was literally eating away at me. PUN INTENDED. I also knew dieting was out, since I literally couldn’t do it anymore. THANK YOU BODY! Thank you body for being smarter than me. So, my goals changed. Once I realized that I had to give up my goal of weight loss in order to achieve a different more important goal, everything changed. Believe me when I tell you that, giving up a goal that I had carried with me for almost 20 years was not the easiest thing I did. I can also tell you that I still work every day to remind myself why my healthier goal of ending food obsession is the more important goal. Some days are harder than others. Some people might read this and think, “but isn’t weight loss an important goal? Isn’t losing weight important for health.” I have many many thoughts on what I have written above, but for the purposes of this blog, what I can tell you is that, I was sure if I did not give up the goal of weight loss, I would continue to binge eat and gain weight. I know, it is crazy, but absolutely true.
So, when did I realize I had made progress on this goal? Well, the other day, I was driving and I was talking to my friend. We were actually talking about over eating. I realized that my response to the conversation was completely different than it had ever been before. I have to tell you, I still binge eat from time to time. I am still recovering. HOWEVER, I do not obsess about food like before. I still have some obsession, sure, but it is much much less. As a result, my binges are significantly less and less intense. I eat until I am full most of the time. Also, I realized I do not have the same level of shame and guilt attached to eating as I did before. I do not always pick apart every morsel of food I put in my mouth. I do not need a perfect meal. Sometimes, food is just food. I am elated as I type this. I never thought I would get to this point. I am soooo happy to share this on this blog. If I can get to this place, so can anyone!
My goal is to continue along this path. I notice that I mostly eat according to my hunger cues now. I also notice that I am full a lot sooner than I used to notice. In summary, I am more in tune with my body and my body is thanking me.
I have read many books on mindful eating and the end of dieting. I have to say they have helped me tremendously and certainly added to my success! I am so grateful to the brave and insightful writers. However, sometimes these books make eating mindfully and intuitively seem somewhat easy. They have at times left me feeling encouraged, but then sad, when my attempts did not make the cut so to speak. Perhaps, it was because before my program, I was still measuring success by the numbers on the scale, or my pants size. Perhaps, it is because I had to dig through piles of pain to get where I am. Thus, no it hasn’t been easy. I now measure success by the fact that I believe freedom from food obsession to be a possibility. The books usually also seem to still hold the goal for the reader to lose weight. I don’t blame the writers for this, this is most people’s goal when reading them. For me, however, I have found, only in my own personal experience, tackling my eating disorder meant truly giving up that as the end all be all goal. Do I hope my body will find a comfortable healthy weight that is a great size for my own personal body? Yes, I do. Perhaps that is now. Who knows really. I fight everyday to disallow the old voices of society or my teenage self to tell me I must look a certain way to fill some ideal. However, I merely hold this as a place card so to speak. In the here and now, I work on small goals. These small goals create small victories and the small victories build and come together into big victories.
I want to add a confession, that dieting at all right now, or trying to purposely lose weight currently feels like a land I do not even want to go to or think about. When people bring up dieting or losing weight together etc., I usually say no thanks, I’ve got my own thing going on. What I mean is, “I’m rocking the plan I have now and my goals might be different than most of society’s, but achieving even a small amount of freedom feels amazing.” The saying, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” used to really resonate with me. Well, you know where that saying got me? It got me in a perpetual down spin of negativity and self-loathing. A new saying is, “nothing can compare to self-love, or having my own mind and self back feels really damn good.” Or, “maybe you can’t see what your definition of what my “achievements” should be, but they have nothing to do with you anyways!!” HAHA I like that last one!! It is a little spicy!!!
In addition, to freedom from food obsession, I have also found some freedom from my obsession with the scale. YES!!! Am I scared sometimes when I get on it? YES I AM. I am scared sometimes emotions will trigger me to stop trusting in myself or go back to my old ways. But, I keep trudging along, because right now, there really is no going back. There really only is looking ahead.
My journey is still on-going. I remind myself daily that is ok to let go of that controlling voice and that it is ok to trust in yourself and your body.
Goodnight and Glad to be back!