Wednesday, December 21, 2011
This morning I weighed in at 212 pounds. It's a milestone of sorts for me. I've struggled with my weight since I was about 5. I remember walking in my tiny hometown one day with my mother. I had gotten on the scale that morning. As we walked we were evidently talking about my weight. I told her I weighed 212 that morning. Her face crumpled a little and she said, "Oh, Emily. You have got to do something about your weight!" I was 11 or 12 years old.
I remember being overwhelmed and thinking that I didn't have the slightest idea what to do. I remember feeling sad that I didn't get whatever I was looking for in my admission. I remember deciding I would never tell anyone what I weighed again. I remember feeling intense shame. I remember feeling betrayed that I had come to my mother for some sort of help, and I didn't get it. I got my problem thrown right back at me, and if I had known how to solve it I sure would have. But I was 11 or 12 years old.
Today, I am 49. I know what to do. I know now why I ate and ate as a child, a teen, and an adult. I know why I built my wall. I know today that my mother didn't have the answers any more than I did. We were both muddling through the best way we knew how. I'm sure she wanted to fix it for me many times. She was doing the best she knew how to do. She was as overwhelmed as I was.
I no longer choose to hide. My weight does not define me. I once weighed 310 pounds. Today I weigh the lowest number I remember reporting. I am the same person at both weights. I feel more powerful today, of course. I am no longer ashamed of any aspect of myself. I am choosing a healthy life. I control what I buy and what I eat. When I have a feeling, good or bad, I feel it. I don't try to stuff it down. The feeling will not respond to food. I cannot eat it away.
My mother passed away 5 years ago this month. If I told her my number today I know the reaction would be different. She didn't understand what food meant to me. She didn't understand the depths of the feelings I was trying to manage. She couldn't understand that....she didn't have those issues. They are mine. No one could fix it for me.
I've learned that no one can solve your problems for you. At the end of the day, they are your responsibility alone. Others can want to help, give you tools, offer you advice, but the actual decisions are made by you yourself. There's no magic to the success I'm experiencing this time around. It's just me doing what I know I need to do. I am experiencing success and I like that feeling more than the feeling of stuffing myself. My thinking has changed, and that, for me, is what makes the difference this time.