First of all, thanks to everyone who read and commented on my previous blog. It felt good to read your words of encouragement.
But it felt really good to have a flash of insight that just put everything into crystal clear focus. I know no one on this website is going to be AT ALL surprised by what I’m going to write, but what seems so clear when you see it in other people is a muddy mess - impossible to see through - when it happens to you. Or, at least me, who is not at all used to (or comfortable with) connecting my emotional life with my behavior.
So, back to my previous blog for a re-cap…since Christmas, I have been on a slow descent back to my old ways, not tracking, eating french fries, exchanging regular, planned workouts for bouts of punishing myself on the treadmill, etc. But for the last few days, things started to spiral down even faster. I mean, I felt WAY out of control with my eating. I was bingeing, eating sugar, sweets and fat by the bagful, hiding my binges. I felt like I was on a one-way track to re-gaining all the weight I have lost with no power to stop. The only plan I had was to punish myself with exercise, which is my go-to behavior, one which obviously does not work.
When I was finally able to quiet my mind a bit and write my blog, I was struck mainly by one overwhelming feeling: The loss of control. At the time I thought it was just the loss of control over my eating, and I was looking for ways to attack that specific problem. But after talking with a friend who slowly and caringly teased more and more out of me, I realized my problem was indeed loss of control, but that the overeating was only a symptom, not the root cause of that feeling.
As I talked to my friend, I started telling her about how my older daughter had gone to her first high-school dance last weekend. She has also recently started doing all the normal things a high school girl does; dating boys, riding in cars with teenage drivers, going out with friends, etc. etc. etc. Of course, all of this is good, normal behavior and she is a very good girl, so, what’s the problem? Indeed, what is the problem? Then, in the same weekend as the dance and the date, one of my 10-year-old twins got her period…a little early, but not unheard of. So, again, what’s the problem, right?
Well, the problem is…I’m just not ready for this! My girls are growing up so fast, right in front of my eyes. In what seemed like the space of a single weekend I went from being the confident and capable mom of three little girls to being the mom of three not-so-little girls who now need something completely different from me now than they did just yesterday, and I’m not sure exactly what that looks like. I desperately wanted to talk to my own mother, but I can’t because she died years ago.
Believe me, I know that I’m very lucky to have these beautiful children and that these are not really problems at all, but that did not stop me from feeling so scared and out of control (as if I ever really had any control anyway!) when I saw these leaps in development happening so fast. I was simply unprepared and I started eating to dull the shock.
The good news is that, once my friend helped me put 2 and 2 together, my need to overeat and binge no longer feels overwhelming. I sat down with my older daughter and together we set up a few ground rules for what her father and I expect as far as this new “high school life” of hers is concerned, and we all feel pretty good about being on the same page. And I also realized that no longer how big the girls get, they will always need me to help guide them, just like I still wanted my mother’s guidance at the age of 42!
So, coming from a person who usually would rather suppress and ignore any emotional reason for weird behavior, this is kind of a breakthrough! I feel so much better, like a weight has been lifted and I can see that, with some perspective and a little willingness to open up and look inside, what seems like a big, scary problem turns out to be something good after all! I have three beautiful children who are growing and developing perfectly, and I just need to catch up! :)
They can't stay little forever, though we wish they would!