Saturday, January 26, 2013
I have to break this into two concurrent life changing goals -- because if I don't do both, I'll never accomplish either (sounds like the Harry Potter line . . ."neither can live while the other survives..." But I digress).
1. GET TO MAINTENANCE (the physical changes)
I've been there before -- in 2007/2008, I spent 11 blessed months at maintenance. And, was it life-changing? Absolutely! For the first time in my life, I felt comfortable in my own skin. I loved the way I looked, I felt strong & fit & alive. All of my clothes fit comfortably, and they were clothes I LIKED - that I bought to wear forever because I liked them, not just because they fit. I felt confident with other people because I knew they weren't judging me by my size & appearance. I was able to exercise, I had less back pain, and I felt like the hardest step class or hike was easy because I weighed less.
During those 11 months, I was in a happy cloud where obsessive thoughts about food couldn't reach me. On occasion, I had a big cookie, or a bagel, but my basic food plan was intact, and those higher calorie days were matched with lower calorie days. I was living free from my previous food obsession, without binge eating.
Why 11 months and not 11 years? I think it is because I had more work to do. Not physical work, but psychological work I think it is because I had lost the weight in a "diet mentality," and I was still living in a diet mentality. I think it's because there's a whole nuther thing that has to accompany weight loss, and I'm still not THERE yet.
2. MAKING PEACE WITH FOOD (and with myself)
I am going to have to make peace with food and with myself. I feel like I have been in a battle with food & food thoughts for my entire life. And, I keep expecting that it is going to go away for good some day. But the reality is: I'm an emotional eater and I binge eat. And, even more than that -- I LIKE to binge eat, at least while I'm doing it. That's a hard thing to admit, but it is a form of entertainment that I've been doing my entire life, and I like it. The regret, remorse and weight gain come later, but while I'm in the automaton place of being an eating machine, I'm happy.
I once went to a conference on compulsive overeating, and they described the "disease" by saying that that the person forms a primary relationship with food -- that it is quite common for the person to take the food to bed with them and just eat & eat & eat. Well, I don't take the food to bed -- but the couch serves very much the same purpose. I definitely fit that model.
So, in order to live a healthy life at maintenance, I have to give up binge eating -- and there is a mourning process that goes with that. NO -- I CANNOT EAT WHATEVER I WANT, and expect to stay at maintenance. I have to say "goodbye" to OVEReating -- to that excessive eating where I just keep eating.
And, I am mourning this while I type it ... because it's like a little death ... food has been a constant friend all my life, so how do I say goodbye? (uh duh - maybe by realizing it is an inanimate object and not a real person I'm relating to? yes, an attempt to lighten it up) And, HOW does it feel to live without it?
I can live in peace with food. The enemy isn't that cookie or that bagel or that donut. I'm not battling food -- in fact, there isn't really any enemy at all. I've just been living wrong my entire life ... using food to stuff feelings, to entertain myself. Feeling lonely? Eat a vat of popcorn and a pint of ice cream!
No - really, no.
I want to live a life that is not plagued with food obsessive thoughts -- that doesn't lead to gaining 20 pounds, or 50 or 100. Because that weight gain is then followed by obsessions with losing the weight, and the feeling of discontent living at the higher weight.
I may never be a "normal" eater, but I need to say goodbye to binge eating. And the first step is recognition ... naming the behavior that is the problem.
And the second step is .... saying "no" to the behavior, even when I don't want to. I can find replacement activities for eating .... any form of exercise, especially yoga .... distracting myself with a book .... reaching out and talking with my partner or a friend .... posting to SP. There are so many ways to move my mind away from the food and to another purpose.
I will have to practice this to get good at it. But my bottom line is: DON'T BINGE!!!!!