Saturday, April 13, 2013
**WARNING - THIS WILL BE LONG AND CONTAINS VERY SENSITIVE INFORMATION***
I dont expect many people to have the patience to read this, as I expect it to be outrageously long, but I think this is becoming more of an accountability to myself in a way. Today, I had an outing with my work team to a resort where my company paid for us to Go Kart, eat lunch, and go bowling... and then we were able to head to the casino and spend any of our own money that we wanted. Lunch was an Amish-run buffet lunch and was delicious... and terrible for you. I had previously decided (go ahead and shake your finger at me virtually) that I was not going to count calories today, and that I was just going to relax and have a good time because I really needed a stress reliever this weekend because I am pretty sure my stress levels are actually killing me and causing serious health problems. This was where my first downfall was. I ate so much at lunch I made myself feel SICK. It's such a terrible feeling to stuff your face with greasy, nasty, delicious food, just to regret it right after because you feel like you want to die... why is that feeling so hard to remember when you are faced with the same kinds of food half a day later? Fast forward to later at home. I get in my cardio, I get in a yoga workout, and then I eat chips with a huge bowl of salsa... nasty feeling of wanting to die comes back... clearly, my eating has become a severe problem.
So the question is - WHAT makes me do this to my body over and over and over again? Let's disregard the fact that being overweight is not good for my overall health - but clearly SOMETHING is making my body feel like it needs food more than it needs to avoid that sick feeling I get when I eat like I did today.
I was watching the Biggest Loser today - and I know, I know, many people have big issues with the way this show is run. Honestly though, other opinions aside, I think this show has opened my eyes (personally) to so many things that I have been facing with my weight journey, that i feel really indebted in a way to Bob and Jillian for their wisdom, even through the TV screen. In the episode I watched today (Season 9 episode 3 or 4 - I cant remember), Jillian brought up a point that she has been bringing up in every season over and over again, but today for whatever reason, it really hit me differently than before.
Her stance: You got fat for a reason. Sometimes that reason is tragedy, sometimes not, but there is SOMETHING that drives you to food - and getting healthy on the outsider CANNOT REALLY happen unless you determine what that "motivator" is and work on fixing that too.... Weight loss isnt just about the outer appearance of your body or getting healthy by losing weight. Jillian and Bob take a holistic approach - it is a lot of MIND and a lot of BODY.
So I got to thinking today - what is it that I am running from - refusing to admit to myself so that even though I am so close to my weight loss goals, I am just self sabotaging and not loosing weight anymore consistently. Just losing 3 pounds and gaining 4 back, then loosing 4 pounds and gaining 5 back, etc.
MY PAST WITH FOOD
I cant run anymore. I think I have been running my whole life and... I'm tired... I'm emotionally exhausted... and I need to just admit to myself that these are the things that push me to have such an unhealthy relationship with food.
My dad is a good man. Extremely smart, but socially inept in so many ways. My dad grew up in a culture where the man of the household is king, and nothing else mattered. You listened, obeyed, and got punished if you didnt. He and my mom (still together) had 3 girls - I am the middle child. Our younger sister, although a total disaster in so many ways, is still not a disaster in the grand scheme of things, but she is his angel - she grew up being told she could do no wrong... so now she is simply out of control - and my parents are mortified that they were the ones who got her to that stage. My older sister and I - were failures at life in my dad's eyes probably from the day we were born. We could do no right.... and in his eyes, we still cant. My sister is a doctor. I am an engineer. It's a rare day that my dad doesnt either directly say (or imply) that we have ruined our lives by not listening to his every advice, and that he cant believe he raised such failures.
Backtrack to my childhood. Let me repeat - my dad is not a bad man. His views are cultural - in his culture - nothing less than perfection and 100% obedience is considered acceptable. And women are simply there to make a man's life easier and meaningful in the family aspect. Period.
He raised us in this culture (American) not realizing the internal conflicts that raising us here, but trying to uphold the values of his culture, would cause in us. A 99% on an exam at school didnt get a "good job" or even a smile... it got a "what happened to the other 1%." Winning a local, then regional spelling bee, wasn't good enough, because you came in 2nd and Nationals, and second is failure, etc.
And with failure, came beatings. My dad did not understand the difference between discipline and beating. He hit with ANGER and he was angry every day.
But looking back on it now, it wasnt the physical abuse that was the hardest to handle, it was the emotional and verbal abuse. When you hear from a young age that you are a failure at life... you start to believe it, and you start to look for any comfort that you can. My mother had no idea what to do with the situation. She used to fight for us, and then realized she never got anywhere with yelling, so she internalizes everything and watched us get beaten every day. Even now, she refuses to admit that it was as bad as we claim, as our journals document... but I have come to realize that it isn't her fault either... she honestly has convinced herself it wasnt that bad. And you know what - I probably wouldnt change my situation growing up if I could. My dad taught me exactly what I want and don't want in a husband. He taught me the value of instilling morals in children, but also taught me that there are good and bad ways to instill those values... I know EXACTLY what I want in life now thanks to his good AND bad examples... and with an Engineer's salary and a stable life - I also have the tools to achieve those goals.
I hate engineering - but I have found a job in this field that I love (working with customers) and so I have to say, the schooling (however miserable) has paid off for me, even though it isnt a field I would have chosen for myself. In my dad's culture, you are either a doctor, an engineer, or a failure. My older sister is a doctor, so that left engineering for me.
Let me pause for a minute before I go into how this directly ties in with my relationship with food.
Some things to remember:
1. My dad (even with the beatings) genuinely thinks that he is just teaching us the lessons in life that need to be learned. His culture says beating is OK and necessary and so, like any father, he is just teaching his children what he has been taught - and I can't fault him for that. He literally just doesnt know better.
2. I am in no way BLAMING my dad for my weight gain. Did he play a part in my dysfunction - YES... but the accountability is on me and only me. I made the choice to get to this weight, and I need to make the choice to get healthy as well.
When I was younger, my dad would come home from work around dinner time, and while we ate dinner together as a family, dinner was his chance to tell each of his children why they were failures that day. I started eating 2 spoons of food and then excusing myself to my bedroom, because I just didnt want to hear how terrible of a child I was. I was a straight A student, involved in extra curricular activities, etc. but in his eyes, still an epic failure. I went through phases of anorexia, bulemia, back and forth quite a bit growing up... and then kind of snapped out of it one day when a fight between my dad and I landed me in the hospital.
Fast forward. I dated a guy (a lot like my father) from the age of 13 to 20. He was verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive and at 20, after getting engaged, I realized I did not want to marry into the life I was trying to run away from.
Fast forward - I meet AJ - the only other guy I ever dated - who treats me like - a human - like a princess. I get diagnosed with a potentially fatal kidney disease and am told I have 3 months to live. I survive 3 months, and then longer, and longer, and the doctors have no idea why I am still here, living on borrowed time. I have been with AJ for 5 years now, and this man still opens car doors for me... I am the luckiest.
Treatments for my kidney disease (on and off) consist of sterioid regiments starting when I was 21 years old. I almost double my weight from 105 to almost 200 lbs. I come off of treatment, I lose some of the weight (water weight from the steroids), but not all of it... because I had gorged myself on food to get away from the anorexia, the bulemia, the hurt of never being good enough.... I was ALWAYS good enough for food.... AND THAT was the downfall.
And here I am - overweight - still trying to please my father - still a failure in his eyes - miserable with my life - and STUCK.
I AM FAT, BECAUSE I USE FOOD TO ESCAPE THE PAIN OF BEING A FAILURE.
(See Part 2)