Saturday, July 06, 2013
I've been struggling with staying on any food program lately and my weight and psyche both show it. I've been binging regularly, and not on cucumbers and celery sticks. I do know my spirit feels wounded. My relationship with food definitely needs attention.
In the past, I've been able to use self talk to keep binging at bay. Lately any self-talk has been drowned out by the other voice, the WTF voice. I checked out "Women Food and God" by Geneen Roth at the library yesterday. I have a few of her books, haven't actually read any of them all the way through. In this one she states, "...if I tracked the impulse to eat when i wasn't hungry to its core, I'd find every single thing I believed about loving, living, and dying right there, in that moment." She goes on to talk about how the "truths" we learn as children are often the "truths" we are reacting to in that moment of eating. If there was never enough, for example, you take more than you need in order to survive. Stuff like that. Your experiences, your reality as a child. What you learned life was.
As a child I wasn't well cared for or nurtured much at all, so maybe in those moments of eating I'm telling myself the same things...I'm not worth taking care of or nurturing. The feeling I have when I eat is one of defiance. I was defiant a lot, in order to get the attention of the adults around me. No one paid much attention to me when I followed the rules, got straight A's, obeyed curfew. But when I defied the rules, I got attention, all right. Not necessarily the kind I wanted, but something was better than nothing.
People I loved left. My father died when I was 2, We moved to Indiana so Mom could be near her mother when I was 8. My older brother, who was 18 and in college, stayed in Texas, so I lost him, too. When we got to Indiana my mother became depressed. I didn't know that at the time, of course, but I see it now. It became clear when we got to Indiana that my mother's family wanted little to do with helping mom take care of me. I know now from conversations with my mother as an adult that the relationship she and her mother had was a rocky one. She never felt she could do anything right. As a result of her depression, I wasn't cared for. In 3rd grade I wasn't told to bathe, change clothes, go to bed, and my eating certainly wasn't monitored. I was left alone after school because there was no one to take care of me. No one willing to, anyway. So I ate. A lot. I remember eating until I was so full I thought I would explode.
I've examined all of these issues before; the missing father, the unloving grandmother, the mother paralyzed by her own need for acceptance by the family she loved but that hated me, and the anger I felt as a result of not being first in anyone's life. I know that the adults in my life were wrong...I am good enough, I am lovable, I am fine the way I am. I know my mother did the best she could with the tools and resources she had a t the time. I would do things differently, but I have different resources. I know I have now surrounded me with people who love me, with all my flaws. My husband married me when I was close to 300 pounds. He doesn't care what I weigh, just wants me to be healthy. I've tried very hard to make sure my own daughter knows she is fine the way she is. I see her perfectionist streak and I've tried very hard to help her understand that perfection isn't a goal that can be attained. I also suspect that she will simply have to battle that one herself. I've done the hard work. I won. So why is it still there???
I've lost this weight by focusing on the changes I need to make, not on the number. Lately, I've lost that. I'm focusing on the number and the WTF thinking comes in when that number doesn't go down even though I've done the right things. That happens sometimes. I know that.
So, maybe, just maybe, those moments of WTF eating are that little girl trying to get some love, some validation? Maybe she's yelling "Take care of me!" and then I go and shove some more food at the poor thing! I found out a long time ago that food won't fill the voids. Never will. I KNOW this, so why do I keep trying to use it that way? And, more importantly, what can I do in those moments of "I don't care anymore" instead? Because I really do care.
I know the list: take a bath, read, sleep, talk to friend, write, listen to music, go for a drive. I made that list! What about when nothing helps?
That's the real problem, because I think the answer to that question is that you just have to feel the way you feel until you don't feel like that anymore. I mean, really FEEL it. Not try to numb it, stuff it down. Let it wash over you. And that answer sucks because that feeling is uncomfortable! But it won't kill me. IT WON'T KILL ME! I have survived worse things than feeling a little bit uncomfortable. I can survive a want, no, a NEED, to eat without indulging it.
So, that's the answer, I think. That there is no answer. You just exist, the way you are, feeling like food will help, but knowing that it won't. Nothing will help. So, might as well just feel the feeling, the discomfort.
Maybe that realization will help in some way.