Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I posted this to my blog yesterday, but forgot to post it over here. :)
Over the last 3 years of losing weight, I've learned a lot about myself. You start to notice patterns in the things you do when you really pay attention. In losing this weight, I feel I've become more aware of myself in a lot of ways. I've always had the pattern of overeating when I am stressed or upset. For as long as I can remember, food is the thing that I think of first when I am stressed. As a little kid, I was overfed by family members who also overate, and it was just something I learned early on in my life as a way to cope–with anything. Of course, as I became an adult no one else had control over what I ate, but when you've done something your whole life it's hard to change.
People are quick to assume that because I've lost weight, that I'm "cured" and have it all figured out. The truth is that when you're a food addict (as I believe I am) there isn't a cure, and I certainly don't feel like I have all the answers, even though I am light years from where I was. Like an alcoholic or drug addict who is trying to be clean, you are managing an addiction–one that is always there, lying dormant, like a benign tumor ready to turn malignant and destroy you. Something can trigger a binge and sometimes I am able to get past the one binge, and other times it will continue for a whole day, or longer. My bingeing episodes are not as frequent as they used to be, but they still happen sometimes.
For me, I have a hard time not overeating or bingeing around the time right around when my period is due. I feel hungry and crave sweets horribly. At that time if there is junk in the house, it's all I think about it. I'm also in a very foul mood whenever it's TOM, and that makes me want to eat even more.
When I am upset or depressed, I also want to binge. I know that doing it won't help, but it makes me feel somewhat numb, and I can imagine that is why some people drink themselves into oblivion. You want a distraction from whatever it is that making you upset, even when you know it's only temporary.
I've noticed when my bouts of insomnia occur, I want to eat constantly. I think it's true what they say about you wanting to eat more when you're tired.
Food can't be escaped. You see it and smell it everywhere you go. Unlike a drug addict who can live without drugs, we can't live without food. Food addicts still have to eat and it's not always easy not to overeat. People who've never had a weight problem are sometimes quick to judge overweight people. Many people who are at a normal weight also overeat, and they just don't gain weight. It's hard to understand how food can feel like it controls you if you've never experienced it.
I'm discussing this because I think many overweight people are food addicts, binge-eaters, or both. I know I am both, and for a long time I had a hard time thinking of myself that way, but it's what I am. I ate myself to the point that I was over 300 pounds. Anyone who repeatedly eats to the point they are almost sick but can't stop has a problem, and it's not just that they like to eat, like many overweight people will say.
Everyone likes food, but when you are eating and eating and gaining weight to the point where you have health problems and continue to do it, it's not about just liking food. There is another reason for it.
The point of this blog post is that no matter how much weight I've lost, I still struggle at times. Sometimes I go along for more than a month or two doing just great, and then it's like my brain becomes fogged over, and suddenly I don't give a crap anymore. Maybe this is normal, maybe it isn't, but I know that I am not ever going to give up myself. The thought of ever being as heavy as I was and remembering what it was like is enough to keep me going. I just cannot go back there.
I've never pretended to be perfect. I make mistakes all the time, and will admit that. Maybe there are people who eat perfectly all the time and never skip workouts and never feel negative, but that's not me. I try not to make excuses though, because that gets you nowhere. Every day I do the best I can.
I do try my best to be positive, because I don't want to discourage anyone, but I am going to tell you like it is. Losing weight is hard. There is a constant battle going on in my head. I long to have a life where I don't have to think about what or how much I eat. I gain weight back at lightening speed from slipping up a little bit, and it makes me crazy. If I want to keep this weight off, it will have to be a daily thought for the rest of my life.
Do you struggle with binge eating or food addiction?