Sunday, September 23, 2007
Gentle Eating: Achieve Permanent Weight Loss Through Gradual Life Changes
By Stephen Arterburn, Vivian Lamphear
I am currently re-reading a book about food addiction . . . . and how I punish myself and reward myself by abusing food.
Yeah, food. My drug of choice. The scourge with which I flagellate myself in hopes of expiating my pain. Food addiction. The only thing you can be addicted to that is also something you must have to survive. Sound crazy? You have no idea. NO IDEA.
Reading the journal excerpts from people like me in this book is eerie--their thoughts are my thoughts:
"I wonder if I am punishing myself? I wonder if perhaps I am the very culprit who has turned my body against myself?. . . A hungry soul is a painful companion."
"My hunger is much more in my mind and in my soul. I long to be complete and feel complete. I hate feeling like a dumb, stupid loser."
"I feed my heart and for a few moments feel some level of satisfaction. But I am never satisfied. I always need more. I always want more. Then my private ritual begins."
"I think that many people eat to ease a deep and growing depression. I believe that there are many like me who medicate themselves in the dark hours of the night with the dependable friend called food. . . "
"One of our problems as overeaters is that we internalize our feelings. Rather than express them, we hold them in and bury them until they can no longer stay down. We try to smother them with food or feed their pain. Somehow, we didn't learn to process how we felt. Another problem is that we are reluctant to be who we are. We are always trying to impress others. We often think that if we ever stop faking it, we will collapse and fall apart. We spend our lives acting out what others expect us to be, and cram who we really are inside the smallest space of our existence."
"Dear God, I would give anything to be free from this hulking weight that drags me down as I drag it around. . . . oh, well, just keep smiling, look happy, and maybe it will be better someday."
"Most people with a weight problem are victims of their own emotional abuse. They think things that are so negative that they make themselves emotional wrecks while they undermine their best intentions."
"I eat because for a moment, that wound feels a little better. If the world is going to neglect me, I will not neglect myself. Maybe I eat to punish the person who got wounded. If it's not the wounds, it's the fear. . . does anyone else feel so afraid? Do others feel safe? I wish the food could finally heal the fear."
"We are so hard on ourselves. . . few people have been gentle with us, and we follow their lead and beat ourselves up on the inside."
"The depressed eater feels badly about herself. . .she sees little hope. . . she feels sad and trapped and she eats to comfort herself. . . "
"The anxious eater is uptight, worried. . . the savior to anyone who is in need. . . [she] neglects personal needs and compensates. . . with massive quantities of food. . . food is [her] tranquilizer. . . [she] is afraid of what might be and what might never be. . . [she] feels inferior to the rest of the world and is afraid that the world will pass [her] by or cause [her] more pain than [she] has already known. In [her] insecure misery, [she] believes that no place is safe; gloom and doom may be just around the corner."
"You find comfort in food and seek it out as your drug of choice. You know there has to be a better way that will not trap you in a body that you deplore. You have not found that way. . ."
"Emotional trauma has never been something that is quickly overcome. To cope with it, a person must undertake a journey of learning and healing. It is often a painful journey, but that pain never exceeds the severity of pain that builds up when a person refuses to resolve the negative emotions gathered in the soul. A person who has been abused and neglected will always be reluctant to face more pain."
"You needed unconditional love, but you got only standards you couldn't live up to. You needed someone to meet your needs, but you ended up meeting someone else's expectations. . . . you know the futility of trying to find love and meaning in a world that could not find enough love to make up for its absence in your life. So as a deprived struggler, perhaps you turned to food in an attempt to medicate a wound that seemed to be beyond healing."
And finally, if you have read this far:
"I'm afraid for anyone to get close to me, where I really live. I don't want that. I don't want to finally reveal who I really am, only to have that part of me turned away. And I don't want to have to answer to anyone. If I want to be irresponsible, I don't want to have another mother figure or father figure reminding me I'm not measuring up, I'm a failure, and I have to do better. I expect so much of myself and fall so short of my expectations. All I need is one more person to expect something of me that I can't deliver."
"We have been shamed so often by others that we don't want to set up a relationship that will leave us feeling worse about ourselves."
I feel worthless most of the time. My inner monologue tells me so, in so many voices of so many people from so many instances. Many of them were perhaps not meant to hurt me, but they did, and I continue to reprimand myself with them. I feel judged constantly. I feel self-conscious and ashamed. I isolate myself from all of you to relieve some of the pressure I feel. Pressure to conform. Pressure to be what people expect me to be. Pressure to be a good girl. Pressure to relate to God the way other people relate to God. Pressure to not do or say or think things that would shock people. Pressure that is slowly killing me. Suicide by calories.
I hesitated in writing this and posting it. I do so hate to be Debbie Downer. And I hate to reveal this huge shortcoming to you all--I'm really a perfectionist. I'm ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED at how all of you will react. Afraid that you'll start staring whenever we eat together. Or you'll start to try to "help" me with comments about my weight and my eating and my exercising like the ones I've gotten almost all of my life, the ones that have driven my emotional eating to this out of control place. DON'T DO IT!! "Words of affirmation" is my love language, so imagine how much power your words have over me and how I feel. Please be gentle with me. Continue to love and support me. Continue to be my friend.
I needed to open up about this so that I can begin to address it. I'm scared of the journey ahead. Scared of failing again. But I'm tired of being depressed. And tired of watching the world pass me by, tired of not attaining the things that I want the most, and tired of feeling like change is impossible. I'm tired of constantly apologizing to everyone for everything. I just almost wrote that I'm sorry to burden you all with this, because I feel like that's all I am at this point. But you're my friends, so maybe you'll understand, and maybe apologies aren't necessary.
I don't want to live like this. Or die from it. I need to do this NOW.