So I was off to a good start, and I backslid. Back to the beginning.
This is sometimes how it goes with weight loss for me, especially when there are such weighty emotional issues behind every pound.
Confronting your weight is like confronting a thousand little failures, and eating disorders are composed of that perspective of failure. Whether it’s anorexia, bulimia, overeating, or self-soothing, the mental hardships behind every visible pound lost or gained is the real struggle.
So I try to remind myself not to be judgmental. Not to view the extra weight as a failure, not to view even the day’s food choices as a failure. They’re just indications of other needs. It means I need to put more attention on what I actually need.
For me, my struggle right now is with compulsive eating. It’s painful, to feel like my eating is occasionally out of my hands. I’ve been reading a bit about eating disorders, a book my counselor sent to me. Now, I don’t experience extreme attacks of compulsive eating, but I definitely find myself eating things I don’t actually want to be eating, or in quantities I don’t want to be consuming. I find myself unable to stop.
That is the terrible and shameful secret behind my particular manifestation of disordered eating: this lack of control. The struggle, then the “failure.”
The solution, for me, as I’ve accomplished this in the past, is to allow myself no opportunity to make impulsive eating choices. I have to create this imbalance to create weight loss. I plan out my consumption a week in advance, and I eat only those things. I take an extreme and hard line on not accepting food from others, and I tend to prefer to eat alone. It takes a LOT of effort.
THAT behaviour, according to this book, is itself disordered eating.
Fuck you, book.
It’s very frustrating at times. The book says to eat mindfully. To simply stop when you’re full. To resist extreme measures of control on your habits… but I think that approach is more useful for those coming at this from the anorexic end of the spectrum. I didn’t become uncomfortably large in my body by exerting *too much* control over my eating habits. Over eating is an imbalance, and I’m honestly struggling to regain the balance, the control.
I cried about food today! A friend tried to give me food the other day, and I thanked her but didn’t accept it, because I didn’t *want* to eat it, and I knew if I accepted it I *would* eat it. So the next day she, supportively, brought me “healthy snacks”. I again rejected her food offering and really confused the fuck out of her.
I cried, and then I realized that the pain here was in the secret – the struggle I was experiencing that I wasn’t telling her. So I brought her in on my experience, that I’m having difficulty controlling my food consumption, so I have to only eat things that I have decided myself, in advance, that I would eat.
She very helpfully asked me about my physical activity.
Anyone who’s been through this before knows how this question makes you feel: like you want to smack your head against the wall and strangle her at the same time. Yes, I do go to the gym regularly, however for me the food consumption is the issue. The first time Sweetie asked me about this I burst into tears then, too. It’s no fault of my friend, that’s for sure. Burning 300 – 400 calories is great but I can easily consume twice that for a bedtime snack if I’m not careful.
For people who don’t have this struggle, it’s very difficult for them to relate to me when I try to explain why I can’t eat that thing, or why your offer of a salad makes me cry.
After our talk though, my friend only wanted to be supportive, even if she didn’t really understand why this whole thing was making me cry so hard. We agreed that when she wanted to be supportive she could offer me hugs, and I would always accept them.
I really do have great friends.
Anyway, I don’t want you guys to worry about me. This emotional shit: this is all part of the process. That’s why I’m writing about it. I’ve always been real on the blog.
It feels familiar, actually, this crying about food. I remember the last time I had this much weight to lose, I had a massive crying jag in the office of my nurse nutritionist.
It is fuckin’ hard, y’all. But I’ll get there, I’ll get through it. And I know that because no matter how long I have to try, I will always keep trying. I’ll do my best not to look at this through the lens of “failure” and instead focus on my success. Such as: I DO go to the gym. I am actually in better cardiovascular health than I’ve ever been in my life (thanks to my two years of biking and my gym habit maintenance). That’s actually really important, because I have a heart murmur, so my ticker needs to tick a little harder and faster to do the same job as a normal heart.
So yeah, it’s an uphill process. But I’ll keep encouraged. I may need to start food blogging on instagram a bit.
Besides, I have something super-happy to tell you guys about. Tomorrow.