The answer for me is … not at all.
We have a choice. We might tell ourselves our disordered minds are in control, but they’re not. We are.
If we punish ourselves with restriction or over-exercising, or if we punish ourselves with a binge, we’re doing it to ourselves.
It’s not about the food or the exercise; it’s always about something else. Food or exercise (lack of it or over-abundance of it) is a coping mechanism.
And I don’t want to use either as my coping mechanisms any longer.
This weekend, during an Honest.Open.Willing. chat with my husband, he asked me point-blank, “When will the obsession end?”
He sees me more than any of my friends and family, and he sees glimmers of hope, some aspects of behavioral change. He knows I want to be better, to be more fun again, to be the happy girl I was when I was heavy … but he (as well as others close to me) have said, ” … but the obsession is still there.”
He’s right, it is.
I want to turn it off. I don’t want to be disordered, or have disordered thoughts, or to make progress only to fall back.
It just seems to hard to channel back someone I haven’t known for so long, that fun girl who didn’t fret about the size of her hips (which were “good for breeding” and comfortably fit my best friend from high school, when she’d hop on for a piggyback ride).
Our talk came about following me filling out one of the exercises in Geneen Roth’s book, “How To Break Free From Emotional Eating,” and talking about it. In the exercise, I had to identify the “Fat Me” (*everything up to WW in 2004) and the “Thin Me” (2004-2006).
(Disclaimer: I don’t think I was every truly “fat,” overweight, but never “fat” — I hate that word, but that’s what she chose in the book so forgive me).
If I had to guess, I’d say today, April 9, 2009, I fall somewhere in between the two, both mentally and physically.
These are the words I came up with for the “Fat Me”: Funny. Blends in. Doesn’t stand out. Center of attention. Easy-going. Genuine. Natural. Non-judgmental. Dresses well for her shape. Not embarassed to buy a size up. Loves shopping. Enjoys intimacy. Is playful. A good friend and lover. Eats and loves to eat and isn’t shy about loving to eat. Runs or works out when she feels like it. Enjoys lasagna, bread, desserts. Loves life. Loves Grapeade Snapple and mint mochas with whipped cream.
And these are the words I came up with for the “Thin Me”: Restrictive. Less playful. Anxious about weight, food, exercise. Concerned about “weight gain” (real or imagined). Vain. Not fun to go out with. Not easy-going. Lives by a schedule/thrives on rigidity and plans. Journals. Over-exercises and sometimes over-eats; over-exercising to compensate. Shuns junk food … but then chews/spits. Spends more time alone. Less sexual. Loves food. Thinks about food. Eats some food, but not everything she wants. Drinks Diet Coke like it’s going out of style.
There’s a happy medium somewhere, itching to be found. Sometimes I have a grip on that happy medium; other times I live in worlds of black and white.
As I noted, weight gain and a bit more relaxed approach to life has put me in somewhat of a gray area as of late, but I know I am susceptible to falling into that black-and-white, and need to be careful to avoid that.
The important thing here isn’t about my size but rather this:
I want to be fit and fun. To enjoy life, to not freak out about a surprise dinner out or an unplanned shared dessert, or an impromptu glass of wine.
These shouldn’t be “successes;” they’re part of LIFE!
I want my cake and to eat it too. I want to be the “fat me” mentally in the “thin me” body, but I’m realizing that just might not be possible. Especially not if it’s going to cost me my ability to enjoy life any longer. I’ve wasted too many years not being the best version of myself I can be, not loving myself as I ought to be doing.
Life is too short; my dear friend Jason died of brain cancer at 27. Would he be wallowing about his weight if God had spared him? Hell no!
In high school, I used to love the mantra, Carpe Diem (seize the day). I think I did back then; I embraced life. I need to get that girl back; she’s in there, underneath the anxiety and selfish thoughts, she’s there.
This past Christmas, my best friend gave me a framed photo with a picture of us and our hubbies taken at a wedding last April. The quote on the frame (which I keep at work on my desk so I can look at it often) reads,
“A friend is … someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you today just the way you are.”
Truer words couldn’t have been spoken. I’m very blessed to have the love and support I do … and I know I’ll get through this. Fun Melissa’s in there.
It’s my task to unearth her, chisel away at the outer layers, one day at a time.
Can anyone else relate to being more “fun” when they were heavy, and less so when they lost weight? (not talking about ED/DE here; just weight loss in general). If you didn’t lose that spark, how did you avoid falling into this abyss?