Sunday, April 23, 2017

Avoidance

According to Google on my phone, the definition of avoidance is "the action of keeping away from or not doing something". I have been practicing avoidance lately. I have been avoiding talking to God about my struggles with my eating behaviors. I know that for me, from past experience, when I pray about a situation that weighs heavily on my mind (no pun intended), it helps me to deal with the circumstances I find myself facing. So why have I been hesitant to go to God with this particular problem? Because there is a lot of shame attached to my eating behaviors and I find myself believing that I should have better control over myself. Certainly God has bigger things to worry about than what I am shoveling into my mouth! Or does He?

I believe that God loves me deeply and unconditionally. I believe that God wants what is best for me and wants to see me happy and healthy and enjoying life. Therefore, it stands to reason that He would take an interest in how I am treating my body. When I'm eating compulsively and to excess, I am miserable. I am frustrated with myself. No, I am furious with myself. And that leads me to say some pretty mean and hateful things to myself, things that I would never even dream of saying to another human being. I start making these ridiculous bargains with myself over what I will or will not eat, when I will or will not eat, "borrowing" calories and carbs from one meal's allotment to be used at another's. I become so totally obsessed with the food that I am not only consuming it, it is consuming me.  And so I sit there, chocolate chip cookies in hand, shoving them into my mouth as fast as I can, almost choking myself on them as I try to chew fast enough to keep up with myself. Where is God in this picture?

This was the scene for me earlier this week. As I sat in the car scarfing down the chocolate chip cookies from McDonald's, I was overcome with an intense sadness, for I could hear God weeping. Not because He was disappointed in me, but because it hurt Him to see me hurting so deeply. I have been trying to avoid acknowledging the depth of my pain, falsely believing that that would make it go away. I have been avoiding sharing it with God, falsely believing that if I didn't speak of it in prayer, He would not know. But God sees what is on my heart and in my mind. He knows. And He stands willing to love me and guide me if I will let Him. He does care about what I put into my mouth because He cares about me in my totality. No amount of food is going to make me "whole". The hole inside me has to be filled with something else. Its time for me to stop avoiding God and allow Him to lovingly fill that void inside my heart.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

No Longer Anesthesized

It has been almost two full years since my last posting on this blog. I think its pretty safe to say that I had abandoned my efforts at achieving a healthier me. I gave up on me. And then I continued to try to numb my feelings through compulsive overeating and binging. Why might I do that, you may wonder? I've spent a lot of time asking myself that very same question over the last two years. The answer I keep coming back to is fear.

I am afraid to lose weight. Losing weight would mean that I would be more mobile. I wouldn't get so out of breath with every little task I set out to do. And that means more would be expected of  me. And I don't like that. I've  become rather accustomed to my slovenly ways and have forgotten how good it feels to be able to actually participate in life instead of simply sitting by the sidelines watching the world go by. I no longer know how to interact with the world and the people around me and being a part of scares me. I am an introvert by nature and my weight has suited me well as a means of isolating myself from others. What will I do without my extra crutch? What will I do if I don't have an extra 250 pounds to put between me and you? How will I continue to feel safe around others, without feeling too vulnerable? The thought of intimacy with other human beings (and I'm not referring exclusively to sexual intimacy here) terrifies me and shakes me to the core. What if you really get to know me and you don't like me? I need my fat to protect me!

Only, I'm so very sad and lonely right now. I'm still isolated even within my friendships, at my own doing. I've been trolling the fast food joints like the great white shark in Jaws (and yes, I hear the music playing in the background!), searching for that ever elusive sense of warmth and comfort that simply cannot be found in a strawberry and cream pie or a peanut buster parfait. And yet I keep circling back for more. But now, the food no longer anesthesizes me and I am in excruciating pain, crying inside. Dying inside. I cannot continue down the path I am on. Today, I stand ready to make a change. Please be kind and gentle with me as I tread this uneven path, for I am afraid, but I can't continue to live my life the way I've been living it lately. No more giving up on me.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Excuses, Excuses...

So...I have been avoiding writing any more entries because I have been struggling more than I would care to admit to. This whole journey to a healthier me is not turning out to be as easy as I thought it would be! In fact, it's hard. Damn hard. For every step I take forward I feel like I take two steps back. Right now, if I am to be honest, I would have to say that I feel like giving up - again.

I saw my family physician on Thursday and after following up on some issues, the topic of my weight came up. I knew that it would, so this was no surprise. My doctor has a particular diet that he feels would be best for me to follow and I disagree with him. I have done some research and feel that what he is suggesting would not work well for me. When I said that, he said that he felt like I was looking for excuses not to follow this diet. That comment stung and I immediately felt defensive. I really did not know how to respond. I left there feeling like a giant failure, like someone incapable of change. When I  got home, I cried for several hours before I could calm down enough to call a friend to talk.

Now, why did my doctor's comment trigger that kind of reaction in me? Something that I have learned about myself over the past several years is that if something bothers me, there is something in that situation to take a look at. And, as much as I hate to admit this, if I am to be rigorously honest with myself, I have been looking for excuses. Not necessarily for excuses to not do the diet my doctor is recommending, but for excuses to not do anything at all since I do not know what to do. I am afraid of having another failure so I'm making excuses to "wait until tomorrow" to commit to a healthier lifestyle. I can't exercise because my knees hurt and I get short of breath. I can't compete with his or her workout. I can't drink 64 ounces of water a day because the seal on my water bottle is broken. I can't fix interesting, healthy meals because I'm not a very good cook. Blah, blah, blah.

I know that no one can do these things for me. I'm not real sure where my motivation is going to come from because I'm having a real hard time imagining anything different from the way things are now. I have a decision to make. Have I had enough? Have I had enough of having to lay down on the bed to zip my pants? Of becoming out of breath taking the trash to the dumpster? Of not being able to go to the park or the zoo with my family because I can't walk around without pain? Am I now willing to DO something differently?

At the end of my appointment, my doctor made the comment that ultimately it is my choice as to which type of diet or eating plan I choose to follow and that the important thing is that I make a choice and stick with it because my weight is adversely affecting my health. No more excuses. I can't afford them anymore. I have a paperweight on my desk that says "You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do. Do it now." Good advice, don't you think?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater!

I wasn't going to write an entry today because my last two weeks have not been perfect! Now, how crazy is that? I still have not been able to eliminate pop completely and I had one day where I just binged and binged and binged. I binged on healthy foods and then I gave in to temptation and went to the store and bought pure junk and proceeded to eat all of that as well. I tried to figure out what was bothering me, hoping to pinpoint just what had triggered the desire to binge so that I could avoid it at all costs in the future, but to no avail. All I know is that I made no attempts to stop the binging once it started that day. It was as if I had decided that since I had started down that path, I had to continue with the binge. There was no going back! And then I felt like CRAP afterwards, physically and emotionally.

So, does that mean that there is no hope for me? No, it does not! It simply means that I have more learning and growing to do! I am learning from others who have been on this path before me that I can stop binging and ask for help at any point along the way. Now, that may sound easy, but for any of you who have been there, you know that it is not. But I hear it can be done and so I have faith that if others have been able to do it, than so can I, as long as I don't give up along the way.

All too often, I place unreasonable expectations on myself and when I do not live up to them, I beat myself up for not being a "stronger" person, or a "healthier" person in this case. I expect perfect adherence to principles and guidelines, which cannot possibly be achieved, and then I wonder why I am so frustrated with myself for falling short. What I am failing to realize is that as long as I stick with it and don't give up on my goal of living a healthier life, I'm not really falling short in the end. I have to remember that this is not a race and that I have countless opportunities to make better choices for myself that nurture my body, my mind, and my soul.

Despite the binge, I did still lose weight. As of today, I weigh 393.1 pounds, for a total loss of 13.9 pounds! Yippee! I have been able to stay off of the scale, except for my weekly weigh-ins on Monday mornings, which is a miracle in itself. I'm really working hard on not obsessing about the numbers on the scale and instead, focusing on how I am feeling and what I am able to do. Once again, I am able to bend over and tie my shoes while sitting on the side of the bed, which I could not do six weeks ago when I was at my highest weight of 421 pounds. Progress, not perfection, and on that note, I think that I will continue on this journey, one day at a time!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Loving Myself as I Am

Well, it's been a week since I decided to do this blog about my journey to a healthier me. I stepped on the scale yesterday morning and it read 401.4 pounds, for a loss of 5.6 pounds. Yay me! Of course, I know not to expect that every week, but it was nice to see. I have gone one week with only one Coke. My first goal is to phase out pop completely. It has been challenging to do because I really like the taste of Coke but it does not really quench my thirst. I find that when I do break down and have one, I still feel thirsty and I crave sugar all the more. It's not that I don't like water. Actually, I do. It's just a matter of changing my habits. I hear that it takes something like 21 days to make something a habit so I'm going to keep plugging away on that one. It is my goal to make it through this week without a pop.

That being said, I am not going to make this journey about deprivation. I am choosing to focus on the positive side of what I am trying to do which is making healthier choices for myself. I do not want to be picked on for what I do or do not put in my mouth. News Flash: that does not help! I am aware that I have many trigger foods that I will have to work on eliminating from my diet if I am going to be free from the strong cravings that occur whenever I put those foods in my mouth. There are things that no matter how hard I try, I cannot eat just one! So, those will have to go. Step by step, I am going to replace those foods with ones that nourish my body and give my body the nutrients it needs.

In addition to making physical changes, I am making spiritual and emotional changes in my lifestyle. I have found that prayer and meditation have helped me to quit drinking and I truly believe that prayer will play a vital role in my ability to handle the changes I am trying t make in my food choices. I have faith that God will give me the strength to care for myself the way He cares for me. I have always had a difficult time loving myself. I cannot even begin to count the number if times I have pledged to start loving myself once I reached 140 pounds. Well, I do not know if I will ever get down to 140 pounds. I cannot focus on that and I can no longer emotionally afford to place such absurd conditions on whether or not I am going to love myself. I am no longer going to wait until I lose weight to love myself and do things that feel good to me. I refuse to continue to see myself as broken. I do not need to be "fixed". I just need to be the woman that God created me to be and to love the body, mind, and soul that He has blessed me with.

Monday, April 27, 2015

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

So, here I am, sitting down to start on a new blogging adventure. I have decided to chronicle my weight loss journey on a blog. Why in the world would I want to do this? Afterall, my struggle with weight is a very personal matter and is a sensitive, touchy subject. However, I am going to put my thoughts and experiences out there for others. My reasons for doing so are threefold. First of all, my problems with weight and compulsive overeating are visible, whether I want to admit to that or not. Anyone who looks at me can already see that I have a problem, so it does me no good to continue to deny that I do indeed struggle with a food addiction. Secondly, I cannot change something that I don't acknowledge and I am ready to make some changes for the better. Lastly, I have decided that this is something that I cannot tackle alone. By making my journey available for friends and family to read, I am inviting people to help hold me accountable and to be there walking alongside of me as I work to change my life for the better. It will take me out of isolation and allow myself to be loved by others as I move forward on this path.

I don't want to focus on the "numbers". I will not be weighing and measuring myself obsessively, which will be a change in and of itself. I'm used to weighing myself several times a day so that I can either reward myself for being "good" or punish myself for being "bad". Either way, I am eating for reasons other than hunger. That being said, I still need to know where I am starting from and have a way to mark my progress along the way. I am going to commit to weighing and measuring myself only once a week. I will allow the way my clothes fit and feel to be my true measuring stick of progress.

Today, I will start out by acknowledging that yes, I am fat. I'm using that word because it is accurate and by using it in a non judgemental way to simply state a fact, I am taking the power of that word to hurt my feelings away. It used to be that that was the worst thing that I thought anyone could ever call me but I do not feel that way any longer. It simply is what it is.

Today, I weigh 407 pounds and wear a size 30 in jeans. Period. I am relieved that I am not still at my highest weight. I am excited about the opportunities to make myself healthier physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I guess in this case, there is nowhere to go but down! I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have any expectations about what I want  to happen. I expect to lose weight. I expect to get stronger. I expect my joint pain to decrease. But I don't expect these things to happen overnight or without work and effort on my part. It is my goal to strive for loving and accepting myself along the way, not waiting until I lose "X" number of pounds or get into a size "Y". It is time for me to start loving myself the way I love and treat others. I am fat, but I am not unlovable. I am a woman deserving of love and respect and I refuse to continue to accept anything less.