I was reading Mir's blog today... she'd talked about the psychological issues between dieters and lasting success. You know, the whole re-evaluate your relationship with food thing.
I am lucky. I am young. Granted, I'm also the fattest person in the E2E challenge. So I'm not sure if that says my "issues" with food are more terrible or aggressive.. etc. But I still consider myself lucky to be attacking these habits before they'd become more engrained.
A lot of where we come from, or how we approach food starts in youth. Mom is a closet eater. Dad was morbidly obese. I have three older brothers who didn't pitfall into obsessive eating patterns. I didn't start packing on the pounds until I was in 5th grade and bodily changes started happening - of course. I started to feel bad for myself, particularly about always being the slow one at tag during recess and I compensated with books, knowledge and a quick tongue.
I earned my own money at a very young age by working for my dad. I would buy my own sweets and mom and dad couldn't regulate that. It was MY money. I always bought in excess and I was usually active enough that I didn't see the results until I stopped growing (vertically). Little Debbies, candy bars, string cheese. I loved to eat them one by one, layer by layer, while reading Rohl Dahl's books about poor unfortunate children overcoming evil parents and victimizing situations.
My brothers would sort of do the same thing. Joe had a padlock on his giant box of goldfish crackers and David had his power bars and Lincoln had Subway. So I guess our backgrounds were more similar than I'd thought. In a way we all struggled with addiction... except for maybe David. Lincoln was a meth addict, Joseph was always neck deep in something REALLY NERDY. Mine was food.
Food was how dad and I bonded. Food was how I made myself feel better. Food was how I distanced myself. Food was how I rewarded myself. Food was my secret indulgence. Food was also DELICIOUS. Food played a lot of roles in my life while growing up.
I really started fattening up when I gave up swimming. I used to spend entire summers in the pool, until I discovered I was a total freak and had a zit on my shoulder and then gave up the swim suit for 8 years. I gained most of my weight in 8 years. It's incredible to put a number to how long it took me to gain 150+lbs.
During that 8 years our family went through Lincoln dealing with some severe drug problems. Which in turn, became family problems... emotional problems... escapism problems. We went through some family counseling. I only went to two or three sessions and the therapist told me that for having such tumultuous relationships around me and feelings inside, I seemed pretty well adjusted and then he concentrated on Lincoln.
Well-adjusted = being able to step back from a situation to protect myself from experiencing difficult emotions. I had a lot of depressive thoughts and terrible self-esteem. I used food to help create distance. I hid under a fat blanket. My body literally became a barrier between me and the crap in the family, community and school.
Then I escaped to college and the weight gain stopped for about a year. Then started again when school go tough. My instructors got personal and my peers were even more difficult to deal with... Then we start having issues with religion. I nearly quit my degree and then went into counseling.
In counseling we talked about the music department mainly and how I felt trapped and I needed to graduate. Ultimately the conclusion was that I needed to accept accountability for life and decisions. Life is not something that just happens to someone. We are not powerless to control our direction and "destiny."
The counselor tried to talk to me about weight and I went from weepy to fire breathing dragon in mere seconds. I wasn't ready to tame that issue yet. But I'm sure it was apparent that I was fighting my stress with food and inactivity and unhealthy choices. I'm sure that a lot of my stress, anger and feelings of being overwhelmed could have used some good cardio instead of tears.
However, having reached one giant understanding of my unhappiness (that accountability thing) and the end of the semester, I quit counseling. I did two more years of school without murdering my peers or professors. I got more involved in student government. I had some leadership positions. Because if I was going to complain about how things were run, I was going to try and help shape things or understand the system better. I stressed. I ate. I got angry... for two years. Then I finished my senior recital. Gave up my leadership positions. Started working out. Started eating better. Started working 40 hour weeks.
And that's where I am now. I am in control of my life... I am responsible for the decisions I make. PARTICULARLY concerning my body. Food is a my coping mechanism. It's where I turn when I'm angry, stressed, happy, sad, lonely. That's what I'm up against - emotions, really. When I experience emotion, I eat.
Now, I'm much better at keeping my emotions in check and level than I was before. So the temptations happen less. But not experiencing the extremes of my personal emotional roller coaster sometimes doesn't feel like really living. I'm not medicated. I don't think I need to be. I'm pretty good at being my own anti-depressant and sometimes I just need to experience my depression so I can get past it.
Not all of my days are good ones. But that's typical and healthy. Not all of my days are bad ones either.
I've been arguing with myself this week... I'm sad the artistic/angsty part of myself has almost disappeared. It provided me with a lot of good inspiration for art, music, writing... but I can definitely say that I am happier now than I've been since 5th grade.
Sometimes work sucks. Sometimes friends suck. Sometimes the negative blog comments suck. But I can let it go. Maybe not immediately. But I can feel my feelings and release them... instead of shoving them in my mouth (along with calories) and hoping that I can poop them out. heh! This is something to work on for life... and here I am, trying to accept that early before I become even more stuck in my own ways.
Big Fat Where I Come From Love,
Ps. If you made it through all that, you get six points. Redeemable for awesome.