I grew up in a very happy home. I had a wonderful childhood. Mom made dinners, we baked together, we ate healthful, home made stuff.
Then, I grew up, and despite a college addiction to cheez-its, I’ve been a healthy eater most of my life and always athletic. Even if I can’t play sports due to severe lack of hand eye coordination.
As an adult, with two children, a full time job in an emotional industry (jewelery! people get wired about their stuff), I became a stress eater.
When I was pregnant, it was a food free for all. For once in my life, fat was going to be culturally acceptable. I ate french toast (eggs are protein!), ice cream, bigger meals, and after the near starvation of very morning-sick first trimester, I ate like the food was going out of style. I gained 45 pounds with each pregnancy.
After a long day with my kids, I’d snack on m&m’s during the evening, as a reward for handling two very small children on my own. Now at work, I’m surrounded by terrible food most of the time. Two bakeries are with in walking distance. I get up, go to work, be a mom, put my kids down, and then have to get up and do it again every day. Sometimes the best part of my day is food.
It’s been a very emotional time of feeling very lonely. I had some difficult things happen that made trusting people and having real friendship pretty impossible. I have no desire to open myself up emotionally to anyone I’m not married to, because I don’t trust anyone anymore. My schedule is full, and doesn’t work with really, anyone else’s. There was no time for anything but survival.
Here’s my point. Eating is easier than feeling.
Being healthy is more than going to the gym. It’s more than eating whole foods, and the proper combo of carbs and proteins. Healthy means you have to have a healthy relationship with food. Food should be your fuel, and that’s all.
You’re never going to see me at a birthday party, a happy celebration, eating 5 slices of cake. I have one, to celebrate, and I’m good. But bring a cake to work, have two servers crash, people be angry, phones ringing off the hook and I could murder a cake and go back for cola.
I have a psychological addiction to food. In my brain, this is how it sounds,
“Holy CRAP this day is bananas. I need a coke for energy, *glug glug glug* and someone brought donuts and wow there is enough for everyone to have two and I’ve already had donuts and coke might as well hit up Wendy’s for lunch! I’ll totally feel less stressed, and happier and more energetic if I get some calories and this is fast and easy and I don’t have to think about it! I’ve just got to get through this!!”
Then here is how I feel after:
“HOLY CRAP, I just ate like 3000 calories. I don’t feel better. I feel guilty I ate that and I’m still stressed and oh my god I’m going to hate my body forever and I am never going to be thin, the thin that would make me happy.” *sugar plummet into depression*
I’ve realized, I’d rather eat than process my feelings. I’m using food to numb myself from emotions I don’t feel like I can cope with.
I don’t want to cry all the time. I don’t want to hate my body for the rest of my life either. That’s not healthy.
I habitually eat treats because I feel I “deserve” them, for making it through another long long day, for being good at work, for going to the gym. I am not living my life. I am surviving it. And one day it will be the end, and all I will have done is survive. That’s not going to be the way I live.
I will not, WILL NOT, allow this to drag me into despair. I am going to stop running from my emotions into the arms of cake/coke(thedrink)/donuts/chocolate at night.
Because here’s the thing: If I diet, and get to 140, but am still using food as a crutch to cope with emotions, I’ll still be a 140 pound woman with a food addiction. I won’t be happy. Thin can’t make me happy. I have to deal with the way I am feeling, and stop using food to suppress those feelings. I am not going to spend my life trying to get a particular body shape.
Here’s a paraphrase of a book on food addiction that I’m reading:
People who are addicted to food as a emotion suppresser would tell you, they’d rather be heavier than they want, or gain and lose a thousand pounds over and over, then stop and feel the emotions they are trying to suppress with food.
I’m going to stop, and feel something. It’s going to take a lot of prayer, but that’s ok. It’s better than the alternative: a dead heart, and a fat butt.