I’m going to start with saying, brace yourself. This is a long one….
I went on vacation at the beginning of the month to visit family and my hometown of Tulsa, OK. I was so excited to see my family – my mom, my sister, my aunt Nancy and my cousins, and even some old friends to show them the smaller me. It had been a year since I had seen most of them.
While I was on vacation, two things happened; both revelations of sorts that hadn’t happened yet in this journey to get healthy and well frankly needed to happen. And in their happening it has sent my head spinning.
The first being, I finally really, truly saw my size. After 140lbs gone and countless times trying to tell my mind what my eyes saw, I finally got it. I finally was able to compare myself to the girls….um women (my sister and cousins) that I’ve compared myself to my whole life. And for the first time I saw myself as “normal.” Whatever normal is in my mind as in relation to these women and their body size, I finally saw it. I know each of them thinks they have have a few pounds to lose here, but to me, TO ME, they are and always have been beautiful, normal sized girls and I finally am one of them in size. Something I have wanted to be my whole life.
And then the second thing happened. Like any good vacation, I was excited about the FOOD and a lot of the vacation stemmed around the next place to eat. There was the hometown pizza joint, the coney place, the hamburger restaurant my grandfather dearly loved, the taco place and of course Braum’s ice cream. You see where I’m going here.
Somewhere in between hamburgers and my second (or was it third) trip to Braum’s I realized something, I have no self control. Like none. I have somehow managed to lose 140lbs and still have zero self control. On my long 2 day trek home with a belly screaming at me from the food I shoveled and then continued to put into my stomach I realized there is a huge disconnect between the journey it has taken me to lose the weight and the self control I have when it comes to my food addictions.
Healthy me watched as if in an out of body experience as “Fat Tracy,” as I so affectionately call her, reared her food addicted head and took back over my body. It was like every childhood emotion, coping mechanism, excuse and lack of control took over being around these foods I had as a kid, all my old demons returned and I lost the enjoyment in those foods and went back to my old ways that I had desperately tried to hide deep down inside. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun along the way, but that’s when it hit me that along this journey I haven’t fully dealt with all the whys and my food addictions and lack of self control are two giant pink elephants wearing feather boas in the room that is my journey to get healthy.
I know it’s a journey and I will get there, but after the 5th or probably 6th slice of pizza or the 2nd double dip ice cream cone those giant, frilly elephants came thumping up to me as if to say “wake the frack up Tracy.”
I think part of this pink, frilly elephant wake up call has been because of my quest to find balance. To get to a normal in maintenance mode. I’ve scoured the internet reading blogs, articles and anything else I can on being in maintenance. Maintenance, just like my addictions and lack of self control, is scary. Like, really fucking SCARY.
I don’t know what normal is now. I’ve meticulously counted every calorie along the way, logged every piece of food that has gone into my body and now it just sucks. My ability to go 110% into anything I do is backfiring on me because I don’t know when to quit. My only control has been in my ability to be really good at calorie counting. Ok, maybe that’s a little extreme, but hopefully you know what I mean.
So now I have to find a balance and at the same time work on my food addictions and self control when it comes to listening to my body when it says, “enough is enough” on the full meter. I was reading a great blog by Andie Mitchell who lost a lot of weight herself and went through a similar journey as mine to find the balance after losing weight. She talks about having to rebuild her relationship with food.
I came to realize that in dieting, I thought I missed the foods themselves, when in reality I missed the quantity. I missed the abundance and the overeating. That’s when I knew I was using food to fill a void. I didn’t just want the taste of a warm brownie sundae, I wanted it to make me so full that I became numb and couldn’t think about anything but my distressed belly. I suppose whatever emotion I was feeling inside I wanted to stuff away. And truth be told, I never once felt any better in doing this. One hour later, the emotion was still there and food had not cured it. In learning that I missed the “over” part of overeating, I felt sort of free. It’s impossible to ignore the emotions when you don’t numb them anymore with massive quantities of food. Instead, I sat with the emotion. I let it be. That’s where the healing starts.
I read that and a light bulb went off for me. Even through calorie counting and getting healthy I have been able to stuff myself to the gills and get that absolute full, gut busting feeling at times to numb whatever emotion I didn’t want to deal with. I haven’t had to go over in calories because a lot of times it was with low calorie foods that I also love. On the flip side and with my food addictions in tow, I crave, no I desire, all those “bad foods” that “Fat Tracy” used to binge on day in and day out. So through this journey I have created this unhealthy relationship with food. It’s no longer enjoyable. Between counting calories or fighting against my food addictions and lack of self control, food has become the enemy. It has become either a number I have to log or it’s “BAD” and I can’t eat it for fear of going off the rails and heading into a shameful, food addicted, emotion numbing, gut busting spiral.
So, I’ve decided I’m breaking up with food. I’m facing those pink, frilly elephants in the room head on but in a different way. I’m not going to let food rule my life and I’m going to begin the healing the process. Counting calories and meticulously logging every morsel I ate was the tool to get me to where I am today, don’t get me wrong on that, but for my sanity, I have to start letting it go. I have to continue to find that balance between eating healthy, enjoying treats, learning to cope with my addictions, and dealing with my emotions, anxiety, and depression without stuffing myself to numb it all.
If you made it this far in this post, thank you for reading. I haven’t written much lately because I guess I was embarrassed, but I started blogging to be honest about the journey. And this is part of it. Losing 140lbs didn’t fix my anxiety, depression, emotional issues or addictions with foods, but it’s waking me up to them and the tools that got me to that goal are helping me work on achieving BALANCE.