I didn’t want to write about diets today but there will be more on that lately. Only because I know, that many of you have had the same experience with diets!
Yesterday I went out to lunch with my Mom, sister-in-law, her sister visiting from Puerto Rico and my 26 yr. old niece. After lunch, we were standing in the parking lot and Mildred (sister in law’s sister) asked me how I lost all my weight. That is such a loaded question and there is no simple answer. My response was “you don’t really want to know”. She said, “Yes I do, I need to lose weight and want to know”. I felt like she was pretty tiny but she told me she needed to lose 50 pounds. It is so hard for me to not ask more questions but I really didn’t feel like that was the time. If I tell people the short of what I have done, I feel like I am doing a disservice to them if they are truly suffering. Not everyone who wants to lose weight is truly suffering!
My niece said that she wanted to take her Aunt Mildred to a clothing store that was in the Mall. I had never heard of the store because in the last 30 years I could only buy clothes at stores that carried the large sizes. My comment, without even thinking, was that it must be a store that only carried small sizes. My Mom turned to me immediately and said “Well you can wear small sizes, what are you talking about?”. Suddenly it occurred to me that I can buy clothes from ANY STORE except plus size stores!
You have no idea what this revelation did to me! It was like I opened a door that was shut tight for 30 years! I hated shopping for clothes because the stores I had to go to were always very overpriced and I couldn’t buy clothes that I loved, I had to buy clothes that hid the areas on me that I didn’t want others to have to see! My mind tells me that I still have areas to hide but reality is that I am a normal size 10 to 12 at this point. Considering that at my largest size I was wearing a 4x in tops and 28-30 in pants, that is quite a difference!
I have come to the conclusion that I have this whole new world open to me and find it both fascinating and exciting! Hearing the words that I am small just does not yet compute with me!
In my last post I wrote about diets. I wasn’t finished (with writing about it) and really felt the need to add some things.
Obviously at my top weight of 320, diets did not work for me. The question is why! Please keep in mind that whenever I started any kind of program, whether it was a food plan based diet, a mind change type diet or a supplement type diet, I always entered with the thought that this would work for me. But what did “work for me” mean? What was it I really wanted to accomplish? The only thing I knew I wanted was to lose weight! And I wanted to do it in a way where it didn’t hurt! That was what I thought “work for me” meant. Deep down inside I knew that there was more to it but I had never figured that out so I went for second best…to lose weight.
I never really thought I would be able to lose ALL the extra weight that I had on me but I really, really always wanted to lose some of it. I had resolved to myself a long time ago that I was just meant to be big!
Now for the why it never worked…because I was obsessed with food! Diets made that come out more! Any food that was restricted from me on any diet plan was so painful for me to give up! Sometimes I could give it up for short periods of time but always felt like I couldn’t wait to lose some weight so I could go off this diet and eat _________ you fill in the blank. Was this ever going to rid myself of the problem I had? NO! But I didn’t know that! If anything, dieting made me think of food even more and made me want it even more! No kidding! Then I would be filled with grief over the thought of not being able to eat something that I really, really wanted!
I smoked cigarettes heavily as a teen and in my 20’s. I always wanted to quit smoking but what I didn’t want was to still have the desire to smoke and just restrict myself from it. That seemed like it would hurt too much! It was the same with food. I didn’t want to give anything up that I really liked! Unfortunately the only thing food wise that I didn’t like was coconut!
So why the diets didn’t work was because I am addicted and obsessed with food! Taking it away from me wasn’t going to make me want it any less!
And I believe there will still be more later on this subject…
I am sure that this will have to be more than one post! It sounds like such a cliche when I say that I have tried everything diet wise! You name it…I have tried it. I have spent more money on losing weight than I have spent on anything else. Why did I keep going on diets or buying products that promised I could lose weight when nothing worked? Because, I just wanted to feel the slim hope that I could be “normal” even if it was only for a short time. I thought that if I went on a diet I could temporarily stop feeling bad about myself! Knowing full well that I was too big, I simply did not know any other way to lose this excess weight!
I tried to change my mindset! I prayed that GOD would help me lose weight. I went to hypnotists, diet coaches, read many, many books trying to find a way out of this nightmare but nothing stuck. I would lose a couple of pounds here and there. I would ultimately abuse the room I was given in any program! Something would happen that would throw me for a loop and then I was done! Any weight that I lost would then come back with a vengeance and add more pounds to boot. Each and every diet or plan left me feeling even more hopeless!
Please know that I am not putting down any program nor am I promoting any program. However, I am saying that nothing that I paid money for worked for me nor would it ever! My problem went deeper than a food plan and I knew this deep down inside. I also knew that it wasn’t just merely a change of mind or change of attitude that would cure me.
At times I was so desperate to change that I became so vulnerable to anything that promised weight loss. This was dangerous for me because I didn’t have the money for any of this and I would sell things or take money that belonged to something else just to pay for the hope that something, anything would work! I feel very much taken advantage of by the whole diet industry! I have said so many times over the years that the diet industry can not treat everyone as if they all have the same problem! Everyone is coming at this with a different reason for needing to lose weight!
Every diet that restricted my food made me feel so sad! I felt so isolated! It was like “why can everyone else do this and lose weight but me. What is wrong with me!” Sometimes (many times) I would go on a program and when I stopped losing weight, usually 15 to 20 pounds, I would talk to the leader, profess that I had followed everything as I was instructed, and they would just shrug their shoulders and tell me that it worked for everyone else. Do you have any idea how that made me feel! And it happened time and time again!
More on this later!
Hold on…don’t leave the page! If you are anything like me you are feeling like you have had enough of the people trying to convince yourself that you need to accept yourself..in fact, you might have even paid good money to have it said to you! This is not what this post is about.
Although it is true that you must have acceptance for yourself before you can have acceptance for others, acceptance is an extremely hard place to get to when you are not comfortable in your own skin! I fought the idea of just accepting my size and the fact that I was overweight! There was a little voice in my head that told me I shouldn’t accept it. That voice told me that there was something else that could be done. I didn’t know what that was but I knew there was something.
Oh don’t get me wrong…I could say affirmations all day long! I had index cards all over my house affirming how much I loved myself! The truth is that I loathed myself! I loathed the fact that I could not lick this simple thing of food which is a necessity for all human beings! I didn’t just loathe myself every once in a while. For me it was after every time I ate! The planning stage for me with food was the wild and excitingly frantic time. I loved every minute of the planning stage. Once I decided what I was going to eat next, I just couldn’t wait! I would count down the minutes! It was my pure joy!
Then came the actual eating which took all of about 5 minutes. Then came the loathing. I beat myself up about what I had just done eating wise and the loathing lasted until the next planning stage! This cycle was present in me for about 40 years. So accepting myself with no matter how many pasted affirmations I had hanging up, just wasn’t going to happen! I knew that being this overweight and wrong with food was not acceptable!
Being in a right sized body has absolutely changed my acceptance of myself and why that is important is because it has changed my acceptance of EVERYONE! Think about all the people walking around on this earth that loath themselves because of this food issue they have and what it does to their feelings towards others! I know how bad of a person I was to others simply because of my non acceptance to myself! I can honestly say…I NEVER want to go back to being that person!
Food can be an escape from reality for some people. I know it was definitely my drug of choice! Some people might even defend this by saying that at least they weren’t taking drugs or drinking! Food is legal so what is the big deal! The big deal is that since eating all types and quantities of food is pretty acceptable in our society…we can justify it!
What does escaping reality do? When we escape from reality it is because we don’t like reality and want to numb ourselves from feeling reality! We can’t accept our reality so we escape it by numbing ourselves from it by engaging in some activity that, albeit temporary, focuses on something else.
In my personal experience, my mind was always thinking about how terrible my life was. The reality of my life situation seemed to be so difficult. Knowing that I could eat whatever I wanted, how ever much I wanted somehow made me feel powerful in a world where I felt mostly powerless! Ironic how what made me feel powerful was, in fact, my weakness!
God doesn’t want us to “escape” our reality because reality is where HE is and HE can only meet us and help us when we are in our real world. Feeling with and dealing with our real world is tough sometimes but it is the only way to receive GOD’S grace! Whatever numbing agent we use, it separates us from GOD!
Food gave me such a rush! Planning it, anticipating it, tasting it, ordering it was what my world was built around. Everything evolved around it and it even got to the point that most major decisions in life were based upon food for me.
Yes it is! Think about any addiction…it becomes that when we say to ourselves “I am going to do this and I don’t care about the consequences”. Alcohol is one example. We know that the substance isn’t good for us, we know it can cause us to to do crazy and abusive things but we still choose to ingest it! Yet there are some people who can drink the same and it doesn’t have any effect on them and they can stop at any moment.
Then think about drugs. We know that it isn’t for us and that ingesting them will want us to have more. We know that it is hard coming down from the “high” and the process that will take but yet, we do it anyway. And if we don’t have the money in our wallet to purchase them, we find a way…whether we have to steal or sell something to get the money. Yet everyone who tries drugs do not get addicted!
Think about shopping. We know that we don’t really NEED many things and that we shouldn’t spend so much money that we don’t have. But that little thrill we get at acquiring something new just makes our mood so joyful even if it lasts only for a few moment is worth it! Yet not everyone who shops overspends on things they don’t need.
Think about gambling. We are drawn to the feeling of the opportunity of winning money that we didn’t have to earn. That somehow our life would be so much better if we just had more money. That feeling of winning is what we are after no matter how much we have to spend to get that feeling! Yet not everyone who gambles does it to the point wanting to do it all the time.
Now, put food into those examples. If food is supposed to be for nourishing our bodies, why would we ingest anything that would not serve that purpose? We are drawn to that little bit of “high”we get when we eat. We don’t care if something is good for our body…as long as it tastes good! We get to a point that we don’t care if eating is making us overweight because we have got to have it! We turn to food as our friend in times where we feel lonely or inadequate Yet not everyone who eats overeats or gets a “high” from food.
Again, anything that causes us to not care if a particular action is good for us is either close to addiction or is an addiction. Food is no exception. The only difference is that most other addictions can be arrested by stopping the behavior whereby food is necessary for our physical life.
Since I can remember so very long ago, I knew that I did food differently than other people. I knew that I thought and felt differently about it than almost everyone I knew. I always connected everything with food. Going on trips, I looked forward to stopping to eat. Family functions were looked forward to by me because I knew there would be food there. I can tell you events that I participated in and can pretty much tell you everything about the food but nothing else. I built my life around food…somehow I knew that wasn’t normal!
So let’s talk about what that does to a person! Constantly feeling and knowing that I wasn’t quite right and that I had this deep dark secret (being so obsessed with food) put space between me and many things. I did not realize this until I was able to remove the obsession. First and foremost it put a space between me and God. I felt like I shouldn’t ask HIM for help with something that I saw as vanity. And then also I couldn’t understand how HE could want me to live with this problem because in my weird way of thinking I thought being so vastly overweight was something that HE wanted for me. Why didn’t I deserve to have a life free of this problem of obesity and overweight?
Realize that I had not connected my absolute obsession with food and what that meant with my being overweight. I just thought that food affected different people in different ways and it affected me in a bad way! But still, always constantly feeling and trying to cover up that something was inherently wrong with me, makes everything you do in life reactionary. I always felt like I had to defend my obesity! I also always believed that I had to settle for second best in almost every area of my life because I was flawed and not good enough for the best of anything.
In trying to imagine and plan my future, I never went after what I really wanted because I accepted the fact that I would never get it. All of my spiritual strength came from my ability to try to accept that I wasn’t good enough. I never knew that once this feeling of inadequacy was removed by the recovery of obsession, there would no longer be anything in the way to go after what I wanted!
The draw of the diet industry for those of us obese people… is that perhaps we could lose some weight and for a period of time feel good about ourselves! But as you get older and have tried everything out there diet wise, you realize that the fix is going to just be temporary. You can white knuckle it for a period of time but you knew you were always going to go back to the obese you! So what is the use!
Going through life without that notion that there is something wrong with me is, to me, one of the biggest miracles that has happened to me. I am free to be….(you fill in the blank)!