Okay, not really, but if I’ve ever belabored a point it is that I have a weight problem, an eating problem, a disorder if you will. But I thought I’d bring it up again because what better way to help myself than to write through it all, yeah? Whatever. If you’re unfamiliar with this particular of my disorders it isn’t because I haven’t mentioned it here before, but here’s a small synopsis: I’ve always thought I was fat, even when I wasn’t. I hated my body so much that I started dieting at the ripe young age of 13. Then, in my 20s I discovered low carb and lost weight. So much weight. For the first time in my life I was SKINNY. But it only lasted a couple of years and then one day I ate a piece of chocolate. Which became two pieces of chocolate. Which became a cascading river of chocolate and began a two year binge the likes of which you’ve probably never seen (unless of course you yourself are a binge eater and then you know exactly what I’m talking about) – y’all, I was sometimes afraid of myself. I would cry as I shoved food in my mouth but there was nothing I could do to stop it. It’s like there was a monster living inside of me, you know, like that little girl in the exorcist only my monster made me eat revolting amounts of food not cuss in a weird, man voice and vomit pea soup. There were periods of dieting thrown in there, but they grew shorter and shorter as the binges grew longer and longer. So I finally stopped. Stopped dieting, stopped promising myself I’d diet, stopped weighing myself, stopped deluding myself that I’d be happy if only I were a size 6 again. Subsequently I lost 75lbs. Yes, by not dieting. So, I know what you’re thinking. What happened? What happened that made you start doing it again? Well, after meeting my husband I started eating a little bit more. No big, just a little, because that’s what you do when you settle into a serious relationship (see as evidence every married person you know). I gained maybe 5 pounds, no big deal, right? But it threw me right back into the goddamn diet/binge cycle. We were getting married and I wanted to be skinny for my wedding. I thought I could just diet for a few months until the wedding and then get back to normal. Even though as I was saying this to myself I knew it was bullshit and that I’d be right back where I started. And here I am! How? How could I have let it happen? And now it has been going on for over a year and I’ve gained 40 pounds. I had this thing beaten, and now it’s back. Like a bad sequel to a movie you didn’t really enjoy in the first place.
So, I’ve been reading books by Geneen Roth. The last time I quit dieting I read a book called Intuitive Eating, which is a great book, it teaches the importance of eating when you’re hungry etc, but it didn’t really address the emotional reasons behind compulsive eating. Geneen? She does. She lives it, she gets it, and I currently have a giant crush on her. And I’ve been reading, and practicing, and doing and trying and TRYING. Last week I had a bit of a backslide – decided I couldn’t take it anymore and that I was, once again, going to go on a diet. Oh Anjeanette, get a grip. Do you ever wish you could reach back through time, somehow, and slap yourself? When I tell myself I’m going on a diet, all it really means is that I can eat way too much food for the days leading up to it. Which is how one gains 40+ pounds in a 15 month period. Stop judging me. We all have issues. So I binged all last week, started a diet Tuesday morning, and by Tuesday lunch was done and promising to get it together.
And today I think I had a breakthrough. The gist of the whole intuitive eating concept is first: stop dieting, second: eat when you’re hungry (and stop when you’re not), third: eat what you want. No really. Whatever you want. Well, so. That’s easier said than done. It is. For a chronic dieter the concept of not being on a diet is enough to put you in the booby hatch. So yesterday we had a potluck at work, all kinds of stuff, everywhere. I did okay, ate what I wanted, didn’t overeat, felt fine the rest of the day. This morning as I wandered past the food table on my way to the breakroom I happened to notice that there were cookies leftover. Suddenly I wanted a cookie. But, instead, I ignored that urge and the cookies and ate my peanut butter sandwich. For breakfast. It was supposed to be my lunch, but whatevs, as long as it kept me from the cookies. An hour later I was hungry, but again I ignored the cookie and ate some hummus and pita chips. Much healthier, right? Well, 30 minutes ago I ate the damn cookie. Why? Because it’s what I really wanted. Had I eaten the flippin’ cookie first thing this morning I would probably still have a peanut butter sandwich to eat at lunch time, and no hummus in my tummus. That’s the point of all of this! I should just eat a cookie when I want a cookie. You normal eaters, you already know this, don’t you. You’re lucky. But you guys, I learned something. I’m learning. It’s working. Do you know what this means? You really can teach an old dog new tricks!