Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Relationship with food

When I went to my Options bariatric class on Monday, I didn't have my course materials with me.  Another classmate was gracious enough to share some of what we were covering.  One of the activities we had was to look at a checklist of statements in regards to the relationship with food and place a check next to the things we identified with.  Then we discussed our answers in small groups.

I brought my binder home today since we'll be off of work next week and I didn't want to accidentally leave it behind.  I opened to the class lesson and decided to really look at that list again.  An example of one of the statements is, "Once I start, I can't seem to stop eating."  So I went through the checklist again and really was as honest as possible with myself.  Of the 35 statements, I affirmed that 26 were issues for me.  That is more than what I did during class; at that time, I checked yes to 22 statements.  Some of the things were about the emotional reasons I eat, that it feels out of control, certain foods that can't be resisted, hiding food, deprivation, celebration, compulsive activity around food (like eating right from the box/bag/carton), having guilt and shame around food and so many more reasons.

When I looked at the checklist with my results, I thought, Wow!  You really do have a problem with food.  This is not some sort of revelation out of the blue of course.  Any person that is 50, 100, 200, 300 pounds overweight has a really big problem with food.  Look at the example of the people that are on The Biggest Loser each season.  Do you seriously think someone gets that overweight just because they love to cook or that willpower will fix it?  It's just not that simple and for anyone to think that it is really is in a place of ignorance.

Going further past the checklist were some exercise questions related to the list.  I thought it was important for me to answer from the depth of my soul.  I have to do that or I will never overcome these habits around food that have taken a lifetime to build.  I would like to share the questions with you, as well as my answers.  The questions are for you to ask yourself, keeping the utmost honesty at the forefront when answering them.  The answers I put down are for me to be honest.  Putting them on this blog will definitely keep me honest because it doesn't paint me in the best light but I am owning my truth.

  • Why do I think I overeat?  Searching my soul, I really feel like there are so many deep-seeded issues - child abuse, sexual abuse, fears I have, lack of self-confidence, feeling ugly.  Some issues started in the past but they really affect me now.
  • Am I more likely to overeat at certain times of day or days of the week?  What times of day or days of the week?  Why these times?  The hardest times are when I return home from work and then through the rest of the night.  I come home to a place with no one there and I think the loneliness overtakes me.  I become really hard on myself.  Somehow the food provides comfort until more food's needed.
  • Am I more likely to overeat when I feel a certain way?  What feelings lead me to overeat?  Why?  Definitely when I feel loneliness or that I don't have friends.  It's not true ... I do have friends, but it's just what my head tells me when I'm alone.  When I get critical of my body or when I feel ugly, I tend to escape into food.
  • Am I more likely to overeat with other people?  Who?  Why these people?  The majority of my overeating is when I'm alone and have privacy to indulge in whatever.  No one can see what's going on.
  • Am I more likely to overeat at night?  What do I think causes me to overeat at night?   Night is part of it.  I get really lonely being single.  I need more and when I don't have it, the food provides a false sense of comfort.
It's not easy to honestly answer these questions because, if you're anything like me, you have to deal with what you've written down.  I don't want to admit that I feel lonely or that I beat myself up for where my body is right now.  Yet, I also want to change.

At the high school where I work, we were fortunate to be blessed with a guest speaker today.  His name is Brent King.  His daughter, Chelsea, was murdered here locally by a man who took her while she was out running in a public place in the middle of the day.  She was abducted, raped and left for dead.  She was 17 and had a lifetime ahead of her.  The same person also murdered another girl around the same age, not too far from where he killed Chelsea, in the same manner.  The message of Brent's message today was about conquering hate by living in love.  He had every reason to live in anger and hate towards the evil monster who did this to his precious daughter.  Instead, he and his family choose to live in love and treat others in such a way.  They have taken was was an incredible tragedy and turned it into something positive.  They helped bring together a law, Chelsea's Law, to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.  They began a foundation that directly helps kids and the community.  They have grown stronger together as a family.  As I listened to this man's words, I thought about my own past and present.  I asked myself if I have chosen to walk forward in love or in hate.

It's a hard question to answer because I really want to say that I have walked forward in love.  In many ways, I do ... I'm kind to other people, giving to the kids I work with and do the best I can to leave a positive mark in this world.  However, when I look deeper, there is also hate and anger inside of me that I don't embrace enough to bring it out.  While I don't sit here in tears any longer when I think about being physically and sexually abused, there is hate inside of me towards the people that did those things.  While it was not my fault, I took those events and let them impact my confidence level as a human being.  I viewed myself as ugly, unworthy, disgusting.  I did things that helped to only confirm those things in my mind.  I hurt people, and myself, believing that I was no good anyway.  The truth is that there is good in all of us, but I have a hard time seeing past the weight and my looks.  My last boyfriend always told me how beautiful I was.  I have a friend that always calls me pretty lady when she sees me.  Yet, in my mind, I feel hideous a lot of the time.  Those feelings lead me to going to food to somehow comfort me.  It's a horribly vicious cycle that I pray I can get out of.

You may be reading this and thinking that I'm being brave for sharing this so publicly.  I do so because I know that we are as sick as our secrets.  I don't want to harbor ill-will towards anyone, no matter what they have done to me.  The only person that hurts from that is me.  It's easier said than done to say that I choose to be positive versus negative.  Habits take practice and consistency to change.

Water Challenge Day 29:  Drank 100 out of 185 ounces


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