I've often shared how, when I was eating a lot of junk, I'd go into a sugar fog: a sense that I was seeing the world through a grease-smeared windowpane and not feeling fully "alive." The funny thing is I often didn't even notice I was *in* the fog until I got out. Get off sugar and junk for 3 or 4 days and suddenly the world comes alive: colors seem brighter, everything is clearer.
I never realized until recently how profoundly disconnected I was from my body when I was mistreating it with binge eating and the sluggish, self-centered lifestyle I'd adopted as a morbidly obese person. While I was stuffing my face with every imaginable goodie, I was transcending the 278-pound prison of pain that surrounded me. I wasn't a big tired woman eating brownie batter in the kitchen; when I was eating that sugary, fatty blend, I was a princess floating on a pink cloud with rainbows and unicorns dancing by. All the world was right for those few minutes when the batter was slipping down my throat. My eyes almost rolled back in my head in pleasure and I was in another dimension. And then the bowl was empty and I'd snap back to the reality of being a sad lonely single mother in a 3X t shirt with pizza sauce stains down the front and holey stretch pants. And to counter that reality, I needed a bag of potato chips.
I was so detached from my body that I honestly didn't know how big I'd gotten. I remember squeezing into my size 26 jean shorts, being almost unable to button them, and yet I never really *got* that I had gained more than 100 pounds. I wasn't stupid, I wasn't even truly oblivious. I mean, I had to buy bigger sizes as I went along, but I still saw myself at about 225 pounds when I looked in the mirror... much the same way I see myself at 235 when I look in the mirror today weighing 216. I never really *got* how much I weighed until I had lost about 30 or 40 pounds and looked at the pictures I posted on my blog. My jaw dropped. I had been THAT big? I don't remember seeing THAT body in the mirror. I *do* remember being in pain, being unable to walk for more than 2 minutes or go up and down stairs, and I remember sleeping propped up because if I laid down I would wake up choking on digested food that came up my throat in my sleep. I remember walking through a party supply shop, turning around in and aisle and knocking an entire glass shelf filled with merchandise onto the floor. I remember standing red-faced in the resultant pile of glass shards and wondering how my hip had caught that shelf... surely I was not as wide as the narrow aisles. I remember breaking chairs when I sat down, but I somehow was still so detached from my *body reality* that I didn't really comprehend how large I had gotten. Until I started to lose weight.
I wasn't just detached from my body... I was detached from life. I spent a lot of time in my head, thinking about food, planning the next binge, making up recipes, wondering if bacon would taste good in a butter-grilled peanut butter sandwich. I *saw* the stuff around me, but I was somewhere else a lot of the time. Sadly, I was so focused on food that I was missing out on other, more important (and more pleasant) things in life.
A lot of the time when I am in a sugar fog, I am largely detached from what is going on around me. I don't notice things and I don't feel like doing things. I want to sit, watch TV, spend hours on the computer, and eat. THAT is what I call "living in my head." Heck, I wouldn't even need a body at all if I had some way to get cupcakes and hot dogs into my alternate reality... I just used my body as a means to experience the pleasures of eating. Not much else. Oh, I'd do the basics, clean the house, care for the children, etc., but I was not *present* for cleaning the house. I didn't *play* with my children on the playground... I just *watched* them and *thought* about how much I love them. Big difference.
When I am out of the sugar fog, and not obsessing about food, I feel so much more grounded to reality... to my body. I am not living in some imaginary world in my mind... I am actually interacting in my environment. I am not trying constantly to escape reality by eating. I am actually *enjoying* reality. Creating it. Living it.
I feel so very alive now. I see things that need to be done and I embrace the challenge instead of dreading the work. I see the sunshine outside and I want to be out there *in* it... not burying my face in a Big Mac Meal or a computer screen for hours on end. I feel like I have stepped back into the real world. I feel like I have awakened from a decade of detached slumber. I am awake, alive, and present.
Be present for *your* life. It is there, waiting to be enjoyed and embraced.
Food on the Brain
1 day ago