Monday, May 24, 2010

And I feel...

...angry.

No, I am not wallowing in anger, but lately, just over the past week or so, I've had moments when I am almost livid because I am losing the weight.

I am not upset that I am losing weight; I *want* to lose weight. I chose to. But that's what makes me so angry. The fact that I am doing it, and am going to get to my goal, is proof to me that I could have done this at any time.

The lost years, the missed experiences, all those things that happened to me that were painful and difficult because of my weight... all of that was MY FAULT. It was NOT unavoidable, I was NOT helpless, and I had the power to end it. But I didn't.

It sounds almost accusatory. "Hey, fatty, quit eating so much and get off your butt!" I've heard it, you've heard it. I don't *mean* to be saying that to myself (and certainly not to anyone else), but a part of me now realizes that yes, I am capable of changing my life. And then I feel angry because I didn't do it sooner, when I could have. But I didn't know HOW.

If I'd tried harder... if I'd learned sooner... maybe I could have saved those ten years of being obese and focusing on food and eating and dieting instead of focusing on LIVING. I can never get those years back. I cannot go back and be an active healthy mother to my children because they are almost grown. I cannot get back the years I didn't tuck in my babies because 1) I felt too fat to risk sitting on their little beds and breaking them, and 2) my knees hurt too much to go up and down the stairs to their bedrooms. I look at pictures of my little boys and I want to weep because I can never have them back as they were. I can never lie on their beds and tell them stories, because 18-year-olds do not want their moms on their beds and college students just don't have time for stories anymore. I can never go back to the lake with my little boys and go out in a boat with them, even though now I am not over the weight limit and am unafraid I will tip the boat and drown us all, because I no longer have little boys who want to go boating with their Mommy. And I can't get back the chances to run and practice soccer with my guys because now they don't play soccer anymore. Yes, I have my daughter, and I *am* doing all of those things with her. But she is not them, and my little sweet boys are grown and I lost that chance to do those things with them. Forever.

I can never get back the years I wasted immersing myself in food obsession. I can't go back and help my son with a science fair project instead of being intent on baking 4 dozen chocolate chips cookies. I *know* I was a good mom, really. I loved my children and still love them more than life, and everything I ever did in my life was FOR them. Except for the eating. The food. It got in the way. It got me fat. It took away many, many hours that could have been spent elsewhere. I knew all of this before, but now that I have had some months free from the food addiction and have seen just *how much* more time I have and how much more focus I have for my children, the sense of loss is that much greater. I didn't *really* know what I was missing before... now I do. And I ache for what I've lost.

Part of me believed, I think, that I was *incapable* of losing weight and getting to a healthy size and letting go of the food. Even when I was losing weight over the past two years, I didn't FULLY internalize that I would ever succeed. Get *some* extra weight off? Yes, sure. But all of it? No. I'd always be obese and I'd always be obsessed with food. It was who I thought I AM. A binge eater. A compulsive eater. Someone who will always struggle with food and always be dieting and losing and regaining just like my mother did. After all, there was something *wrong* with me. It was pretty much impossible for me to change it.

But now, it HAS changed. I see that not only is it *possible* to be free of binge eating and food obsession, but it is WITHIN MY POWER. As I lose weight I am almost in a state of disbelief. 204 pounds??? What??? I am shocked even at the same time that I am confident that it will happen. And that's where the anger comes in: just like I used to feel kind of angry when I saw someone else who was really big losing the weight and succeeding, I am mad at *myself* for doing it. Because when someone succeeds at weight loss, it means it IS POSSIBLE. And that used to piss me off because I wanted to think it WAS NOT possible, that they were going to fail, just like I always failed. And now that it is *me* doing it, and I am not failing, I have no choice but to acknowledge that I was wrong. It is possible. It is in my power. And that makes me angry for not doing it sooner and for wasting TEN YEARS telling myself that *I Could Not* when, in fact, I could.

As I said, I am not overcome with anger, nor am I angry on a daily basis. It's just this big, new feeling that hits me every once in awhile. It's just another thing I need to work through. I do focus on doing good things with my time NOW. I do rejoice in the blessed freedom I am experiencing... the better health, the quality of life, the smaller pants sizes. All of it is wonderful. But I needed to acknowledge these emotions, so that I can allow myself to grieve just a bit and then forgive myself and go forward. Because I don't want to waste any *more* time being angry.

I wrote this not just for me, but for you. I know there are people out there who are where I was ten years ago. Maybe you have children, maybe not. Maybe you are missing out on soaking in the wonder in your baby's eyes, or the love in your spouse's touch, or the beauty of the sunset because you are focused on food, bingeing, dieting. You have to realize that your moments are slipping by. That baby will be gone to college in a flash. Your spouse will not live forever... neither will you. Your parents won't always be around to love you. This day has wonders you do NOT want to miss... you do not NEED to miss. Believe me. This is no fluke. YOU, you personally, have the power to be FREE of that kind of food obsession. You do NOT have to just watch other people succeed. You are capable. Please, I beg you, do NOT let days and months and years fly by and find yourself middle aged and angry because instead of memories of bike riding with your son or playing tag with your daughter all you have is a hundred memories of chocolate chip cookies going into your mouth, over and over and over. That is no way to spend your precious life. Please learn from me, don't let my regrets become your regrets.

I am treasuring every single second I have with my children, young and grown, now. I revel in the sweetness of my daughter and the shine of her golden hair the way I used to revel in a carton of fudge ripple ice cream. I notice my son's wit and talent with the energy I used to spend worrying about what kind of Doritos I'd have after dinner. I love every moment of my life and want it to be as rich and meaningful as possible... and I can't, and won't, find that richness in a bag of Fritos.

I feel like writing this post is in some way cathartic. It's the culmination of the anger I had towards myself, and the beginnings of forgiveness. I am ready... truly ready now... to leave that era behind and create a new one in which I am fully awake and alive, treasuring every moment.

39 comments:

Autumnforest said...

I feel for you. The problem with life is we can't go back with the wisdom we have now. You can't live your life in retrospect. That woman wasn't ready. This woman is. My sister got stomach stapling and lost the weight that her entire life she swore she could not. She swore she dieted and exercised and that her body could not lose weight...but after the stapling, she lost 130 pounds and was a trim weight. When that happened to her, I was just gaining weight for the first time in my life. I had never had to lose weight. I thought that by wishing to lose weight and not doing anything insane, I should be losing weight, but I wasn't. I thought "maybe I can't lose weight," then I remember my sister and others like her forced into dieting by stringent means. I remembered when I had oral surgery done and lost a bunch of weight. The fact was, if I ate the diet she was eating with her stomach stapled, I would lose weight. I'd have no choice. So, the reason I wasn't losing weight wasn't because I couldn't lose weight. It fell fully on my shoulders. I was mad at first, wanting to think it was my thyroid or anything else, but it came down to my eating. I started doling out little tiny amounts like my sister ate and eating more frequently with no real "meals" and I lost weight rapidly. It startled me. You just realized it can be done and it was always in your own hands, but those hands weren't ready to accept it yet. You are now. It's never ever too late to get wisdom, otherwise we'd give up after adolescence and remain immature and dependent. We have to go through all the stages. I'm so proud of what you've done. You learned something most people are never forced to learn--your fate is truly in your own hands. Congratulations.

Jamie said...

You have been awarded Check out my blog for details. I understand what you mean. It is like a blow in the face knowing you wasted the time. This is what threw me off last time. You are doing great!

Rebekah said...

Lyn, While it is really very sad that you can't have that time back, the fact that you are recognizing what a gift you have now- means you will treasure it even more!

It is VERY healing to accept "bad or negative" feelings. Personally when I am mad or upset, I dont WANT to be cheered up. I need to FEEL those emotions. The pain, the sadness, the grief. Feel them, think about them, then let them pass. Sometimes its hours, other times days, weeks or months.

Similar to you its not an all time thing, but it is something there. I am so happy I am finally addressing my weight issues, but why did I wait SO FREAKING LONG. I agree with Autumn. I just wasn't ready. I now am. I feel like this journey, the good and the bad, the easy and the hard are just going to build me stronger then I could have ever imagined.

I feel the same thing for you! Hang in there!

Chibi Jeebs said...

Totally going out on a limb here, but it almost sounds like you might going through the grieving process for the "lost" years (which makes total sense to me). It's easy to look back with hindsight and beat ourselves up for not *getting* it back then, but that never really changes anything, does it? It just makes us feel worse.

I'm not saying that you *shouldn't* be angry by any means, but try to remember what an amazing job you ARE doing. <3

Claire said...

Oh wow. I am angry, too. Angry that I am 44 years old, and "let myself go" after having my kids; that I eat because I am unhappy with my life; that my skin will be saggy and ugly when I finally do lose the weight; that I can't stand for my husband to touch me, because I can only imagine what he must think.

In other words, I can totally understand. Thank you for this post. It was cathartic to read, and maybe I can let go of some anger and really assert myself towards my health.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was powerful! I was almost in tears and that wouldn't be the first time that has happened while reading your blog. You have learned so much and you are such an inspiration to many!!

Kisha said...

I understand so much. I feel that way already, and my kids are still young. I do feel stuck, I do feel like everything I try fails, and that I will be fat forever. I'm so proud of you for overcoming.

georgia said...

OH WOW! I just had this conversation with a friend this weekend. I was telling her how much I missed with my first two. How out of control the diet of my house got. How some of the health issues I was dealing with lead to my fear. Led to my poor choices. And now, I have the second two. Who are exactly the ages of my first two when I got sick, when I really packed on the pounds and I realize how much I missed. It’s almost like I’m making up for lost time now. But I’m so sad about the time lost. Angry that I can’t get it back. But I’m also so happy that I’ve made a choice to get healthy, to live my life again, to be here for my children as long as I can. These choices I’m making today help ease the sadness, the anger.

This post of yours is so powerful! Thank you.

Mishe@EatingJourney said...

Thank you SO much for this post. I think it's exactly the truth. I have 'wasted' 2 years of my life bingeing, starving, hating myself,PROMISING that i'd start tomorrow. And I've wasted so much of my life doing it. WOW! This post was VERY powerful for me.

Yeah, I guess I am angry, sad, and ANNOYED. But as you said..it's time for a new era.

Claire said...

Good. You get where you get when you are ready to get there. No point beating yourself up for the past but there is a point in learning from in...and never repeating it!

Blimpy Christian said...

Hi Lyn. I'm in recovery for binge-eating disorder, which as I am reading what you write, I realise you are too. Letting go of the dieting mindset is the only thing that has ever given me peace, and surprise surprise, I am losing weight.

As you recount your grief for the lost years, let me remind you that this is a normal part of the healing process. All of the women in my group therapy who suffer from one kind of eating disorder or another have experienced this grief. I think actually experiencing the grief myself was what pushed me to go and get some help.

So this grief, while painful, is positive. It shows that you are now ready to embrace life with both hands. Acknowledge the pain, and move on to a future brighter than your past ever was!

Once Upon A Dieter said...

I think we all feel that we've lost time. But now you'll enrich time, and when your kids are older, you'll have the energy and health to do MORE stuff with them and to dance at their weddings.

I feel angry at my younger selves a lot. :) And at my current self. But, as the other commenter said, we are ready when we're ready (and we'd always regret something...that's just how it is to be human.)

Hugs,

Trish said...

Your kids are never too old for you to do things with them. I have 20-somethings sons who love doing things with me. We still go to Disneyworld and other parks together, go kayaking, cycling, or whatever. There is plenty of time for new memories.

Jana said...

I just found your blog and you are now my favorite read - this post is exactly how I feel. I want to change and be healthier and I want to do it more than ever. Your story brings me encouragement and I don't feel so alone in my relationship with food and my obsession with it. You go girl!

Dani @ WRW said...

I've long reconciled with the fact that just because I was capable ... didn't mean I was ready.

I'm ready now.

Anonymous said...

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come." Don't look back, look forward. You have reinvented yourself and can continue to do so!

Larkspur said...

I like that last comment by Anonymous.

I suspect you did the best you could at the time, with the tools you had. You're in a different place now with better tools.

I wonder if sugar/fat has an extra hold on women in our 20s and 30s. I was not a binge eater and ate relatively healthily and did exercise some, but I was forty to fifty pounds overweight for most of my 20s and all of my 30s. I've cut that by half now. Just had to figure it out.

And think what a great decade your 40s are going to be.

Anonymous said...

I want to say something very different. When I read your post, it really brought me back to when my son was born and my husband and I broke up. I started eating a lot - multiple boxes of girl scout cookies in one sitting, bags of candy from Target, etc... I did this for about 2 years. And then I realized that I was doing it because my whole life was my son. Sure, I worked and went to school but I had very few friends and my life was just coming home and being with my son. And of course I loved him and I loved our time together but I was lonely. Two-year olds are awesome but they are no substitute for a true social network - good friends you can laugh with and feel connected with. So, why am I writing this? I think because your post reads a lot like how I felt back then. You are very connected to your kids and obviously love them a lot and that is great. But I just wonder if a part of the binge eating didn't come because they were all you had (like me)? And, of course, you can mourn the time you lost with them (and I lost time with my son too sitting and eating all that food instead of playing with him). But I worry about the anger. Now, I don't know if it's true - that part of why you ate was because you were lonely like me and all you had were your kids. But if it is true, then your post kinda shows you haven't come to terms with that part of it. So, I just wanted to offer my take on it and advice. It sounds like you were a great mom and have always been there for them but I think instead of being angry over what they didn't get, why not focus on what you weren't getting? For myself, I was only able to get better after I was able to do that, recognize that I was lonely and needed more in my life than my son. Who I love with all my heart - I promise! :)

On another note, I wanted to say that the turning point for me was finding your blog. I don't even remember how I found it but I stumbled upon it one night and read the entire thing it one night. It was so motivating and really helped me to take the steps to start losing weight and figure out why I was binge eating. So, I truly thank you for that.

spunkysuzi said...

I have been very angry with myself at times, i've also been very depressed over choices i have made at times!
However, i think we have to forgive ourselves and move on!!

notjustcelery said...

It is an amazing thing when people realize how strong and powerful (and not helpless) they really are. I wish I had known all of this sooner too but the important thing is we are doing it now! Be proud of all your accomplishments!

Anonymous said...

Oh boy. It's okay to feel angry. But hold off on the self judgement, please, as you smartly suggest because the game is still going on. I find that losing weight is the EASY part. Keeping it off? That's the where the real physical and emotional struggles hit hard for me. That's when I become most obsessed with food and/or dieting.

When I'm losing the weight, eating 1200 to 1400 calories a day seems perfectly reasonable, and even satisfying. But maintaining? OMG. An extra 200-300 calories a day added back on, over time, adds up fast! I can put on 30 lbs in a year without blinking. I don't know what it is about my formerly obese body...it's like it looks for any reason to grab hold and store up extra fat. You'd think hibernation season was just around the corner. LOL. I keep telling myself: "You are not a bear." How does a person just learn to live with constant hunger? Honest? I think THIS is why most people get fat again. My hunger is real, not something my emotions manufacture.

LHA said...

I have a different perspective than some of the others who have commented, because I am older than you are and my children are mostly grown. Like you, I have struggled with my weight for years, but in my case it went on much longer than your ten year battle. Several times I lost weight, never getting quite to my goal, but I always gained it back. Yes, my four children were born and grew up during these years, and yes, that makes me sad when I think of what we lost due to my obesity.

However, I can also see the wonderful times we had when they were growing up. One thing I can say, and I'm sure you can too, is that I gave everything I had to raising my children. That I did it in spite of being very obese is amazing. I also see lots of opportunities for wonderful times ahead in their adulthood. I am fighting my weight down once again, and the thought of being able to be active and healthy with my now grown up family is very motivating to me!

In looking back over your struggles with obesity, congratulate yourself for being a wonderful and involved mother in spite of your physical limitations. Look forward to the happy years ahead. I would be willing to bet your children don't veiw you are anything but a wonderful mother and don't think they missed out on anything.

Good luck on your journey. Thank you for sharing it with those of us who are walking the same difficult path.

Marcia said...

Very amazing post. I have so been there. KNOWING that I *can't* lose weight. Then realizing later that I could (and did). What a waste. I am lucky that I lost weight before I had my child.

Anonymous said...

Things happen when they are meant to...your time is now, and that's a wonderful thing. I have to tell you - I am not someone who has ever had weight problems, but I read your blog because you shed light on something that is difficult for me to understand. This helps me not be judgmental. I thank you for that.

aapuzzanchera said...

Thank you for sharing. I have to say that I have had the same feelings at times as well. I am NOT angry with myself, more so disappointed. I am disappointed in myself for not forcing to become healthy sooner. Oh well all I can do now is focus on the future and enjoy the rest of life!

-J.Darling said...

Heavy set folks are GREAT at being hard on themselves. Just keep moving forward.

Rose B. said...

That was one of the most powerful posts I have ever read. This post was a real "kick in the pants" for someone like myself with young children and am very overweight. I still have time to get back into gear and smarten up.

Lori said...

Lyn,
As I read your post I thought it sounded like you were experiencing grief. I learned a lot about grief when I lost my precious dad way too soon. We grieve for all sorts of reasons, not just death, but just about any type of loss, like giving up the old eating habits. I was going to leave a comment and enlighten you.

Then you mentioned grief, and I knew you had it under control. You understand what you're going through and articulate it so well. That is why I keep reading.

Some days I think rather than going to all the trouble of writing my own feelings in my blod, I'll just refer everyone here! Thanks for helping us all understand what we're going through.
Lori

Michele said...

Your words made me cry and I can't thank you enough for sharing them. The paragraph you wrote about why you wrote what you did makes so much sense to me. I am the mom of two daughters who are 1 and 3. I feel like my time with them is slipping through my hands. I am (WAS) slowly getting bigger and allowing myself to use my weight as my excuse for not being the mom I want to be. I have to stop now and move towards taking care of myself so that I can take care of them. Your words are empowering and allowed me to remember one reason why I NEED to do this for myself- because I don't want to miss out on my children.

Jen said...

This post really resonated with me. I feel angry sometimes when I realize I "wasted" the vast majority of my 20's in this trap (I'm 31 now). My daughter (first child) was born last year, and I finally got it together when she was about 5 months old. She's 1 now, and I've lost about 60 pounds in those 8 months. I have a ways to go, but I'm so thankful that I am getting this under control NOW, before my daughter is any older. Thank you for the inspired writing!

Weijourn said...

Hi I'm new to your blog. Something else that you might consider is that even though you might have done things with your children when they were little, they might not remember them anyway! Start a private blog and tell their stories. What they did and were like when they were little. Find something to do together with your adult children and take photos. Make adulthood memories!

Laryssa said...

You now have your defense right here in this post. If ever you feel like you're about to slip back into your old habits, pull up this post and read it! Who better can make you snap back to reality than the "old" you. :)

You're my hero, Lyn. You are truly a wonderful, blessed woman!

Theresa said...

This is hard to read. I have such similar thoughts (and similar age & weight). So much of what you said is how I feel.

One think I never want you to do is to start hating your "fat self". Even if that fat self is childish, makes bad choices, struggles, falters..... she is still 100% worthy of being loved and respected. If it weren't those eating mistakes it would have been other mistakes. It's just the way we are. I know you know this, but there certainly are bloggers out there who are now thin and tend to fat bash themselves. It hurts my heart. Sorry, this looks like a rant!!! It is meant more to encourage you to look at the best parts of the times you struggled and leave the rest behind. I just love your blog. :)

Tammy said...

This is an excellent post. You wasted 10 years, I wasted 20. I've experienced some of the anger you have, and I still have so much more to lose. It's the same thing though....now I absolutely KNOW I'm going to do it...no matter how slow. I no longer fear that I'll see 272 lbs again...the weight I was when I started my blog...or 340 lbs again...my highest weight ever. I totally understand what you're saying here. I get it.

Emily said...

AMEN! That's all I've got to say.

redballoon said...

Lyn,

Your post spoke to me. I have those feelings when I start losing too and then, as if to say, no, I didn't waste anything, I can't lose the weight, I give up and gain it back.
Well, this time I'm losing again and I don't want that to happen.
We don't waste anything. We are always learning, even if it looks from the outside that we're not learning, we are. We're learning what we don't want, what we don't need. We're really learning it, in a way no one will ever forget. It's not the simple, "been there, done that" flippant superficial blowoff, it's imprinted deep in our soul.
Nothing was wasted. It wasn't like that was empty time and this is "real" time. It all was a part of the journey and we DID see and learn things along the way. You can't truly experience something without having experienced its inverse.

Damjana said...

On the other side, you wouldn't have had the chance to enjoy all the fattening foods, to watch tv, to sit peacefully.. So you got other kinds of pleasure. Everything happens for a reason so I guess there was a reason that you didn't change it before.
Take care! xoxo

screwdestiny said...

What a heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing your regrets so that maybe others might listen. But you know, I don't think you should beat yourself up too bad. Everyone has regrets and mistakes that they made. Sometimes the mistakes cost them dearly as yours did. But they were often avoidable or changeable just like yours. So it's just glad that you've turned it around now. No point being upset about the past, really.

Anonymous said...

please don't dwell on the past lyn. i'm only saying this b/c i know from experience all the freakin' time it wastes beating self up over it; GOD CAN REDEEM THE ANCIENT RuINS, I DON'T KNOW HOW but he can. DON'T LEAN ON YOuR OWN uNDERSTANDING b/c we don't/can't understand why things happen the way they did.