Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Which Life?

It's funny how most days I don't really care much about food anymore, don't crave the old binge foods, don't really think much about it. Oh, when I grate cheddar cheese for my daughter, I actually lift the block to my nose and smell it. Sometimes I want a piece (but not a small piece. A 600-calorie piece. I have a thing for cheese). Sometimes I even smell the cream cheese when I am making her a bagel. But overall, I am happy with how I am losing weight right now and I know that someday, when I am working on maintenance, I'll enjoy a little more cheese. For now I stick with the occasional low fat stuff in a recipe.

But there are times when I get this longing for the old way of eating. Usually those thoughts and feelings are triggered by seeing a very fat person eating very unhealthy stuff. It's immediate: as soon as I see them I wish it was ME. But just as immediately I realize I do NOT wish it was me, because I do not want the old obese body back and I do not want to live my life in a sugar fog with no energy. Still, there is a sense of jealousy that THEY can eat without a care and I think, "why can't I eat like that?" My rational side understands that I am just seeing a glimpse of them. Maybe they are happy, maybe not. Maybe their mobility is fine, or maybe they can't even go up and down the stairs to kiss their children goodnight because of their weight. I sure don't want *that* life back. But part of me actually misses being an irresponsible, compulsive eater.

I took my little girl to the park the other day. It's a big park with picnic tables and lots of grassy areas where people sit on blankets and barbecue burgers and hot dogs and eat. I wasn't hungry at all while I was there, but as I walked around I got that feeling. First, I saw a family all sitting on a blanket eating big ol' sub sandwiches on that chewy crusty big white sub bread. I could see the cheese and salami and other lunch meats hanging out and the mayo around the edges. Everyone seemed so happy as they ate, sipping sodas and enjoying the bags of chips they were sharing. "Hmmm," I thought. "Why can't I eat like that anymore? I love white bread salami mayo cheese subs. Dammit." I looked away and walked on, enjoying the sunshine. Around the bend we came to a lady and a man at a picnic table. She could've been me 70 pounds ago... same body build, same stained 3XL t-shirt, same stretch pants cut off into shorts, same intensity hunched over a plate eating. It was fried chicken... the kind of meal you pick up at the deli with potato salad and rolls with butter. There was a plastic bakery clamshell full of cookies on the table. And for JUST A SECOND I was jealous.

It makes NO sense. I would never want to trade (if I did, I could. It would be quite easy for any of us to have that life... just start eating those things and the body will follow). Obviously I don't *really* want it. What do I want?

Part of me wants the food without the consequences. Part of me loved the freedom of eating anything I wanted in any amounts I wanted. Feel like cake for breakfast? Here ya go! Want a whole pizza for lunch? Alright! Couple of sodas and a cheesecake for a snack? Go for it! I liked being an indulged, spoiled, self-pleasing CHILD. If I wanted ice cream for dinner no one was going to stop me. I could go into a store and buy 3 kinds of cookies and eat them all. It felt kinda exciting and powerful. Powerful, until I'd try to stop, and couldn't. Powerful, until I had the frightening realization that *I* was no longer in control. My addiction was. And my life was spiraling down, down, down and I felt helpless to put the brakes on. I was getting dragged along by the momentum of my own binges. And it was terrifying.

There's a price to pay for our actions. If you smoke, you might get lung cancer. If you do drugs, you might die. If you drink and drive, you might kill someone. If you sleep around, you might get a nasty disease. And if you binge, you might become a slave to the food. Fat or thin, *that* is not the kind of life I want to live. Not anymore.

Being FREED from the food is the most wonderful thing. Being able to walk past that stuff and not be driven to partake is the real power. Oh, I know I am not *cured* at all. I know I could fall back into that life, I am not beyond that. But that's all the more reason for me to NOT give in in the moments that I DO have control, and to revel in the true freedom in walking without ropes. When I say walking without ropes, I want you to imagine how THAT feels versus having big, heavy, thick ropes tied to every limb, with buckets of fried chicken, bags of Big Mac meals, cases of Coke and boxes of candy tied to the other end. Seventy pounds worth. It's hard to slug through life weighed down by those addictions. If you can get free, even for just one day, and feel how it really feels to live LIFE without the food being in control, you'll not want to go back. Not really. Not in reality where eating that way has big, life-altering consequences.

Every day without a binge is a victory. As the victorious days go by, they string together like a chain and become a protection to you. I don't mean big heavy chains that tie you down. Have you ever seen chain mail? It's a kind of armour made from very tiny metal links. It's a protection. That's what the binge free days feel like to me as they add up. A protection from going back. The more days I link together, the stronger the protection becomes.

You might wish and hope and long to be in a binge-free state, and let me tell you that you CAN do that. But it has to start with one day, and build from there. And if that one day is not "today," then it is never going to happen. Today is all we really have. We can "tomorrow" ourselves into ten years of denial and continuous binge eating. So put down the sugar or the chips NOW, start now, make that first link. Once you stop eating sugar and junk it gets easier (after about the third day). And you can keep building from there.

I pushed my daughter on the swings. I climbed and laughed and played with her for an hour while the woman with the fried chicken sat on her bench shouting commands to her children as they played without her. I will take my freedom, even if I never have another cookie or piece of fried chicken again. I'd so rather be living as I am living NOW. I never want to go back.

You can build the life you want! Believe it. One link at a time.

34 comments:

Susannah said...

Lyn, what an incredible powerful post! Thank you cuz I need to hear what you are saying today. I completely agree with your statement about wanting food without the consequences. That whole paragraph is spot on for me and, I'm sure, many others. I am going to print this to re-read. Thanks again and enjoy another wonderful day!

Someday..... said...

Thank you for this post. I peak and valley with my health/ eating habits. I am currently in that childish, eating whatever I want and reveling in it...and you're right - it feels great ...while I am doing it. NOt so great as the waistband of my size 22/24 pants get tight....

I am so tired of this fight - and several friends have had bariatric surgery with amazing results...yet I don't want to do that. I want a life style change...I feel like I am gearing up for something big....
Your blog is a HUGE inspiration for me - Thank you so much.
SHannon

aapuzzanchera said...

this is a great and very motivational post. Thank you for sharing. I too have moments when I wish I could eat things that I no longer eat, but then I think about all of the weight that I have lost and say to myself, Do I want to gain all of that back? Or do I want to go down that road again? NO I DON'T! I feel so great on the Medifast diet. I feel alive and energetic, it's a great feeling.

Splurgie said...

The point you made about starting NOW and not tomorrow is so important. My diets always started "tomorrow" or "Monday." I found success once I started TODAY.

Your blog is a true inspiration. Don't you wish the lady at the picnic table with the chicken would know what she's missing.

"... the woman with the fried chicken sat on her bench shouting commands to her children as they played without her."

What a great visual!

georgia said...

As always, thought provoking post!

The sentence that stuck for me: “Part of me wants the food without the consequences”
I know that feeling! A lot of what I use to eat I can’t anymore, not just because it’s unhealthy body fat making food, but because I get these terrible rashes and can’t stop scratching after eating them!

Regardless, I agree with you. I don’t want to be the mom sitting on the bench, watching the world and her kids play! These day’s I’m teaching the 2 & 4 year old to skip…my older two took classes to learn.

So I join you in the mantra:

“I'd so rather be living as I am living NOW. I never want to go back”

Rebekah said...

I could have written this post myself. Well, not as well, but yeah :P

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Yes, yes, yes!

I see myself in this whole post...I sometimes HATE that I can't eat without abandon anymore, but also HATED my life when the primary focus became food. Torn between two lives...

It DOES feel like a tantruming child in there when I can't have my way. And I'll admit, I have longingly looked at fat people sometimes when they're feasting on something that looks really good. In fact, I think it was you a while back who talked about seeing someone binging in their car and wishing it was you. I get that.

It's a struggle to remind myself that I don't want that person's sad life, I only want to binge without consequences...which is impossible. I wonder how many times someone may have seen me chowing down in my car and wished they were me...and if only they could have read my mind - most times I wished I was doing anything BUT eating.

This was a great post. I'm all about just working on today (in fact, I did a post on it earlier today). It makes it all more manageable. Thanks and have a great day!

Magen said...

Thank you for posting things like this. You're an inspiration to me. I have 100 pounds to lose and I started yesterday. It's a long road, but reading things like this help me tremendously.

Laryssa said...

This hits home. I sometimes wish I could sit here and eat a whole bag of chips without the consequences. But I can't so I just think ahead, what I want for the summer, how I want to look for my anniversary in November. Most of my recent success at weight loss I owe to your honesty and openness in your posts ... as well as how well you write what you feel. It's helped me keep my head on straight so many times.

When I go shopping and when I go out to eat, I think about your success and it helps me make the right choices. Your strength at staying 100% on plan helps me know I can do it, too.

Thanks for another great post.

Julie Lost and Found said...

Oh wow...this post is amazing. Soooo powerful. I'm going to bookmark it.

You hit the nail on the head for me, on many fronts..but what you said about wanting the food without the consequences...well, I can so relate to that. In fact, at this moment in my life, I seem to want many things without the consequences.

I've had 18 years now of "tomorrows". When does "tomorrow" become TODAY??

Kel said...

This post was absolutely wonderful. I almost started crying, you repeated so many things I've told myself time and time again through my weight loss journey. It's realizing this things, having that "aha!" moment, that truly helps us succeed. Thank you for writing this!!

PS- I'm a new reader of your blog, but I have a feeling I will become a regular.

spunkysuzi said...

Thank you for writing this post! I needed it.

Lily Fluffbottom said...

Very nice. I was just thinking how my hunger acts like a prima donna most days, and I'm like Cinderella. The problem is, my hunger is still me.

Thank you for this lovely and inspiring post.

Christina said...

This quote really struck true with me: "It felt kinda exciting and powerful. Powerful, until I'd try to stop, and couldn't. Powerful, until I had the frightening realization that *I* was no longer in control." I really like to cook - and it's almost powerful - to be able to create something delicious - receive the oohs and ahhs - and then eat as much of it as I want - but at some point power traded places and I don't feel in control anymore. I'm trying to reign it in once again. I wonder how many times I'll have to go back and forth. It'd be really easy to just submit to failure - but I can't just allow myself to do that - so on I go.

nelson_clan said...

I was touched by the part in you post where you were playing with your daugther and the woman eating fried chicken could only shout commands to her children from where she sat since she couldn't play with them.

I had an obese friend who was like that. She spent most of her time sitting calling or yelling out to her kids. The only times she could really play with them was when they were near her or when the were swimming together.

She passed away in February of heart failure. She left a grade school age boy at the age of 47. Now he'll never know what it is like playing with his mother.

Keep up the good fight and inspiring us all. If only one woman decides to follow your path so she can be with and play with her children, it will be worth it.

Dillypoo said...

Battling the inner child who wants to eat is tough, but I think once you recognize she's there and screaming for a binge, it's easier to tame her. The food never made us happy. Maybe for a few minutes, when the adrenaline was pumping, but then guilt settled in.

I'm nearing the end of my weight loss journey and I'm much happier (and proud of myself) for having conquered my appetite and cravings!

Thank you for your blog! Your honest, insightful posts are an inspiration.

MaryBe said...

One of your best posts. Ever.

sandycc12 said...

i agree so much with what you said!!! it is so difficult for me to watch the people i work with eat french fries, candy, fried chicken, burgers etc. and not want them myself. i just know that i have to accept that if i eat that way there will be consequences and that ultimately i will not be happy with the result!!! We can do this:)

Megan said...

I'm so happy I stumbled on your blog for the first time today. This is just what I needed to hear.

Mary said...

I just love your blog - I so appreciate your honesty and thoughtfullness. I've been reading for about a month now, and I often turn to you when I'm wavering in my diet resolve. It seemed past time to thank you :)

seattlerunnergirl said...

"It felt kinda exciting and powerful. Powerful, until I'd try to stop, and couldn't. Powerful, until I had the frightening realization that *I* was no longer in control."

This part of your post speaks to me so much! I started overeating unhealthy foods as a way to have power over something in my life. It was like, "Guess what, Mom? You can't control THIS!" And I get that; I get how a child would see that as a rational way to claim some power for herself.

As an adult, it's difficult to break a decades-long habit, but when your habit or addiction takes your power from you, you're left in the same place where you started - powerless to someone or something else.

Not acceptable.

PamL said...

It does get easier. And once you hit that maintenance period, you can indulge now and then. It's all about moderation.

Anonymous said...

After participating in many women's groups I have concluded that it is possible for some women to be obese and happy. I am one of them, actually. But there is a price, too, whether that is living with a severe social stigma or not being able to be as active as one wants.

So now I am just aiming to be overweight and happy. (I've been thin...didn't enjoy that life.)

The important thing is: choose the life you want and don't let anything stop you.

Anonymous said...

WOW how fantastic you look. I have been reading your blog on and off for a couple of years now. And Came across it again tonight. You are doing great. And you deserve every single half ounce and centimetre of loss. You have worked so hard at this. I also have to tell you ,your blog entires are great. I can relate to them and I also remember several things you have said in the past . All great stuff. Thank you for being so generous with your time and in sharing this with us.

The Chubby Girl Diaries said...

Lyn you are an incredible inspiration to all of us.

This post spoke right to me. THANK YOU for your words.

~Kellie

Kyle said...

The power in your words is so inspiring.

I'm actually going to leave this window open so in an hour when I'm feeling like I really don't want to go out and run, I'll re-read it and I'll go anyway. And love it :)

Thanks.

Rose B. said...

You're my inspiration! You are so "real" and so honest. When you see that obese person eating that junk and you get jealous, don't be jealous. That fat person sitting there is me eating junk and afterwards, I am miserable!! Sigh...thanks for your blog!

Julie said...

I am so with you. It seems easy to say I'm going to eat what I want, I don't care if I'm fat as long as I'm happy and the people around me love me, but inside it's miserable. Great post!

screwdestiny said...

Very good post, as usual. But I'm curious, what do you feel when you see thin people eating crap? I know you must see that sometimes because I know I do.

Tabby said...

Awesome post. I was at Safeway earlier to pick up some wraps. I hate how they keep wraps in the bakery section right next to the frosted everything table. I stopped for a moment, smelling the chocolate and my husband stood in front of me waving, "helloooo let's go!" lol He said I had a strange look on my face. As if I zoned out for a moment. I bet he has seen that look a million times on my face in the past when I'm buying and eating that stuff on a daily basis.

I get jealous too. I really wish I could have what I want to have and stay healthy and small. But it's not going to happen. And I'd rather be able to get up and do laundry and cook, instead of sit in my recliner and watch my husband manage it because I'm too fat and tired to move my body.

Tabby said...

I also wanted to add, I have been that mother who doesn't get up and play with her kid. And if I do, it doesn't last that long because I run out of breath and I get so tired. But it's going to change. I wish I had gotten my # together years ago when she was younger, but she's 6 now and I want her to have the memory of me playing with her.

She got a big doll house and new dolls for Christmas and she begged me to come and play with her. How do you explain.... "Sorry, mommy can't sit on the floor, mommy's knees can't hold her".

No, this whole thing has to turn around, if not for me, for her. Thanks for letting me vent here Lyn, and if it's too much just tell me to stop!

Anonymous said...

holy crap, what a great post. Your writing is incredible. Struggling with overeating since quitting smoking....thanks.

beerab said...

Amen!

I do the same thing- see people pigging out on the stuff I used to- but then I realize I'd rather be fit that fat. Eventually the craving goes away.

Lyn said...

screwdestiny~

oh I still want their food, but somehow I don't relate as much to them as I do to the obese people eating junk. Maybe because I assume the skinny ones are having a rare treat but the fat ones get to eat that way anytime they want!