Monday, December 6, 2010

Time to Heal

I am sitting here under my full spectrum lamp while I blog, and drinking coffee. I really need an energy burst today... the house needs some attention!

Last night I was mulling over something that I've mentioned before: eating and/or dieting as "distraction." This is a trap I was fully immersed in for many years, and now, it seems, I have gotten out. I am on the other side. So I wanted to talk about this a little bit.

It is SO EASY, folks, to let ourselves be all wrapped up in drama about our weight, our eating, our binges, our 'wishing' to lose weight. It is SO MUCH EASIER to have your head all filled with thoughts about how fat you are, how you'll NEVER lose the weight, how you HAVE to find an answer than it is to be all wrapped up in the real issues that are eating you up inside. I am convinced that THAT is what a lot of our "food issues" are and THAT is a big part of why we "can't" succeed at losing weight: because we somehow would rather have the fat/weight/food drama and distress than face the really, truly distressing things that are in our lives or our heads.

It is easier to be upset about eating brownies than it is to be upset that you lost your best friend.
It is easier to be angry that you "can't" stay on plan with your eating than it is to be angry that your marriage is falling apart.
It is easier to be sad that you binged and gained 5 pounds than it is to be sad that your son is failing half of his classes in school.
It is easier to be hurt that people do not understand how hard it is for you to lose weight than it is to be hurt that your mother has never accepted you for who you are.

There are a myriad of issues we dance around every day because we do not want the pain of thinking about them and dealing with them. THAT, my friends, is, in my opinion, the main reason many of us have struggled so much with the eating and weight loss: because we (consciously or subconsciously) go off plan and struggle with eating in order to *create the drama* we need to avoid the real issues.

It is easier to be distressed about being unable to fight the cravings for cookies than it is to remember the pain of being molested as a child.
It is easier to be disappointed in yourself because you gained weight than it is to be disappointed in yourself because you feel you failed as a parent, spouse, or friend.
It is easier to be all wrapped up in finding the right diet plan or lifestyle than it is to tackle the huge piles of clutter that have taken over your house.
It is easier to be frustrated because you went over your calorie level than it is to be frustrated that your faith in God is wavering.
It is easier to cry over a five pound gain than to cry over your child not being the perfect child you imagined them to be.

There is always something more painful to deal with than your diet. There is always something more difficult to face than your weight. But somehow, we make our weight and food the *utmost* of importance, thus distracting ourselves... and protecting ourselves... from the truly painful emotions that would surface if we put down the food long enough.

It is time. You have to face the things that are eating you up inside. Let me tell you. One of the biggest breakthroughs I had was when I was starting Medifast and had so little leeway for extra food and eating that I had to FACE issues that have plagued my soul for years and years. The pain of divorce, the agony of abandonment as a child, the suffering of watching my children with life threatening illnesses, the rejection of a man I loved, the sense of inadequacy that has pervaded my existence. All of those things came bubbling up to the surface when I no longer had food, binges, and *the struggle* to distract me. And the biggest moment of all was when, instead of a fudge brownie, I let those feelings come out in the form of a very long letter to someone I had felt I had wronged, but had been denying for oh so long. Oh I cried and I cried writing that letter, but mailing it and speaking to that person lifted more weight off of me than all 100 pounds I have lost. It healed me in a way I never thought possible. And the healing continues. It never would have happened had I not allowed it... had I turned to a brownie instead, as I had done for over a decade.

It really is time to heal. Let it happen. It is time.


Joy said...

This post made me think of a kind of flip-side to the feeling of “distraction by food”. That is, instead of eating to distract from pain, you’re eating to heighten pleasurable moments. Basically, it’s all emotional eating. Not sure if I am one of the few who feels this way but basically, when I start to get back on track and eating right, I find myself not taking as much pleasure in some activities. For example, last night we decorated the Christmas tree. Normally, on a night like this, I would have made homemade eggnog, maybe some mulled wine, a bunch of Christmas desserts, and some fancy Christmas appetizers for my husband and I to share. What did I have last night while decorating the Christmas tree? One 20-calorie pack of hot chocolate.

Don’t get me wrong, I still had a blast with my husband and loved being together, decorating the tree but I honestly felt a little sad that I wasn’t getting to eat those treats. The treats made it seem more special (God, I hate to even write that). I felt this way on Thanksgiving this year and commented briefly about it on my blog. I felt a little left out by not eating stuffing, potatoes, bread, and pie. I feel so silly but for so long, I have wrapped up happy memories in food (there are a lot of bad ones too though). Even during the years when I was maintaining a healthy weight, I still indulged on those days and on special events so my brain is totally wrapped around wanting to eat “fun” food (read unhealthy food) on special occasions. It almost feels like I am taking away from the event by not indulging. Sad but true. I really hope this is something that passes in time. Maybe you have some insight on this, Lyn, if you ever felt this way?

Anyways, sorry for the novel, lol. Your post just sparked a lot of thought in me, as your posts usually do :) Take care!

-J.Darling said...

Totally completely 100% agree my friend!

Jaime said...

Hit the nail right on the head with that one Lyn.

Theresa said...

This is a very close to my heart post! I would never have faced those feelings either! Without the food as a crutch (so hungry, must have just a bit, can't think without food, starving, moderation) I had to seriously FACE the feelings. Hungry? Nope. The feelings had been masked so many times with food. I'm actually thankful that I've had so many pounds to lose. If it had been a shorter "trip" I wouldn't be as mentally healthy as I am now.
Thanks Lyn. You know you are the one who turned me to MF. I can't thank you enough.

marie said...

Your posts always ring true to me.

I have recently realized more or less the same thing. I'm a full time student, don't have a lot of friends, and I'm bored/lonely most of the time. I don't really have hobbies, except for cooking and eating. This has landed me here.

You are right, it IS easier to make brownies than to sit and figure out why I don't have a lot of friends.

Lynna said...

Are you really a wise, old, white-bearded man living in a cave on a mountaintop?

Reasonates powerfully as truth.

It takes a lot of courage to do that inner work. Good for you!

X said...


You are always an inspiration. I admire you for doing that "hard work" and healing... in a lot of ways its even more important than the weight loss, but they do go hand in hand. Keep up the good work. Reading your blog, your successes, struggles, and self-analysis is at once both a joy and a huge motivation for me. Take care!

Anonymous said...

Boy Lyn, you were spot on with this post. I have been "struggling" to just lose 10-15 pounds over the last 20 years. I sabotage myself a lot. The drama of it does keep me from dealing with my issues. I sat down and made a list of everything I've been avoiding. I don't know how to "really" deal with it all, but maybe therapy is a good place to start. Thanks so much.

Kupcake said...

I totally, 100% agree with your post! My husband recently walked out on me and now that I look back on the last year (or two or three), I see that when our marriage was at its worst, I remember crying about being so fat and hating to look at myself. It was easier to blame me FOR my diet, than to actually look at where the real cracks were forming. If I had been capable of seeing those cracks them maybe the break up wouldn't have been so suprising. Either way, now that it's over my life is mine now, and on my new journey I am trying to find new ways of not only dealing with my weight, but everything in my life in better, healthier ways!

Thank you so much for all your words of wisdom. I share your pains and joys when reading your blog and your words bring me insight to what I want and need on my own journey!

Thank you!

Kimberly said...

Dealing with the scars and the pain is the hardest thing, but once you are ready it is easier to deal with the food and the weight.

Food has always been my crutch. It has masked the pain. Now that I have taken that away I have to face it all. It ain't easy.

Great post!

MargieAnne said...

Well said.


Deanna said...

As always, beautifully written and insightful.

Diandra said...

This is so true. Food should be part of your life, yes, but not the center of the universe.

Anonymous said...

This post goes so clearly to the essence of what so many deal with that I just had to tell you 'YES YES YES!!' (I've been reading you faithfully for months, thought several times about commenting but never did.) Your journey has been so inspiring, and not just for weight loss or dealing with food issues. Why? Because you are so very honest. When you tackle the emotional 'tough stuff' the clarity is amazing. There is definitely a book in you, and this post gets to the core of why.

bein_me said...

Well said!

bein_me said...

Well said!

beerab said...

Thanks for the post- I just found out this weekend that two family members have cancer and the prognosis of both is not good. I binged yesterday and today I'm paying for it. A few crackers turned into a sleeve and a healthy dinner turned into double portions *sigh* Not as bad as before but still not good.

Cynthia said...

This: "It is easier to be all wrapped up in finding the right diet plan or lifestyle than it is to tackle the huge piles of clutter that have taken over your house". I had a binge last week (all healthy food tho) and when I sat down to figure out why, it was all about feeling overwhelmed by the above.

Working on that, but sometimes it just seems a monumental task that I'll never get out from under. I will though. I've been better with housekeeping lately and that's a good start.

OTOH, didn't let the binge stop me from getting back on track and I lost weight this past week. More than I expected!

Great post though! GREAT!

I'd lost 62 pounds when my mother died unexpectedly, and I distracted myself with computer work and let my activity and eating habits slide away. We gotta deal with the feelings.