Friday, April 15, 2011

Longings

Sometimes I feel like I am in mourning for my old ways. I miss the old habits, the familiar coping mechanisms, the huge volumes of pastries and peanut butter cups. When I am eating well and on plan, the longing for old times can become a sort of desperation, reaching a fever pitch that drowns out all reason. I'm not sure why it's like that. Some days I am just going along fine and then out of the blue I will be terribly sad that I cannot sit down and eat a whole loaf of hot bread slathered with melting butter, and a few plates of spaghetti to go with it. It's my choice to not eat that, yes, at least to a large degree, but I still miss it. I wish and long for it. I have nostalgia over the days of eating bowls of brownie batter alone in my kitchen. And to make it more complicated, I have changed my body enough now that I physically *cannot* do that anymore. I could no more eat a whole pizza than I could fly across the Grand Canyon by flapping my arms. My stomach has shrunk, I have a much lower tolerance for feeling 'stuffed', and I just can't do it. And you know what's crazy? I resent that I can't. A little bitty part of me, deep inside, is really angry that I CAN'T. And sometimes I think when I go off plan, I am trying to grasp at the possibility that I CAN. Why? Crazy. I don't want to be able to binge. I don't want to gain 100 pounds. I am GLAD, mentally, that I can't eat that way anymore... that I have lost the ability to truly binge. But it is a LOST ABILITY. And some weird part of me is mourning it. It served a purpose, somehow, for many years. And now it feels kind of lonely and scary to have that taken away from me. Even though I did it, willingly, myself.

I don't get a high from food anymore. I just don't. I will go for weeks eating healthy delicious meals and I do enjoy them ad get true nourishment from them, but then that bitty part of me will push and push and push because it remembers. It knows the high and escape I used to get from a binge, and it misses that. Oh, remember how those Reese's eggs used to taste? Remember, remember... Yes, so heavenly, so transcendent. And I think and dwell and ponder and obsess and resent that I can't eat a 6 pack of Reece's eggs anymore and then I go buy a pack just to see... and I eat one and wait. Nothing. I eat another, nothing. I feel sick, it is gross, I eat another... nothing. No high, no escape, just me in the car with a couple of wrappers I need to get rid of, a bellyache, and 3 leftover Reese's eggs that turn my stomach just looking at them.

So I am slowly, slowly letting it go. Realizing there is no return. Regardless of whether I want to return or not, it isn't there. Oh, yes, I could eat my way back up the scale, but I wouldn't enjoy it. I wouldn't be happy. I would hate myself and think how gross the food is and wonder why I am doing that to myself. But you know, I just would rather not go there.

The truth is, yes, lean meats and veggies and beans and such do taste fine. In fact they are delicious sometimes. Fruit in season is great. But it does not compare to the dream... the fantasy... the false memory I have of eating junk. A plate of the best roasted broccoli can never compare to my imagined remembrance of eating a can of Pringles, 4 or 5 hot dogs, and a liter of Coke back when I was 278 pounds and PMSing. In my memory it was heaven. But if I eat chips now, they are just flat and greasy. Hot dogs taste disgusting, even if I eat a second one trying to get back the old sensation of how great they used to taste. So we have a competition between this amazing memory of binge foods that I long for, the delicious or at least decent-tasting healthy foods that will keep me healthy, and the reality of how gross junk food actually tastes. I keep telling myself I miss chips and candy and stuff like that, but really I just miss the old ways... the memory, the binge escape. Because when I actually eat the chips and candy and stuff like that, it is a real let down.

I think it is finally sinking in. And I am sort of becoming resigned to the fact that I am not going to get high or escape anything by eating crappy food, so I may as well just eat whatever healthier thing happens to be handy and let go of the obsession and longing and ridiculous dreaming of foods that only exist in my head.

20 comments:

Deb Willbefree said...

Oh, my. This is truly getting scary.

I have a container of spaghetti sitting in my fridge right now. Delicious, homemade sauce... And I keep thinking of it. I've walked to the refrigerator and have looked at it.

I haven't eaten it, tho the emotions of wanting it are exactly as you have written. It's way more than being a little hungry for it. Way more.

And you wrote it. The regret, the resentment, the knowing that eating it wouldn't be the same. in fact, that is exactly what I said to myself when I chose not to eat it. I reminded myself that I really wouldn't even enjoy it while I was eating it--I no longer wait to have remorse afterwards...I have remorse and lack of enjoyment all the way thru now.

Well, you wrote it, I won't rewrite.

Thanks. I absolutely needed to read this right now. Somehow knowing that I'm not the only one struggling in what seems like such an odd way helps.

It sounds like you're coming out the other side, tho. Me, not so much just yet. :}

Deb

Marilyn said...

Wow! This post captures perfectly the paradigm in which I find myself currently! Thanks so much for articulating the frustration of needing to release the DREAM of food, at least as important as releasing the REALITY of food!!
XO - Marilyn

Pretty Pauline said...

Yet another post on why I love your blog so much. You truly are a gifted writer to capture our feelings so well! I am new in the journey, and already I have gotten a taste of this. So new though that I could more easily slip back into that behavior if I so tried...

Jan said...

I have been following your blog for a few months and haven't left a comment until now.

What you just wrote really hit home for me. Wednesday is my official weigh in day. I usually allow myself Wednesdays as "free" days and have whatever I am craving. This week it was a fruit and nut chocolate bar. When I was at the store I picked up a bar. Was it the small normal size one? Nope! It was the great big honker of a bar. Got in my car, opened up the bar and started to drive. About a quarter of the way through the bar I started to feel sick. I stopped at the next coffee shop, wrapped up the rest of the bar and threw it in the garbage.

My first thought was disappointment. "Why couldn't I eat that?" My next thought was "Are you frigging crazy? Yippee, I couldn't eat that!"

Thanks for putting into words what I was feeling!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so open and honest about a big part of the struggle. That is why I get so angry when I hear people say losing weight is easy -- calories in / calories out ... implying that you are simply an idiot or lazy if you can't do it.

There is so much more to the struggle than just the physical cravings for food. I do believe most people who struggle with weight are really just self-medicating. I know I use food as an escapism. My brother is a recovering heroin addict who replaced that addiction with alcoholism. We are both trying to escape pain of our childhood. The sad thing is that so many people find his struggle glamourous and heroic while I get looked at as a fat middle-aged slob of a woman who let herself go. I'm glad my brother has support -- but I do resent that my struggle is seen as just so easy and so easy to judge ... ugh.

I also resent that the same behavior that once made people admire me (I ate crap and weighed 97lbs in college thanks to a great metabolism so people envied rather than judged my eating habits). When I had my kids and my metabolism took a nose dive, those eating habits came back to bite me in the ass. There are a lot of skinny people out there who don't realize that they are unhealthy eaters simply blessed with a better metabolism. Sure, it seems easy to stay skinny to them. It seemed easy to me back then, too.

It is nice to hear the voice of someone who really gets the struggle ... Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Love this post. Perfectly written & it speaks volumes to me. I am printing your last couple sencences & puting it on my frig. I am at my tipping point, weinging more than I ever have before & the scale seems to be going up weekly. I'm in the part that you talk about missing now and I want so badly to leave it behind. Everyday I start but by afternoon time I am back to my old ways because I feel like I have so much to loose that one day will make no difference what so ever & it will be so long before I would notice anything...well, you know how it goes. But after eating what I think I absolutely must have and I feel so horrible, I say to myself (as I am swallowing that last bite of a Kit Kat) "ok, I shuldn't have done that but now I'm gonna start". Well its 4pm & I've blown it with all the junk I've eaten today (and I've already got a taste for stromboli's for dinner) but tomorrow is a new day, I'll eat my stromboli & a "last treat" afterwards & start fresh tomorrow. And that is how I live every miserable day of my life. It never changes & I can never get past the long hours of afternoon.
I admire you so. I know you were in the same boat, but you pushed through. Don't know why it's so damn hard NOT to put something in your mouth. I'm trying to figure that out & you are a huge help to me. I'm so proud of you, you look great:)
Stacey
SWPA

Slow&Steady said...

Wow, I'm new to your blog and blogging. I hope that I will get to the state you are at. Not eating to escape feelings is a huge trap for me. I will get there soon!

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

I was just thinking the other day... now that I've lost my weight and reaching goal... can't I just go back to eating the dozen cookies or half a cake or several pieces of Pizza Hut Supreme pizza (my fav). Why can't I do that and stay my size? It's kind of a bummer!!

But it is a "letting go" of those old ways. I do need to focus on the new things I eat and do. I haven't had a thin body for SOOO long (or ever really) that I can't stop enjoying it. There is no going back. But there can be longings for those old ways. I totally relate!!

You've come so far and tackled so many of your personal issues as well as eating issues. Thanks for sharing your journey! :)

God Bless...
~Margene

katie said...

This is food addiction talk..and yes me too ..been there. In addiction we are always "chasing that first high" and then realize when we get sane and food sober that "one is too many and a thousand never enough" (reeses eggs, cookies whatever your substance of choice is) I just had to develop NEW self - soothing skills. I learned to knit and now knit for charities. And I do needlepoint too. Thses have a rhythmic nature and so are meditative, calming, quieting. I now realize that it's never about the food and that food will never solve a problem but rather create new ones.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to get to that point. I still really like those foods. I am glad, though, that you are not going back.

Chris

Laura said...

I hear ya! I've been obsessing over the desire to order a pizza the last few days. I keep pulling up the contact (I have it on speed dial) and then putting my phone down. I'm proud and sad all at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. I have a lap-band and I still get that longing to eat a massive quantity of my vice foods. It's sick... very much like daydreaming about reuniting with an ex... you've been there, done that, learned how bad it was for you, but when you're lonely and sad, all of a sudden that ex looks pretty good. I think it's the hardest part of this whole process.

timothy said...

i did a planned cheat yesterday with one of my fave foods since i was a kid ravioli and it was YUCKY! lolol nope you can not go back. i understand exactly what you mean, i don't want to be the old me but sometimes when i see others eating that way i feel left out. oh well it is them who are left out not mei suppose i'm giving myself the gift of health! keep it up babe and thanks for sharing this, glad to know it's not just me. :)

Name: Lynise said...

I have also been at this exact point. The place where my pleasure now HAS to come from somewhere other then food.

I reached a place where I had let go of the binging ways but had not replaced it with anything else that made me happy so my natural instinct was to return to my good old faithful (food). I was fortunate enough to be reading a book at the time that gave me great insight into what was happening. I realised I had to replace the food with other things that gave me satifaction and joy and comfort. (as these were the things I identified with that I had previously got from food).

It took time to find other things to replace the food, but gradually over time (and after trying a range of other alternatives) I was able to find things that replaced the food and provided me with those three things I previously got from food.

I know its a quote thats been around forever, but I had to remind myself (when tempted to turn back to the food) that we need to look at food as something that keeps us alive, not something to live for.

Take care 000

Angieanything said...

Wow... Your words are powerful. Thank you for sharing so much.

Much love!!

Stacy said...

Unfortunately I don't feel sympathetic to your post today! Like you, I've lost around 100 lbs myself and am currently at 180ish. Unlike you, despite the weight loss, I am still FULLY CAPABLE of eating and binging like I did at 288. Last night, ironically enough, I ate about 7 Big white chocolate Reese eggs! I, on the other hand, am angry at my body for still being able to "pack it in" because it unfortunately means that some days, because I can, I do.
All this to say, I'd be very glad if I were you that your body can't do what it used to! :)

Karin said...

well, ain't that the truth.

danibabe2 said...

I hope you don't mind, but your blog inspired my most recent posting (http://changesnextexit.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/euphoria/). It's so helpful to know that I'm not alone in my journey.

Keep up the great hard work!

bbubblyb said...

Boy this post spoke to me too. What I've come to realize is it is time that will fix us. The longer we are on this road dealing with our food addiction the easier it will become to realize like Katie said we are just trying to chase that old food high that is no longer possible. Thanks for writing all this I don't always voice it myself.

Kevin said...

"But it does not compare to the dream... the fantasy... the false memory I have of eating junk."

This is the truth that you must remember. It's probably something I should tattoo on my forearm. LOL It's a dream... a fantasy... it's not real.

Recently, I went on a weight loss bet with my sister. I was obese and dropped 39 pounds over the course of that bet (about half of what I need to lose to be healthy). On the final day of the bet, I allowed myself an absolute free day. I had permitted treats during the bet but always within reason and with moderation. I didn't feel like I was suffering but the end of the bet was a celebration of pure and ugly gluttony.

After the final weigh in, I had bacon, sausage, eggs, and biscuits with sausage gravy (large portions of these). For lunch I behaved and had a double cheeseburger... but skipped the fries. Snack was 350 calories of cookies. Dinner was Red Lobster. I had fries with that one. But I got my dressing on the side for the salad and didn't use the butter or anything. So it could have been worse. And dessert, we went out for ice cream.

You would think it was awesome. But when it was over, I was miserable. I felt sick... I had no energy... I actually wanted to puke. I didn't enjoy the food as much as I normally did and I "felt" worse after eating it. I actually ended up falling asleep an hour later on the couch because I was so wiped out. Normally, I can't sit still.

So yeah, the "feel good" and "tastes great" parts are mostly fantasy. It might taste good once in a while and in moderation. But it wouldn't normally.

The sad thing? Before my diet, I would have considered that a "good" day up until the ice cream at the end... because I skipped the fries at lunch! *crazy*