A long time ago, before I started this blog, I saw a number on the scale that really freaked me out. That number was 283 pounds... the highest number I remember ever seeing on a scale. I don't remember what I went home and comforted myself with after that doctor's appointment, but I could guess it had something to do with Pizza Rolls, Ranch dressing, Coke, and my good pal Little Debbie. I wasn't ready back then to do the work of losing weight, because I could not imagine giving up those foods and the numbing relief I experienced when I shoved things in my mouth one after the other until it was all gone. I felt powerlessly compelled to binge eat huge amounts of junk, in volumes that seemed to defy physics. I still look back at my early blogging days in which I listed what I ate during those types of binges, and I am amazed. I remember eating all of that, but I have no understanding of how it all fit in my stomach and how my body did not reject it and puke it all back up. I can't eat large volumes anymore. It's been so long since I have eaten like that that I assume my stomach has shrunk back to a normal size. I'm full on a couple slices of pizza or one burger if I choose to eat those kinds of foods. I always have a to-go box with half my meal in it if we eat out. Physically things are very different after years of *not* binge eating.
Lots of people have expressed concern for me that I have "given up" dieting; one commenter even asked if I am just going to "get fatter and fatter." Well, no. I don't plan to take up binge eating again, or dive headfirst into junk food, or lay around eating all day gaining weight. That's not at all what this is about. Let me try to explain.
I have lost large amounts of weight a couple of times with a few different methods. I lost as much as 103 pounds before but regained most of that weight. All along the way, people here have told me things like, "you will never keep the weight off unless you fix the mental stuff first" or "weight loss surgery won't work if you don't address the root cause." And "you have to get your head straight before you can succeed at keeping the weight off." I knew all of that, of course, that there are emotional reasons, mental triggers that were the bottom line cause of my obesity. It's not a lack of knowledge or laziness driving this weight... it's something deeper. I spent a lot of time addressing those things as I lost weight before. I learned to feel my feelings instead of avoiding them with food. I dealt with old emotional scars that were eating me up inside and made peace with many people and circumstances that had been the source of inner pain. I healed much of what was driving the disordered eating, to the point I was able to completely stop binge eating. Later while on AIP after a regain, I found more things that were driving obsessive food thoughts and leading to compulsive eating (which is not the same as binge eating. For example, a binge might be 3, 4 or more candy bars eaten in rapid succession with a sense of panic and feeling out of control, but obsessive food thoughts might lead me to drive to the store and buy ONE candy bar and eat it, or even just a few bites of it, out of feeling compelled to do so.) But now, I think I've finally gotten to a new level of discovery about this whole eating thing.
When I recently started to count calories again, which involved a lot of attention to food (weighing, counting, measuring, logging, adding, planning, etc) I began to see a resurrection of obsessive food thoughts, desire to "diet," and desires to compulsively eat. I did not like that at ALL. It was destroying my peace and I felt like I was feeding the eating disorder monster... waking it back up from its hibernation. But when I stopped, I *really* stopped. Since that day I have not weighed, measured, counted, tracked ANY of my food. I have not restricted any food groups. I stopped weighing and stopped feeling guilty about what and when I eat and when or how long I do or don't exercise. And I felt a peace. I got off the Diet train and let go of all the shoulds, as I wrote in my last post.
This does not mean I am just giving up. Far from it! This means... get this... that I have finally done what everyone told me needed to be done: fix your head before you can fix the weight. It has taken a long time to keep healing this eating disorder. It's complicated. Even people who get professional help with this kind of thing often take years to fully recover. And it has taken me years (meanwhile going up and down the scale several times) but I feel like this is the place I needed to get to all this time. If I can be calm and have no angst about food, weight, diet, etc... THAT is a healing from disordered eating and a return to mental and emotional *peace* that I believe WILL lead to better health and even a natural return to a healthy weight over time.
In other words, no. I don't believe anymore that weight loss requires "a lot of work" or "focus" or any of the things I did before to lose weight. In fact, I think letting go of all the drama and just having peace about all of it is THE key to healing the whole shebang: compulsive eating, obsessive food thoughts, and yes, obesity.
I am done shoving a round peg into a square hole. I am choosing to eat well because I want to, most of the time, and when I don't, I eat the bowl of Cheetos. Fine. I no longer feel like I HAVE to drive to the store RIGHT NOW to buy some random food, and eat it right now, because I know it'll be there later or tomorrow and really I don't care about it that much, and if I want it I can have it and so what? I am still a good person.
So I am fixing the last of the mental and emotional stuff. The triggers are going away. I am happy and content with how things are right now. And in no way do I believe that getting my head straight in this regard will lead to me getting "fatter and fatter."
I am 38 years old, female, a degree-holding stay-at-home-mom, and I weigh 278 pounds. I have been obese for ten years now. Time to get out of this fat prison I have made for myself.
--This is the original introduction I wrote when I first started this blog in 2007. I leave it as a reminder to myself of where I came from. Currently, I am 46 years old and weigh significantly less...see the blog for details. I lost 103 pounds, then had a partial regain, and am once again working at weight loss and better health.
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