We have finished 10% of our journey together, and I decided I am ready to be totally transparent about my relationship with food and how I got where I am today. I spent some time this last week checking out other weight loss blogs, and after spending some time on the site Can You Stay for Dinner by Andie Mitchell, I decided it was time to take a long look inside myself and be utterly honest about what I see.
Andie Mitchell published her weight loss memoir earlier this year titled It Was Me All Along. (I haven’t read it yet, but I intend to pick it up soon.) In her blog, and in the book as well I imagine, she is very frank about her issue with binge eating. I have never heard anyone talk so openly about serious food issues. Being fat and overeating are things we are not proud of, and we tend to spend much of our time trying to hide them. It was comforting, even liberating, to know that I am not alone.
I don’t know how far back it goes, but for as long as I can remember, I have been a secret eater. I ate plenty in public, but the binging happened in private. My husband tends to be a fairly healthy eater. He brags about not eating his veggies, but he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth at all. I, on the other hand, could live on sugar and junk food. So when we ate together, at dinner for instance, I tried to serve up a decent meal. But if he had to work late and I was on my own for dinner, I could eat an entire box of mac-n-cheese with potato chips and dessert.
You might imagine what my weekly menu looked like when my husband ended up working out of town for five years, coming home only two weekends a month. I was at my highest weight ever before he left, and it just blossomed while he was gone. I packed decent lunches to take to work (where what I consumed might be viewed by others), but breakfast and dinner could be donuts, coffee cake, pizza, graham crackers and frosting, burger and fries, you name it. I didn’t seem to think twice about the food or the quantity.
When my husband was able to move back home full-time, I was thrilled to have him home, but it put a kink in my splurging. I now had to hide these embarrassing binges. I would stop at the donut shop on my way to work and pick up a dozen donuts and hide them in my closet at work. When I went through the checkout line at the grocery store, I would pick up a candy bar, eat it in the car on the way home, and then hide the wrapper under other items in the trash so my husband wouldn’t know I ate it. The truth is that he wouldn’t have minded, but I knew my eating habits had crossed a line to an addiction, and I felt the need to hide it. When I realized how much I was hiding what I ate, I realized I was not jut fat, but that I had a real problem. But in our society where being skinny and pretty are highly valued, how do you admit that you are a closet eater? To this day, I have not shared this with anyone. In all honesty, I am nervous about even writing this post because some people I know will read it. What will they think of me? Will they laugh? Will they be disgusted? Will they sit in wonder and disbelief? Or maybe will someone relate? I don’t know.
Many weight loss experts would say there is a deep-rooted emotional issue that I am trying to cover up with food. If that is true, I have no idea what it is. I think I just like bad food. I will continue to keep my food journal, and maybe I will make more of an effort to record my feelings and emotions when cravings hit. For lasting change, I probably have to figure out the cause of my food addiction, but for now I will just work one day at a time, one hour at a time to make better choices. And as Andie Mitchell points out, I need to be forgiving with myself. I am not a horrible person for loving food or for overindulging (even if it is to extremes). The binges are choices, and sometimes I make good ones and sometimes I might make poor ones, but I am still a worthwhile, valuable human being. I also know now, thanks to Andie, that there are people just like me, who understand me, and are there to support me.
Whatever your issues with food (if you even have any), know that you are not alone. I am here. I care. I want to walk this journey with you. This is a place to be honest, to be real, to be you. And I promise the same in return.
If you want to be real and admit any issue(s) you might have with food, feel free to do so here. If we are honest with our problems, we can work more effectively on the solutions. We are in this together.