diversion ahead


I've woken up to a new day. I'm feeling fragile but a lot better. I've been doing a lot of thinking. Hold tight, I think this is going to be a long one.

I recognise I have two sets of diversions going on.

1. Food not feelings

This may be just a little obvious, but it's not about food it's about feelings. In this regard my brain is extremely confused. I have a picture in my mind of my brain being like a game of mousetrap or a marble maze. There are emotions I needed to process and work through, but as my brain tries its best to route these through the maze to the feelings and emotions department, it hits a blockage, road closed - department not equipped to deal - so instead it diverts direct to the food section for alternative processing.

The binges over the last few days were nothing to do with dieting, food cravings or weight loss. They were triggered by feelings of inadequacy and frustration. I don't know if it's a control thing or what, but I know I haven't developed very healthy ways of facing up to life's little troubles. I need to learn how to process these feelings more effectively.

If my coping vice of choice were alcohol it would be a lot clearer to see the difference between the role of food in my weight loss efforts and it's role as the object of my addiction or compulsion. If I numbed out the world by getting high or getting drunk, rather than by stuffing my stomach, the line would be more obvious. One might impact the other but they're only loosely related.

I've never ever binged and purged as a means to weight loss. I binge as a response to emotions I don't know how to process, it's a learned behaviour I've acquired since childhood. I purge because I want to regain control over what I've just done. At times when I feel I've lost all control, the purging subsides.

I know how to eat healthily and how to exercise. In that respect I have good days and bad days just like every one else. Winning the binge battle is not going to be done by focusing on healthy foods. That's how to win the weight and health battle; something I can, will and do focus on when the binges are under control.

Winning the binge battle is about emotions and learning how to let myself feel them - an area in which I need a lot more work.

2. Fatness

I hide behind my weight. This is a tricky one. It's so ingrained I don't see I'm using my weight as an excuse, I see it as a genuine inhibitor. In many aspects the size I ballooned to *was* a physical inhibitor - airplane seats, fun parks, all sorts of places and activities - but my weight should never have stopped me living.

Growing up I was rarely the lead actor in my own life, I took on the role as sidekick. My close friends were the prettiest and most popular girls in school, they had all the boys flocking to them. I was fat, I knew that world wasn't open to me. I never ever put myself out there, I never even tried. I was probably twenty before I even admitted to finding any one attractive. I believed my attention would be nothing short of offensive to the poor subjects of that affection.

I've grown accustomed to using my weight as an excuse not to put myself out there where I might be rejected or might fail. Relationships, friendships, jobs, it's all been the same.

When I'm down and stressed the reflection I see confirms all my negativity. In reality it's the very same body I saw in the mirror on the day when I was jubilating about my clothes starting to get back in sight. I know I've been eating healthily and exercising right so the plateau was most likely due to stress and lack of sleep, my body was under strain. In my inability to handle the stress though, I diverted the focus back to my weight as the issue.

If life gets tough I've a ready made excuse for why it just wasn't meant to be. Why try to advance my career, why try to be a good friend, I'm nothing but a worthless heffalump, who's going to take me seriously - pass me that bucket of cookies.

When I'm strong enough to face up to life, I'll be strong enough to stay slim.

So what now?

I've known long enough what needs to change. Somewhere in amidst all the nonsense I've found ways through both diversions. I've overcome bingeing for long periods of time, I've gotten through trials and tribulations without resorting to food for long enough to now be 50 kilos lower than my heaviest weight. I've overcome my fear of putting myself and my feelings out there enough to fall in love, move to the other side of the world, marry my gorgeous husband and take a job that others have described as their "dream job".

So I know I can do it. I just don't know how.

That's what I need to work out so that I can harness it enough to switch it on when needed - occasions just like yesterday.


Rebecca said...

I'm not in the mindset to give advice today, I would only be a hypocrite if I tried to. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in fragilty today. I am just trying to get through this evening and not worry about tomorrow or the coming week. It is helping.

Cammy said...

You WILL get through this. The main thing is that you're mindful and you keep trying.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the major lightbulb moment Ani! You're so right, binging and eating healthily/exercising are often only loosely related (except for people who binge as a result of feeling deprived, I guess). Your post was a bit of a wakeup call to me, as I've really shied away from doing any serious work on minimising or eradicating the binges. It's just so hard! Often I don't even remember what I was thinking about before I start binging, then suddenly there's an empty Pitos chips packet or pesto-stained plate in front of me.

Good luck girly... I'm going to start examining my binges a bit more closely, too, so let's beat this thing together!

ani pesto said...

@Rebecca - hugs to you, hope you're still getting through OK

@Cammy - with inspiration and support like yours in my corner, I have no excuse not to

@Miss M - it sure is hard! We'll get there because we need to, I've no doubt

Tully said...

This is such a wonderful post Ani, you really made me think.

"When I'm strong enough to face up to life, I'll be strong enough to stay slim."

This is hard to read because I always thought I was strong, but whay you wrote really hit home.

I hope you're feeling a bit less fragile this week and thanks so much for the very kind and supportive words you wrote to me the other day. :-)