Food

estimated read time: 3 minutes

It took me eight years, but I finally did it: I gained back every pound I lost. All 30 of them.

The first 20 pounds took a long time. I gained and lost and gained and gained and lost. The last 10 took only eight months—since I quit working.

I am ashamed. Deeply. I’m filled with self-loathing. I’m embarrassed by my lack of self-control.

Before I continue, let me tell you why I’m not writing this post.

  • I don’t need to be reminded that our culture has set a barely achievable standard of physical beauty. I know that.
  • I don’t need to be told that internal beauty is more important than my dress size. I know that, too.
  • I don’t need to be taught the evils of sugar, red meat, gluten, salt, processed and packaged foods, and simple carbohydrates. I’m well-versed in nutrition.
  • I don’t need to be lovingly lectured about the benefits of movement. I’m aware.
  • I don’t need to be encouraged to drink water, only water, and a lot of it. I know. I know, I know, I know.

And now let me tell you why I am writing this post: When people are courageous enough to share their junk with me, I feel less alone and less ashamed. And since I know I’m not the only person in my world with food issues, today I simply want to say this: “Me too.”

This may feel familiar to you…

  • Each night, I lie in bed feeling sick and sad, and I resolve to do better tomorrow.
  • Depending on the day, I either eat a healthy breakfast, or I eat the jelly beans I forgot to hide from myself. (This is not easy to admit, and if you’re a health-food junkie, please just feel self-righteous quietly. I’m crazy with envy for your lovely appearance and 5K-a-day-lifestyle, and I know I could do it too, but I haven’t managed to so far, and I don’t want to know how you got started, and I don’t care how you hated it at first. Okay? I love you, though. I really do.)
  • If I had a good breakfast, I do pretty well until about 2 pm, which is when I get the munchies. I consider a piece of fruit or a bell pepper, but I reach for a 100-calorie bag of chips instead. And then I eat another one. And then the whole day’s shot, so I eat a bunch more of whatever carb-and-sugar-laden crap I can find. (I know; if  I didn’t have it in my house, it wouldn’t be available to eat. I don’t need that lecture either.)
  • If I made poor choices from the get-go, the munchie-timeline is accelerated. I eat even when I’m not hungry. I eat even though I know I’m going to feel terrible. I eat even though I know I’m going to cry in front of the scale again in the morning.
  • And then I go to bed and I resolve to do better tomorrow.

Here’s the terrible truth: I’m 45 years old, and I have a raging food addiction. I’m not going to blame it on the FDA or Monsanto or whoever really owns the food industry. I’m going to blame it on me. I have no self-discipline. I eat terrible-for-me things. I experience guilt. So I eat more.

Do you know the cycle I’m talking about? It’s brutal.

And yes, the way I look is part of my shame, but the terrible, awful way I’ve been treating my body and my brain is what really gets to me. I plan to be around for quite a few more years, and I don’t want my systems to shut down before I’m ready. You know? It’s terrifying. (But, apparently, not terrifying enough for me to get my act together.) Also, I spend a lot of money on healthy food that ends up in the trash can. And that is wrong on several levels.

Maybe this is over-sharing. Maybe it’s self-serving somehow. Maybe I shouldn’t post it. But now it’s written, so I’m going to. I hope it’s helpful to someone in some way.

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