Post by Susan Peabody on May 12, 2016 16:21:11 GMT
I was an overweight child. And then I was not. And then I was again. The pictures of me as a child make me sad.
I have tried all kinds of diets. We all do. We are praying for the answer. We are praying for a miracle.
In the early years of 2000 I went to the doctor. I weighed 300 lbs. By the end of the visit I was ready to go on a diet. I don't know why. I chalk these things up to a spiritual awakening. (This is the term I have chosen to describe things I do not understand yet. As more is revealed I use this term less.)
I decided to go to Overeaters Anonymous for help. It was my first 12-Step program in 1982, and God used it as a tool to save my life. I did everything I was told. I was open-minded for the first time in my life. Another mystery.
First, I read their book and had my doubts. Toward the end of the book, in a paragraph that someone had tacked on as an afterthought, I read that the founder, Rozanne, had had a relapse using the recommended program, and ended up having success by counting calories. So I decided to do this.
First I did the math. I was told to count the number of pounds I weigh against the number 12 (which changed according to how much I exercised). That was the number of calories I could eat to maintain my weight. For every 35,000 calories I ate less than that number, I would lose a pound. For every 35,000 calories I ate over that amount I would gain a pound.
I then organized my food around the number of calories I could eat, without starving myself, which would eventually eliminate the pounds. I do not cook, so I used foods that list the amount of calories on the back of the package. When you cook it is really hard to count calories. You can also go to a program that does this for you or you can do it by trial and error but it takes longer to get the formula right.
Now, for the emotional impact. This is where the real pain is. Food is life or death to us as infants. This leaves an imprint on our brain. With most people this leads to bonding with food and creating a compulsion to eat. We do not know why some people do not bond with and eat normally, or why they just naturally consume the right amount of food without effort. Lucky them. (I used to hate these people; envy was not strong enough. It was not until I experienced anorexia that I understood the issue is not how you look. It is much deeper than that.)
My mother gave me a lot of sugar so I would leave her alone. Thus I bonded with sugar. I ate it. I stole it. I could not get enough because it took away the pain of my mother's rejection (abandonment).
So now, today, I have this compulsion to eat, especially sugar. At one point the compulsion had grown to the point that it was really monstrous and out of control. Thus I got to 300 lbs.
The first thing I did to reverse this was to come to terms with the pain I was going to go through both physically and emotionally. I read everything I could on the subject of acceptance. AA talks about it all the time. I searched for articles about acceptance and spirituality because I was in a spiritual program. I was looking for a miracle which is both a spiritual and religious term. (Every thing is the same, the vocabulary just changes.)
So I took the first step. I ate a small meal for breakfast and stopped. It was hard to stop. I was a "compulsive eater" and do not want to stop. The repetition compulsion in my brain turned on (I have a very strong one thus I feel I have an addictive personality.) But I stopped and started working. I distracted myself.
Lunch went the same, and then after work I went to a meeting of Overeaters Anonymous for some support. Like therapy, it really helps to talk about all of this. In OA they also have you call your food into a sponsor every morning and commit to them. OA has learned through trial and error how to help dieters. They use a method I call accountability. Some people, when they make a commitment, just naturally feel obligated to follow through. I wrote an article about this years ago. I will have to try and find it.
Eventually I to do home home and as late as I could I had dinner. I was terrified of being hungry. I would never had made it in a concentration camp. I ate late so I would not be hungry during the night. I also learned in therapy that I was molested by my father at night and ate a mid-night snack to cope with this memory. So giving this up was really hard. (Today I don't try. I found out that it does not matter when you eat, as long as you count calories. At least the article I read said this. I don't really know for sure.)
After dinner, I wanted to have dinner a second time. When I denied myself this I started to get upset. I had a neon sign in my head saying "eat, eat, eat." I kept saying "no" until I broke down in tears and decided that life was not worth living without eating. I think the food was irrelevant. I just wanted to eat because that is how I coped with my mother being unavailable to me during my formative years.
This went on for a few weeks and then it got harder not easier. I was at war with my compulsion and I knew it.
I tried a lot of things at this point like calling my sponsor in Overaters Anonymous during the evening, going to more meetings, and watching television. The compulsion was so strong that nothing worked until I got on the computer. I noticed that this is the one thing that could get my mind off of the compulsion. (If you are looking for a distraction from eating you can find one through trial and error.)
So now I had the magic key. When the compulsion came up I got on the computer. I decided that since none of my friends would help me learn how to create a web site I would teach myself. I read books, I went to classes, I experimentded. All of these things worked as a distraction.
So this was my routine until I lost 150 lbs.
Today, I am trying to keep the weight off. On some level, I really don't care what I look like. I never have because I have always been in my head. It was like I did not have a body. But circumstances and life taught me that being at a certain weight it is more acceptable and feels good even to me. What that weight is depends on the person. We all have that perfect weight where we feel good.
Today I have only gained 15 lbs back and I still do the math. I eat what I want and then count calories. If I ate too much one day I eat that much less the next. I still binge which is non-stop eating, but the next day or the day after I take off the extra weight. It is my goal to stop binging (eating non-stop even after you are full). It is my goal to keep the weight off for my self-esteem, to be more accepted and, to fit into the wardrobe I invested so much money in. That is a whole other story that involved thousands of wasted dollars.
By the way, I did try accepting myself at 300 lbs, but it did not work for me. No matter how hard I tried I did not feel good and this is the ultimate goal.
How much you weight you lose (or gain) is up to you. If you feel good at one weight and do not care what others think then this is how much you should weigh. But this is easier said than done because of projection. There are consequences for being overweight. You have to factor this is. So just be honest with yourself. Set your goal. Battle the demons and live happily ever after.