Say it quietly

It almost seems too much to write this down but things seem to be changing. I don’t mean I have reached the end, but I get the idea, a tiny idea, that things might be moving in the right direction. Ok, I still wake up every day thinking about my body, my weight, what I might eat etc but it feels like my perspective has changed, it feels almost like I am watching myself. I have made small changes: leaving a mouthful of food most times when I eat, being aware when I eat when I am bored (my usual reason) without being hard on myself, sort of accepting it as a step along the way.

Of course this all makes me feel nervous: is it real, will it last, can I be getting things right and at the moment I am trying to keep positive, keep working at it, keep making these baby steps. Is this the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

What’s eating me?

I’ve realised how much eating I do because I am bored. I don’t tend to think of eating when I feel sad, lonely or fed-up (no pun intended) but boredom will do it for me every time. I’ve started watching myself doing it, thinking it, and most importantly resisting it. The other evening, for example, I was watching some tv and was aware my mind had started wandering to what was in the kitchen, what I could eat. I stopped myself, asked myself was I actually hungry? The answer was no, but I did eat something. I thought it was a breakthrough for me just being aware and I didn’t beat myself up about it afterwards. The next day I went over the incident in my mind and decided I could do more to resist, I could take a moment, distract myself, but I understood it was part of the learning to eat like a normal person, someone who isn’t obsessed with food all the time, and it felt like an important step forward.

I’ve started to do something else rather than allowing myself to get bored: I write here, I’ve started reading novels again, and I’ve been going walking with my daughter after dinner. It’s lovely to spend time with her, I feel better for walking and it stops me thinking about food and having access to a kitchen full of it. It feels like a huge step in the right direction.

Starting now?

I’ve been reading (surprising I know) and thinking (even more amazing – not) and think I might be able to take the next step – I think I might be able to permanently stop dieting. And by dieting I mean anything that comes anywhere close to that: detoxing,eating plans, giving up food groups, doing anything other than being normal around food. Of course at this stage it all feels very frightening, giving up everything that has been the structure around which I have built my life, the thing I have thought in my adult life about more than anything. Can I actually do it, do I have enough faith in myself to keep going until I don’t have to think about food anymore apart from when I am really, stomach hungry? It makes me anxious just writing this but I can’t carry on like this anymore.

My first motivation to do this is the boredom I feel at having to keep thinking about all this stuff: it hasn’t taken over too much of my life, I have passed my issues around food down to at least two of my children. I don’t want to do this anymore.

My second motivation is my health: I have stomach problems and eating normally makes me function better. It also helps with my general energy levels: I can do more when I have the right fuel in my body. I am not thinking about my hunger, planning my next meal (which can be bigger because I have starved myself to deserve it). I have strength and energy.

So that all makes sense when I write it down but how do I do it? I worry that if I eat “normally” I shall wake up tomorrow the size of a house, I shall have to eat everything, I don’t feel calm and relaxed around food. I feel anxious and edgy just thinking about it but I know (or I think I know) that I have to go through this stage, I have to live with the novelty to come out the other side. It feels horrible, alien, scary (all the things that might make me feel that I need to eat when I am not hungry) but I have to stay with it, I have to persevere, I have to keep going because as awful as these feelings are they are better than wasting any more time. I need to have faith in myself.