Make it stop!

Today I am bad tempered. Why am I bad tempered? Because I feel fat. I look at myself in the mirror and don’t like what I see: I don’t see the “good” bits, I just see the fat, the letting-go, the things that make me lesser than. Usually these feelings would make me start on another diet, another restricted eating plan, another trying-on of the jeans with a promise to make them a bit looser, look better, to make myself feel better. So much of my self worth is tied up with how I think I look. I imagine people judging me: people who haven’t seen me for a while thinking about the weight I have gained, feeling sad and ignored, and yet I know so much of this is inside my head.

Through the years I have lost (and gained) a lot of weight: the times I was slim seem to have passed in a flash and I was soon back in those comfortable clothes, long tops, trying to disguise what I see as my failure, hiding the evidence from all those people that I knew were judging me. But did I know it.

Now I am certain I can’t spend the rest of my life punishing myself, restricting what I eat, focussing on how many calories or carbs I have eaten that day, rewarding myself for being “good” and beating myself up for every lapse. A self-imposed life sentence of misery and yet the journey to learning to eat normally, to using food simply as fuel, is tortuous, every turn provides a new challenge, a new uncertainty. I keep going but I doubt myself every step of the way and wonder what those behind me are saying about my body.

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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.