Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Overcoming My Demons

I've written numerous times about my battle with my eating. Of all the seven sins, gluttony would be my biggest crime. However, I can go on a diet and be completely filled with will power and lose a lot of weight quickly.  Then, as if something triggers a switch in my brain, I'll sabotage my efforts with a ridiculous binge where I consume a huge amount of food I neither need or want.  It is as if I don't want my efforts to succeed on some subconscious level.

I've tried looking into why I do this.  Why does my sub-conscious not want me to succeed?  What is it I'm afraid of?

It's not as if I'm hugely fat or anything.  I'm a size12-14...although I think of myself as a 16-18 in my head.  The amount of jeans I have that hang of my bum is ridiculous, but I'm afraid of buying clothes in smaller sizes. It's like they come with an expectation.  I do weigh a lot.  My BMI tells me I'm overweight...bordering on the obese, even at 5ft 11" tall.  It makes me think I must carry some thick, dense, yellow fat wrapped around my internal organs, weighing the extra 2 stone I carry.

I have a husband who seriously adores me and tells me I am beautiful everyday.  I don't accept the compliment and make a joke about him being delusional.  Blinded by his love!  I never really thought much about this ritual.  Recently however, my 15 year old daughter, riddled with teenage self-consciousness was hiding her gorgeous face behind her fringe. I told her she should be showing herself off because she is so lovely..."You can talk!" she replied.  She went on to say how I'm always down on what I look like, how I delete photos of me because I "look gross", how I rebuke Ian's compliments.  The weight of the guilt was immense.  How can I expect my own children to love themselves unconditionally when I am my own harshest critic?  I am teaching them by example to practice self-loathing.  That is reprehensible.  I want my children to know how special, unique and beautiful they are...but to make them believe that I need to lead by example.

As a child food came with mixed messages.  To my mum, who I love immensely,  food was love.  Everyday after school I was given a big bar of chocolate, a bag of crisps and a buttered bun bought from the tea lady at her work.  Dinners were piled high and an empty plate was received with praise.  Leaving food was not an option.  Seconds made Mum proud. Thankfully I was a skinny child who never put weight on.  The eating habits forged in my childhood, where excess was met with pride and love, have stuck.  Food represents a form of parental approval.  Has this somehow lodged itself in my brain, to the point that dieting is somehow going against the lessons learned as a child desperate to be loved?

As a teenager a great deal of my rebellion was food related.  I had an eating disorder...not quite as extreme as anorexia or bulimia, but equally troubling.  I would not want food in my mouth.  The thought repulsed me.  I'd hide my food and bin it. It was about power and control.  Then I'd binge, consuming a whole loaf of bread in one go.  It was an unhealthy way of eating both physically and mentally.  This phase didn't last very long but I think it still holds some clues as to my current difficulties in my relationship with food.

As an adult I do enjoy my food.  I love being vegetarian and take great strides in ensuring we have a healthy and varied diet.  I like to cook our favourite meals and enjoy sharing these dishes with my children.  I hope I am nurturing a good relationship with food in them.  This is why it puzzles me so much when I have a compulsion to stuff my face with food for no real reason.  I don't want the food, I'm not hungry and I don't even like some of the food that passes my lips...yet I still do it.  I know it undoes any good work I've done on my dieting, but I still do it.  As the third bar of chocolate passes my lips, I'm looking in the cupboards to find what I can consume next.

I hope to be able to unlock this one last demon from my past.  I hope to consolidate all the good eating habits I have established and be able to eat well without having this compulsion to binge.  Without sabotaging all the good I have done.

I never ever feel full.  I have a massive capacity for food.  I never understand when my husband says he is fit to burst and couldn't eat another mouthful. I can just keep going and have never reached the point where I feel sick.  In a way I'm lucky...I could be as big as one of those immobile supersize women on those C4 documentaries.  So I know I have control 95% of the time.

My weight fluctuates quite dramatically.  I can go up and down by a stone within a couple of weeks.  What I really want to do is lose the stone and keep it off.  I want to maintain a healthy weight that isn't yo-yoing and putting undue stress on my body.  I want to set a good example to my children and teach them to love themselves and look after example.

Writing this down has helped me get my head around my problem.  I have solutions in my hand thanks to Thinking Slimmer (this is in no way a sponsored post, but the company has been so supportive to me and I am hugely grateful to them).  If I can get a grip of these issues my life will be so much better.  I know the eating is tied in with my depression, my childhood and my self-esteem. Saying that, I'm in the best place mentally that I have been in for years.  If I can conquer this problem everything else will fall into is my main weakness and I hate being so pathetic about something as fundamental as eating.

I do want to have a body I'm proud of.  I want to be fit and healthy especially as I have a toddler to take care of in my 40's!  I want to have control.  I need to overcome my demons!


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