The problem with BIG LIFE CHANGES (imagine some sort of dum, dum duuuum background music here) is that they cause stress. Good stress, or bad stress, it doesn't matter. My subconscious inner psyche does not care. Stress happens and I EAT. I used to be in utter denial of this very obvious fact, and obsessive dieting in the between times has meant that I "only" tend to carry an extra 20-50 pounds on my tallish frame, depending on where I am on the pedulum. I'm sick of it: Both the compulsive over eating and the dieting.
Last year, when my daughter was in the hospital (and I happened to be in one of my dieting cycles, so the infractions became obvious to me) I woke up to the reality of my disordered eating. The compulsive stress related eating is disordered, the dieting obsessively is disordered, the whole cycling back and forth is disordered. Messed up. And I know I'm not the only person who struggles with this, and that is why I'm blogging about it.
So, when stress hits, I eat compulsively. It's like a part of me can stand back and watch myself do it, know I'm doing it, know WHY I'm doing it, but be helpless to do anything about it. At least I'm observing it. That's a step. Now I need to figure out what to do about it. The cycle must stop. And it must stop not just at the eating point, but also at the dieting point.
The temptation, after working like a beast to get things packed and finding myself over eating in the meantime; after moving and eating at too many fast food places for a few days; after working equally hard to get everything settled and still finding myself overeating for a week or so after the fact, is to go on another diet. But I don't want to do that.
I'll come out of the proverbial closet and admit publicly that I've been seeing a therapist who deals with eating issues. A year of Weight Watchers and stumbling up against this reality that I have some deeper broken issues relating to food that counting points would never really cure pulled me in that direction and through a serendipitous (thank you, Jesus!) coalescing of finding a certain book at the library and getting a certain recommendation from one of my kid's physicians who saw me reading said book, I've been doing some hard work with a therapist. And it's time to go back after a two week break for moving.
I need to do this. But it's hard work.
I also need to keep certain things like red wine and chocolate chip cookies and taco chips out of my house. I need to get my husband's support because we sure do like to cozy up together at night after the kids are in bed with a plate of taco chips and cheese and some wine. Too many calories. The unfortunate thing is, where on his body it means perhaps an extra ten pounds at the most, on my body habits such as these lead to an extra thirty and climbing. Egads! Comfortable married people we are for sure.
And combine that with BIG LIFE CHANGES (imagine the music) it spells disaster for the belly-butt-b***s trifecta.
And the gospel reading at Matins this morning was "Do not worry about your body, what you will eat or drink or what you will wear..." and the epistle was "Do not let anyone judge you in regard to food or drink..." Which is very interesting. I know I'm hearing this though a slightly different lens then it's usually taken, but the thing that's different right now for me, is that I'm not panicking (yet?) and I'm not beating myself up or condemning myself or berating myself or calling myself utterly unlovable because of my disordered eating and my resultant less-than-perfect figure. Instead, I have a sober awareness but also a sense of God's mercy and peace that makes no sense. And it is THIS that convinces me that the cycle is beginning to be broken in my life.
Oh God, I pray that it is so! Because repentance and true change is going to be harder than swinging back into dieting mode. And that is what I want, is true change. Pray for me.