If you read my blogs, you know I do a lot of research. I have been at war with my body for several months now, slowly trying to understand what’s happening to me. Taking in all the information I can, trying everything I can…all for some relief. I found this book at Barnes and Noble the other day called “It Was Me All Along” by Andie Mitchell. The cover is a chubby little girl standing on a beach and it was a memoir of her weight loss journey. I’m not usually attracted to this type of book…I like grab-life-by-the-horns/the-world-is-your-oyster type books. I like reading philanthropic novels, how-to’s and books about other cultures. I felt almost ashamed checking out with that book…like I wanted to say “oh, it’s for a friend.” It only took me three days to finish it. I realized only a few pages in that this book was about me and I cried…a lot. Memories that I’d pushed away came flooding back and that’s where I am right now. Drudging through all of these food-buried memories.
I remember this moment like it was yesterday. My 7th grade gym class was standing in two lines, the girls separated from the boys, to weigh-in. Why on earth we had to do that publicly is unknown to me, but nevertheless we did. I was 5’10 in 7th grade and was on the cheerleading squad, in band and tried out for (but never made) the volleyball and basketball teams. I was a clumsy thing. I was next in line as Mrs. Hale called my name with her clipboard in hand and I stepped on the scale in front of her. 167. I weighed significantly more than all my friends and I burst into tears. This is the first time I remember having a perception of my size…and I got to realize it with every girl in the 7th grade watching. My mom assured me that I was perfect and beautiful and I was just tall. Being tall became my excuse for my weight all my life. I was never thin but I was never fat. I have been average my whole life, all 27 years of it. I always felt that no matter how hard I exercised, I stayed the same…but this book helped me to realize one thing. Food is my best friend. It’s my go-to comfort and it has been that way for so many years. I subconsciously call on my best friend and that’s when things get out of control. It wasn’t until Andie made me realize I had been abusing food all my life that all the little things suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks.
The little things. Like getting home from school and eating a package of fudge pop-tarts and then devouring an entire can of pizza pringles and hiding it deep into the trash to avoid someone calling me out about it. Like getting up for seconds after my first plate, only to fill my plate to the brim again and proceed to eat an entire second meal. Like stopping at the gas station for a snack while driving home from college and realizing I’d eaten the ENTIRE bag of Combos and a slim-jim. Like when I’d heat up the entire bag of pizza rolls, get full after 12 but think “there’s only 4 left…not really worth saving…” so I’d eat them despite feeling like I could burst. Like ordering Chinese take-out and saving the rest for dinner, only to eat it 20 minutes later. Like making a full pot of Whirley-Pop popcorn (my favorite thing ever), dousing it in butter flavoring and salt and sitting down to watch the Voice and noticing that you ate the whole bucket without realizing it…even cleaned the butter off the sides of the bowl with your fingers. Like driving through Starbucks for a coffee and ordering a pumpkin muffin too, because why not?
When I was young, food comforted me when I was teased for being a giant with red hair. It comforted me when we moved from school to school growing up because if my surroundings weren’t consistent, at least my bowl of Lucky Charms was. Papa Johns and Bosco breadsticks were my jam at lunch when I felt like people could tell my clothes were second hand. When I got into high school and the insecurities really set it, food was there. When I fought with my parents, food was there. When I left for college and hated going to a private school and missed my friends and family, food was there. When I moved even farther to be with my then boyfriend, food filled the loneliness. When we broke up, so much food helped me forget that hurt. Today, I feel numb to food. It no longer draws me by aroma or taste, it’s just as a filler. Just something to distract me from the hard things in life. Something used to celebrate the good things in life. Something that I love and hate. Food is a bittersweet part of my life anymore, it is rarely eaten without guilt following close behind.
These scenarios played over and over in my head as I read her words. I realized that I am totally and completely addicted to food. I am a binge eater. I am an emotional eater (and shopper…but we’ll save that for another day). I don’t want to do the work it’s going to take to beat this, honestly.
Now that I have exposed all of that on the internet, I’ll let you know that I’m talking to my doctor tonight at my appointment about referring me to someone. Whether it’s OA, a psychologist or a nutritionist…I just want to escape this buried feeling and find joy in cooking and savoring again. Here I go!