Monday, February 11, 2013

A Struggle with Food (and Subsequent​ly Weight)

Food and I have a love/ hate relationship. I'm sure most people say that but I actually mean it. I have been in a lifelong battle with food for my entire life and, in many ways, it has controlled much of me: my weight, my self esteem, my overall happiness. But no more.

When I was younger, I didn't make the connection. How could I? I was only a little kid. But alas, I teased for my weight nonetheless. And so it began.

I don't eat that much. Really, I don't. I eat a bit of junk food in between but it's not nearly as much as my mother thinks it is. It has to be only a bit over 1000 calories or at least, my meals do. Since that's probably not enough, my stomach protests at night. My hunger has always been erratic (my diet too) but never like this. And so is my complicated relationship with food.

This has never happened before but it's happening now. Sometimes my stomach even wakes me up in the middle of my sleep. My conversation with my stomach goes something like this:
STOMACH: Feed me!
ME: Shut up. I need to go to bed.
STOMACH: Pleeeeasseeee *cries*
ME: _Shut up._ Now. It's midnight.
STOMACH: I don't care. I'm hunnngggrrryyyy.
ME: Well, I don't feel like getting up.
STOMACH: But I'm huunngggryyy.
ME: You'll make me fat.
*STOMACH wails and throws temper tantrum for next half hour as I try to sleep*
ME: Fine.
*I make march downstairs and get veggie chips which I eat along the way.
STOMACH (sighing): Thanks.
*I finally go to sleep*

I used to force myself to sleep through the hunger out of fear of losing weight. I've skipped meals during the day to accomplish the same goal, after all, I lived. And when I did indulge, I would feel guilty. The problem? Hunger is seriously distracting. What seemed manageable during the day was becoming unbearable at night. So I decided to give up and give in, which I do every night now.

I imagine that this, along with my muscle gain from exercising and crunches, has been the culprit behind my weight gain. My food, ranging from yogurt to veggie chips to peanut butter, is usually healthy but I feel guilty nonetheless. I feel guilty when I eat anything besides my meals, chastising myself along the way.

But a radical thought has occurred to me. What if I didn't care about my weight? What if I ate and just purely felt joy instead of deep-seated shame?

Of course, I won't totally go crazy. But by letting myself eat guilt-free, I didn't feel the need to binge after pretty much restricting myself forever. This way seems easier. After all, eating is normal and a part of health. Losing weight is not worth going hungry and thus, losing sleep.

So when my anxiety over weight flares up, telling me that eating that cookie or peanut butter will start me on a terrible pattern to gaining weight and therefore becoming ugly, I'll tell it to shut up. I'll continue with exercising like I do (and maybe exercise more) and eating healthy and that will be enough. Food will be my enemy no more.