MsBitchCakes has an interesting post today on food addiction. She also links to a May 14, 2010, called "I can feel again. And I hate it." No doubt.
Shame is something I've felt in abundance my whole life. When kids at school fell down on the job, my family made it clear to me that being fat was shameful. I was an embarrassment to everyone. I remember when I was a kid being called names wondering "how do they know?" What I meant was, I think, "do I really seem all that different from everyone else?"
Yeah, I did.
I didn't understand why that made me worth less than everyone else, but it did. I remember kids poking me in the stomach, asking, "Can you feel that." Oh how I could feel that. I still do.
A few years ago I separated from (and eventually divorced) my wife. In the ensuing six months or so, I spent a lot of time eating ice cream with Tony Soprano (on DVD). I was putting on weight, a lot. But I didn't notice it. I wasn't exactly in tune with my body. One night I was supposed to go to an alumni event and meet friends. None of my dressy pants fit. I was shocked. Really. I didn't go to the thing, and my friends kept calling to make sure nothing was wrong.
I felt the same way I always had.
Ever have to ask for a seatbelt extender on a plane? Same shame as always. But here's a win. I traveled by plane this week to Spokane, and I didn't need an extender on any of the four legs, even in the "regional jet." I'm at 330, give or take. That is the upper limit for flying weight for a six foot tall man.
Shame is terrible, and if you eat for comfort, it is a well-fitting piece of the food-addiction cycle. Feel shitty-eat-realize what you've done-resolve to do better-slide into feeling shitty/embarrassed-eat. Something like that.
When I was a kid, my dad told me that if I lost weight, I'd feel better. I figured out years later (in therapy) that even though he was no doubt correct--that I would feel better--he was also saying that he would feel better.
One of the problems was that no one knew why I was fat, why I was eating the way I was, and no one could tell me how to lose weight. Essentially, I was wrong to be fat, was not a good person because of it, but I was on my own.
My folks sent me to a shrink who purported to hypnotize me and told me about riding my bike thirty minutes a day. I can't remember how old I was for that one.
The summer I was 13, I went to a Weight Watcher camp in Wisconsin for seven weeks. My parents were not completely straight about it. I thought I was going for four weeks until I got there. See ya. I know they had my best interest in mind, but I felt as though I were being punished. I lost 33 pounds. It's the last time I was ever under 200 pounds. When I got back home, I was on the program for a while, but I fell off eventually. I learned new habits and eating methods at camp. But at home, nothing had changed. I was twelve. I was not going to change anything there.
I'm not blaming my parents for how I am now. I accept that the last 25 years or so are all on me. I'm just trying to explain how I got here. Even though I've lost almost pounds in my adult life, I feel as though I'm learning for the first time how to do it. Paying attention to the way I feel physically and emotionally is key. This is not something that comes naturally.