Hello I’m Lisa and I’m a compulsive overeater…
Or to put it another way – a self-confessed food addict. Sure I know the term ‘food addict’ conjures up a lot of controversy, with many medical professionals claiming that with greater self-control and willpower, fat people can lose weight and become healthier. But I know from my own personal experiences that it’s just not as simple as that. Yes willpower and self-control are important and at times; when I have been utterly rigid with my healthy eating, the pounds have melted away. But soon enough there would be relapse, a voice inside telling me I had done so well and deserved to eat whatever I wanted for just one meal and inevitably I would give in to that voice. That one deviation from eating healthily would send me into a downward spiral of binge eating for days, weeks and even months! Sadly the end result would be gaining all the weight back and then some.
I have tried just about everything to lose weight over the years. I’m 35 years old now and think I was 11 when I went on my first diet. I find this depressing having 2 children of my own who are now aged 14 & 12 years old. They occupy themselves with ‘normal’ interests for their age, like watching the Kardashians (yikes) or playing Minecraft (double yikes), yet when I was their age I was pouring over weight loss articles in womens’ magazines and using my pocket money to buy bathroom scales, calorie counter guides and fitness videos. My (very thin) mother did not allow bathroom scales in the house as she was scared I would develop a complex about my weight so I would hide my scales where she hopefully wouldn’t find them. I got really good at hiding things as I was growing up, problem was that I ended up hiding food and food wrappers to cover up any evidence of my epic food binges which I’ll cover more of in a future article. In hindsight, these abnormal behaviours are what makes me realise how my weight problem was NEVER solely just a physical problem, it goes much deeper than that. My weight problem has always been a mental problem, a product of dysfunctional thinking and behaviours, underpinned by crippling low self-esteem. And do you want to know what frustrates me most? For most of my life when I ‘dieted’ I didn’t even have a weight problem. I was in a normal weight range and fine just as I was but I could never see that. Regardless of how much I weighed, I always felt fat, ugly and never good enough. I would look at other girls at school or women in the media and berate myself for not being as thin or as pretty as them. Comparison is the thief of joy? Damn right!
I don’t want to focus too much on my back story for now – we will get to that later. For now I just want to say that dieting has done nothing but make me heavier so I am not doing that any more. Currently I am 222 lbs (or 15st 12lbs) and this is the heaviest I have ever been. At only 5 ft 4, I am considered obese, in fact scrub that, there is no consideration to be made, I AM OBESE! My back hurts, my knees hurt and I cringe any time I look in the mirror and see my ‘apple’ physique staring back. Long story short, I am just miserable but I have hope that I can get back from this mess I see myself in. Today I am finally taking the right kind of action, I’m not just thinking of losing the weight and becoming healthier (I’m great at the thinking part!). No, from today, going forward I am going to help myself back to better health by utilising the power of LOVE. I know, it sounds cheesy right? But trust me this is how I am going to finally beat my food demons and manage this addiction of mine. From drawing on my experiences of slimming clubs, nutrition books, Overeaters Anonymous, personal trainers, spiritual guides, a myriad of self-help books and holistic therapies, I have finally figured out that coming from a place of self-loathing only adds fuel to the power of any addiction. So for me it’s all about LOVE and LOVING myself back to health and vitality.
How am I going to use LOVE? It’s easy. Every day when I wake up I am going to commit to loving myself completely for the next 24 hours. That means I will:
- Eat only loving foods that love me back, so only fresh, unprocessed and when possible, organic foods. This goes for drinks too, only consuming tea, coffee, water – no soda!
- Think like I love myself, therefore that negative self-loathing, critical inner voice of mine will be drowned out with positive, loving and encouraging thoughts.
- Move like I love myself. My body is a gift, it keeps me going each day despite the enormous pressure my weight has put on my joints and organs. It’s time to give something back to my body to keep it strong and healthy so each day I will do something, no matter how little, to exercise and show my body the respect it deserves.
- Count my blessings. The ‘attitude of gratitude’ is a popular saying and one that I swear by. Any time I feel down or feel like I am not achieving, I have write all the things I am grateful for just to reinforce all the blessings in my life.
Sound easy right? Well I know deep down it won’t always be and I have a LOT of learning and personal growth (in the mental and emotional aspects) to achieve but I have to do this and do it now! If you have taken anything from this post, be in inspiration or even exasperation I thank you for taking the time to read and I hope you will continue to follow my health journey along the way. I have way more to say on my past experiences and I hope to share them with you very soon.