Friday, September 20, 2013
Getting Real About Stuff
I know I have a few readers who manage to find my posts even when I do not share them via facebook. I fervently hope my family is not amongst them.
If we share DNA, STOP READING RIGHT NOW!!!!! Please.
I struggle with disordered eating patterns. I do not have an eating disorder.
I eat healthy foods. I do not eat in a healthy way.
I use food to manage my emotions. I have to work really hard to use food to fuel my body.
People often ask me for my secret. "What are you doing? How have you lost so much?"
I tell them the truth: I eat a lot of vegetables, lean proteins, and legumes. With very rare exceptions, I do not eat processed food. If I cannot tell by looking at it what it was in nature, I'm not likely to put it in my mouth. I do not eat refined sugar.
I do not tell them that both my primary care physician and my therapist are concerned about how I talk about food.
People assume this is difficult or requires some enormous degree of discipline or will power.
I do not them the truth: it is simple. Quite easy, in fact.
I made a choice to change my eating habits. Having made that choice, all other options ceased to exist for me.
Because I have an incredibly high need for rules. I am rigidly structured. I have a high need for control.
That so much of my life in the last year has felt out of control (multiple deaths and multiple other traumas), it is not surprising to either myself or my therapist, that I have become rigidly structured and highly controlled in how I eat; in what I eat.
I started it as a way to manage my anxiety.
And it works.
Until it doesn't.
Because losing weight and the focus it has put on my body creates a whole new kind of anxiety.
As I discussed these disordered eating habits and the distorted thought processes that contribute to it, with my therapist yesterday, I made a startling discovery.
It really is possible to choke on your words.
I also discovered the source of so much of my anxiety, so much of my need for control, so much of my desire for a rigidly structured life, so much of my inability to function in chaos and uncertainty.
I choked on the word "acceptable." It took me three tries to get the word out. I finally managed it, but barely.
We were talking about my food and body issues and my need for control and my distorted thought patterns and how to change those thought patterns.
"Is there any other way to do it? I mean, is there a trick to it? A shortcut? Or do I really just have to constantly re-affirm that my body is good and healthy? More than good, that it's okay. Do I really just need to retrain my brain, rewrite those tapes through repetition, that my body is acce...."
I took a breath. I cleared my throat. "Acce...."
I took a deep breath and blew it out. I cleared my throat again. "Ac...cept...able," I nearly whispered, as tears streamed down my face. "I know exactly what triggered it," I told my therapist.
I know the trigger that started me down this path, back in April. The words that remained unspoken that left me fighting waves of nausea on a daily basis, restricting calories, and increasing my physical activity in an effort to feel in control so that I would not feel like I will never be good enough, that I will never be valuable, that I will never be lovable, that I will never be worthy, that I am not acceptable for so many reasons. I had already lost 30 lbs in the previous 6 months by cutting sugar out of my life. I've since lost an additional 70 lbs.
New mental tape. New thoughts. Rewrite the script.
That's the hard work.
That's the part that takes effort.
Not eating sugar is ridiculously easy by comparison.
I am good enough.
I am valuable.
I am lovable.
I am loved.
I am worthy.
I am acce....
Still more work to be done.