Monday, May 19, 2008

My Struggle. Maybe Yours, Too.

Here's a shocker: Female, 26, former anorexic and bulimic and compulsive eater, realizes for the first time that she is truly "one of those women" who will likely struggle with her weight for her entire life.

It seems very obvious when you look at my historical and current relationship with food, but I swear, it has only been in the past few months that it's really sunk in that this is, and will likely forever be my challenge. I thought that once I had managed to move into "healthy" eating patterns rather than a clinically diagnosed eating disorder, I would be somewhat free of food issues. Hah! It's like alcohol or drug abuse or any other addiction: you are always in recovery, never truly 100% cured.

Eating. Whether it's too much, too little, too obsessively, too mindlessly. Whatever, the details don't much matter at this point.

What does matter is that it's always the first thing to slip when I am under stress. Food is my #1 preferred conduit for emotions I don't want to deal with, or even recognize. Sometimes I'm aware that I eat to stuff down the painful and complicated issues in my life. Other times, however, it works the other way around. I notice first that my relationship with food is getting a bit hectic, that I'm thinking about calories and weight all the time and feeling out of control. I don't recognize that it is a symptom of something else out of balance in my life. Then at some later moment it will dawn on me what has been at the root of the eating crisis, and I will either choose to deal with it or not...

So, big surprise, after some professional turbulence at the beginning of the year (aka not being permanently hired at the Banana Empire) and with a wedding some 7 weeks away, I am feeling stressed about food. I bought my wedding dress and rehearsal dinner dress in April last year, and I am not at the same weight/size as I was back then. I'm not too far off, thankfully, but nonetheless I have some changes to make if I want to fit in the dresses (they are both pretty fitted and have already been altered twice).

I wasn't even sure if I should blog about this, or even journal on paper. As someone who has struggled with eating disorders, I find now that it is a very fine line between being mindful of what I eat and my what my exercise level is, and becoming obsessive. Sometimes the mere mention of weight or fitness regime or portion control can set me off on a very negative path. It is easier, I have found, to just let things be, recognize and accept that my weight and disposition to exercise will ebb and flow, that it's not necessarily beneficial or even possible to maintain an absolute constant weight or fitness level from one day/week/month/whatever to the next. I have faith that it will work out in the long run, that I will get to that point where I feel comfortable with my body over time. It's happened several times, and I know it works.

However, I have a deadline with the wedding, and I am trying to find the balance between kicking up the exercise and decreasing the calories, and setting myself off on a very obsessive spiral. Perversely, I find that many times when I concentrate on my weight too much, I end up gaining rather than losing because I become an insane person who thinks about food all the time, and that makes me want to eat-eat-eat. I'm trying to avoid this possibility, but it is hard. I find it difficult to be disciplined. I find it crazy-making sometimes to stick to a gym and eating regimen. But I know I have to if I want to be sane on my wedding day.

That is why I'm writing. Hopefully this will help, not hinder my efforts.

I've found in reading other people's blogs, I am easily triggered by weight loss and dieting stories - especially successful ones. Still, I want to feel a bit accountable without resorting to saying a goal weight or dress size (though I know them in my mind - I don't want to have the same effect on anyone else who might be reading here). Let's just say that my current weight minus 52 is where I want to be, and that 52 is a secret code for the amount of kilos/pounds/stones/whatever that I need to lose.

Tonight Rico and I are signing up for the gym since they restricted the one we used to go to at Hotel Avenida to guests only. Meh. Now we are going to a new gym, and I am a bit apprehensive. I'm making a music mix to see if it helps my motivation. I know it needs to be done...exercise, I have found, is more effective in dealing with my weight issues rather than focusing so much on diet. We'll see...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

girl, you have a hot body. you need to calm the fuck down.

from your recent pics, you look a healthy weight and i don't think it would be good to lose any.

maybe you bought those dresses when you were underweight. or maybe you're worrying over nothing and they'll fit fine.

bart said...

thanks for this intelligent and insightful post... i recognise much of what you write, one of my daughters (now 15) has ongoing issues with eating disorders and with my own addiction problems i can understand full well the stresses you can be undergoing... the vigilence, constant mental commentary, the mood shifts needing attention and permanent wondering if things will ever get any easier...

once an addict, always an addict (or fill in your own vice), it's good you keep on recognising what the problems are, remembering your remedies and coping mechanisms and valuing yourself and your own input in life as being totally valid in a society that thinks it knows all the answers for you...

glad you're writing this, it's a difficult subject but one you do well to write about... if anything, the catharsis by words helps, in my opinion...

good luck, keep well ;-)

Mandi said...

Thanks for being so honest, it's refreshing. All the best.

jenica said...

i'm glad you got this off your chest. i think that as women in our global society we are destined to struggle with weight. we're always going to be too skinny, too fat, not tall enough, too tall, etc etc.

but you are beautiful! i'm sure you're feeling the crunch with the dress issue, but just know that you're not alone. and it's all good. ;-D