Daddy and I sat with a few of His female co-workers at the holiday party. (There are only 2 men on staff, including Him.) One of the ladies was substantially over weight and the other was of “normal” weight. The topic of weight loss was a hot topic. The heavier of the two spent a great deal of time joking about her eating and planning to eat a 4th plate of incredibly unhealthy food. She talked about binging in her sleep and uncontrollable snacking in front of the TV at night. She’s a pretty young woman of only 25.
I found myself feeling sad for her. I remember the days of feeling like I had no control over what I ate and that weight loss was totally out of reach. I ate out of boredom, sadness, joy. I don’t think I ever ate out of actual hunger. I was much like this young woman. Self-depreciating humor about my size, weight and food.
I held unrealistic goals for my body for far too many years. I wanted to go back down to my high school weight, which is where the doctors told me I should be. I spent much of my life wavering around 300 pounds. Going back to 150 pounds was totally unrealistic. I’ve had massive weight losses and gains putting my health and body in jeopardy. I understand eating disorders from the inside. The thinking, the feelings, the hopelessness, never being good enough, the body dysmorphia that goes with it.
I’m coming up on 8 years of maintaining a 120 pound weight loss. I’ve gained a bit since Daddy and I have been married, but not substantial in the grand scheme of things. I take it off and put it right back on. Pretty much everyone puts on a little bit of weight when they’re happy in a relationship. Nature of the beast. lol
I am far from thin! I’m curvy and soft. I’m also able to buy off the rack at any store. At this age, I’m built like more women my age than not. I’m happy and content in my body. I feel pretty and sexy. I don’t eat for comfort much anymore. I don’t engage in self-depreciating humor about my body or my eating. I have a pretty healthy relationship with food.
Listening to this young woman talk made me want to show her another way! I remember the hurt and sadness of looking and feeling like that. I wanted to shake her and tell her to stop what she’s doing and get help. The medical ramifications, the emotional roller coaster… the whole thing. I wanted to tell her there’s another way and share with her how to get help and support. At 25 I was just like her. Not ready or willing to do anything about it. I made a passing comment about making major lifestyle changes and losing weight in hopes of planting a seed.
There were many along my journey who planted seeds. For me, it took being in serious trouble in an anorexic swing to get the help I needed. I was forced by my psychiatrist with a threat of inpatient treatment if I didn’t do an outpatient program. I’d starved myself to the tune of losing 90 pounds in 2.5 months while exercising hours a day. As I’d done a few times before, I rapidly gained all the weight back plus some. I gained 110 pounds back. The journey to healthy eating was long, slow and very painful. I wish I’d started and followed through much younger. I wish I’d listened.
It’s easy to sit in judgment of the girl sitting there eating shit tons of crap while she’s really big. I’ve been on both sides of that. I’m not perfect and sometimes I find myself shaking my head in disgust. Talking to this woman brought me back to a point of empathy and remembering what it was like.