I remember being 4 years old, a tiny thing, and thinking I needed to lose weight. I remember lifting cans as “weights.” Fast forward to junior high, and I remember my body going from tiny to “big” when I hit puberty (in a junior high girl’s mind). I was bigger than a lot of girls around me. Then in high school I was “overweight” and knew I was bigger than my friends. I remember looking at magazines thinking I needed to look like them. I remember feeling like I needed to go on a diet.
When I got to college, my high school sweetheart (and fiancé) broke up with me and I assumed it was because of the way I looked (among other things). I decided at that time that I had enough so I was going to lose weight.
I went on a diet and lost 25 pounds very quickly. I felt very proud of myself.
Fast-forward a few years and I met Robert. We got married very quickly. I put on a few pounds, but nothing extreme. I ended up having 3 kids with-in 4 years (starting 2 years after we got married). I didn’t put on a ton of weight with them (very little, actually). After Levi was born, I gained weight because of postpartum depression. But I easily lost the weight when I was working at a charter school because I went up and down lots of stairs multiple times a day.
I ended up fluctuating a lot between then and a few years ago (between dieting, stopping the diet, dieting, and stopping the diet). I would also have moments in which I worked out a lot, then I would stop, etc. I have been on an upward trend the past 3 years, starting with my first bipolar med. It hasn’t stopped.
The last diet I tried was last summer. I did THM (Trim Healthy Mama) for 3 months. When it wasn’t working (and it was a LOT of work… I also had digestive issues because of the alternative sweeteners), I stopped. I then gained back the few pounds I had lost plus a little more. Then I went to rehab and gained 6-8 pounds in a month.
Since then, I have been trying so hard to eat intuitively (as best I can), have body positivity, and learn to love myself as is, but it has been an uphill battle. Most days, most of the day, I’m thinking and obsessing about my weight and the fact that I’ve gained more weight. I think about it every time I get dressed, when I’m sitting (because pants are tighter when sitting), when I eat (it affects my eating a lot… I often just don’t eat until I’m starving, then I eat anything and everything), when I see pictures of myself, when I look in the mirror or see my reflection on a window. I don’t know how much I weigh because I threw out my scale, but I know I’ve gained weight based on how my clothes fit and it affects me all day, every day.
This causes me a lot of anxiety because I feel very out of control. When I eat “healthy,” I feel as though there’s no reason because I won’t lose weight anyway. When I eat “unhealthy,” I feel guilty. I have a lot of shame around food and my body.
A few weeks ago, a stranger from a body positive group asked to be friends on Facebook (after she commented on one of my posts). Usually I don’t accept strangers as friends, but she seemed to be safe. I’ve been watching her on Facebook including posts, videos, and blogs that she has written. She is a registered dietitian and she specializes in somatic nutrition and body image coaching. I finally decided to message her and tell her how I’ve been feeling. She messaged me a link to sign up for an appointment to have a phone call with her. I scheduled an appointment for the next day.
That morning I thought that I couldn’t deal with one more thing right now so I canceled it. She didn’t get the email (it was right before our appointment), so she called me. We had an almost hour long conversation. I knew that she would be able to help me, but I didn’t think I could afford it. I decided that maybe we could use some of our income tax refund. I didn’t think Robert would agree, and he was out of town, so I emailed him. After explaining how I felt about everything, he agreed. So, I ended up deciding to do the program. I kind of went back and forth through the day yesterday because I felt guilty for using money for my health again. Between counseling, doctor appointments, gas to and from town, and medication, a lot of Robert’s check goes towards my health (we get some reimbursed, but it comes out of our pockets initially). I can’t work, so I can’t even contribute to this.
From her website:
Today is the beginning of the end of your struggles with food and body image concerns. Do You…
- Think about food (how much, when, what) 24/7?
- Feel you can’t stop eating?
- Struggle to manage your weight even though trying to?
- Want to learn to eat from hunger and fullness?
- Need help learning to like your body?
- Want to discover your healthy weight?
- Feel confused about how to eat well?
- Sick of counting calories (fat/carbohydrates)?
- Tired of exercise being a should and feeling guilty about how much/little you move?
All of these describe my struggles.
There will be 9 group meetings (3 per month for 3 months), 4 one-on-ones (one initial, then one per month), lots of online readings and videos, 4 books, worksheets and food logs (to learn my hunger ratings, emotions, etc); I will have access to her every day via email and phone if need be. She will review my food logs as often as I need her to. Part of her services also include meditation, personal growth, and help with anxiety.
These are the books that I will be reading:
Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works
When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies: Freeing Yourself From Food and Weight Obsession
The One Thing Holding You Back: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Connection
Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling
So how does my sobriety fit into all of this? Simply… I’m often so anxious about this that I am driven to want to drink. Anything that causes me so much anxiety that I want to drink needs to be addressed. I know it doesn’t seem big enough to make someone want to drink, but it is big to me.
I’m hoping that this is one step towards what I tell everyone all the time!