So I haven’t blogged about this yet, but I’m on a weight loss mission. I signed up for a weight-loss challenge last year, but that was kinda silly because I was nursing Atticus like crazy and it is never a good idea to diet whilst nursing full-time. I’m hesitant to blog about weight loss because I actually have a lot to say on the topic and it is a bit overwhelming. Way at the bottom of my blog is a weight loss ticker and that’s pretty much all I’ve done publicly.
I have a lot to say. About why I’m fat. The weight I have loss. The weight I gained back. Eating Disorders. How weight has impacted my love life, my parenting, and other areas of my life. Until I get up the gumption to write it all down, I thought I’d start with baby steps.
Here’s something you may or may not know about me. In 2003, while battling depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from sexual violence, I was hospitalized in a mental health facility. Given my intense fear of men and frequent flashbacks I was placed in a wing of the hospital for women. That area of the hospital happened to specialized in eating disorders. So there I was, at that time over 350 pounds, sitting around with 60 pound women; some of the women were in wheelchairs, some about to be whisked to the hospital for feeding tubes, a couple with kidney failure, and more than a few with esophageal erosion and other health problems.
What I learned from these women suffering from anorexia and bulimia was that we were the same in so many ways. They all thought they looked like me. They had some of the same issues — secrecy eating, low self-esteem, cutting and other modes of self-harm. And yes, all the food issues. As one of girl remarked to me, “Amanda, you’re just like me, you’re just all binge and no purge.”
Tuesday’s was Challenge Day. We were all ushered into a private dining area. The same dining area where we recorded what we ate and how we felt at each meal. A tiny, wee slice of cake was placed in front of each of use. The anorexic girls who didn’t want to eat and the bulimic girls who wanted to eat tons only to throw it back up had to take one bite. ONE BITE. I can recall several of the girls weeping. This awful piece of cake would kill them. That one bite would make them fat, disgusting, ugly, ill…..
My challenge was to take one bite. ONE BITE. Slowly. Not wolfing it down. But I wanted all of the slice. And everyone else could give me the unwanted slices. Cake was good. Cake made me feel happy, calm, loved, satisfied, fulfilled. I needed cake. So. much. cake. I took one bite and the cake was carried away. I cried. I cried because I realized those many many many bites of cake would make me fat, disgusting, ugly, ill…..
I had the same problem as many of the other women at the facility. I had disordered eating. Not a single one of us could easily have cake as a reasonable part of our lives; an occasional treat in a realistic portion size.
Part of my disordered eating is that I identity my eating as being “good” and “bad”. When I’m good I’m very very good. I eat rabbit food and exercise and think about calories constantly. When I’m bad I’ll eat a sack of cheeseburgers and a half-gallon of ice cream. Both types of thinking are extreme and certainly not normal.
That being said, I’ve realized that I’ve slipped back into celebrating with a dozen cookies, rather than enjoying one cookie. I’ll bake a batch and have one out of the oven, one with lunch, one for snack, one after dinner, one before bed….. Back in December I even promised myself a cookie every time the baby woke up in the middle of the night (I had three cookies between 10pm and 6am that night).
My goal is to lose weight, but my ultimate goal is to relearn my healthy eating habits. Eat when hungry. Quit when full. Healthful exercise. Reasonable portions.
Tuesday night I baked a batch of cookies. I wanted something chocolaty. I much rather indulge in a homemade something rather than a store bought something. I baked Martha Stewart’s Surprise Cookies. I omitted the frosting. I made sure I did an hour of exercise that day instead of 30 minutes. The cookies came out of the oven.
I had one cookie. Slowly. With a small glass of fat-free milk. I was full and perfectly satisfied. I enjoyed that one cookie so much more knowing that I was eating reasonably.
Hooray, for cookie!