These past several weeks, I have been quietly missing from my blog. Sometimes silence is needed. I realized one day that I write about a number of things, but I don’t write about how some of these things tied together began to affect me almost two years ago. In August of 2010, I was at my heaviest, without being pregnant. Losing my full time job, gaining a part time job, being at home with the kids, going to school full time, and trying to maintain some sense of normal, which there is no such thing as normal, proved to be too much. So during my time of silence from writing, during my time of reflection, one question kept coming up, “How do you do it?” How do I handle it? How do I deal with what is going on within my family? I wish there was an easy answer to this questions, there isn’t. Though I am a person of faith, I am human and I often joke that my handling has to do with tequila or some alcoholic beverage that will leave me feeling little to nothing, but last year, it didn’t. I drowned my sorrows in food.
Food, hot wings, cookies, cakes, and ice cream. Burger King, McDonald’s, and KFC were my friend. Last year I was dealing with the loss of 50% of my income, I was dealing with bills, and my children and their needs. I was dealing with other families and their needs and I could answer those questions. I could deal with their issues and be able to throw out an answer to the questions that plagued them about their children, their disabilities, and where to find services. But at home, I was and sometimes still am an emotional wreck. I would go through the motions, deal with what I had to deal with until time for bed. There was one thing that I had never thought would make much of a difference. Eating, eating became my choice addiction. Though I would engage in the occasional drink, food was my method of dealing.
So you may ask, why am I sharing this with you? Well, in my self-imposed silence, I thought about all the things that I deal with. The issues with my children, the social issues that I take on, the financial issues that I deal with, and the emotional ties and bonds that I have to friends and family. I began to think about one thing that most people ignore, my codependence on food. You think about food every day. You have to in order to fuel your engine. A food addict like myself often does not think of food most of the time when we are putting it in our faces. Last year in December, my all time high of 276 pounds was killing my joints, my skin on my face began to darken, and I realized that I had to do something. What did I do, I set out to bake goods for the individuals that care for my children as a Christmas present. What was the end result, 12 pounds of fudge, countless cakes, and 6 dozen cookies were prepared in my kitchen. What was the thought, “Oh only a good chef would taste what they prepared right?” Yeah, I gained a little more; 276.2 pounds was the end result when stepped on the scale at Weight Watchers in February of this year.
I began to think about society and how we view addictions. It dawned on me when you are an alcoholic you are warned against drinking. You are sent to rehab or you are sent to AA for your addiction. When you are a drug addict, you are sent to rehab and then to AA for your addiction. Shoppers that are addicted are sent to seek intense counseling for whatever is lacking. Hoarders are forced to throw things away while going through intense counseling for whatever is lacking. These people are judged like you would not believe, their lives viewed as a failure or a waste. When you drink or do drugs, some one always takes the keys to your car or refuses to support your habit. What happens when a person uses food to sooth their hurts, pain, and disappointments? Nothing. No one stands there and says “Put down that cookie, you are going to have to drive me home later.” No one polices your fridge in those late night hours to ensure that you are not engaging in a love affair with that birthday cake that was baked for the hell of it. No one, I do mean no one at a restaurant tells you, I’m sorry, but you have already had dinner, we can not serve you, but we can call someone to drive you home. Food addiction is the most acceptable addiction in our society, oh yeah, that is until you gain weight. Then you are a lemur. You are the fat girl in the group. You are the first to suggest a place to eat and you avoid the mirror from the neck down. You are not those images that you see in the media that are ultra thin and accepted.
So as I stated, I started my journey in February and was so happy that I began to lose, then I yo-yoed I realized that I was doing the damage to myself. I found out that the reason my skin had begun to darken was because I was pre-diabetic. Can you imagine my shock? I began to lose more. This fall I participated in a boot camp with Denese Major of Major Fitness (http://major-fitness.com) and it was the swift kick in the butt that I needed. Denese told me over and over to do what I could which made me push myself to do much more than I had before. This was a game changer for me after my yoyo act this summer. I have to date lost 30 pounds. I am a food addict and I can admit this to myself now. Denese post positive affirmations to her Facebook page and they are what I need to hear. I go to Weight Watchers where I have an awesome leader, Lynn, and she will tell you that you have to take it five pounds at a time. She has lost a whole person! I wish that I could tell you that it is as easy as putting the fork down, but it’s not. This is an addiction. It is something you have to work through and work at much like everything else in life that troubles you. Me, I have three kids with varying degrees of disabilities. I am the voice often for those that feel that they don’t have a voice. I often walk around with confidence that I sometimes don’t feel. I some days want to come home and bury myself in a batch of sugar cookies. It is hard to break this mentality.
I write this blog post to make people aware. People like me, I have people around me that love me, and those people would judge a drug addict, or an alcoholic but for years, food has been acceptable. In the South we feel that this is how we show people that we love them. We as a nation kill ourselves with convenience foods and in turn we kill our kids by teaching them our bad habits. Obesity is an issue whether we are an adult or not. We do damage to ourselves. So when you see someone like me, full of confidence, know that sometimes we are battling. My weight has been an issue since I was a kid. When I was in high school, I was a size 0 and still felt like my chubbier self in middle school. Now, I am working hard to become healthier and every day is a challenge. We have to remember that we all battle in our own ways. When you see us, know that we are trying. Think back to those things that you deal with in your life, how do you cope? How do you do it?