I find it rather
funny frustrating when trying to explain my weird food issues to someone who’s never had a serious weight problem in their life, someone who doesn’t get it.
Don’t get me wrong, most people I’ve come in contact with are enthusiastic to try to understand where I come from when I say things like “food triggers” and “binge episode” and “skinny day.” But every once in a while, I’ll come across someone who considers any food “issues” rather hilarious (this, as they are happily scarfing down a BK number 5 with large coke and shimmying in their size 2 jeans. Bless you, for winning the metabolism lottery). They don’t comprehend how much power certain foods can have over me, that it’s better for me just to avoid these foods completely because I’m nearly one fork-ful away from blowing it big time; or, that healing from my divorce and all memories of my ex makes me want to inhale cheesecake and all baked goods (my ex’s favorite foods). Some semblance of normality happens when I surround myself with others who’ve lost 20/30/50/75/100 pounds+ as well. Within minutes of hearing their stories of triumph and turmoil, I can see myself in their shoes and suddenly, I have a new friend. They know the sacrifice that comes from turning some dinner parties down, abstaining from a slice of birthday cake in order to stick to today’s goals. They know the sweet exhilaration from having said dedication turning into a new, smaller size of jeans and feeling like you are ruling the world. They also know the association from feeling worthless, not measuring up to their parents’ expectations, of society’s expectations, and even their own. They learn their limits, and within this process, we grow stronger.
My journey is my own. Yes, I have control issues. Food has been everything to me- object to manipulate, to restrict, to study about, a constant companion, fuel for my body, way to commiserate, way to celebrate, and sooth hurt. I’m just learning to disassociate food from anything BUT fuel for my body, a way to properly nourish my hard-working muscles and allowing my body to heal on its own, not healing my emotional wounds from extra spoonfuls of oatmeal, ice cream, or by twirling pasta. This process takes a long time, perhaps a lifetime. I’ll need help and assistance all along my way- from educators, physicians, my family, Michael, and of course you, my friends. Instead of reaching out my bowl or plate to fill these holes I’ve picked up, I should instead be reaching out my arms to others, sympathetic to my needs, willing to be the one thing I do crave- listening ears.
Sure, many people will never truly get my struggles. I really wouldn’t wish this on anyone. But for those willing to listen, I am incredibly grateful.