I Shall Not Sabotage Myself Any Longer

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Since the post from my friend at Dream Big, Dream Often earlier was about being honest and accountable, I guess it’s now my turn to come clean. Once a week, I do a post on one of my own self destructive behaviors. Self sabotage comes in many forms. Once I get a handle on one problem, I recreate another. It’s almost like I am addicted to having something to work on and fix. It’s been an amazingly stressful week. The good news though is I am handling it like a professional. No palpitations, no woe is me, no panic attacks. The bad news is, I am binging again. The more I try to stop, the more obsessed I become with eating. I guess it’s true that we replace one addiction with another. So which do I choose? My addiction to stress or my addiction to food? Either one will end up killing me eventually so maybe I should flip a coin. 

Chase had a dentist appointment today and I drove through Taco Bell on the way back to school. I never eat Taco Bell and what do I do? Order him 2 tacos and me a chicken chalupa. I got home and immediately coordinated a  search and rescue mission for any chocolate that might be hidden someplace in the house. That’s how it works. It’s a cycle, a chain of unfortunate events that goes around and around until I gain a ton of weight or gain control. I eat one bad thing that leads to another and another until I go to bed at night feeling bloated, sick and disgusted. Then I wake up and do it all again. 

I am hoping putting it out there to the world will help me stay accountable. I actually looked up the calories in a chalupa and I haven’t blown anything today at all, at least not yet. So I’m going to do my best to stay within my caloric limit and crawl into bed feeling happy and proud. It takes a village to do many things. Encouraging and supporting people should be one of them. I really do want some chocolate though. Thank goodness I didn’t find any. 

You Want A Happy Ending?

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As I was sitting in Starbucks yesterday, I heard that familiar ding from the inside of my purse. It was a text message from my husband asking if we should go out to eat to celebrate the first day of school. The image appeared almost instantaneously. There I was almost three years from the day, sitting on my closet floor fighting back tears. I can see myself slumped against the door, hating every inch of myself. It had been a great summer filled with celebration. A trip to Greece, Malibu buckets and chips at the pool, brats, ice cream, burgers, dessert. The list went on an on but it was quite a celebration. I’m not sure when the word celebration became synonymous with food, but it sure did.

I remember trying to button my pants that day. I remember feeling the sheer panic and thinking, could I have really packed on THAT much weight? I hit rock bottom right around the same time my own bottom hit that floor. I never wanted to come out of that closet again.

I’ve had a body image distortion disorder for as long as I can remember. I was always ashamed of my body. I hated everything about it and to top it all off, I was a gymnast. Imagine having to parade in front of the entire high school in a skimpy, little, revealing leotard. It was excruciating. My body was changing everyday and everyone I knew had a front row ticket to see.

What I learned in that closet that day was that I was living to eat. I wasn’t eating to live. I was literally feeding every insecurity I had to try and comfort myself from the reality of the things I never faced. We don’t even realize how much our eating relates to our mental state. Stuff it down, memories…food. Then do it some more. Then tell ourself that food makes us happy when that same evening it makes is completely loathe ourselves. The mind can be so damaging if we fall for its manipulative tricks. It can make the simplest flaw or memory or experience into the Grand Canyon when it’s simply a tiny hole.

It was time to remove the damage I had done one thought at a time, one pound at a time. I found yoga then and healing and a smaller size of pants. It was all connected and I never realized it before. When one thing was out of balance, it knocked everything else out of balance too.

I looked in the mirror today and I smiled. I have a confidence that took me 44 years to develop. Even with some parts sagging, others wrinkled, I feel beautiful for the first time. My skin is a happy home for what is on the inside. I am so grateful for that day in the closet that gave me the strength, commitment. courage and real desire to finally make that change. There was no diet on earth that could fix me. I had to start with my thoughts and find the compassion and care that would help me love myself just as I am. I had to own every thought, action, decision, choice and I had to forgive myself. I had to let go of this perfect image of who I thought I should be and allow myself to be completely. I had to listen to my own voice and worry about making choices that would lead to my own happiness and stop worrying about what anyone else wanted for me. I had to live. I had to choose and I had to start being accountable for the direction my life would take me in. I had to look myself in the mirror and say, you are enough. The truth is, I am enough. I have always been enough.

I hope that sharing my own story will make a bell go off for someone else. Just like a heard the sound in my purse at Starbucks yesterday, I hope this helps you hear the sound in your own head begging for the change only you can make. There is hope. Change is possible. There are happy endings. Guess who decides?

What Do You Binge On?

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To binge or not to binge? I thought the answer to that simple question was answer enough. We all make choices. We have the power to say yes or no, but I think I’ve been missing an important part of that whole equation. I believe we all binge.

According to Webster, a binge is a period or bout, usually brief, of excessive indulgence.

Is there a person you know who doesn’t resort to binging? For many, when we say the word binge, we automatically associate it to eating or drinking. The fact is, most of us don’t binge on those things at all. This is the tricky part, we need to acknowledge that we all partake in binging while at the same time have enough courage to ask ourselves, what do I binge on? What is my brief, excessive indulgence?

I actually had an eating binge last night. Someone at work gave my husband a 5lb box of chocolate so guess what I chose to indulge on last night? The more I thought about it, the more disgusted I became. I didn’t even taste the chocolate after a while. I was just fixated on shoving something into my mouth. I have been craving Dairy Queen for weeks so why would I excessively indulge on something I didn’t even really want? That’s a tough question to ask but it leads to a very important aha moment. Maybe I should feel less guilty about the binging itself and focus more time on asking myself on a deeper level….what is it you really need? What are you lacking? What are you really wanting? I can guess the answer will be much deeper than a piece of chocolate. Imagine if we choose to binge on something that feels good. Do you know anyone who binges on judging others? How about gossiping or negativity or self loathing? Those things are like the chocolate. They are not good for us and we really don’t even want them but we repeat and repeat the same behavior over and over until we are so full of what we don’t need or don’t want that we are now feeling a horrible sense of guilt and remorse.

Next time you catch yourself tempted to binge, take a step back and ask, what is it I need right now? Is it love, support, encouragement, peace of mind? I can guarantee twenty pieces of chocolate are not the answer. Binge on whatever it is you need, the food for your soul, and remind yourself there is always enough to go around of whatever it is you really want. Let the temptation to binge serve as a red flag, to step back and ask yourself, why do I feel the need to do this right now? Why am I feeling so empty? What am I really craving? I bet the answer will become pretty clear and finally you can put that box of chocolate right where it belongs, in the garbage.

Addiction

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Sometimes secrets confine us to a prison we create for ourselves. We try and hide our problems and the parts of ourselves that we are ashamed of hoping that somehow if we deny them, they will go away. I am pretty honest about who I am. There are only a few things I have been apprehensive to share. One is my binging. I have done it for as long as I can remember. One time in high school I went out to dinner. I guess I have always associated food with celebrations. I have no idea why my parents let me order all this except I’m guessing we must have been celebrating some accomplishment. I ordered mozzarella sticks, French onion soup, chicken parmesan with spaghetti and hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream. I remember riding home in tears holding my stomach furious with myself that I consumed so much food. I felt miserable both physically and emotionally. I’d like to tell you I never did anything like that again but I sure have.

It’s awful, and it’s embarrassing admitting there are some things I just don’t seem to have any control over. The pattern is predictable and ridiculous and I fall I to it every time. I know for some, most people binge when they are depressed. For me though, I seem to binge when I am happy. It wouldn’t be a big deal if that one meal didn’t turn into a bag of candy and then repeating the cycle for days in a row. I swear if I could let go of the guilt then maybe I wouldn’t fall victim to this detrimental pattern anymore. That is my plan. I am going to look myself in the face mid binge and acknowledge it. I will remind myself that the binging is out of my control but how I react to it is something I do have power over. If I can stop it at that one meal instead of beating myself up for it than that would be a small win. Maybe that feeling of the win would encourage me to strive for another until one day, maybe I heal myself from this dark character flaw.

We all indulge in things we shouldn’t. We all have that one thing that makes us out of control. Addiction is all around us and comes in many forms. The question is, do we continue to play out a predictable role that leaves us feeling horrible, or do we learn to choose another path? What are some of your addictions? How do you handle them? How does it make you feel about yourself? I would love to hear your personal story.