Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Food is a four-letter word *Guest Post*

A few years ago, I thought that I had met the man of my dreams. It turned out that that wasn't the case. While that relationship blew, I believe that I still have the best thing out of it.

My friend, The Bariatric Babe.

I've written about my feelings about our reconnection before, but I think she's fabulous.

She writes at "Scribbling in the Margin" and she's got more talent with words in her pinky finger than I have in my whole body.  When she wrote, in January, about WHY she wanted to lose weight, I knew that I had found a kindred spirit - a person who got it. She gets obesity. She gets the shame. She gets my struggle with food and weight loss.

She's the real deal, y'all.  And she's my friend.  How'd I get so lucky?


As I was perusing the local hippie-granola grocery, I saw a flyer with the picture of a woman eating her granola cereal and a heading that said "Food is not the enemy." Immediately the snark in me thought, "Yea, right. And I live in the middle of the land of fairies, where unicorns fly around and fart rainbows."

Perhaps some background, since we are just getting to know one another, is in order.

I have never been thin. I was chubby in-utero, and chubby I remained until after college when the combo of stress, new jobs, and failure at relationships blew me up into the size of a small planet. An adorable, witty planet, but a planet non-the-less. I was absolutely in despair, and saw no hope to get my weight down and my life back. And being the radical chick that I am, I opted for a radical solution. Gastric bypass. And no, it's not the easy way out, but more on that later.

So anyway, I now weigh about 130 lbs. less than I did in January. And I was almost never hungry, just like they promised, for the first 6 months. Now here I am, still only 9 months out, and my hunger has definitely returned. And my weight loss has slowed to a crawl. And suddenly, the food demons are back, with a vengeance and I'm trying to find a healthy way to deal with them. So that's a brief bit of history for you...back to our regularly scheduled posting...

Food is not my friend. It never has been. One day the enemy was fat. Then carbs. Then sugar. I tried starving, I tried Optifast (i.e., medically supervised starving), I tried Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem. But anything I lost soon came back--with lots of new friends. And I've always thought that food is the enemy--that alluring cookie or piece of bread lured me into it! It's not my fault! And I'm terrified that I will "not my fault" all the way back to 350+ pounds. Heck--addicts and drunks can physically survive without having drugs or alcohol for the rest of their lives. Those of us addicted and conflicted with food have to face our enemy every single day, on every billboard, every commercial, family gathering, break table at work, etc. It's hard for anyone, including those of us that took the radical step to have our stomachs surgically shrunk. So the idea that "Food is not the enemy" is completely foreign to me, and it begs the question:

"If food isn't the enemy, then what on earth IS?" And I've come to a startling conclusion.

It's my mind that is the enemy. This wonderful piece of machinery that is enabling me to write this very post is my worst saboteur. There is the, "But I've been so good all day and deserve a treat!" and the "One bite won't matter" and the "Screw them...I'm going to eat whatever I want!" all wreaking havoc on my brain, every day. I have so many different voices in my brain telling me why I can or can't eat that it's getting a little crowded (and, frankly, there is no adult supervision up in there). My biggest struggle, my life challenge, has become taming my very own mind.

That's why I read Happy Fun Pant's blog. It's not a catalog of what she should and shouldn't eat. It's not condemning carbs, or how many miles she has to run to work off the fudgsicle she ate. It's about struggling with everything that goes on in her head, and it strangely reflects my own thoughts more often than not. Apparently, it's not just me (the narcissist in me just had a fainting spell).

So to take a page from her, I'm focusing on my own brain and my own thinking. Why is food so important to me? Why does that voice that demands another piece of french bread sound like a bratty, spoiled child? Why do I eat when I'm bored? Those are the real questions for all of us that struggle with food--surgically modified stomachs or not.

I have a new goal. Not just the one to lose another 60-70 lbs. Not just the one to be able to ride a horse, do yoga, go dancing, wear a skirt, buy clothes that fit from the Gap, meet my soul-mate. But a new one--to call a detente on food. Perhaps it isn't the enemy after all. I'm not so sure still--we are currently in negotiations and it's entirely possible that Henry Kissinger is going to be called in as a ringer--but there are high hopes.

If that intrigues you, I'd like to invite you to my own blog, where I post as the Bariatric Babe. It's often silly, and sometimes insightful, and hopefully entertaining.

Thanks, HFP, for the chance to share the stage and for sharing all your own personal struggles. We are not alone in this after all.


Lanie Painie said...

It's all the mental garbage that's hard to deal with. If we could get the voices to STFU, maybe there'd be hope of recovery. Until then, it's "one day at a time" I'm afraid.

TinaM said...

Great post Babe!
I think realizing that food isn't the enemy is important...
But admitting that means sorting through all the real stuff right? That's pretty hard to do sometimes.
But you are doing it. So is Anne. You both are an inspiration!