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Ready To Take Control...Again...

Last week at WW we talked about body acceptance and appreciating where we are wherever we are. I put on a dress I was waiting to wear until I lost a few more pounds and rocked it despite the fact that I hadn't lost the weight I thought I needed to lose to wear it. I felt empowered so I posted it on Instagram and I got so many compliments about how great I looked. It was a pretty amazing experience to accept my body as it is and not feel like I had to lose more weight to be deserving of wearing a beautiful dress but the moment was fleeting. 

Appreciate what you have while you have it. It might not be what you want, but it’s perfect just the way it is!!! 
I was going to wait til I lost a few more pounds because I thought I would look better if I did, but this dress is stunning! I felt like I wasn’t stunning enough to wear it and I thought that I had to wait until I lost just a little bit more…but I know what that looks like! I will lose just a little bit more and then I’ll tell myself I can’t wear the dress until I lost just a little bit more than that…
My body might not be exactly what I want it to be but it still deserves to wear beautiful dresses!
The longer I look at this photo the more I realize how fake it actually is. The smile, the caption about "appreciating what you have". I am not appreciative of what I have right now. I have lost a lot of definition that I worked really hard for, I have found a lot of weight. My weight is physical  manifestation of how I'm feeling right now and while I'm totally pro-body positive and I truly believe that health isn't equated to a number on a scale or on a clothing tag, I do want to change the number on the scale and on my clothing tags. I am disappointed by what I see because what I see is not who I am. I don't want to lose weight because I hate the way I look, I want to lose weight because I hate the way I feel. 

My stomach is so swollen it hangs like a sandbag tied around my waist. It honestly feels like there are weights tied to it. I feel it being pulled down, it is painful and uncomfortable and I want nothing more than to remove this albatross. It is exhausting carrying this boulder around with me. 
 The comments on the orange dress were overwhelmingly positive and not a single person mentioned that I've gained a ton of weight. I realize I’m a lot smaller than I was once but I am a lot bigger than I once was too and I do not feel like myself at all. I’m nauseous constantly; there is a little ball of fire sitting in my throat. Sometimes it burns hotter than others but it’s there constantly reminding me of my lack of control. 

I had about a year binge-free under my belt and I was really proud but suddenly anxiety has reared its ugly head in full force and it has shaken me to my core. I'd prefer to lie and say "I didn't see it coming" but this has been building for a while and I guess secretly I'm grateful for it because I'm now being forced to do something about it. At the moment I'm eating it.

The other night after eating way too much lunch I
 wasn’t hungry for dinner so I made myself 2 servings of buttered noodles, turkey kielbasa with sauerkraut, a can of green beans and then I drank a smoothie with 2 bananas, yogurt and strawberries. What the fuck is wrong with me?  It's like I'm possessed. I’m feeling totally and completely out of control. I feel my heart race and I literally shake; I HAVE to eat whatever I’m about to eat. Quickly. Barely chewing. Then I have to do it again and again. 

I remember when google first came out one of the first things I searched was binge eating. I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me and if I actually had an eating disorder or if I could be helped. I felt like there was something wrong with me, but I couldn’t find anything to confirm that this was an actual problem so I resorted to telling myself I was a glutton. A pig. I was gross. I wish I had known then that I was actually sick and that there was indeed help out there for me. I am extremely grateful that now I have found a wonderful therapist to help me but the first time I searched the term "binge eating" was over 16 years ago and I've had a long time to practice this unhealthy coping skill and let me tell you, it's a very hard habit to break.

WW teaches me everything in moderation and I know firsthand restriction doesn’t work but I’m floundering here and I have to set some kind of boundaries. I don’t know how to not go to the extreme and that scares me. Something has to change but what, and how? Thank goodness I have a professional to help me through this, without her I'm sure I'd be considering Whole 30 again and just the idea of that makes me want to eat. I need to find some kind of a middle ground, taking what I liked about Whole 30 and what I like about WW and marrying them into my own recovery plan.

What I love about WW is that it is real food. I can eat whatever I want and nothing is off limits so I never have to feel deprived but what I've been doing lately is manipulating that and justifying my poor choices saying "I can have whatever I want!" then I track it as if tracking it absolves me. I guess tracking it is a victory since in the past when I've been making poor choices I would just say "today is a wash, I'll start again tomorrow."

I'm sure the anxiety is having a tremendous impact on my eating and I'm going to talk to my doctor about starting medication. If it weren't for my spiritual practices and WW I'd be a lot worse, but I think there are some chemicals in my brain that also need to be straightened out. Clearly something isn't firing right. I'm having intense physical and emotional reactions to food and then completely losing control. I do not want to go on medication, but I do want to feel better and I'm at my wits end. I need to feel better. I deserve to feel better.

I've been meditating and praying a lot because I'm scared; while I knew relapse was a possibility I didn't think I would be the one who relapsed but here I am. In the throes of it. It isn't as bad as it used to be, but I know myself and I can escalate quickly so I need to come up with a plan to stop the bleeding.

A. Being too hungry before I start eating
B. Distracted eating. Couch, car, working
C. Anxiety-general
D. Anxiety about being hungry

E. Sugar/Processed foods

A. I think I need to create an eating schedule eating smaller meals frequently throughout the day.

B. This one is an easy solution but the follow through is the hard part. Stop eating in the car and start eating at the table. My wife and I don't often eat meals together because of schedules but when we do we often catch up on TV. I don't want to not watch our shows together but we've decided for now we will eat at the table together and I'll eat at the table when I'm alone (which is most meals). I will also not snack in front of the TV or in bed.

C. Medicine/therapy and continuing my spiritual practices like prayer and meditation. Currently doing a 10 day Pilates challenge and thinking about incorporating 10 or more mins a day of yoga once it's over.

D. Pack snacks. Again, an easy solution.

E. I
 think for now I need to eliminate processed food because a huge trigger for me is anxiety about not being able to stop once I start. I know that if I eat a piece of candy I will not want to stop eating the candy so I tell myself that I will wait til a certain time, then I'll just have 1.  However, I'll worry about having "just 1" and what that will do to me. Will I be able to handle it? How will I ensure that I don't eat another, then another, then another? I become so riddled with anxiety about potentially being out of control that I don't wait until the time I set for myself to have "just 1" and then I have 1 and then another and another...

...I don't tell myself not to have any because I'm afraid if I start making a list of foods I "can't eat" I will end up spiraling like I did when I first stopped Whole 30.

*side note, I wasn't seeing my therapist when I started Whole 30

I'm exhausted. I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. I'm terrified of restriction because I don't want to start losing my mind over food but I'm losing my mind over food without restricting!! I am definitely going to discuss my situation with my therapist because I realize what I'm dealing with is an actual illness. I'm not a glutton. I'm not a pig. I'm not gross.

I'm anxious and using food to cope. 

I need to take this process one day and one step at a time and I don't expect that I'm going to be perfect everyday or that I'm going to implement all of these changes all at once but at least I know where to start. When I look at my list of possible solutions the most daunting is E but it's also where I think I need to start. I'm letting go of the idea that "I can have everything in moderation" because right now, like it or not that isn't true. When I first started writing this blog I was ready to surrender and admit "I'm powerless over food" but as I'm wrapping this up I'm realizing that's bullshit. I'm not going to abstain from food because it's not compliant with some diet, I'm not going to abstain from entire food groups because they're "inflammatory", and I'm not going to abstain from food to be trendy. I'm going to eat the foods that I love that love me back and remember that I do have a choice. I can eat the food that makes me feel like crap, or don't. 

I've been trying really hard to deny the truth. I've been tracking my food, counting my points, embracing my perfectly imperfect body and going through the motions hoping no one would notice and no one has. So why the fuck am I outing myself like this? Because surrounding myself with people who are going to enable me (whether deliberately or not) is not going to help me get better. I stand behind what I wrote in that caption: "Appreciate what you have while you have it." and "My body might not be exactly what I want it to be but it still deserves to wear beautiful dresses." The thing is, I'm not appreciating myself when I'm treating my body like a garbage disposal. My body isn't what I want it to be because I'm not giving it what it wants. Good food. Exercise. I'm done. I'm so tired of feeling like this and I'm making the problem worse with every bite. 

My wife and I took the girls to the beach today; it was Tallulah's first time at the ocean and we ran to the shore together to jump into the waves. My wife took pictures to document the moment and my heart broke because I realized that there was no more denying the damage I've done. I realized it was time to turn it around and as much as I wanted to delete it, I'm posting it here as a reminder. To most that picture will look like Tallulah's first trip to the beach but for me that picture looks like me finally facing my truth and deciding to choose me over the food. 

After regaining 30+ pounds, I'm ready to take back my power. I feel like I'm in the wrong body and while I'm thankful this one got me to the water with my girls, I'm ready to leave it behind. I'm ready to shed the weight, the shame and the secrecy. I'm ready to take control, again. 


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