So far, I have written blog posts on two separate topics. One is weight loss and the other, surviving domestic violence. That I have the ability now to separate them in my heart and mind is an answered prayer for me. Still, sometimes the two different areas are so intertwined that I cannot share about one without including the other. Right now, is one of those times.
You are probably aware that I gained 110 pounds while I was in the destructive relationship. I had no choice of what clothes I wore. I wasn’t supposed to have an opinion about what job I worked. I couldn’t even choose how long or short my hair was allowed to be. It was dangerous if I talked to my family or the people back then I thought were friends. I talked to God within my heart yet had no outlet since journaling wasn’t always an option. So, I ate.
And ate. And ate.
I developed an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. Scientifically, you and I could debate about stress eating and how specific foods digest as sugar which spikes the body creating a chain reaction of hunger for more food. In short, I ate fatty, sodium loaded carbs which made me crave more fatty, sodium loaded carbs.
I had no control over my life or my body. Yet, without realizing it I actually had a lot of control over what I ate. I didn’t see that at the time. So, I gave into the food cravings which was the only comfort and friend I had.
While I was fat, he commanded me to lose the weight. I’d try to obey. I had success during the false peace cycles. When the timeframe between outbursts of anger disappeared and the false peace ended I reverted to my bad habits as my only outlet and all the weight I lost returned with additional pounds.
When I didn’t magically (and overnight) look like I had before the weight gain he began to control what I ate.
“Bri, if you don’t eat you’ll lose weight.”
He took my plate away while forcing me to watch him eat his meal. I was required to stay in my seat the rest of the evening so he could make sure I didn’t consume food.
My unhealthy emotional relationship with food turned into a secret relationship that spinned even more out of control. I hid food to eat later. I mostly ate while driving. I ate alone as much as possible. And I ate more of the food I craved.
It’s called shame eating. Since I couldn’t talk honestly about this with anyone I began watching the popular TV show, The Biggest Loser, hoping to find a way to stop gaining weight that piled on each week.
That is how I learned the term, shame eating. It was a low point for me.
I heard the show contestants talk about their personal struggle food. I watched several people explain how they ate in secret.
All the air got sucked out of my body. Heat rushed over me in waves followed by a cold sweat that I couldn’t stop. Thankfully, at that moment I was being ignored and shamed so I was by myself. Tears didn’t come. Just the stark reality.
That was me. I was just like those contestants. I weighed enough to be on the show. I found out the day before I was pre-diabetic. If I didn’t change my life, I’d be dead within years. Either by his hand or by mine from over eating.
Today, it is so sweet to hear the encouraging words of affirmation from my family and friends who tell me I look like my old self. Only now, it is with radiant joy.
I haven’t just won the battle of losing weight. I’m winning the war over emotional eating and have put an end to the power trips of abuse, manipulation and control that use to be in my life.
Winning this war has not been easy. The journey has been long and gruesome. And it isn’t over yet.
Honestly, I don’t think it ever will be entirely over. Right now, my journey has taken a new fork in the road!
The past two weeks, I took a break from my early morning bootcamp work-outs and clean eating and the month before that, I was only semi intentional. The entire time, I didn’t revert to my old habits! I ate some comfort food yes. But, it was along with healthy fruits, vegetables, lean protein and lots of water! Despite a busy work schedule, getting sick, being triggered for the first time in 6 months and worrying about my mom’s major surgery-I stayed relatively consistent. The war is won! I believe I have officially made the lifestyle change. Especially considering I craved exercise during this time and missed it so much I took my dog Kilz, running a couple times!
During this entire time, I didn’t check my weight. I was pretty sure I was basically the same. So, a couple days ago I stood on the scale, a stone statute waiting for the number to appear. That’s when I saw it. The same number as before. The whole neighborhood probably heard the happy dance that erupted!
This week, I’ve been continuing to move forward on the lifestyle journey of healthy living. It’s been interesting to say the least! Have you ever heard that you lose progress faster than it takes to get there? Let me tell you. It’s true.
I forgot how intense that initial sore feeling is after exercising for the first time. The tender skin over my elbows are currently building scabs. When before the skin was tough from lots of planks. And, I almost threw up twice this week in the middle of the group exercise class. While last month, I was barely winded.
Did I need a break and time to rest? Absolutely. Although next time, I might think twice before taking more than a couple days off since it’s easier to keep going than it is to restart.
Where are you on your journey of healthy living? Is it already a lifestyle for you?
Or, do you need to start? Does your dream seem impossible and out of your reach?
Starting is worth it. Believe me. The daily struggle was gruesome. I had setbacks and I had victories. You will too if you start. Take it one day at a time. Don’t delay. Start today.
Drink some water.
Try to eat a vegetable and fruit.
Or go for a walk.
Whatever your start looks like, I encourage you to do it right now. Take a step on your journey towards your healthier lifestyle.