I’m discovering so much about myself during this weight loss adventure and very little of it has to do with food. While I expected to get to know my body’s signals for hunger and satiation, as well as the situations that trigger my desire to eat emotionally, or out of boredom, I didn’t expect to uncover the true source of why I overeat.
I assumed that I was “chubby” because I was still grieving the death of my mother who died when I was 20. I also suspected that eating sleeves of cookies and bags of chips was my way of coping with the pain of nearly losing my daughter to her mental illness. I supposed that if I tallied in a divorce when I was 30, and eight years of financially-strapped single motherhood with all of the other crappy things that had been thrown my way, that my size was the product of life’s perfect equation for fatness. I was wrong; so, so wrong. My weight has very to do with the things that have happened to me and far more to do with how I’ve reacted to them.
For as long as I can remember being me, I’ve never wanted to appear like I didn’t have my act together. I made good grades. I had outstanding work evaluations. I was the perfect daughter, sister, mom, wife, teacher, Girl Scout Leader–you name it. I thrived on compliments like “You’re so strong.” “I can always count on you.” “I don’t know how you handle all this, I’d fall apart!” Falling apart was fine for everyone else. I’d be there with hugs and baked goods if someone else was suffering. However, if I was hurting, I kept it in, choked it down with extra portions, and made those baked goods for myself. I never reached out to others because I didn’t want to appear weak.
Last night, I though of the Harlow experiment that probably everyone learned about in Psych 101. It’s the study where Harry Harlow probed the nature of love and attachment by separating a group of baby monkeys from their real mothers, a dick move in my opinion. He placed some of the babies with soft, terry cloth mothers that they could cuddle when frightened or stressed, and the others with cold, wire monkeys that provided no real source of comfort. As predicted, the monkeys with terry cloth mothers developed normally (though I sort of doubt it) while monkeys placed with wire mothers were seven shades of f**ked up. Food has been the wire monkey that I’ve clung to for years. It’s mutely offered no condolences or advice. Most importantly, it’s offered no real love or comfort.
From now on, I’m done with wire monkeys. I won’t even let a terry cloth one darken my doorstep! I’m letting real people in, and I’m letting them get to know the real me; the me who isn’t always so perfect, but is perfectly ok with that.
What changes would you like to make in your life? How are you going about it?
****PS–I have so many wonderful blogs that I want to checkout and comment on, but I’m off to an appointment today. I’ll be home this evening reading and commenting! Have a nice day everyone! 🙂