Monday, April 05, 2010

Control is an Illusion

As a doula, one of my favorite mantras about birth is this:  control is an illusion. 

Control is a funny thing.  The word alone can be positive or negative.  You don't want to be a "control freak."  But you do want to have self control.  So how does this relate to food?

 "Control.  It's a word that compulsive eaters hear often.  On every diet, in every meeting, in every book.  We learn very early that a fundamental part of us- our hunger- is out of control.  We learn that if we are to look and live like normal human beings, we must be forever watchful of the wild hunger inside.  We live in fear of food, in fear of chocolate and sour cream and cinnamon rolls, while believing that if only we can get that part of us under control, everything else will fall into place.  But this belief is only a smoke screen that distracts us from the core issue: the areas in which we never were and never will be in control.  The areas that have to do with loving and being loved."  - Geneen Roth, When Food is Love- Exploring the Relationship Between Eating and Intimacy

I remember thinking during my initial weight loss: "If I get into these jeans, I'll be happy."  "If I get to this weight, I'll be happy." So I focused and had excellent control until I reached my goals.  And, of course, it felt amazing to get there.  I felt good about myself, I didn't cringe when I saw photos of myself, I had inner and outer confidence, and I felt really great.  I felt in control.  But after a few months of being at goal I found myself feeling empty.  Being on a diet had become a way of life for me.  And once I "mastered" that, I wasn't really sure where to go.  Old habits slipped in.  Food bingeing started happening again and my "control" slipped away.  Luckily, I was so active that I maintained fairly easily.  But I was out of control in my head.   Near constant cravings, shame and guilt when I gave into those cravings, and a sense of: " Here it goes- I'm slipping.  I'm going to be fat from now on."  Whatever magic control I rocked before vanished into thin air.  I was skinny, but I was an obese person- out of control in my head.

Then I got pregnant.  Ha!  Cough**chick-fil-a milkshakes**cough.  9 months of cravings and another 60 lbs weight gain.  And so fast forward to now.  Again- I've lost the majority of my pregnancy weight.  I've got 8 more lbs to lose, but when you gain 60 lbs with pregnancy- that translates to, like, 1 pound or something.  But have not had the same "control" I had before.  The weight has not fallen off like it did before.  I've not had the same focus I had before.  And that has scared the bejesus out of me.  This past year has been hard.  And I think sometimes when things come to a head- any control you've had in any area of your life starts slipping away.  But I'm thankful for it now because it's forced me to deal with real root issues.  Not only with food, but everything.

And so I'm sort of on a path of relearning how to have a healthy relationship with food.  It's always been my constant.  I remember as a kid thinking about food all the time.  It was my comfort, my nurturing, my safe place.  And as an adult, it's become a full on addiction.  I'm learning more about it every day.  Somehow relieved that it is.  Because for years I felt alone.  I felt like I was the only one in the world that had such a strong urge to eat  Some people use drugs.  Some people use alcohol.  I use food.  But the problem is that I cannot abstain from food.  I need it to live.  This is where food addiction becomes tricky.

I'm very eager to share all I've been learning.  For the first time in 4 years, I'm willing to let go of the reigns and trust a healthier path- even if it does mean I won't lose X amount of weight in X amount of time.  Patience and Content are my new friends.  And wine.  Anyway- it's all so much to put into one post, so I figure I'll just share as I go.  Plus, I'm lazy and there are kids screaming around me when I try and blog- so there.

Bootcamp started with a bang!  Will post more that later too!  :)

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Another great post Jen! I can relate to much of what you said and I'm looking forward to learning along with you. :-)

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