January Without Punishment


This is the first January I can remember where I haven’t felt the pressure and stress of trying to lose huge amounts of weight.

By changing my thought process I have managed to abandon the self punishment I was putting myself through, year after year. Looking back it all seems a waste. I never did achieve what I wanted, to be thin and happy. In fact year after year I gained more weight. Of course there were times, like when I got married, where I stuck to my diet for months and lost significant amounts. I had a dress to get into and in my desperate quest to get that zip up, I barely ate a thing in the week before my big day. I did indeed get into it but the minute the wedding was over I binged for weeks and gained it all back plus more.

Normally by now in January I would have obsessed every day about how much I was eating, weighing myself every morning. My mood would depend on the number on the scale. The less weight I lost the less I would eat, abusing the calorie counting system to post the extreme. My warped idea of success would be my bench mark weight loss of 1.5 st in 6 weeks. One of two things would happen depending on what was happening in my life. I would either carry on an extended period of restrictions, accompanied by mood swings and struggles associated with a lack of nutrition. Or I would lose all control under the pressure and binge daily feeling like a failure and hide away at home. Neither ever doing anything but damage to my physical and mental health.

This year I have felt a relief to not have those experiences. It is however tough to walk the line. My medication gives a reduced appetite and actually has a listed side effect of anorexia. Having weighed up the benefits against the drawbacks it is better for me to take them but I am incredibly aware of my risk to exploit that. I am naturally eating less as although I want to eat for comfort, it doesn’t make me feel better so I choose not to, as a result my weight is gradually dropping. This is is good am I am incredibly overweight. What I can’t do is pretend I am no longer dealing with an eating disorder and abadon my journey. If I stopped this medication my behaviour would still centre on food.

It has been playing on my mind a lot, the number of people currently feeling like their life will be great when they lose weight as society expects. The hoards of people booking gym memberships to get fit when its the last place they want to be, because society expects it. Ultimately these numbers will dwindle by the end of January and how many of these people will be left feeling worse than when they started? Being someone who battles these pressures from society to look a certain way, I wonder, if we had support groups where you could talk instead of be told how great you can be when you thinner, unload your struggles that make you want to abuse food and learn to love yourself, how many would get to the end of January feeling a sense of worth. If we feel we are worth something we want to look after that. To me that sounds far better than what is currently on offer. Living in this now and taking it day by day is what has made me feel better this year, not chasing what I will look like in June.

Please feel free to share your experinces & thoughts.

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