Just 18 months ago starting out to get myself better was a scary process. The level of panic I felt just considering a life without a diet was all consuming. The only life I could envisage was one where I ate myself into an early grave. In my mind it was giving up and letting food take over my life, my definition of the ultimate failure!
Having self help tools and support around me encouraging this left a huge conflict within me but I decided ultimately it was worth a try. Of course my back up plan to pull myself out of that failure was my comfort blanket of restriction, ready to resume control at any time.
Looking back I can see a girl who wanted to be thin so desperately I took on a battle with my own body. From the age of 10 I fought every biological instinct within me, hunger was almost a reward when I had restricted enough to induce that feeling. Numbers on a scale literally changed what I saw in the mirror, a gain was visible in my face and disgusted me and a loss of 2 pounds or more filled me with elation. For many years I was successful in that desperation having weeks where I ate barely anything and eventually my body fought back harder. Binges became my new enemy, sometimes I won the battle for weeks keeping them at bay. Gradually I grew weary and it dropped to days. Until one day I could even make it a few hours, I ran out of fight and gave in. The binges beat my every effort and took over for 7 years.
It crushed me and any shred of confidence that remained drained away. I hid myself from the world and clung to the relief of eating. My only consistence was self loathing, a well ingrained habit. I did this all to myself, believing opinions and the ever present media that when I finally stopped being lazy and dropped stones until you could see my bones, I would then finally be acceptable. As a teen my measure of effort was if I could breath in slightly and count my ribs, it’s shocking to look back and think that was actually me, I could cry for the girl I was back then.
I no longer recognise that response of fear or need to control with food. Sitting comfortably on the other side of that struggle is such a relief after a lifetime of punishing my body. To recount all those actions is like I am discussing a different person, one who was sad and desperately in need of help! It came only by hitting rock bottom, I had to chose between fading into darkness and never making it back or life. I chose life and all I knew was no one else could make these changes but me.
Having removed myself away from the diet mentality and stopped trying to control my food intake, I have finally found what I was chasing for far too long. Each day I eat 3 meals and snacks, I even eat more when I find myself still hungry. It is still a novelty to have that thought and act on it positively. Going to bed either in pain from hunger or overeating was never pleasant.
Putting faith in my body to do what it is designed for is the best choice I have ever made. Mine has taken a year of fairly steady improvements to accept I was genuine, that I will eat regularly and rewarded me with energy instead of tiredness, sleep instead of fretting and more clarity than I have had in a long time. an acceptable bargain given that I fought the war for 20 years. I no longer live to control my natural voices, instead I listen and respond. When tired I stop, when hungry I eat and finish when full. I have a good balance between eating what I need for fuel and something because I feel like it. I don’t allow guilt into the equation any more, it has no right to be there an is an indicator I have something I need to deal with. Our bodies function right when we look after them, that’s all there is to it.
I am steadily losing weight now, I couldn’t tell you how much as I don’t weigh myself religiously, I let my clothes do the talking. Sometimes they became tighter again but it doesn’t really make a difference, my concentration is on all the other things I have filled life with, my body has the rest covered.