So my husband is amazing. He decided one day he was going to lose extra body fat and get fit. and he did, he is, and he continues to work towards his goals. For something like two years he has been chipping away at it and he is making so much progress. I am so proud of him!
Of course, the selfish side of someone else's success. I am ashamed to say that his progress and amazing healthfully earned results has thrown me into some kind of crazy downward spiral. In the light of his success I feel more huge than I ever have. Standing next to him I feel like a mountain. I have become more self conscious about my body to the point where it is impacting our intimacy. And further to the point, his success and dedication makes my nightmarish struggle with weight and size look completely self manufactured. I mean, if he is able to just decide one day to do it and can, why haven't I been able to? Or so I say to myself. The worst part is that I feel like a total dirt bag because I should not be so focused on my issues, this should be a pure celebration for him and all I can think about (after I get done congratulating him and telling him how proud I am of him) is that I am such a failure.
You know how some people (like almost everyone) who finds success with something then feels obliged to tell you how they did it and how if you would just do what they did you would have the same results? Yeah. DH is guilty of doing that a little. Just a tiny bit. It was the tracking. "If you would just commit to tracking and stick to it" It would work for me. It is what I HAD to do if I was ever going to lose weight. Yeah.
I would explain that tracking doesn't work for me, and yet the topic would come up again the next time I was in a self defeating round of "why won't this work for me." Trust me, I know how annoying it can be to listen to someone who has been on a million diets and has yet to lose a significant amount of weight whine about how they have "tried EVERYTHING." I can imagine how frustrating it can be if you have found success with a technique and you feel like that person can to if they would JUST DO IT. But still. Grr. Right?
Let me just say, this tracking bit was getting old, and I was getting offended. Finally, one day, I finally said "so tell me how you feel about tracking, what does that feel like day to day?" My husband explained it was like "brushing his teeth," he didn't think about it anymore he just did it and it was done. "Oh." I said. Well good for him. Then I described what tracking was like for me.
Tracking for me starts out fun. I love to see how the number turn out. I will spend lots of time learning about food and nutrients and so forth. I look forward to getting out my app, or website, or journal or whatever I am tracking with at the time. It feels like success. And then it all goes wonky and turns very dark indeed. At some point after the euphoria part of the "lifestyle change" program I am doing wears off the tracking becomes this burden. I am accountable for every little thing. I get to a place where I find no joy in it, but more to the point I hate it because I can't find satisfaction in the fact that I am in my caloric range because my sodium was a tad too high, or my protein was too low, or whatever else wasn't just right. I start dreading the idea of writing ANYTHING down, but I force myself because some meaningful number of people who found success all tracked and it was a key part of their success.
It gets worse.
Then I start skipping meals because I need my numbers to be where I want them. I start focusing too much on the numbers, the scale, the amount I am eating. Eventually I discover that my 320 pound frame has been subsiding on 800 calories a day and I can't even be bothered to care. My scale has plateaued because my body is in distress. The headaches come, the fatigue, the shakiness. And then I get scared. So I stop. I stop it all. No more tracking, no more diet, no more anything. I just eat and try my best to ignore the guilt of another failed diet. Did you know a binge is not necessarily a whole cake or 12 pack of tacos? It can be as little as an extra serving of food. Just one. The relevant questions are "were you hungry when you ate it? Did you want to have it? How did you feel when and after you ate it?...." My answers would eventually be No, not really, uncomfortable and sad, respectively.
Tracking is not pretty for me.
"Oh." DH says.
And to his wonderful brave and awesome credit, he says to me "sweetie, you may want to consider the possibility that you have an eating disorder."
Long story short, yeah, I need to consider that.
So, I started looking into it. Did you know that Anorexia and Bulimia are not the only eating disorders recognized by the DSM? There is another one called Binge Eating Disorder. Yeah, who knew?
I started reading up on B.E.D and it became very emotional for me.
I spend a lot of time reading success stories and, no disrespect to the awesomeness of the people who found success, I throw them out. Not because I am not impressed, I am. It was always because their stories never sounded like mine. Ever. Even the stories where people my size lost all of their excess weight. I always felt like.... not that it was easier for them somehow.... but that it just went more smoothly. They ate at a deficit, they allowed themselves their treats, they exercised, they stuck to their programs with a lot of flexibility and they DID IT! When they hit their walls they buckled down and plowed through them. Me? I buckle down and smash into those hard and unyielding walls. My walls don't come down, they throw me back. The carnage is always impressive.
Did you know that for people suffering from untreated B.E.D weightloss programs are huge triggers to the binge response? I know! I didn't know that either.
I was emo because reading about B.E.D was like reading about myself. Not the self that I try to be, but the self I actually am. The mood swingy, up and down, eating and restricting crazy bucket of goo that is me. That really hasn't happened before. Evidently, I am pretty text book.
So, now the next part of this journey begins. I have made a few calls to find out how to get assessed for B.E.D. Do I like the idea of being diagnosed with an eating disorder. No. not remotely. As a matter of fact I am kind of messed up right now. It's the whole "am I just looking for an excuse or is this a real thing for me," internal conversation. It's pretty bad. I spent about 4 days thinking non stop about Little Debbie Peanut Butter bars. You know those chocolate covered peanut butter filled waffer cookies? Oh man. I totally bought the big box yesterday, it's gone today (damn it.) But there is hope. If B.E.D is something I have then it would explain A LOT and maybe I can finally make some progress, mentally and physically. Maybe I can learn some strategies that will actually help me make the changes I need to be a more healthy me. Maybe I can find the support I need rather than a slew of doctors telling me to try this diet, that program, this book, etc... Just maybe...
So, as far as tracking is concerned. I still don't think it's a bad idea. I think I was just applying it wrong. I just need to track in a way that wont take me down some dark spiral of shame and deprivation. So now I have resolved to track how I am feeling and the non calorie, non food things that I might be able to make connections with. Maybe I can learn about what my triggers are and with this info I might be able to avoid the binge all together. Wouldn't that just be the the thing. :)