I just finished watching the movie “To Write Love on Her Arms”. It’s based off the true story of a girl struggling with depression, mental illness, cutting, etc. I remember hearing about the To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) movement when I was in college. I saw someone with a shirt, but had no idea what it was about. Once I found out, I remember feeling excited that people were speaking out against cutting (and other forms of destructive behaviors). I thought mostly about cutting…up until watching the movie tonight.
As you know (those who have read my blog), I’ve struggled with food since I was a child. I obsess over it. It consumes the majority of my thoughts throughout the day. So, you may have noticed I haven’t written much in the blog for about a year. This has been partly due to life getting crazy and me not making the time to do it. It has also been due to NOT doing well with my weight loss. I had gotten down to 150 lbs in July of 2014. It all changed after that. It wasn’t fast, but a slow gradual change. I remember not knowing what to do with myself at 150 lbs. That wasn’t even my goal, but yet everyone kept saying I should be done losing weight. My goal, according to Weight Watchers standards, was 140 lbs and that’s the HIGH end. I never thought in a million years I could get to that weight. Starting out at 298 lbs!!!! The idea of getting to 150 was NOT even a dream. I never thought it would be possible.
It didn’t happen overnight, but gradually, I started letting myself have more treats. I kept telling myself I deserved it. I had worked so hard, so what’s wrong with a couple chocolate covered oreos at a friend’s bachelorette party or 2 slices of cake a wedding or frozen yogurt for no reason and so on. Those small compromises have brought me to where I am today. Today, I weigh a total of 191 lbs! Yes, I have gained over 40 lbs. The highest I had gotten back up to was 198 lbs. 198 lbs….I gained almost 50 lbs back! I just kept letting myself have whatever I wanted. I would mess up one meal, then end up having whatever I wanted the rest of the day. I had felt like I had already ruined the day, so why keep trying. This is the idea of “Oh, I have 1 flat tire, so I might as well go ahead and slash the other 3 to make it even.” This makes NO sense whatsoever. If I wouldn’t do that to my car, why am I consistently doing it to my body? I would gain some weight, then the next week, I would lose some. Then I would gain some more and lose some. This continued for months. It was probably July 2014 – February 2015.
All the while, starting in November I signed up to get my Health Coach certification through ACE. So, I am reading this book about helping others to live healthy lifestyles and I am binge eating. I remember reading about the Eating Disorders. When I read about Binge Eating, I felt like they were writing about me.
Some words from the Mayo Clinic:
“Binge-eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food. Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal. But for some people, overeating crosses the line to binge-eating disorder and it becomes a regular occurrence, usually done in secret. When you have binge-eating disorder, you may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating.”
Again, this describes me! In my Health Coach book, it talked about how you feel out of control. You feel so compelled to eat. There were times when I felt like I would die if I didn’t get something sweet. I was addicted. I was addicted to ‘bad food’. I had gotten to the point to where I was eating fast food sometimes twice a day, but for sure at least once a day. I was literally letting myself have whatever I wanted. I did NOT deprive myself of anything. I felt like an addict. I felt like an alcoholic. I felt so out of control. I felt constantly ashamed of my actions. For a while, people were still complementing me on my looks and saying how proud they were of me. I couldn’t stand it! I felt like such a fake. I hated all the attention. I knew people would eventually start noticing I had gained. No one ever said it to my face. Never. No one called me out. I say, now, that I wish they had, but I don’t know what I would have done if they had. Well, I take that back, my mom knew the story. She didn’t know how bad it had gotten, but she knew I was gaining.
Anyways, I don’t know if I actually have or had Binge Eating Disorder. If nothing else, I know I have Disordered Eating. My eating is not ordered. lol. I have come to realize that I never really deal with my issues. I simply keep on going with life. I do not take the time to wrestle with ANYTHING! I have come to realize that I simply eat my feelings. I consistently eat…for whatever reasons. I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m happy. I eat when I’m lonely. I eat when it’s late at night. I eat for any number of reasons. I do not think when I eat. I just do it! It’s been my ‘go to’ for 28 years! It’s all I’ve been trained to do. I was never trained to think about what I’m eating…Or why I’m eating. I just eat. I know some of you may think “wow, she’s making a really big deal out of food!” Believe me, it’s not just about food. To some degree, it’s not about food at all. It’s about everything else. It’s about everything I don’t think about. It’s about EVERYTHING.
So…what does all this have to ultimately do with To Write Love on Her Arms?! Well, I want to be honest. Food addiction is something that isn’t talked about enough. I know they have hit TV shows about weight loss and what not, but they often do NOT get to the root of the issues. Again, it’s not about food, it’s about everything else. Writing this post is a step forward for me. I want to be open. Just like the girl in the movie said “I’m still messed up!” I feel like that will always be me. Even if/when I get to my goal weight, I will still be an Addict. I will be recovering, but none the less, I’m one step away from a Binge. All that keeps me is Christ.
Christ is my only hope! If you’ve read my blog, then you know nothing is possible outside of Christ. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Him. God gives the grace I need for TODAY! Not for the week or month or year, but for TODAY. I need to come to Him everyday for my needs. My needs usually involve the strength, will-power…grace to not overeat. It is a daily struggle, but God is there DAILY. I am never left alone. If I choose to seek His help, He will be there to give me the GRACE I need to make it through. He who has began a good work will bring it to completion (Phil. 1:6). God started this whole weight loss thing and He will complete it. He will meet all my needs.
Let’s speak out about our issues so that we do NOT allow Satan to reign in the darkness of our hearts. We need to bring our issues to light, that Christ might reign. You are not the only one struggling. There are so many of us out there, it’s just a matter of admitting it and turning to the One True Healer…the Lord Jesus Christ. He makes all things possible!!!!
During the Fall of 2013, I was the Mentor for the Walkers in the Fleet Feet Sports Couch to 5K Training Group. Our Coach, Kelly, asked us to come up with a goal that we could be striving for during our time in the program. On September 9, 2013, I set the goal to run 5 minutes straight. I didn’t know if it would happen during the 12 week training group, but it was a goal I was striving to achieve. I finally achieved my goal on March 26, 2014. I couldn’t believe the day finally came when I could run 5 minutes straight outside. I had done about 7 or so minutes on the treadmill, but this was my first time outside (in the elements). It felt so good to achieve a goal I had been working so hard to meet.
Today I did the Panther 5K in 45:30 (newest PR). This was a pretty good size race. The course was diverse. There was a lot of up hill, then down hill, and also on the track. I was able to run consistently for almost a half mile. I have been training and got up to a 1/4 of a mile, so I was surprised to see myself do this much. This was the first time I got to the point where I forgot I was running. IT WAS AWESOME!!! My friend, Courtney (from FFS), has been helping me with my running form. I have been having a lot of back pain after I run and we pinpointed that it’s probably because I was running with my posture too straight. She told me there should be a natural lean. I was overcompensating for fear that I would lean too much. I worked on it at this race and my back is already feeling better. Courtney also suggested I work on my core. I knew I didn’t have a strong back and now I have reason to focus on strengthening not only my back, but also my abs, which will help all of my core. I’m excited to start training for the next race, on March 1st back home. I want to beat my time from this race.
Oh, and at this point I’m down 105 lbs! :)