I love food. It tastes really yummy.
I hate food. Many times, I start eating and I can’t stop.
I am not what you would call overweight. The Wii tells me I am in the “normal” weight range for my height, yet in the next electronic breath, I am told that a healthier weight for me would be about thirteen pounds less. So I am “normal,” yet not “healthy.” Chew on that for a while.
I don’t think I’ve ever been truly at ease in my body. At one time in my life, after ten months of breastfeeding and eating a lot of carrot and celery sticks, I stepped on the scale and it read 116 pounds. I am 5′ 9″. I stayed under 130 for the next two years, always worrying about what would happen if I “got fat,” or if I “let myself go.” Fear governed my food choices. I ate oatmeal every day for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and chicken for dinner. Sometimes I would cave and eat the carton of ice cream, then in a panic, powerwalk four miles the next morning, asking myself if my pants were already tighter. Throw a glass of wine or three into the mix, and you have a problem. Luckily, I got pregnant shortly thereafter, so in my mind it was acceptable for me to gain forty-five pounds by eating whatever I forbade myself from having before.
The weight-loss dilemma is that we have to eat in order to survive. Addicts can give up their drug of choice, and as painful as that process is, they aren’t usually in danger of dying. If I give up my drug of choice, food, I will starve to death. So I have to work against a lifetime of accumulated habits centering around one of the greatest sources of comfort for humans.
What are my options? Eat less, exercise more. Seems logical and incredibly simple. Easy for someone who does not turn to food for comfort. OK, so I turn to Weight Watchers. I am a chronic Weight Watchers member. I stay on plan for a few days, read the success stories and the articles about resigning from the “clean-plate” club, I count Points, I exercise. Life happens. I get stressed out, I think “I don’t have time to exercise today” or “what the hell, I’m never going to change anyway, so hand over the cheese.” I start to doubt my ability to follow through with anything, and grow more and more tired of the vicious cycle. I watch my husband drop seventy pounds in eight months by following Weight Watchers, seemingly without effort. I know this is not the case, but he doesn’t have the same issues that I have surrounding food.
Is it too much to ask to be released from this obsession? I’d rather spend my energy elsewhere, like on my kids, my husband, my music, being creative. Why are numbers so important–a clothing size, a number on the scale, a waist measurement?