It turns out I have some pretty major control issues that manifest themselves in how and what I eat.
With everything going on in my crazy life, there's been some pretty high-stress periods of time that have resulted in this damn hiatal hernia. It's a hell of a thing to suddenly not be able to eat- and when I do, it burns like hell so I wish I hadn't. Fun stuff.
I guess there is a silver lining. I FINALLY broke the 2 year plateau I'd been at. I ended up dropping about 20lbs, so I'm currently sitting around 305. Nice, right? But…not.
Thankfully, the worst of of the issues seem to have passed. I can manage about a cup and a half of food at a time, which is a huge change from the mere tablespoons I was struggling to get down for more than three weeks. I haven't had to live off of acid-controlling pills- in fact, I'm down to taking one a day, and a couple days I haven't had to take any at all.
However, I'm still fighting a battle with the psychological side of things. The scale's movement was negative reward for a drastic reduction in food intake- and I find that now I'm resistant to eating more than the bare minimum. When I feel more stress, I eat even less. I know it's not good. I know it's not healthy. But it's hard to let go of that control.
By micromanaging my food intake- meaning not eating, and taking my reward in exerting what I considered to be self-control- was only emphasizing how little control I actually had.
I've been recognizing the signs of trouble for a while now. I've been ignoring them. I've been trying to reach out and take the help and support offered by friends, but I've still been resisting it. I've been stockpiling great blogs and articles and things that have been beckoning me to a new mindset, but I wasn't ready to invest in them. Not yet.
Someone close to me was pointing out their weightloss as a result of a medical condition. They were seeking positive validation for the results of an issue beyond their own control- and I disliked it. In the back of my head, I was wondering why they were getting attention and essentially, reward, for a lack of effort. It rankled that after 2 years of struggle, and then over a month of being able to eat even less than they could and being more physically active, I don't have at least SOMETHING to show for it. That alone was a warning sign…because my reaction to all of that was to cut back on the already minimal amount I was eating.
I had a pretty big warning sign this past weekend when a woman who's known me for years stopped me and said 'I thought you were planning on losing more weight?'.
OUCH. Did anyone else cringe at that? Cause it makes me flinch even just writing it.
My response was a mental middle finger…but not to her. I thrust that finger up to putting another bite in my mouth that day…which resulted in yet another less-than-500-calorie day in a row.
I knew things were pretty much at rock bottom Tuesday morning when I got on the scale. Now, before you yell at me for even thinking about getting on it, I'm under doctor's orders to chart my weight every day. It's certainly not doing me any favors (and Chris has subsequently removed the scale and relocated to an undisclosed location…and has gone all Rhett Butler on me when I complained). That morning, after 2 weeks of less than 1200 calories a day and three days in a row of less than 600 calories, I was up 3 lbs. And my first thought was 'I could fast today, that will help the scale drop.'
That right there, my friends, is stupidity, stubborness and the hallmark of an eating disorder. And it was the sign I needed.
Shortly after that, I had a long overdue conversations with one of my besties, who pointed out my foolishness (while offering some serious love and amazing support) at letting other people's thoughts, opinions and circumstances affect my health and well being. She also showed me a way out.
What I needed, it seems, was permission to let go of letting other things influence me. I've been spending an awful lot of the past 2 years defining being healthy as losing weight- and having people recognize it. I'd certainly gotten a lot of attention when I'd lost so much weight so fast a couple years ago, my first time around on paleo. It was a sort of validation for me- and became the benchmark, for me, of success.
What I realized was that I was letting my outward signs of progress influence my definition of healthy. I was no longer concentrating on what was happening inside my body, on the positive changes that a healthy paleo lifestyle was bringing about. Instead, I felt like a failure- I was measuring my success by the number on the scale. And I was letting that destroy me.
This article, by the Paleo Parents, was gold for me.
I strongly encourage you to read it, if you're struggling. And if you're not, I encourage you to read it anyway.
And this article on damage control was an eye-opener.
I've re-read it so damn much the last few days- it's got a great message.
Both of these blog posts came to me right when I needed them most. Between them and Carrie's reminding me that I needed to stop giving a f*ck and letting other people influence me, I managed, somehow, to take charge again.
I still have to work around my physical issues. I still have the challenge of a lifetime of food obsession and the struggle of overcoming stress, and keeping control in my hands.
But I'm aware now, and feel pretty damn well equipped. And I'm in the mood to kick some ass.
Mostly, my own.