I Hate What Emotional Eating Has Done To My Body, But I'm Ready To Heal Myself

  |  

I Hate What Emotional Eating Has Done To My Body, But I’m Ready To Heal Myself

Staras / iStock

A funny thing happened to me this year: I got fat. Not in the “I gained a little weight” vanity 5 to 10 pounds way. Nope. I got good and plump. I’m pushing nearly 200 pounds. On a 5-foot-6-inch frame, that’s not cute. But before you eat me alive for hating on the belly rolls, hear me out.

I don’t care how we say it: fat, overweight, out of shape, chubby, big-boned, a little cushioning, round. For me, it’s not an insult to myself to be honest about my body. I am about 45 to 50 pounds heavier than is healthy for me. At this weight, I have fat weighing on and gathering around my internal organs. I’ve also developed other symptoms like carpal tunnel, and I get unreasonably exhausted when doing normal activities. That can’t be good for me. If I keep this up, I know I have a one-way ticket to diabetes, heart disease, or worse. So I’m not exactly doing myself any favors by continuing on in my usual ways.

Don’t be confused: I am not body-shaming anyone. I do not care what choices other people make. More than that, I don’t judge the choices other people make. A person’s weight does not inform my opinion of her. It doesn’t influence how much I love or care for someone. I do not assign shame to anyone or make negative assumptions about anyone based on their dress size. For me, it’s about how feel and what works and doesn’t work for me.

What isn’t working for me right now is this whole physical reality I’m facing. I can say without an ounce of hesitation that I am not comfortable at this weight. I don’t like that I can’t bend over to tie my shoes without my gut getting in the way. I don’t like that I can hardly see my naughty bits beyond my protruding belly. I don’t like that my pants pull and squeeze me or how the zipper on my jacket barely closes. I don’t like how tops are tight in my shoulders and chest and how a bra is nearly unbearable by the end of the day.

I don’t like how my closet doesn’t seem to have anything left that fits me or that makes me feel pretty. I don’t like constantly and unsuccessfully searching for something to wear that I might feel comfortable in (much less confident). I don’t like having to turn over my wardrobe to pull out the “fat clothes.”

I don’t like that I am afraid to be seen in public and have started avoiding things because of my appearance. I don’t like that my body isn’t working for me, that I’m not in harmony with the vessel that carries me through this life. I know I haven’t respected my physical self, and I’m not okay with that.

I know how I got here, and I am ready to be accountable for that. I put things in my mouth to dull the pain and stress I’ve experienced this year. I ate doughnuts and candy and baked goods to fill the hole in my heart and to numb my insecurities. I ate to distract myself from the worry and thinking about what could go wrong next and what was already falling apart. I ate when I wasn’t hungry just to have a constant hum in the back of my brain that was soothing the anxious part of me.

It bears mentioning, however, that no matter how much I have eaten, that endless pit has never been satisfied. It’s like a black hole. It’s always craving more and more no matter how many carbohydrates I throw at it.

It’s safe to say, then, that this isn’t working. Every time I think about dieting, I get nervous. I am scared not to have something to help ease the pain. I am afraid of what will happen if the hurt isn’t muted. I worry that I don’t have the skills to manage my emotions at full volume.

Looking back, however, I can see that food isn’t curing me. Worse than not helping, it’s hurting me. I need to actually turn to this big mess of emotions, like a giant broken-down machine, and examine it. I need to take it apart, piece by piece, and figure out what is broken or rusted or disconnected. I have to dive into the mess and face it head-on. I’ll then either have to repair or improve it. Either way, I have some work to do.

So this is my goal for now: I’m going to commit to myself and give that fat girl a little love. I’m going to unearth the strong, capable girl beneath her layers of plump and start living again. When I get scared, I’m going to get to work. You see, it’s not skinny that I’m after. It’s healed. And that is a goal I can live with. That is a life that works.