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We all have something.
That thing you do to drown out the noise. For some comfort and clarity in the chaos.
For 18 years I lived a double life. One with my mom and with one my father. And the environments were like night and day. With my mom it was safe, comfortable, assuring…but the other was…different. On that side of the family, things weren’t really warm and fuzzy. I remember not noticing the differences until around age 4 or 5. If I was with my mom and fell off my bike and got banged up she would pick me up, embrace me, and bandage me up if needed. If with the other and I fell on the playground and got scraped up the response I was met with was, Don’t cry, get up, wipe it off, move on.
As things went from scraped knees to real life…sadly that response remained the same. Suck it up, NO crying, don’t be a baby (or little girl), move on. I learned that crying was a sign of weakness, talking about your feelings was taboo, and hugs were reserved ONLY for goodbyes.
In America, we believe food brings people together and my family, both sides, believe that wholeheartedly. When THAT side of my family gathered, you know…all those who all held the belief that we don’t show or share our feelings gathered, it was usually the perfect catalyst for all those pent-up emotions to erupt. Family, food, and drama. Amongst the crazy, I turned to food for comfort.
When I was upset, tired, frustrated, or stressed – food could always make me feel better. As a child, I would wait until everyone else was in bed and sneak down to the pantry and raid it for sugary snacks. Once I could drive I’d stop by the store and grab a bag of potato chips on my drive home from school (and yes the entire thing would be devoured before bedtime). I wish I could say as I got older and set out on my own this got easier.
After graduating and going away to college I gained more than the Freshman fifteen. Worrying about handling a full course load, working full time because I had to pay for my education, all the all-nighters to keep up with everything I was juggling, and Andrew being away due to his commitment to the US Navy, I continued to turn to my old friend food. Can you guess what this led to? A girl who at the age of 20 weighed in at 235 pounds. That was my wake up call. I was so heavy walking hurt. Working out hurt. I struggled to have conversations because I got winded. I hated how I looked and how that made me feel drove me eat even more. Drowning myself in a whole bag or box of something brought relief but was surely going to drive me to an early grave.
I was clinically diagnosed as a binge eater, by then I was seeing multiple doctors for weight loss, nutrition, as well as a therapist to unroot and deal with these emotions & issues that were affecting my physical well being.
You all know that isn’t the end of the story but I’m saving the rest of my weight loss journey for another day…but I will tell you that cultivating a healthy relationship with food is a struggle that I still deal with today. I may have lost the weight and kicked the majority of my binge eating habits but I recognize it’s something I will always carry with me. 80% of the time when I’m feeling all the negative feels, I turn to my husband who is the best listener in the world(thank God), get lost in one of his amazing hugs, and pray it out.
But there is still that 20% when I make a trip to the store and get a bag of popcorn or a box of cookies (ha though I try to stick to gluten-free stuff now) to relieve some stress. I love food and I don’t think that that’s ever going to change…let’s be real it’s not something I can just give up ‘cold turkey’. But there’s a difference in the now where I can have three cookies, love the taste and the warm fuzzies they bring and be able to stop myself at those three and the days in my past where I would literally eat fast food smothered in ketchup and fried in grease for every meal AND stock entire pies in my freezer. Moderation.
My friend, we all have a thing. And likely this thing is gonna be with you forever in some way or another. But I’m so thankful I can say I’m not a slave to mine anymore.
Will you walk with me towards healing? What’s your coping mechanism? Comment below or EMAIL ME – firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to walk with you towards healing. You are not alone!
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