I went from fat to obese….

This is based on a response I wrote in response to a post on Gentle Christian Mothers.
“Well…..  I know what it is like to be big….  overweight….  fat…. I’ve lost about 40 pounds and could stand to lose another 15. (This is an estimate, it’s a long story but I don’t use scales)

I have a picture of myself at the beach and I look like a manatee.  My husband and I decided it would be a “before” picture.  it sort of helped… Okay, it really didn’t help.  There was another picture as well, taken with my big, buff husband where I am larger than he is.  That was in the pantry on the door.  It didn’t help either but I  did start losing some weight because I participated in a sprint distance triathlon.  When the tri was over I gained some weight back because I was not training as viciously.  During that time I entered psychiatric treatment and started gaining again thanks to the drugs (oh, and the hot fudge sundaes I ate every day after group.)

I showed the pictures of my husband and I it to my psychiatrist and he said, “Oh no, we don’t want that.”  Of course he was right.  Who wants to be that big?  But when I  was depressed I couldn’t adhere to a strict diet, or even resist snacks of any kind.  Exercise would have been a joke.  But I had those fat pictures of me to spur me on.

Or not.

During my treatment I read that those kind of things are “mean” to ourselves.  What we *should* try is taking a picture of ourselves all foxy and dressed up and paste that in a prominent place so you can look at how gorgeous you are now and think about how gorgeous you can be as you drop the weight.  I liked that idea.  If you know how to dress yourself well you are on your way towards truly caring for yourself.  I have found the most beautiful clothes at thrift stores, for example, a floaty silk dress.  Go ahead and buy it even if it’s a size you hope to never wear again, it’s worth it to look beautiful if it’s only for a minute.
A lot of us have deadlines to which they will be thin, or fit, or whatever.  This creates yo-yo dieting.  I’ve been guilty of it.  I deliberately and carefully lost weight for my brother’s wedding.  After I hit that milestone I ate freely whatever anyone put in front of me or that I bought for myself – milk shakes anybody?  Going from a strict protein (no diary) veggies, fats and water diet to a junk food diet didn’t allow me to feel very good but it didn’t stop me.  What I have yet to apply to my life is that all of these things are always a work in progress.  If I need to exercise to take care of myself now, that means I will need to exercise when I’m eighty.  If I get stomach cramps when I eat diary, I’m not going to be having a grilled cheese sandwich when I’m fifty.

Anyway, to me it does feel like Mount Everest, but that I’m prepped for getting to the top.  I know what I need to eat, drink, how to exercise, etc etc etc.  Now I have to do it.

The Bible says, “….put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”  I didn’t do that.  However, I think the point of that verse is to take gluttony seriously.  Titus calls Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.   We aren’t Cretans but I hear the cricism seriously.    Gluttony is online with lying.  My gluttony turns me into a liar.  I eat more than I should, I buy food that’s out of our budget and hide while I eat it.  None of these things are part of an upstanding Christian life; they are of a glutton.  I want to change, but not enough.

Or maybe I do.  Maybe this is the time and day that I will change.  I will pull myself out of this depression by eating the way I know I should; by exercising the way I should and reading the Bible the way I should.

But my phrasing is wrong.  There are two ways to go about this.  There is the  “it would be nice” culprit (It would be nice if I wasn’t eating like a bridge troll.”  “It would be nice if I would go for a walk every day.”  In my mind that means you don’t really have to accomplish anythings but can sit on your front steps stoned on Xanax – (I know a lot of people are helped on Xanax.  If it works for you, then do it.  In my case, it turned me in to a zombie.) and think about how nice things would  be….

and then there is “must”.  “I must work out until I’m dripping sweat.”  “I must drink nine glasses of water a day.”  “I must not drink alcohol of any kind.”  The concept of “must” is more helpful for me.  If I just “should” I’m not going to and I’ll pour on the guilt as easily as they pour on the hot fudge.

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6 responses to “I went from fat to obese….

  • jb

    Yeah. I’m with you as a fellow manatee. I’m thinking Food Addicts might help, if I can ever extricate myself long enough to go to a meeting.

  • Mai

    One phrase that stuck with me from “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline” is: “Turn your Shoulds to Coulds and make a choice.” I should do the laundry just induces guilt, which isn’t a good motivator. I *could* do laundry, or I could talk to my friends online. Then I decide which I’ll do, and I can be calm and empowered by making the choice–whichever way I choose. Just a though that helps me occasionally.

  • Helen

    After subscribing, my eyes caught this title…and as always, I love how you are able to put the struggles of the heart into words. I mean, no one talks about being fat and how one truly feels. Yeah, sarcastic remarks and jokes gets thrown around…but man, weight on the outside really does weigh down a person’s heart on the inside. One of my favorite shows is Biggest Losers cuz they are my heros…they not only go through an outward transformation, but watching them deal with their stuff on the inside is super inspiring. Having 4 kids in 5 years…and the roller coaster of putting on weight, then hoping that most of it will come out of me at birth…but the disappointment of it staying on for awhile is annoying…and…well, I could write a whole book on that…but I just wanted to thank you for sharing your heart.

  • Dewi

    This is truly excellent and inspiring. A wonderful piece on both weight and body image issues coupled with mood disorders.

  • greenegem

    fellow manatee… checking in. 😉

    gg

  • Debbie

    I struggle with the same thing. I feel like I could have written this. Thank you for sharing. It is so hard, and so easy to feel alone in this.

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