I cannot believe that I am doing this but here it goes.
It is 1:17 am on February 17th and here I am with an overwhelming urge to start a new section of my blog.
I have been sharing my thoughts and life lessons as I go through my self love journey for about 8 months now.
Writing down my story is very personal as it is and yet I feel compelled to share yet another aspect of my story that is something I really don’t like opening up to people about. I mean I may mention it here and there but I don’t like giving full details about it.
I want to share with you that I am an emotional eater.
I am 5’2″ and tonight I got on the scale and saw that I weigh 208 lbs (14 stones). It is nothing new. It isn’t like it is my heaviest weight and so it isn’t that I am having an “oh my goodness how did I get so huge” kinda moment.
No this is about the fact that I was standing there looking at the scale knowing that my weight is a reflection of my pain. This has been on my mind for quite some time and I have spoken briefly about it in some of my previous posts.
I write and talk a lot about self love and yet I have purposely been avoiding taking active steps to deal with the fact that I am obese due to emotional eating.
It would be one thing if my obesity lay solely on eating a typical American diet laden with processed foods and over-sized portions and I didn’t have an understanding of how to properly eat. But no that isn’t the basis of my problem at all. I eat to numb the pain that I feel emotionally.
The first time I realized I was an emotional eater was seven years ago. I became conscious of the fact that I would eat until it literally hurt and I felt as physically uncomfortable as I felt emotionally.
In essence I would cause myself to physically mirror the pain I felt emotionally. I am not sure when it started but one day I realized that I had a bad habit of eating until I felt a painful sensation that would distract me from my emotional pain and it was only until I felt that sensation that I would stop.
I believe it was probably seven years ago when the realization came and I was at my all time heaviest weight of 227 lbs (yep 16 stones).
I decided to work on my weight and I eventually worked my way down to 175 lbs (12.5 stones) in about 18 months . Which would have been great if the weight would have been lost for the right reasons. Instead I lost the weight by obsessing about how much I weighed and hating every inch of me.
You see I didn’t work on the true reason I was overweight. I can assure you that during that 18 month weight loss journey I didn’t spend any time trying to figure out why I was an emotional eater. No, I just focused on the fact that I wanted to lose weight because I hated my body.
I distinctly remember that my (now) ex husband told me that my body was disgusting and I allowed his words to really shatter me. While his words did pierce me ultimately I cannot even be upset with him, because while the words were cruel he was simply saying to me what I actually felt about myself. That is why it hurt me so bad when he said it. It wasn’t so much the fact that the words came from my spouse as it was the fact that he was echoing what I myself believed to be true.
I felt unattractive and my self esteem was ridiculously low. I felt unlovable (a feeling which I am still working to overcome today) and I was in a bad place emotionally.
And to add to my decision to lose weight was when someone showed me a picture of myself that was taken without my knowledge. I was absolutely mortified at how huge I had become and I was determined to lose weight so I would no longer be what I deemed to be disgusting.
I would weigh myself obsessively multiple times a day. I would exercise for 2 hours a day and count calories nonstop ——> I was driving myself crazy.
But I never got to the root of the problem. To this day I still try to eat my feelings. When I am stressed out I don’t eat and when I feel depressed I eat to distract myself from the emotional hurt. I no longer eat until it hurts but I do eat to feel full. When I feel emotionally empty I eat to feel physically full.
Some of my loved ones have learned that trying to stop me from eating when I get the urge to stuff my feelings is probably akin to trying to stop a drug addict from getting their next hit. In that moment I get angry and resent anyone who tries to discourage my unhealthy habit.
It isn’t that I don’t know what I am doing is wrong. It’s that at that time I simply don’t care enough to try to alter my behavior. I want to stop thinking about the pain I am feeling and emotionally eating is my quick fix.
I have convinced myself that food helps to numb the emotional pain that I simply don’t want to deal with. As I previously stated it isn’t about not knowing how to eat healthy or not knowing how to have a exercise routine. It is about not wanting to do the work of finding a healthier way to deal with my emotional pain.
When the emotional pain comes I will crave simple carbs, crunchy foods, ice cream and salt and I will eat them until I feel a sensation that makes me feel like I can cope. But the feeling is fleeting. About an hour later the pain comes rushing back.
The last time this happened I phoned my sister and she talked to me until I felt better. Then a few hours later emotions flooded in so I phoned my mother and she spoke with me until the pain went away. But had I not been able to speak with them I am 1000% certain I would have eaten my pain.
It simply doesn’t matter that I know a lot about fitness and nutrition and ways to implement them because I simply have been avoiding doing the work of dealing with my emotions in a healthier way.
I don’t know what I am afraid of, but I am told that everything I want is on the other side of fear. I am not sure what I think will happen if I don’t eat my feelings. But I have decided that I need to do what I tell you to do. I need to go through the pain and not try to numb it.
I think that a part of me is afraid that if I don’t have my emotionally eating to fall back on then what am I going to do when someone passes away, I go through my next break up, or I am stressed about money.
I am afraid of breaking down and being an emotional mess.
When something hurts me I like to act as if it doesn’t hurt as bad as it does. I try to get overly analytical and philosophical about it so that I don’t have to admit I am dying inside. I do this thing where I try to intellectualize everything that is happening to me because I figure if I could just reason things out in my mind that I won’t hurt so much. I don’t like dealing with the pain so if I can just eat it or think it away then I don’t have to deal with it. I guess I don’t want to deal with it because – pain hurts.
I know what it is to lay on my couch feeling like someone is ripping my heart out of my chest.
I know what it is to google ‘how long is this pain going to last’.
I hate that! I would much rather sleep, eat or think my way out of pain. With my most dangerous and go to method of pain aversion being eating.
So while I can’t precisely tell you what I think will happen if I go through the pain which prevented me thus far from working on my emotional eating, I can tell you what I am going to do.
I will do what it takes to learn to deal with my emotions in a healthier way.
I have to.
I owe it to myself to stop engaging in a harmful activity that I am consciously aware that I am doing.
I need to honor my temple.
This is my God given vessel and need to love myself enough to stop harming it.
This isn’t about me fat shaming myself or not loving the skin I am in. This is me holding myself accountable.
To be honest I have actually grown to accept my curves and find my beauty even as an overweight woman. What is interesting is that I remember a time when I thought that no man would want to talk to me because I am overweight. I distinctly remember thinking that I wouldn’t be able to get a date until I weighed a certain amount because I was too fat for someone to want to date me. Thankfully I stopped expressing so much self hate towards myself and realized that I have been beautiful with every pound I have ever carried.
And interestingly enough I noticed that as I found myself beautiful at the weight I am more and more men of all shapes and sizes complimented me on my looks. So this is most definitely not about me being ashamed of my size.
This is about the fact that I only have one body and I am responsible for caring for it.
So while I do indeed feel weird confessing my emotional eating habit publicly especially since I can so clearly hear a voice of fear saying in the back of my head “what if you fail?” my higher self is saying back
….But what if I don’t.
I have been opening up and sharing my truths with you thus far. So I will continue to share in the hopes of not only healing my pain but also in hopefully helping someone else to do the same.
I am literally typing this new post on my iPhone while sitting on my couch and hoping that I can love my body enough to achieve this goal.
There is no looking back.
I want to work on my emotional eating because the habit isn’t healthy.
I am the single mother of three. My youngest child is learning disabled and will most likely need my assistance her entire life. I live with chronic pain and being overweight is not helping and only exacerbates the pain.
I know that a person has to go through emotional pain and not around it. I can no longer purposely deal with my emotions by stuffing food down my throat in an attempt to avoid my pain. Because in doing so I am simply transferring the hurt from my emotional state to my physical state and the problem is still unresolved. Ultimately, I find myself literally carrying my pain as opposed to working through it.
In the spirit of loving myself I have decided I want to honor my temple by taking better care of it. So here it goes, I am going to start a new section of my website where I speak specifically about loving my temple.
In the upcoming weeks on the left side of the screen you will find an area of the website speaking to loving your vessel. There you will find out ways to reduce stress, beauty regimens, how to establish healthier eating habits, tips on fitness and simply honoring your vessel. Hopefully as I share my journey to overcome my emotional eating it will help you to overcome anything that is keeping you from loving yourself 100 percent.
© Renata Pittman, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.