Friday, February 17, 2012

I'll Start Tomorrow

I struggle with the “I’ll start tomorrows.”  For the past two years, I’ve been waiting to start losing weight tomorrow.  But every time, tomorrow turns into Monday, and Monday turns into next week, and next week turns into next month.  Until eventually, a New Year rolls around and then I begin a new resolution to start losing weight.  Tomorrow.

I can’t believe it is 2012 already.  I’m getting old.  When the New Year started, I did what I do every year and made a resolution to lose weight.  That very same night, I lost my job and it’s safe to say that my resolution flew right out the window.

One misconception about food addiction is that many people think that a food addict will only binge after a stressful day or after something negative happens.  While that does happen, I find that I often use food to cope with many emotions, both negative and positive.  If you think about it, many positive things are celebrated with food.  Many social events or parties focus on food as a main source of entertainment.  So for myself, I have often used food in an unhealthy manner regardless if I’ve had a good day or a bad one. Have I had bad days that ended with me in a tub of ice cream?  Yes.  But I’ve probably had just as many good days that ended with me there also.  Inevitably, after the tub of ice cream is empty, the remorse and guilt kick in.

After I lost my job (yet again) I went into hibernation mode.  When things get bad, I tend to hide from the problems.  That is quite ironic since I weigh somewhere around 450 lbs and it is truly impossible for me to hide at the size I’m at.  Just the other night for example, I was out and a guy mistook me for Preston Lacy of “Jackass” fame. 

Little children are the most difficult for me to deal with.  They have no filter, and many of them stare at me.  I don’t blame them or hold feelings of ill will toward them because I know they are so young that they haven’t learned any different, but it doesn’t make it any easier.  They just say what comes to mind.  One little girl saw me and turned to her mother and asked, “Mommy is that man pregnant?”  Other children haven’t been so humorous in their response to my appearance.  Most commonly, they’ll say, “Daddy, that man is FAT!”

Adults can be just as blunt, but usually in more passive aggressive ways.  A number of times, I’ve been photographed without my consent, usually by young adults who enjoy a good laugh while taking my photo.  To be honest, it cuts deeper than I ever let on.  I’ve learned to make the jokes before anyone else, because then I’m the fat funny guy and people will like me.  “Hi I’m Josh.  I’m not fat, I’m just hard to kidnap.”

Since I lost my job, I’ve been hiding.  I’m scared that I’m not hirable in the job market because of my weight, and I have yet to find another job.  So, I feel like my life is crumbling around me, and all I’ve done about it is kept eating myself to death.

The thing with food addiction is that most food addicts tend to use food as a drug.  Alcoholics drink, drug addicts use drugs, and food addicts eat compulsively.  For people who don’t struggle with an addiction, I’m sure that it can be difficult to understand what it’s like to deal with it.  I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me, “Well just don’t eat that much.”  Or, “Just go to the gym.”  How I wish it were that simple.   

Once I partake of even one bite of those trigger foods, it’s like something switches in my brain and I literally cannot stop eating.  There have been times that I have eaten until I literally could lot eat another bite without throwing up. 

My biggest trigger is fast food.  My second biggest trigger is anything with chocolate (or sugar in general).  When I went to treatment several years ago, I began following a food plan that eliminated sugar and white flour from my diet.  I also attended support group meetings following the time I spent in the treatment program and I found great success by doing so.

However, this time, I’ve had a much more difficult time establishing my abstinence from compulsive eating.  While I recently began attending support group meetings again, I have yet to get a sponsor and begin following a food plan.

I am going to one of my support group meetings tonight, and it is my intention to actually start working the program.  I can’t do it alone, and I need help from others who know what I’m going through.  

My biggest problem is that I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to do things perfectly, and when I have a setback, I often give up because I didn’t do it “perfectly”.  It’s not breaking news that I am only human, and failure is part of my story.  My hope is that by acknowledging my failures, I can overcome them and become the success story that I dream to be.

5 comments:

  1. Oh Josh. I know 100% how you feel. I could have written this post. Food addiction is the worst addiction to have.

    I am struggling right now also. My weight loss has stalled, because I can't not eat what I'm not supposed to. Thankfully, I haven't gained, but I sure as heck am not losing.

    I am glad you are going to support group. I am too. It helps to know you are not alone. Remember I love you! I support you!! You might not be strong every day, but just keep trying. You can do this!! We can do this!!!

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  2. I know what you are going through. I weigh a little over 300 lbs, which is more than I have ever weighed in my life. I also struggle with mental illness, and I understand how it can make it that much harder to go exercise or stop eating so much. All we can do is try not to push ourselves to the point of guilt and sadness for not achieving what we are trying so hard to achieve. I wish you all the best, and I will try to let you know how things are going for me as I go through this journey. Hang in there, my friend. :-)

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  3. Aimee, I know what you mean! The first time I lost weight, I went through that very same thing. But try not to get discouraged. Your body will kick start the weight loss again. Just don't give up. :)

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  4. T - Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. We can do this together! :)

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