When Food Becomes Something Its Not

OK, before I jump in to the post, here are my JenX Journey stats to date:

Weight Lost:  110#

Pull Ups:  0   (Broken left index finger isn’t cooperating.  Occupational therapy begins this week.)

From 260 to 150.  And, BTW, Mike Pendleton, eh em, is nearing his 100# milestone!

To the topic at hand – when food becomes something its not.

Throughout my life, food has not been like most of you may know it – something to nourish your body, to give it the energy you need for daily tasks.  For me, food was and has been way more than that:

  • My best friend.
  • An obsession.
  • A cigarette.
  • A glass of wine.
  • A hobby.
  • Pure pleasure.
  • Pure pain.
And many other things.  Food is my jam.  My nemesis. My whole-life obsession.  My-so-many-things.
I try to pinpoint when food became more than food for me.  My earliest recollection is high school.  I was driving to school on my own for the first time.  I was still a little love-sick over a boy and putting on some pounds, so my insecurities were in overdrive.   McDonald’s was open for drive-thru breakfast in the late 80’s and had just come out with the Bacon, Egg & Cheese biscuit.  School had become a drag and complicated and a big popularity contest and I was over it.  I remember my favorite part of my day being that alone time in the car, driving to school, getting my stupid biscuit.  It sounds so lame, but its so true.  I would literally think about what I was going to eat when I was falling asleep.
It also kind of encapsulates how I ate for the rest of my life:  EATING ALONE IN CARS.
If I ever write a book or memoir, that is what it will be called.  My cigarette, my wine, my thing – drive thru madness and eating it alone in a car.  Over and over and over again.
And I don’t want to unpack all of the insecurities of a lifetime that caused me to do it – I’m sure many of you can relate.   You know…life.  Sometimes its not all that easy.  Divorce, a stressful job, raising kids, marriage, “insert your thing here.”  And we all have our vice, our coping mechanism.  Mine was food and lots and lots of it.  
At times, it was all I could think about.  For all those years I hovered between 230-260 pounds it dominated my every thought.  I’m not even kidding.  At family gatherings sometimes when there was so much food around, I would literally have to distract myself because I wanted to eat everything in sight.  It is a compulsion that still frightens me to this day.
So what changed, you might ask?  Well, its a great question that I’m not even sure I know the answer to just yet.  But I will try.
1)  I got scared.  I was way too winded even walking up a flight of stairs.  This was nothing new, but as I was nearing my mid-40s I think I realized I had both aging and bad health against me.  I knew I was digging an early grave and time was ticking.
2)  My actions and future plans did not align.  When I thought about myself in retirement, I saw this person who was traveling, hiking, riding a bike.  I was not acting like that person, so how could I ever do those things now or in the future?
3)  I prayed.  Over and over.  The same prayer for many years.  My prayer was to “find someone who understood who could help me.”  I was so tired of doctors and weight loss plans who promised results, but had NO idea what I was going through and ultimately couldn’t help me.
4)  I never gave up hope.  I somehow knew deep down that while I knew I needed help, that ultimately this was going to be up to me.  I just had to keep on keeping on.  And I did.
5)  I found someone who could help me.  Dr. Christy Kirkendol-Watson at LiveLight Clinic in Zionsville, Indiana, set me on a path for which I am forever grateful.  She is THE ONE who understood.  Gave me the tools.  I did the rest.
6)  I had to get refined carbs and processed foods out of my life.  They were that obsessive voice that drove my eating compulsions.
7)  I realized hoping and wanting wasn’t good enough.  I couldn’t just want to lose weight.  I had to figure out that is the 100 little things you have to do every day that matter and to be successful long term, I had to always be “in it” right now, with what was in front of me vs. worrying about the future and how I screwed up and “oh well lets eat cake and pizza and tacos.”  Its about what I do RIGHT NOW that was going to add up to long-term success.
8)  I found more help along the way.  As my goals changed, so did my helpful partners, Stronger U Nutrition and Elavus CrossFit.
9)  I rebuilt a healthy relationship with food.  We are back together after a bit of a breakup, but now food is food.  It nourishes my body and I don’t settle for things I don’t enjoy.  Getting refined carbs and processed foods under control make me feel normal for the first time in my life.
10)  I’ve learned to count on myself.  To like myself again.  Probably my most important lesson.  I failed so many times at getting healthy, I was convinced I couldn’t do it I lost trust and faith in myself.  I now know I can do just about anything if I want to.
So I’ll just say this.  I have my path and you have yours.  You know yourself better than anyone else.  What do you want out of life and what are you doing right now that is awesome for you?  If you focus on what you can do right now or today, to make your life better, I promise – the world is yours.  Take this moment to be better, to move, to eat something healthy, or do something that you love.
At the end of the day, give yourself a gosh darn break!  Its not if you fall, because you will – its how you get back up.  We are the hardest on ourselves and I want you to stop it right now (in my best mad mom voice). 
Go be a bad ass and be good to yourself.
My attempt at bad ass. #dork

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