Thursday, June 21, 2012

It Still Hurts; I Still Cry

It's no secret that I'm a highly emotional person. There are times when someone could look at me wrong and I'll cry. There are other times that someone might misunderstand what I've said, then they get angry with me, and so I get angry with them for being so ridiculous or making assumptions or whatever. Generally when I'm angry I don't do much of anything....Depending on who it is. Some people are lucky (ha!) enough to feel the wrath which usually consists of hurtful words and sometimes some yelling.  Always crying, at some point.

I'm a crier. I cry when I am happy, sad, angry, and sometimes because I'm too sentimental. Yes, I cry at shows like "Say Yes to the Dress." Not always, but sometimes when someone has a really good story, it gets to me. I cry at movies. I will probably always cry (or at least get a little tearful) when "Big" leaves "Carrie" at the alter in the SATC movie, and she gets out and beats him with her flowers....That whole scene just fills me with emotion.

That being said, I cried today. Just a minute ago. In fact, there are still tears in my eyes. I will, most likely, cry again.

I think back to my past, who I was before I made the decision to change my lifestyle and how far I've come. It still hurts. It hurts to know what I put my body through. I started using diet pills in high school. I used different types off and on. There were secret diets; usually crash diets. No matter what I did, something always prevented me from losing weight.

I don't remember it happening when I was younger as much as when I reached college age. That's when I can remember my eating habits were disordered.  When most people think of disordered eating they think of anorexia or bulimia. Not me. Nope, I got the one that can (and for me did) lead to obesity...Morbid obesity. I'm a compulsive eater (or a binge eater, depending on how you want to say it).  I have an unhealthy relationship (enter obsessive/compulsive behaviors) with food. One of the things that people with ED do is engage in emotional eating. Oh yeah...That was me.

 It's not yet in the DSM-IV (google it). If I were to go and be diagnosed, it'd be a diagnosis of Eating Disorder, NOS (not otherwise specified). There's hope that Binge Eating Disorder will be recognized in the DSM-V. They're working on it. I hope it makes it. Honestly if I'm going to have some issue I'd rather it be noted rather than the NOS thing...If something is "wrong" (for lack of a better word), I want it to be specified. I want to KNOW.

Sometimes I think I am a little OCD in my every day life, but not to the point that it consumes me. So, it's not a disorder....Although I do admit I have some traits. This is probably what causes me to be so anxious about certain things, but I'm not always anxious....It's specific.

Anyway, it still hurts to think about opening a refrigerator at night, when my parents were sleeping, and literally start shoveling food into my mouth for no real reason. A bag of chips? Not a problem for me. I'd eat until I was sick. It wouldn't matter what it was.  Naturally my binges were in secret. They were always unhealthy foods. A binge on fruit? Never.

What hurts is thinking about how I didn't care about myself. I didn't have the self-esteem to even love myself like I should. I didn't care about my health. Sure I went to my regular appointments and I'd go to the doctor when I needed to if I was sick.  I didn't really have regard for my health though. I'd do a diet to lose weight because I hated how I looked. I was fat. I was miserable. I'd try anything to just lose weight. It was always "too hard" to stick to. I didn't have my mind made up to change my way of living.

In addition to eating too much, I know I drank too much...Especially my last semester of college. And for a while after. I wasn't an alcoholic. But a binge drinker? Yes. I'd go out on the weekends with friends and we'd proceed to get drunk. Really drunk. I can't tell you how many trash cans I ruined at a friend's house because I'd vomit.  And it wasn't just there. Bathrooms at the bar? Yup. On the sidewalk? Yes. Down the side of someone's car as they drove me home? A time or two. I went out with the intention to get drunk. Now if I go out it's for the socialization, and to have a few drinks sometimes. I'm not found pounding beers, mixed drinks, and shots one after the other. Now if I go out, I spend more time talking than drinking. 

I honestly just didn't care. It's not like I thought "ugh...I hate myself. I should eat. Or get wasted."  I didn't even think about it. I knew I wasn't healthy but I ignored it. I'd try to get on track with losing weight and failed. Over and over again. I lost my first 55 (known) pounds very slowly, over a two year period. Then I managed to maintain it for a while. Finally I reached a point when I turned 29 that I knew I had to change.

In addition to crying over how I felt and how I treated myself; the hurt. I also cry because of the changes that I made.  I often say it wasn't hard to lose weight. And it wasn't. It was changing my way of thinking and my way of living that was hard. Actually...That wasn't that hard either. Changing my lifestyle was easy; I cut out junk, ate healthy, and added exercise. This time I was dedicated and stuck to it.  And here I am... Still healthy.

Changing my thinking was the challenge. Learning to not turn to food to manage my emotions was hard. Now? I cry. I probably cry more now than I used to, but it gets it out in a healthy way. I'm okay with being a crier. I'm letting it out rather than covering it by stuffing my face full of junk.

To this day I cannot keep anything unhealthy in my house. I'll eat it. Probably within a matter of days. It's too dangerous to have it around. I have the strength not to buy it. I don't have the strength to watch my portions when it comes to eating it. I KNOW how, but I sometimes feel that loss of control. For me, it's better to keep it away. It helps me to stay focused and even in those times that I would binge I THINK about it because I can't. I've had things in the house and have stopped myself from binging many times. But it's still there and sometimes it tries to come out.

I still sneak food sometimes. When I'm at my parents' house, where they have food I avoid. It's not often. I generally eat in front of them. But I've been known to eat a few cookies when no one is around, or looking. I don't know if it's because it's there and my brain thinks, "it's won't get this at home."  It's okay to enjoy things once in a while, but to feel that I sometimes have to hide it remains a problem.

This makes me cry too. The good thing is that now I can control it. I might eat two (or four) cookies and then stop myself. I can eat chips and stop myself before I hit the bottom of the bag. Unless there's only a handful left, I will not empty a bag, box, or container of anything. I really try to think about what I'm doing, what's going into my body, and how much work it would take to burn those calories. Believe it or not, thinking of sweating on the treadmill for an extra hour (although you shouldn't really exercise to eat badly; you should just eat healthy) doesn't appeal to me. I already work hard!  I also know that weight loss and being healthy is more about what you eat. The things we put into our bodies are what really matter. How else did I lose so much weight with so little exercise?!

I'd say that I'm recovering from this ED. I'm not cured. I will probably always have issues with food and body image. It's the being in control part that helps me not to do it. There are times when I'm so emotional that it would be really easy to gorge myself. No amount of telling myself how bad it is helps at those times. It hurts to know that I will probably always carry this with me. I don't know that I will ever fully "recover" from this ED. I try like hell, sometimes it feels like it's every single day of my life. It's not. I'm much more in control, and given the qualifiers of the ED, I would no longer meet criteria. The tendencies and behaviors are still there though. It's become a part of me, but it won't make me or break me. I've learned to manage it; to live with it. I know how to control the behaviors. I know what types of situations to avoid. I know how to be healthy.

Most of all I've learned to love myself. My self-esteem is so much better. I still have my days; my moments and I know I will. I would find it hard to believe that most people don't have moments of feeling down on themselves. Especially if they happen to be a perfectionist, like me...Afraid of messing up; afraid of disappointing anyone.

It's a hard road sometimes, but I'm doing okay. I've found strength and peace. I believe in myself. I know what I can do; what I can achieve. I'm no longer afraid to chase dreams. Sure, I still worry about failing, but I'm starting to realize that sometimes just doing things can bring a great sense of accomplishment.

I believe...In me. I love me.

Speaking of that...I've been considering a wrist tattoo for ages now. I've just never gotten one. I always liked the look of the world "love" so that the script looks like a heart. Honestly though? It seems that most people get those. For me, a tattoo that said "love" would remind me to love myself every time I look at it. It wouldn't be about loving someone else, finding love, or whatever other reason someone may come up with. If I tattoo "love" on my body it will be a reminder, every day for the rest of my life, how important it is to love myself.  The other word I've considered is "believe." Looking at that would remind me to believe in myself, no matter what...To keep fighting, keep pushing, and stop doubting. I think that it would give me a great sense of strength; maybe even more than love would.  I've found love for myself; I know how to do that and I do.  Believing in myself is something that I'm not always so good at. I still need reminders sometimes... I worry too much about failing. Seeing "believe" would remind me of the strength I've found and that I'm never going to let go.  If I get "believe" I would probably get the symbol for ED recovery next to it. I'm really struggling between the two words, but I am leaning more toward "believe."

Feel free to share your thoughts. :)

One thing I know is that I need to stop crying, even if it is with a smile on my face, get up from my chair, and go pack for a fun filled weekend!!



  1. I forgot to mention I was also thinking "believe" with a small heart or butterfly by it rather than the symbol. I'm not sure I want that symbol with me forever. Do I want to be asked about it in 20 years? Probably not.

  2. A symbol would be much better than a butterfly or heart - those are so cliche for tats - IMHO - i have a heart and my middle name for my tats but they mean something to me - the heart is blue because my heart always felt cold for the longest time - is still does from time to time and my middle name because its a family name that my dad game to me :) So if and when u do get a tat make sure it is something that has meaning to you. But thanks for writing this, I too am an emotional eater - got pissed off at hubby the other nite and wanted to go buy a big DQ blizzard even though I wasnt hunger - only wanted it because I was pissed off!!! BUT i stopped myself and had an 100 cal snack pak pudding instead:) It's hard to fight those emotional eating cravings........esp with summer here :( so much yummy (but bad for you food) so the house is stocked with fresh fruits and veggies............though my hubby keeps eating my fresh pineapple!! ugh!!!

  3. Thanks! And thanks for sharing your tattoo story... Super cool. I have other butterflies so I might go with that.... So then they match. That's if I get more than a word.

    Nice job fighting off the emotional eating!! It is sooo hard but I feel that every healthy choice is a step in the right direction. Beating an eating binge is a victory.

    I loooove all the fresh fruits in the summer! Fruits and salads are some of my favorite summer foods cause they are so refreshing!! Hope your hubby keeps his hands off your pineapple! :)