More than wanting to be thin, I wanted to have a "normal" relationship with food. I didn't want to think about food all the time. I didn't want to be constantly chastising myself for what I was eating or what I wished I was eating or what I wasn't eating. I believed it was possible to eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full. I believed that I could eat all foods in moderation; that nothing had to be off-limits. I believed these things, but I'd never actually lived them.
As long as I can remember, food played a disproportionate role in my life. I was a thin child and a thin teen and a thin adult until I was 29. But through all those years, I felt out of control with food. I felt like if I permitted myself to eat the way I wanted to eat, I'd weigh 500 lbs. Events were about the food I could eat, the food I couldn't eat, and the food I wanted to eat.
I had no idea how to obtain this normal food relationship. I read books. I went to Overeaters Anonymous. I went through eating disorder treatment. I remember trying to defend myself to my ex-boyfriend, Eddie, (who had food issues of his own) when it came to having certain foods around our home. I had taken to buying a tube of uncooked cookie dough and having a bit, raw, as dessert. He believed that I was deluding myself by having that stuff around. He thought that with my past food issues, I should abstain from eating sweets and fats FOREVER. He said that the fact that I was so attached to those foods proved that I wasn't eating them "normally", that I was being compulsive about having sweets and eventually I would binge on them.
One thing I have learned about myself is that other people can really influence my confidence in my beliefs. I thought that I could eat sweets in moderation, but when Eddie questioned it, I became defensive and resumed my previous "sneaky" food behavior. And eventually I binged because for me sneaking food is a part of that binge behavior.
But I don't want to talk about Eddie just right now. I want to talk about the other part of it. I want to talk about trying to have a "normal" relationship with food. I want to talk about what that means and how we go about getting it.
See, I think I have a normal relationship with food right now. At least as normal as I've ever had. I'm not compulsive about food. I don't obsess about food. I don't think about food all the time. I eat what I want. I stop when I'm full. I don't "go off program" because there's no program to go off of. I do what I do. I don't always make good food choices. Sometimes I overeat. Sometimes I eat when I'm not hungry. But most of the time, I'm pretty normal. And when I do make a mistake, it doesn't last long and I don't struggle to resume "normal" behaviors.
I don't know how I got here, to be honest. I know it has to do with finally stopping dieting and stopping beating myself up about food. I know, too, that having my lap-band to tell me when I've had enough is a HUGE part of my success. I don't know if I could have done it without that. But I also know that there's more to it than simply having weight loss surgery. I read other blogs where people talking about needing to get their mojo back, needing to do a 5-day pouch test to get back on track, needing to go to the gym again and I understand those feelings, but I also recognize that I don't feel that way now. To me that sounds like how I felt BEFORE I had surgery when I was always thinking I needed to "do" something - go on a diet, start an exercise routine, SOMETHING. I wish I could give some concrete advice so that others could have what I have, because it is amazing to be free from all that crap.