Let me start by telling you that this path has not been easy or smooth. There are many times I have fallen and stumbled and, most of all felt like giving up. I thank God I didn’t because my life has never been the same.
As I stated in my last post, The New Me, I have an addiction. I am addicted to food, and I can’t get away from mine, unlike other substances that most people are addicted to. I need food to live and be healthy. Which meant I would need to learn how to break this addiction. Let me start by saying that I don’t really believe we are ever truly healed of our addictions, but I do think we can learn to say no and figure out why we became addicted in the first place. For me, this started in therapy which was the last place I expected to get any help. I was lucky enough to have a therapist to help me realize I had an addiction and understand how it started.
When I was only three years old, my parents got divorced, and my mom was not in a good place, so it was agreed that I would live with my dad until she could find a stable place to live. My mom was not always the most stable-minded person, and she struggled with many insecurities and control issues. My dad also has a controlling personality, and I will never understand how these two people got together, let alone fall in love. I am glad they did because that is how I was created. After they divorced, my mom took off and bounced around from place to place and man to man, at least that’s how it seemed. There was a time I went a year without seeing my mom, and I waited for her to get her life together so I could be with her. My dad did everything he could to make up for being a single parent, but it was hard for him, and he relied on help from my grandma and our neighbor to help watch after me.
My grandma was like most grandmas, constantly buying me goodies and baking snacks, and there was always an endless supply of candy and chips at her house. My dad often had to work late, and sometimes he could not be home until six or seven at night. We lived on top of a mountain that is still very remote today, and so my dad taught me how to cook food for myself when I got home from school. By the time I was six years old, I would get off the bus and walk the mile to our house, then go in and lock the doors. I would make myself a can of chicken noodle soup, have it with some Doritos and Cheese Wiz, and wash it down with a soda. That became an after-school snack for me. Nobody told me that it was a meal and an unhealthy one at that. My dad always felt terrible that my mom had left, so he wanted to give me things that made me happy, and food made me happy. He always ensured I had easy and convenient food around and lots of snacks. Later on, my friends would love to come to my house because it was always stocked with chips, soda, and candy. I ate as much as I wanted, when I wanted, and no one ever told me that I should eat healthier.
As a child, I had a fast metabolism and enjoyed running and playing outside, so I never gained any weight until I was an adult and all of that changed. Going through therapy helped me realize that I used food to comfort and reward myself. When my mom left, they bought junk food to make me feel better. When I did good, they took me out for ice cream. I was able to piece together that when I am sad and abandoned, I eat to feel better, and when I am happy, I eat to celebrate. There was never a time that food was not involved. Which meant I had to change my entire way of thinking. Luckily, I had a therapist who was able to help me work through the process, and she even gave me tips to say no to food. I only needed to see her twice for the program, but I ended up seeing her for a couple of months until I knew I could go at it alone.
My husband and I continued the program, and I worked so hard, but the weight was hardly moving. I was starting to feel better as I approached the five-month mark of the program; my doctor was concerned that I had only lost 10 pounds. He knew how hard I had been working alongside my husband, but for some reason, the weight was not moving the way he thought it would. He recommended that I talk to a surgeon about having a Sleeve Gastrectomy where they would remove part of my stomach. I didn’t like the idea, but I didn’t know what to do because my weight was now driving a wedge in my marriage. My husband was down forty pounds, and everywhere we went, people gushed over his weight loss and how good he looked. I was so proud of him, and I made sure to celebrate his achievements, but he could tell how jealous I was. I tried to hide it, but I was starting to sink into a depression. I was terrified that he would keep losing weight and that I wouldn’t. I fear he would eventually leave me for someone who wasn’t fat. He tried to reassure me all the time that this would not happen, and he thought I was beautiful and sexy. I sure didn’t feel it, so he started hiding his weight loss from me, and if someone complimented him, he would change the subject. I hated seeing him do this. He had every right to be proud and boast about it, and he was working so hard. I decided to meet with the surgeon to see if surgery would help me.
When I sat down with the surgeon, I was sure he would tell me that I was not a good candidate for surgery. He looked over my charts and told me that my health issues were probably why the weight was coming off so slowly. I was working hard, and I had learned so much, but my body was fighting against me. He figured the surgery could help me out with that. He said he would get everything going, but the only way I could have the surgery was to lose another 8 pounds, and I had a month to do it. I felt devastated and defeated. How could I lose 8 pounds in one month when it took me five months to lose 10? He explained that it was a percentage based on my starting weight, which was already set when I started the program. I never figured I would be having surgery, so I ignored its details. I decided to push everything into overdrive and worked hard. Five days before the completion date, I was still 3 pounds over, so I decided to go against everything I had learned, and for the next five days, I ate no carbs at all. When I weighed in on the final day, I had not only lost the 3 pounds I needed, but I lost two more on top of it. I had met all the requirements and lost weight, and was approved for surgery. I was relieved because the surgery would fix everything, and I would finally be skinny and feel good, right? I would soon learn I was wrong, and I still had so much to learn.
Stay tuned for the final post of this series… Never going back.