It seems like there's a lot in the news right now about Eating Disorders. Portia de Rossi's new book just came out, and I caught the last bit of Oprah's interview with her. I was struck by her amazing bravery. To speak so openly about this dark thing that held her captive for so many years.
It's not something that's easy to do.
I listened to her talk and I cried. Mostly because I understand this line of thinking. This morning my scale was up and my first thought was “I shouldn’t eat anything today.”
I have a feeling this isn’t healthy.
I understand that feeling that I've somehow lost control if I snitch a piece of Halloween candy. I get it. But I wonder--when did food become my enemy?
I was talking with a friend the other day, and she wondered why some people who are ridiculed as kids or teenagers seem to process it well, never hate themselves and grow up to be perfectly well adjusted adults. And others, like me, internalize this ridicule. Replay it over and over in our minds. Decide that no matter what we achieve, no matter how happy we are… these are the things that define us.
And that we'll never be enough.
I know in my head it’s not right. Or healthy. I know God loves me and made me in His image. I’ve just convinced myself that I’ve taken what He’s given me and messed it up somehow. Surely he wants me to be thin. Doesn't he?
As I watched that interview, Portia de Rossi’s brutal honesty struck me in such a profound way. Realizing you have this issue, this problem—even when in your head, you KNOW the truth—it’s a hard thing to talk about. I’m almost 35. I should be past this. I don’t want to get old worrying about my weight. What a waste of time.
Ever since I had Sam, I’ve been struggling to figure out what’s wrong with my body. I’ve gone from extreme exercise to Weight Watchers to clean eating and back again. I’ve considered becoming a vegetarian and done juice fasts and detox. And all the while, I prayed for answers. Why was nothing working?
After all I’ve done to my body, it’s no wonder that now my body is starting to turn on me. Hashimoto’s is when your immune system attacks your thyroid. For me, my triggers were food allergies. Dairy especially (I was drinking a LOT of lattes). But also yeast. My doctor looked at me and said “This was probably brought on by all the starving you’ve done.”
I think deep down I already knew that. Now that I'm relatively healthy, my body won't cooperate. Now that I'm ready to do it the right way, the right way isn't working. What was once easy has become hard...and I wonder what I'm meant to learn through this. It's like someone is saying "Will you stick with it... or will you go back to the old way?"
It's like I'm being dared.
I found this story on the Weight Watchers website which also made me cry. I wanted to email this lady and tell her I could've written her words myself and beg her to tell me it won't be so hard. But near the end of the article she says "I wish I could say the weight loss was easy, but it wasn't. There were plenty of upsetting setbacks. I remember going to a meeting after what I thought was a really good week, and the scale told me I was up 4 pounds. I was so upset; I couldn't stay through the meeting. At that point, I still had more than 100 pounds to lose, and I thought, "I'll never get there at this rate. I'll be 100 years old by the time I reach goal."
I've so been there.
Years ago, I hid this from everyone, but now, I think talking about it is the only way to rob it of its power. At the end of her interview, Portia told Oprah that there’s a fine line between extreme dieting and an eating disorder.
I think I teeter on that line daily.
I console myself by telling myself that I never went crazy. I never did laps in a parking lot after chewing gum. I must be okay.
But really, am I? If all we do is obsess over what we're going to eat and allow that number on the scale to determine our mood--to essentially determine our happiness... are we okay?
And if we aren't, how do we overcome it? How do we move beyond this unrealistic expectation of perfection--the one we can't possibly achieve? How do we look at the people who love us and think "Yes. This is enough." How do we see ourselves through their eyes?
How do we finally come to a place where we can say "I am beautiful. Just like I am."
And not think in the back of our minds "But I sure would like to be ten pounds thinner"?
I hesitate to post this. I am pretty transparent here. I'll give you a bulleted list of all my flaws--but this one? This is like, the underbelly. The dark, seedy truth that I think I want to ignore. Because it's easier to just sweep it under the rug.
I'm a sweeper.
But. Sweeping it won't make it go away. And I guess this is just one more way that I'm a work in progress. I wish I could write a letter to Portia de Rossi, to thank her for telling her story. She articulates thoughts and feelings I've never been able to put into words. Thoughts I'd rather not come to terms with, if I'm honest. But she has. And I'm inspired by her.
Inspired to release myself of the stranglehold.
Somehow. I'm gonna get there.