I’m the kind of person who, given the opportunity to visit the cool, breezy, beautiful, expat-in-one’s-own-country vibe of Key West, decides it is her mission—her absolute duty—to try every Key lime pie she can (eating pie after every meal except breakfast), photograph them, rank them, and put together a collage of “The Best Key Lime Pies in Key West.” It’s just one of many public services I provide. You’re welcome.
Anyway, sticking with a healthy food plan has been a challenge in my life for a very long time. As this blog moves forward and I become more comfortable with revealing the deep stuff, the sad stuff, the stuff that right now is just too damn hard to even think about, I will get to the “why.” For now, I will talk about the basic stuff. And basically, I’m a mess when it comes to food. I have always said that I don’t have an eating disorder, I have disordered eating. It is a distinction I have made in my own mind that has no relevance to any version of the DSM manual. I know this. But I’m not anorexic. I’m not bulimic. I’m not a binge eater. I’m just a down-and-dirty emotional eater.
I don’t say this lightly. I don’t have one cookie when I’ve had a bad day and then return to salads and grilled fish the next. No, I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl. And just what does this look like? Be prepared; this could get ugly.
In 2006 I reached the astoundingly high weight of 306. Yes, that is a THREE and it is not a typo. How I got there will be unearthed as I slowly excavate the reasons I am so unhappy with myself. But when a kindly doctor mentioned the words “lap” and “band” in the same sentence, I actually took stock of what I had done to my body. The “why” didn’t matter; I had to get the weight off. I joined Weight Watchers and lost 125 pounds in 16 months. I was a laser focused on ridding myself of the protective parka I had been wearing and there was no stoppping me once the decision was made.
But then life kicked in. I mean life kicked me. Hard. I began my life with chronic pain. Our beloved cat Sydney became very ill and passed away. Then the final straw: my dad was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. As his disease progressed my weight increased. Then the laser came back on and I lost weight again, this time with Medifast. My dad passed away. The weight returned, more slowly this time, but it came back. Our cat Toby had to be put to sleep. My mom went to live in an assisted living facility. I maintained a not-so-ideal weight. Then she passed away. Within nine months of her passing I had gained more than I would have if that nine months had been a pregnancy. I was miserable. Again. And I simply did not care.
Now, it seems, I have turned the corner from I Do Not Care Street onto I Am Under Control Avenue. And by doing so I am headed in a completely different direction. One that is quite point-less. I recently returned to Weight Watchers, and I am finding it a bit easier on this trip. Part of this is their new plan with more than 200 free foods. There are no Weight Watcher “points”—the formula given every food based on its nutritional value—on these foods. This means I can have fat-free yogurt with fruit for breakfast and it’s free. A dinner of chicken breast and steamed veggies is also free.
But this is not about free; this is about me. I cannot control or cure my pain, at least not yet. But I am in control of what I eat. This is one thing, just one vitally important thing, that I can be in charge of. And by being in charge, I will lose weight. So for now, I will be as point-less as possible. And as I move ever onward and lose part of myself, I will strive to figure out the “whys.” Someday, those “whys” will become clear. For now I will do the best I can in this new point-less world of eating. Hopefully, this journey will not be pointless.