From my journey to make peace I did not get what I hoped for, but what I got is nothing short of a miracle. It didn’t come to me with great fanfare. In fact, I barely noticed at all.
I read Health at Every Size several years ago after 35 years of the diet/weight gain cycle. I had developed binge eating disorder and I was starting to understand that what I had done in the past wasn’t ever going to work. I wanted an explanation and a fix. I got one, but it wasn’t what I hoped for.
Reading that book was a revelation. Thank you, Linda Bacon. The data about weight loss matched my experience and I finally believed it to be true. After that, I decided to give it up. All of it. The endless quest for a way to control the size and shape of my body. The shame. The endless food fight and the stress from trying to control my eating. The “buying in” to a culture that abhors fat and declares health based on the fallacy of BMI. Did I mention the shame?
So I had DECIDED, but what now? I knew that I wanted to be an intuitive eater. I knew that I wanted, at the very least, to respect my body as it was right then. I also knew that I couldn’t do it alone. So off I went on the JOURNEY. I took classes at the beloved ‘Be Nourished’. I got a therapist who specialized in eating disorders and a dietician who did also. When she moved away I got a new therapist. I re-read all of my favorite books and talked until I was blue. Learning, noticing, baby steps forward, backward, forward. How to listen to my body and try to understand what on earth it was saying (I still don’t always know). How to eat a little more mindfully. How to let go of the past. How to trust.
Although I remember the moment I realized I was no longer binge eating, I can’t think of a single time or event when I knew that the greater struggle had ended. But looking at my life now, I see that it has ended.
Let me say that again. The struggle has ended. The proof is in the big things that are disguised as little things. The boxes of Girl Scout cookies in my pantry (okay, the Thin Mints are in the freezer). I can’t count how many times in my life I said, “I can’t keep those in my house”. How great does it feel that I can and I do? How great does it feel that I don’t go to bed feeling stuffed and regretting what I ate? Pretty great. It all feels pretty great.
In the beginning, I hoped to be thinner, but I’m not. I hoped that when I got a handle on the food thing I wouldn’t even want the cookies, but I do. Instead of what I hoped for, I got what I needed. It is hard to express how grateful I am for the ongoing journey and for all of the support given to me. I am mostly peaceful with food and my body now. And it is a damned miracle.