I wanted to write an introduction about the journey I’ve been working on with my weight and coping with stress by emotional and binge eating. This will be the beginning of weight loss journey. I mean it has to be. I really don’t have a choice. My girlfriend is getting married in 3 months in Cancun and my bridesmaid dress will not zip up. CRISIS MODE: ON! It is not even close to zipping up. Everyone tells me I need to return it, but I won’t. I am going to fit in that damn dress! I didn’t want to wait until after I lost the weight because I wanted to share the process in real-time. The ups, downs, victories and the tribulations. I am not going to hide and feel shame. This is me. This is who I am and what I have overcome. The aesthetics of my body may not be what I want it to look like right now, but I love my body in whatever shape it may be. I believe self-love is the most important step in any weight journey.
A little info:
Emotional eating is when an individual is at the weakest point emotionally and food cravings on the strongest. Individuals turn to food for comfort consciously or unconsciously when facing a difficult problem, feeling stressed or even feeling bored.
Binge eating is a pattern episodes of uncontrollable eating. During such binges, an individual will rapidly consume an excessive amount of food.
Growing up I was the skinny girl. I often was called “stick” or “carrot top” because of my red hair and this really clever kid would call me “carrot stick.” It caught on quickly. I felt such shame for being thin that I ate McDonald’s multiple times a week to gain weight and nothing. But that all changed when I got pregnant. I gained about 50 lbs when I was pregnant with Lexie and Maddie and I dropped the weight quickly.
When I was 6 months pregnant with my youngest Aubrielle, I got the devastating phone call that my dad was diagnosed with Leukemia. I wailed on floor at bottom of my staircase for an hour terrified for the future. After that hour of grieving I knew that I had to be strong and optimistic for my family. I just held my breathe. My dad battled cancer for months in the hospital. After what felt like years we got the wonderful news that my dad was in remission. Finally I can breath. My dad got stronger and his hair was growing back. But that’s when my grieving hit me.
I had to be strong for so long and when my dad got better the floods gates opened. How did I cope? Eating! I have 3 girls always watching me and I felt like if I would cry or be vulnerable they would get scared. As a parent, the last thing you want is for your child to be scared. So I suppressed my emotions until I felt nothing, but whenever I ate out or made comfort foods I would get a rush of happiness. Food became a big comfort. It made me feel so happy. I’d be at home feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, but foods like pasta, pizza and chocolate would flood me with so much excitement I would dance. Like a different person came over me.
A little over a year went by and I began to feel safe again. Like everything my dad had to endure was just a horrendous bad dream. I started getting excited for the future again. I didn’t need food to make me happy because I was actually happy. I was going back to school, my girls were growing up beautifully and my marriage was better than ever. When Chris and I went on a vacation to Kauai we hiked up a mountain, and we were looking out at the beautiful ocean. I felt like my heart was going to burst with happiness. A few days after we came back from our vacation we had our weekly dinner at my parents. I looked at my dad’s face and I saw a very familiar look on his face. It was fear. I could see the fear in his face even though he was trying his best to hide it. He could feel that it was back. I could feel it was back. A few days later our fear was confirmed. His cancer cells came back and this time he would need a bone marrow transplant. He went through round after round of chemo, then his bone marrow transplant and then chemo some more. I felt I was watching the life being drained from my dad. Watching your loved one suffer and being completely helpless is the worst pain imaginable. I put my faith in God, that he would see us through and I thought I was coping well. Until the numbers on scale started climbing and I realized I was not coping at all. I was suppressing my emotions again and forming an emotional attachment with food. I began to feel like I was powerless. I wanted to say no to binge eating but it made me feel like I was saying no to my happiness.
Then I saw a picture my dad and I had taken and I could not believe that person was me. I couldn’t recognize my self. I am currently at the biggest I have ever been in my life. Even when I was pregnant with my girls I was not this heavy. I looked in the mirror and felt such shame. I just stood there and cried. I felt like I didn’t have the strength to get a hold of my addiction to food. But one day my oldest daughter Lexie came into my room and asked, “Mommy, why are you crying?” I looked down at my body and said, “Baby, I just feel so fat and it makes me really sad.” And my beautiful and sweet girl put her hand on my face and said, “You’re not fat mommy, you are beautiful.” In that moment I realized what an incredible mistake I was making. I was shaming my own body and even worse I was teaching my daughter body shaming. It reminded me that I am my daughter’s prime example. I had to make changes not just for me, but for those 3 beautiful girls that look up to me so much. I thought to myself, I will not be a parent that tells their child “do as I say.” No, I am going to be a parent that encourages my daughters to “do as I do.”
Which leaves me to now, my father is currently cancer free and was release from the hospital few weeks ago. It still breaks my heart everyday because I don’t quite feel the nightmare is over. I’ve been seeing a therapist to work through the stressors of having a sick parent and my emotional attachment with food. Every time I come out of my therapist office I feel lighter. I am a few weeks into my lifestyle change and I’ve already lost 4 lbs! My girlfriend made me a meal plan and it has been going great. I am hungry like a baby dinosaur every 2 hours, but I’m trusting the process. The Dove Dark Chocolates have really helped my sweet tooth. With school back in session my schedule is pretty hectic, but I’m planning out my week in advance. And I’ve cut out time to work out at my local boot camp, family bike rides and more time for self-care. Writing has been such great therapy. I’m having a wonderful time working on my blog.
My goal is to lose 20-30 lbs, but I’m not going to worry so much on the scale. It’s more of a guide line because I know that muscle weighs more than fat. I’m excited for my journey. I will be sharing some recipes, self-care tips, and my lifestyle change updates. Xoxo
I hope that someone struggling with emotional and binge eating may find my journey helpful. And know that you are not alone.