I started my ‘last diet’ on May 15, 1993. It is the day that the light bulbs came on for me, an awareness that I was using excess food to ignore the problems in my life. Food gave me a false sense of being okay. Whenever I would start to feel overwhelmed by my life problems, I ate extra food. I strived for a life of perfection in a totally imperfect world.
Today I know that there is no perfect life. In fact, that would probably be quite boring! It is on those wonderful days that I make mistakes, stumbling along a path of discovering what doesn’t work, so I can then figure out what does, that life seems the most worthwhile. I make mistakes over and over, and you know what? It’s the most lovable part of me. Eventually I discover what works, by first discovering what doesn’t!
I find today that people really relate to my flub-ups, way more than my false portrayal of perfection. In fact, when I share one of my goofy stories of how I messed up, it gives the people in my life permission to make mistakes too. I no longer judge others because I’m no longer judging myself against some unattainable goal that I can never reach. I embrace the goof-ball in me, along with the things I do well.
This is the spiritual aspect of my life, the human side that needs God and people. I cannot win the war against morbid obesity on my own – when I hear how others have made it, not only losing weight, but also keeping it off, I feel my own hope that I can do it too. This comradery with others who are not only achieving a healthy body weight, but also maintaining it, is the army that I need to win this war. I cannot do it alone. It is indeed a spiritual path for me to stick close to others.
Otherwise, the ‘pay and weigh’ club would have worked in 1967 when I only had ten or twenty pounds to lose; my weight wouldn’t have soared over 200 pounds not once, not twice, but three times in my ‘eating career’. My last weight was over 250 pounds. I don’t know my top weight because I stopped weighing myself at 248; I couldn’t bear to see the scale over 250. I kept eating my way up two more dress sizes.
Life is really okay without all that extra food and weight. In fact, it’s pretty wonderful. I had a grand day yesterday with my husband, son and daughter-in-love at Disney. There are many tempting opportunities to gorge oneself through those parks and at one time, that would have been my focus. Instead, I enjoyed strolling around with the best company a wife and mother could ask for. I love listening to the kids, hearing what great adventures life is throwing their way. I love watching my husband and his son connect. We laughed a lot during the day. When it was time to eat, we did that; had a meal, continued jibber-jabbering while we ate, and then went on to enjoy more of each other’s company.
Times like these are the feasts in my life, not that endless search for that perfect food that would give me a moment of ‘ah’ and a lifetime of remorse, shame and regret.