Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Losing Myself

DISCLAIMER - if reading about unhealthy food is a trigger for you, consider skipping this post
I wrote yesterday about how I no longer view food as good or bad. One of the things I have been adamant about this time around on the WL journey is that I would enjoy it. It is hard, yes, but I find that I enjoy the food I eat now much more than I ever enjoyed it when I was fat. It is weird. It is like my tastebuds are more sensitive now. It is also true that I no longer eat whatever I want whenever I want, so I have to make each treat count more if that makes sense.

A few weeks ago, I had the weirdest thing happen to me. It really freaked me out and I still haven't totally figured it out.

I had been eating clean for about a week. It started to feel really easy and natural. It was great. Just like a honeymoon period. Then, I started to get very odd cravings. I wanted lentils. I wanted milk. I craved apples. AWESOME!

Then I realized something -- I DIDN'T want a lot of stuff that I liked. I mean lentils sounded even better to me than cheese dip. Better than a burger. Better than red velvet cake. And more than that, none of those things even sounded good to me. Nowhere near as good as a nice glass of skim milk with a handful of almonds.

hold up a minute here.... WHAT?!?!

I am not going to lie. I freaked out. Seriously, I really honestly did. I ended up eating several of the things like cheese dip that I enjoy just to make sure I still liked them. They were not at all satisfying. I ate them anyways and ended up regretting it. It was as though my brain was trying to convince my tastebuds that cheese dip still was the end all/be all of food. They were not getting convinced.

I have to admit that this revelation was very sad.

One of the things I have been both concerned about and vigilant against is trading one form of disordered eating and food abuse (bingeing, emotional overeating, etc) for another (e.g., anorexia). Though I am not a psychologist or anyone with any sort of training in this area, I think I see a lot of this in the WL blogosphere. It makes me sad. I also don't think it is healthy or sustainable. In fact, in reading through my own archives some stunningly unhealthy patterns have emerged in my own behavior -- I used to work out 2 hours at a time almost 6 days a week. WTH?!? Not sustainable in real life. I am aiming for moderation in all areas, including exercise and food.

Feeling like I didn't enjoy my historical favorite foods made me feel like I was losing a little bit of myself. It was sudden and unexpected. I didn't like it, and OMG did I revolt. I didn't jump off the deep end but I will admit that it was one of the most unsettling feelings I had felt on this weight loss journey, and it was a hard obstacle to overcome.

I've come to recognize that sometimes I'm in the mood for a treat. Sometimes I'm not. And that is ok. Just because I don't want cheese dip all the time with incredible urgency doesn't mean I won't crave it sometimes or won't ever like it again. And when I do crave it, it isn't bad to have it.

Man, learning these lessons is hard. I feel like the work I did over the last six months has been so tedious and hard. During this time, I fluctuated within the same 5-7 lb window -- gaining and losing and gaining and losing. During this time, I've also encountered mental roadblocks and scaled them one by one. I now feel like it's been like clearing out a forest. Now a lot of the trees are down and the stumps are uprooted and moved out of the way. And now I can sail on down the scales for awhile until I hit the next thicket of issues that need worked through. Although I am physically losing myself and shedding the weight, I refuse to lose who I am and what makes me me. Because I like me.

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