January 24, 2012

Imperfectionist

I seriously considered deleting this post because I hate the very idea that I might disappoint people whom I deeply care about. But this blog has never been about creating the image of a perfect mother and her idyllic husband and children. Unfortunately, I think that's the idea that can be portrayed from time to time since all of you are only privy to a very small glimpse of our lives. So here's to honesty today, brutal and uncensored.

I began the new year with the goal of being healthy. I wanted to ditch some bad habits and embrace my inner tree hugger, especially where exercise and food are concerned. Unfortunately, it isn't that easy because I do not have a good relationship with food. In fact, that is one relationship that's quite bad.

College, a prime breeding ground for heartbreak and late-night pizza deliveries, gave me a freedom I had never previously experienced with food. I would go an entire day without eating and then binge at night, justifying an entire day's worth of calories in the evening because I was hungry and my boyfriend of the time (who would not later become my husband) was somewhat less than a stellar influence.

I wish I could say that this eating pattern was a rare occurrence, but it became part of my routine. Then, slowly, it evolved into something more. I broke up with the aforementioned boyfriend. I didn't get along with my roommates very well because we had virtually nothing in common, including our ideas about doing dishes. And then I got lonely and with that loneliness came food. Ridiculous, excessive amounts of food. The kind of food that you don't want people to watch you eat, so I would squirrel away in my dorm with my laptop for company, and snarf down the equivalent of a heart attack on a plate in less than ten minutes.

Somehow, over the years, that habit persisted. Eating by myself while the kids were napping or once everyone was asleep. Indulging in an amount of food that was both dangerously unhealthy and costly to our family. No one knew. It was my little secret... except for the jokes I would make here and there about my undying passion for everything Wendy's.

For whatever reason, I was surfing the Internet recently and came across information about binge eating disorder. Seeing my actions described on the computer screen, slapped with a label, was enough to stop me dead in my tracks. I had begun 2012 with the goal of becoming healthy, but I had buried this little secret under a smile and a quasi-healthy diet while in public for the last seven years.

It was time to be done.

So I did what I had to do, I gathered my courage, kissed those french fries goodbye, and shared it with my husband. As he is the very picture of health, fitness, and sexy abs, I spared him the gory details of exactly how much food passed my lips when he wasn't looking, but I took the step of being open and honest. And what I gained was someone to be my support, someone who won't condemn, but will help me break the habits that have become so ingrained over the years. And someone who will hold me away from the cheeseburgers, kicking and screaming, if that's what it takes.

Looking back, if I could do things differently, I would. These habits are deeply-rooted and will take time to break. Unlike so many other people, I can't point the finger at my upbringing or some traumatic event in my past and whine about how it made me eat because my parents did everything right in teaching me about eating and being healthy; I made this bad choice all by myself. It wasn't the first and it won't be the last. Now, at the age of 25, I can see what I have ahead of me. I have a loving husband and two beautiful children. I want to be around for them, to see my kids go off to school and to embarrass them on prom night. I want to grow old with Jonathan and tease him about his gray hair. And I know that repeatedly abusing my body is not the way to do this.

So I'm beginning 2012 with the resolution to be healthy, to break this habit and to retrain myself to see food as fuel for my body instead of using it as an emotional crutch.

And as for those french fries, I won't be giving them up completely. But next time I head through the drive-thru, for the first time in seven years, I will be practicing self control because I want to be healthy and do the right thing for my body. Because when it's all said and done, all the food in the world isn't worth passing up the opportunity to tease my husband about getting old.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for your honesty! I have a similar problem that comes and goes, forgetting to eat during the day because I am distracted, and then filling myself up with ice cream or chips. I'm starting to get better, especially about dinners. I make a menu at the beginning of the week and then I'm not left wondering what to make at 6:30. So we eat healthy at dinner, and the accountability helps since my husband sees what I'm eating. But during the day, as a stay at home mom myself, I am trying to get into the habits of eating, first of all, and second of all, eating well for lunch. We don't eat fast food, and I avoid the snack and salty aisles at the supermarkets now. Just yesterday I was sooo tempted to buy Oreos because they had migrated to an end cap. But I had already baked chocolate chip cookies that day...

    I actually started eating sugar snap peas as a replacement for french fries when I'm at home. If you get a good brand or buy fresh (get the plump ones!), they have a satisfying crunch to them. A "baby step" would be buying the crisp version. I think the brand is "Snapea Crisp" and they are in the health food or chip aisle (hopefully in the health food aisle).

    Here's to eating and snacking healthy!

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  2. thanks SO much for sharing!!! I am new at being a stay at home mom, but I am not new to the binge eating. I can totally relate, and you are right to be honest with your husband - I have the most caring sweetest and understanding husband, and I just can't lie to him. If I eat something I shouldn't I have committed to being accountable to him to tell him. Before we got married I actually struggled with bulimia - I committed to him and to myself the day we got married that I would no longer purge if I had had a binge session. Although I still struggle with bingeing, I now know that I have to live with the consequesnces of having to be honest about my decisions to eat poorly. This alone is a deterrant, but the other thing that I find helps is to still allow yourself to have a treat EVERYDAY - my treat is always something sweet like a small peanut butter cup (not the regular size ones). and I have this treat with my hubby when he gets home from work. Also, someone once mentioned to me to remember to eat with purpose and to remember to taste the food - it helped me to stop shovelling it in. You can do this :) I will do it right along side you :) ps. I LOVE your blog!!!

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  3. You go girl! I am 100% with you on this, as you know, I as well have struggled with attaining a healthy relationship with food... and well, Its a battle, and lives have been lost. And when it looks grim, just remember we all can do it. (:

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