Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's Not About the Weight

Trigger warning: disordered eating, body image issues, depression.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional of any kind.  These are my personal thoughts, opinions, and experiences only.  Not medical advice.

It's not about the weight.  More specifically, it's not about MY weight.  At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

This is the lesson I am currently trying to learn.  I've been working on it for a while.  Dr. P was working on it with me, and J is helping me continue that work.

It is work.  Trying to unlearn years and years of behavior is difficult.  I've been overweight most of my adult life.  Actually, even before that.  My heaviest was in high school.  In college, I participated in a weight loss program.  At the time, it worked great for me.  I lost weight, changed my eating habits, and felt great.

But it didn't last.  In the years following my college graduation, my disordered eating became worse and worse, as did my (unrecognized and untreated) depression and anxiety.  All this led to a lot of weight gain.  And really high blood sugars.  And guilt.  And shame.

Then I found the DOC.  And for about six months, things were great.  I was high on the joy of finding my community.  Of no longer feeling alone.  Truly inspired to take care of myself and my diabetes, I reigned in my eating, improved my A1c, and lost weight.  Can you see the pattern emerging?  Because guess what?  It didn't last.

The binge eating was not going to just disappear.  Thanks to tremendous amounts of support from my family and DOC friends, I found the courage to ask for help--one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I've been in treatment for a couple years now.  There have been ups and downs, highs and lows, but treatment has changed my life.  I still struggle, but have come so far.

Which brings me back to my point.  It's not about the weight.  It can't be.  I focused on weight for years.  It doesn't work for me.  So I am trying to unlearn all that behavior.

It's not about my weight.  It's about being healthy.  Focusing on taking care of myself for the long term.  This is what I'm trying to do.  For me, that encompasses several things.  I try to eat healthy most of the time.  Packing and taking my lunch to work.  Eating fruits and/or vegetables with most meals.  Stocking my house with healthy foods and snacks.  Exercising at least three times a week.  And doing the best I can to care for my diabetes and all the challenges that come with it.

It seems like a tall order.  But I know it's doable.  Because here's the kicker: I don't always eat healthy.  I can't.  An all or nothing, very restrictive diet doesn't work for me.  When I restrict like that, I will binge and get stuck in that cycle all over again.  I know this from plenty of experience.

For me, being healthy sometimes means having a giant cheeseburger and fries.  Or pizza.  Or a doughnut.  Or my aunt's FANTASTIC apple pie.  Because if I indulge in those things I love sometimes, then I am much more successful at making healthier choices other times.  And the urge to binge remains mostly quiet.

It's about moderation.  Finding a balance between making healthy choices, while still indulging in not so healthy choices sometimes.  Because it's not about my weight.  It's about my health.  And I'll keep saying it until I believe it.


  1. I, too, have to find ways to eat healthier without feeling deprived. If I have a light breakfast and am more than normally hungry at lunch, I will probably snack all day. An attempt earlier this year at a very low carb diet resulted in The Great Tortellini Incident. The good news is that the balance you speak of brings sustainability.

  2. Love this post! So much of it sounds just like me. I find that I'm more successful when I focus on being healthy instead of my weight. Thanks for this great post.

  3. It will be a long road. And a tough road. But you already know this. It will take years to unlearn and even when you know better, you will still struggle. It's not you. It's the world we live in. Media and even health professionals are always telling us it IS our weight. You are right. Always remember you are right - it's about health, not weight. Sometimes you might forget, but I know you can do this.

  4. I put chocolate chips every day in my oatmeal because it's like my "treat" for the day. It keeps me from going for the chocolate the rest of the day.

    I think one thing is clear in almost everybody's lives, moderation. Keep up the good work and I'm so happy you share this.

  5. I'm not sure I've told you I love you or that you're awesome for awhile, but I love you and you're awesome.

    And totally right on. It's a hard realization in itself to put into practice... but MAKING that realization is also a good portion of the battle. It's about doing the best you can in every moment--and, such is life, some moments will be better than others... but, it doesn't mean the less good ones are bad :].

    Keep up the fight, lovely lady.

  6. So many of us are struggling with this issue too. You are right, focusing on being healthy, instead of my weight, keeps me more motivated. You are not alone! We are right along side you...fighting the same fight.

  7. Yes, your friends do care and want you to be happy AND healthy!

  8. Everything in moderation including moderation? ;)

    But seriously, I think that depriving ourselves completely makes us more likely to binge when we just can't handle it anymore. It seems healthier to find safe ways to incorporate whatever it is into a longterm life plan.

  9. Love yourself as much as your husband loves you, or as much as your parents did when they held you for the first time. That's my advice. But it is impossible for me to take. I'm still waiting to outgrow my bad/destructive habits.

    Meanwhile, look at how pretty you are! That's not the point. But still--so pretty! Bring pretty doesn't solve the problem of how you feel, but still---however irrelevant and small it is: you are so pretty!