All This, And We’re STILL Not Done!!!
It’s true, this is only half of the binge-eating explanation (it’s just so long). But hang on, the other half should be here tomorrow. I’m working on breathing life back into this blog. I’m halfway through my weight-loss now and it’s time to start looking at what I’ll do with my life next. I’d like that to be helping my obese brethren to lose their burdens.
About 4 years ago, I tried attending an addictions recovery program that was held by my family’s church, to help me with my weight issues. Through them I learned about a lot of different types of disorders. They weren’t restricted to one vice, like AA, they covered them all, using a version of the Twelve Steps that was made more for Mormons.
I didn’t really know why I was there though. I spent a lot of time thinking about what my problem actually was that was keeping me where I was. I didn’t know. It seemed like an addiction, or at least that there was an addiction involved, but it was a compound problem. Where in my problems did the addiction lie, and what were the other problems facing me that compounded with my addiction?
But at the time, I wasn’t even positive that it was an addiction. Maybe it was just something like an addiction. It was unreal for me, because I couldn’t grasp it, couldn’t get my head around it, couldn’t understand it. Unreal demons are the most dangerous ones. They’re unreal because we can’t figure them out; that makes them undefined, which is a term associated with the infinite. When we consider that a problem like this is actually infinite, it’s a little easier to understand why so many people are plagued with it, and can’t seem to overcome it without life changing surgery.
But it takes a life-changing SOMETHING to overcome it! Be it surgery or not, life-changing is the key! I thought it would take surgery. I finally sighed and shrugged and gave in and committed to have the surgery done. One thing that I managed to get out of the meeting at my church was the first step – to admit that we are powerless and that our lives have become unmanageable. I didn’t know about powerless and I didn’t care for the AA concept that you will always be plagued with this addiction, that you can never overcome it. I felt like with enough work and practice it ought to be doable! But I couldn’t deny that my life had become unmanageable. I was wearing the most expensive clothes to man and they were all crap – shorts and t-shirts with cutoff sleeves, the occasional polo, all of these the cheapest items that can be found at a Big & Tall store, which are still MORE expensive than generally nice clothes!
Yes, my life was unmanageable. My eating was out of control. I had to accept this, and at that point, I accepted that the problem was just too big for me to handle and if I kept on trying to take it on myself, I’d just put myself in an early grave. Given the state of my health, “early” might be an overstatement.
I’d never heard of Binge Eating Disorder until very recently. It was, within the past months, accepted by a muckity-muck scientific establishment as a bona fide disorder. Looking over the wikipedia page for it I have to shrug and say “Yeah, that’s about right.” But the information that is shared there was just not available years ago when I attended this addictions recovery meeting. I never joined Overeater’s Anonymous. I’d have been too embarrassed to; I couldn’t even imagine the strain of failure at Overeater’s Anonymous.
They might, however, have had more information for me there. They would have at least known where to start, I imagine. The nice folks that ran the meeting I attended, an elderly couple that had been called as missionaries by the Mormon church, specifically to help people with addictions, really hadn’t had any training in my area of trouble, but they welcomed me with open arms for as long as I chose to attend.
I studied the twelve steps and did my best to apply them. I played the piano for them sometimes and tried to come up with goals to apply into my life and come up with some kind of success to share with the group. I left thankful to them for all the help they’d offered me and it was one of the friendliest partings I’d had from people who had offered to help. No one’s feelings were hurt and no one felt like they’d wasted their time.
If you’re curious why I attended in the first place, I can tell you: it was offered to me, it was free, it was weekly. I’ve had a lot of people offer help, and I made a commitment to myself while I was a truck driver that I would not turn down any help related to my weight. In truth, I rarely turned anyone’s offers down before that.
Of course, you run into a lot of flakes like that. People that swear they want to help you, if you’ll just let them, they’re going to bring such changes into your life, show you how it’s done and be there with you every step of the way. They promise the moon and the stars, and I agree to accept and put forth every effort to make their help work for me. Damn me if that isn’t the last I see of some of them.
I remember when I was a truck driver, making a delivery in New England. I’d been to the place before, I think I was delivering Solo cups I’d picked up in Havre De Grace, Maryland. I was waiting in the lounge, which looked more like a barebones cafeteria – tables connected to each other with chairs on either side and a couple of vending machines. I’d fed the snack one some dollars and come away with some different chip baggies and pretzels and candies. And I’d gotten a few Cokes from the soda machine. I didn’t know yet how much I’d actually weighed because when the Indian guy that came along and struck up a conversation with me asked, I told him I didn’t know.
When I first found out I weighed a little over 560 pounds, I told people I didn’t know at first, when they’d ask, and they do ask. I’d been telling them that for a while, or just guessing a number, like 350 pounds. When I told them 350, they almost always told me they couldn’t believe I weighed that much. I thought if I told them how much it really was, maybe they’d have a heart attack. So I started telling them.
This little Indian guy pointed out that whatever my weight was, it wasn’t healthy. No kidding. He offered to show me something that would take care of my weight problem. I might not believe him at first, it is simple, but it works. I was willing. He told me about breathing – how a certain way of breathing can cause such exercise within your body that the weight just melts off of you. Weight-loss through yoga. I’m game. I told him I was down, ready to try it. Asked him when he could show it to me. He promised he would before he left the property. I was called back on something about my load. When I came back, his trailer had been released and he was long gone.
But that’s certainly not true of all of them. Most of the people who offered, I can say that they did try to help. Still, none before ever had the effect that Eeks had! I think most of them just weren’t equipped. That changed with Erin. I’ll admit, I half expected to never hear from her again. She’s a friend of a friend that I ended up seeing a lot on Facebook and at some point, ended up being Facebook friends with her as well. She heard about some of the challenges I faced, especially with regards to the medical field and nutritionists.
I didn’t start out with much faith in Eeks. She seemed far too confident for my liking. Too eager, the kind that will get frustrated and give up easy. And she was far too sure that losing this weight could be done without surgery. I told her I had no interest in that. Wasn’t true, but I told her. Surgery is where it’s at for me. I’ve accepted it and I won’t argue it. She took that in stride and said that she still wanted to help me lose weight, since they expect you to lose some weight for your surgery, and she was sure she could at the very least help me to do that.
It was months before I took her seriously and stopped seeing my bariatric surgeon. I decided to put the work I was doing on setting up my surgery on hold for a while, since I had managed to get well under 500 pounds. What she was doing was working – why not give her more time?
Eeks didn’t teach me what binge eating is or how to overcome it. She figured out what I was doing, what I had tried, how I was eating, and what kind of exercise I had – she determined what kinds of tools I was working with. Then she got to work with me, sharpening the tools and eliminating some of the “dead weight” – things that weren’t working or helping.
Every time I failed at something, I could feel the dread creep over me, that was it, I’d get the ultimatum and if you’re fat like I was, then you’ve heard the ultimatum – an assumption that you must just not be doing your part, and the person that offered to help you, being so gracious as he/she was, is doing everything that they can. And if you just aren’t going to put forth the effort and do what they tell you that you need to, then there’s nothing they can do to help. And you can’t help feel how grateful they might be if you’d just stop wasting their time.
But I never dealt with that when working with Eeks. I’d call her and be all worried, like today’s the day, she’s going to tell me to get packing. But I’d call and she’d answer, I’d tell her that I’d failed at one of the goals we set and she’d asked what happened. I’d tell her and she’d think about it for a minute and then ask me if I could try doing something smaller – she’d make the suggestion and ask if I could handle that. If I didn’t think so, she’d break it down smaller and ask if I thought I could handle that.
Sometimes I said yes just out of guilt – here she was holding out olive branch after olive branch to me, trying to help me, trying to make it work, and I’d take on something that I didn’t think I could overcome. Sometimes I was right, but you know what? Sometimes I was wrong, and I overcame it anyway. And during those times that I was right, I called her again, explained why I failed, and she got back to work coming up with smaller changes. And if she ran out of changes, she suggested we revisit that issue later, when I’m more prepared for it, and we’d look at the changes I was actively working on.
Somehow, Eeks steered me to overcoming binge eating. It started with not letting up about the food journal. I’m not keeping one right now, though I have one. I do need to start writing in it again. My trainer said not to worry about it too much, he’s very happy with what I seem to be putting into my body lately and is seeing the results as pounds come off of me on a fairly regular basis (usually it will be a month of weight loss, perhaps 30 to 70 pounds, then some months on the plateau, while my body acclimates to it’s new shape).
But still I want to keep with the journal. For one thing, I’m a little worried I might be under-nourishing myself as I don’t eat as much lately. I mostly eat in the mornings and afternoon, with an occasional small meal in the evening. It’s really the opposite of how I used to eat – little to nothing in the mornings, maybe something in the afternoon, but at night, what a feast! And then it would sit in me all night long. And when I’d binge! What a crime.
As I suggested in the last post, I’m not that interested in explaining why I binged. I don’t need to know why in order to find healthy alternatives to it. One thing that is unquestionable, eating a whole lot makes you feel happy. It relieves the stress within you. Of course, when you’re trying not to binge, because you see what destruction it wreaks in your life, the stress relief is only temporary. Soon guilt will set in.
It is gluttony, one of the “seven deadly sins”. I’m not interested in discussing the other ones, or religion for that matter, but I will say this, the word deadly is not a misnomer. Deadly is dead accurate.
Tune in soon for the other half of this post!