So I left you last time with a still reasonably thin, post-traumatic relationship, college-age me. I had always enjoyed eating, but at this point it began to be a therapeutic strategy. Sad – chocolate, happy – mexican food with friends, mad – more chocolate, worried – most likley more chocolate…you see the pattern developing here. My feelings were literally linked to eating. Instead of feeding my stomach, I began to try to feed my hurting heart too.
To say that the aforementioned relationship was traumatic is not an overstatement. The person I was with was an obvious wrong choice from the start to everyone but me. As it progressed, I moved away from trusted friendships, started attending his church, hung out with his friends and family and bought into his ideas of who God was and who I was. What a mess. When God rescued me out of it, I was in emotional shambles and hopelessly confused about everything except that I knew that God had really saved my butt from a life-time of hurt. You see, while I moved on and moved back to walking with the Lord, I still acted on the memories of my past, and It was so subtle and so unconscious that I am realizing it all these years later.
My eating issues weren’t obvious to anyone really. We are a country of emotional eaters. We live, breathe, and think about food all the time. We have whole cable channels devoted to it (not that I don’t love the Food Network – I love my Rachael Ray!) Still the idea of only eating when hungry is a pretty foreign idea in our culture. We’re constantly bombarded with these crazy messages about food – “food is fun”, “food is there for you when no one else is (comfort food)”, some foods are “good” and some are “bad”, “make the food behave! (take all the taste and fat, sugar, and carbs away so you can eat loads of it guilt-free).
When I married my man, I started to gain weight. I love my man; I love being married to him, but even the happiest of married women will tell you that marriage is stressful. Two people who are, by their very nature, extremely different come together as one. I ate. A lot. Plus, I was in my last year of school and writing ridiculously long papers, compiling portfolios, etc. I ate. A lot. And I went from my cute size 8/9 to a not as cute 10 and then slowly crept right into a 12.
Here’s where I started trying to finally “do something” about my weight. I joined the YMCA and worked out everyday; I began to diet. My first diet was Atkins. I lost 15 lbs and went down to a 10 again. “Victory is mine!” I thought. Then I remembered that I liked bread and not 15 but 20 lbs found their way back home.
By the time I got pregnant with Jonah in 2003, I only slightly recognized my body. And pregnancy . . . I ate and ate and ate til my little baby was a 9lb 5oz baby. WOW! My beautiful son came tearing into the world and I was left with a completely unrecognizable, stretched out, crazy looking body. I remember looking in the mirror one day and saying out loud, “Who the heck are you?!”
to be continued . . .