*Ed. note – This caption was written on Mar. 16, 2014, ergo, I have been the same size/weight for almost 10 months with no dieting, counting, excess exercising etc. I have also gone from bingeing daily to bingeing 2x, 6 months apart, in the same time period. For full disclosure and to stand in my own truth, I have also had multiple compulsive eating episodes and knowingly eaten for emotional reasons during this time. For anyone who may quibble with that, just know that I know the difference for me.
PLEASE READ THIS HEDGE – THEN PROCEED OR NOT AS YOU CHOOSE
The following rant is about me, Laurie Weaver, and ONLY about Laurie Weaver. LAURIE WEAVER (the Laurie Weaver who writes THIS BLOG in particular, and not any of the OTHER Laurie Weavers around the world). This Laurie Weaver is writing about HER OWN shit and HER OWN perceptions and HER OWN STUFF. Please do not take this as about you — it’s ME ME ME ME ME! It’s an internal selfie, a look at the state of MY emotional affairs and this is in NO WAY the responsibility of any BC, lurker, internet troll, the weather or the price of eggs in China what I feel or say or do.
Well that felt better.
Now back to our polite version…
Dearest BCs and others who listen to the podcast and/or read this blog, the following is intended for me to work out my feelings of late and to communicate my point of view with you. I do not expect you to buy into what I do, think or say. I do ask you to believe that what I do, think and say is true for me.
Why I’m Writing This – and I’ll probably talk about it too
Some of you may well ask, ‘Oh my goodness Laurie, why are you showing us your face and talking about comparative thinness, weight, numbers and other crap like that? Aren’t you a dyed-in-the-wool Intuitive Eater? Isn’t this DIRECTLY against what you are incorporating into your life of late?’
DING DING DING DING DING!
Yes, this is EXACTLY against what I’m trying to do and be and to work on for myself. BUT lately, I’ve been feeling judged, alienated and crappy about myself when ‘success’ is judged by weight loss standards.
But even THAT is a load of crap too. When I think rationally about it, by any weight loss standard, I’m holding my own just fine. I am a statistical success. I don’t usually parade my ‘before’ photo around, but it makes a point for me to remember.
I WEIGHED OVER 300 POUNDS right before I went to Weight Watchers in 1999 and then I hit my goal weight of 153 in 2001, went up to 159, with my Dr.’s permission, and STAYED THERE FOR TWO FRICKIN’ YEARS! (During which time I also became part of the National Weigh Control Registry – the study that tracks successful weigh loss maintainers and participated in various studies there for more than a decade), and btw, I am still counted there as successful as I have maintained more than 30 pounds off for all of these years. Two years after I maintained my goal weight, (with EXTREME effort, I might add), I had a surgery (not related to weight)and put on about twenty pounds. As you can imagine, this screwed my confidence AND my compulsive behaviors went into overdrive. But despite all of my angst up and down and up and down the scale, the MOST I’ve weighed since 2000 is the 225 pounds that scared me into starting this show and blog.
That means that I have maintained, at WORST, a 75 pound weight loss for almost 15 friggin’ years!
And THAT Is AMAZING!
I know how to lose weight. I know how to focus. I know how to white knuckle. I know how to overexercise à la the Biggest Loser. I know how to cut out entire food groups. I know how to detox from sugar and refined foods. I have been on almost every weight loss and/or healthier eating plan imaginable.
But Laurie, you just don’t KNOW ABOUT DIET XYZ! THAT will solve your weight problem.
Sigh. I wish that were true for me. But IT FRIGGIN’ ISN’T!
Because…wait for it…..WAIT for it….WAIT FOR IT…
I DON’T HAVE A WEIGHT PROBLEM – I have a Weight Symptom
Ahh, grasshoppers, now we get to the heart of my feeling of alienation. Most of us, myself included, believed, or believe, that weight is the problem we are trying to solve. For some of you, it IS the problem that needs solving. BUT NOT FOR ME!
For some of you, food type makes a HUGE difference to your blood sugar, your appetite, your energy etc. For some of you, sugar is just like a drug and triggers uncontrollable urges to eat. It is chemical as well as emotional that needs addressing. BUT NOT FOR ME!
For some of you it’s a medical necessity to get that weight off right now. BUT NOT FOR ME!*
(*I’m not sharing my private information that makes me state this, but I consult my Dr. regularly and SHE is my health partner, NOT the internet.)
And the fact that weight is not MY primary problem does NOT MEAN I think I am better or lesser than people who feel differently about their priorities and their problems.
So What IS my Friggin’ problem ?
Dear BCs, lurkers, and curious well-wishers, my problem is that at a very young age I had a lot of pain in my life and it continued. My problem is that I learned to cope with that pain by developing an eating disorder. My eating disorder presents with Compulsive-Obsessive eating and Body Over-focus coupled with severe Binge Eating Disorder. I use everything about weight and fear of weight to hide from the pain that I wrongly assume is in my entire world at all times. I use the weight itself to be separate. I use the worry about my weight to be safe. It is easier to displace my pain into feeling fat or being scared of fat, rather than feeling the actual pain under the surface. I layer myself in compulsions around my body and my eating behaviors. I obsess over and over and over on the way up and down the scale.
In short, dieting and everything around it is as tempting to me as a sugar cookie might be to some.
Intuitive Eating is not a diet plan for me. It is not a weight loss plan for me. Its principles are just tools for me to not diet and not to binge. I want to cease dieting and bingeing NOT primarily so my body will change. I want to cease dieting and bingeing so I can finally FEEL the pain and DEAL with the pain in a healthy manner. I started therapy because I was successful in this. Following the principles of Intuitive Eating, I was able to turn my attention from weight. And what I felt and saw then was scary and hard and I wanted to dive right back into my well worn food/fat path rather than deal. It wasn’t any one event or series of events. It was the pattern of interactions and the way things were for me for many, many years. The rage and anger I feel is scary. The tears I shed could wipe me out until I feel there isn’t a drop of moisture in my body. I shake with rage. I cry aloud many nights. I write in my personal journal. I talk through the feelings as much as I can while respecting privacy on my show.
If you listen from DAY 1, you can hear as the episodes progress, the slow realization of my problem as it becomes more clear to me. You can see me switch from a weight loss focused show to a more ‘what about life’ focused show. The show changed as I changed. I don’t blame those who may have felt a bait and switch. There I was, feeling my frustration about being fat and trying to change being fat to being thinner. That is very relatable. There are tips and tricks and recipes and jokes. We are mostly all in the same boat there. Either we are fat, feel fat, or are scared of becoming fat. Many of my discoveries about my eating behaviors resonated. But overall, I was still trying to be thinner.
Until I wasn’t.
What’s this got to do with YOU?
And for some of you, this change was a godsend! You were either happy I stopped with the diet mentality, or at least you felt my rambling and new-found bravery gave you interesting food for thought.
Some of you didn’t care what I did or didn’t do, you were just plain there supporting me through my realizations and struggles and supporting each other as human beings might. For those of you in this camp, a HUGE heartfelt thank you and SMOOCH. You have helped me so much in this way. You have demonstrated empathy.
On the other hand, some of you felt I needed fixing, and that you knew just how. While I believe all of this was well-meant, it did the opposite. This unasked for advice caused me pain, anxiety and struggle. Even my best, closest friends, don’t know all that I’m going through or what I’m working through with my therapist and Dr., nor should they. You BCs, don’t know either. I share what I can in the way that I can and all I wanted to do with my show is to share what I’m actually going through to help myself and to maybe show others who isolate, like me, that they are not the only ones who have these feelings. THAT’s why I shared the binges, the whininess, the lack of confidence, the tears when body image issues bit me in the butt again. Not to demonstrate that I’m a failure, or a jerk who is self-delusional and has given up on herself and wants excuses to binge. I don’t NEED excuses to binge. I have binged through every diet, exercise plan, fat camp stay, food modification, hypnosis, therapy – you name it, and I binged through it. No matter if the binge came from deprivation, hunger, unaddressed emotion, who cares? I binged my life away.
I partially hoped you would support me, and the positive attention you generously gave when you did, helped my growth immensely. But believe me, the primary victory of me sharing the negative parts of my journey is that I DID share the negative. I am a perfectionist mask-wearer. I naturally want you to believe I am happy, skilled, funny, positive – sugar and spice and everything nice. I either show A+ or hide in my cave. The fact that I continued to show you all sides of me may have been interesting for you, but it was ground-breakingly brave for me. It was a huge risk. And like most risks, it came back with both wonderful rewards for the effort and painful interactions that bit me in the butt.
I won’t dwell on those, but they happened and it was hard.
Moving on, I’d like to clarify something. I don’t like to hear about scales and calories or the next great diet, but it isn’t because I think YOU ARE WRONG or that you should not do those things if it is right for you. It is not because I think you should all be just like me. It is because it is so EASY for ME to be swayed back into my obsession. It is so EASY for me to go on a diet. And a diet, of ANY KIND, triggers the binge and the worry and takes me away from feeling what I need to feel so I can work that true pain out.
And I have to tell you, that even if I work every last drop of pain out, it doesn’t mean I will get thinner.
But I believe with all of my heart, that if I work on my underlying emotional pain and learn how to deal with people and life in a more authentic manner, even when it is hard – even when people don’t like me as much as the fake me, I will have a more meaningful life. I will make more connections with people. I will be who I actually am.
And all I want for YOU, BCs, lurkers, and curious well-wishers, is that you get to be who you actually are whatever that means. That you eat as you enjoy. That you experience companionship on whatever road you choose. I don’t give a fig if you are different from me. I don’t give a fig if you change your mind, your methods and your experience over and over. Truly. I am here to support your right to be YOU.
I don’t give a fig if you call or post or talk about diets or exercise or what works for YOU. I only ask that you respect my right to walk my own path and respect the rights of others to walk THEIR paths.
My show and blog are called Compulsive Overeating DIARY and the diary is mine. It is MY journey that I talk about. I’m still amazed and happy that so many of you have walked along with me thus far, and if you glean amusement or anything useful, that’s great. I’m also sad about those who for whatever reasons disappeared, but I accept that those multitude of reasons can include those that have nothing to do with me, as well as those that do.
While Compulsive Overeating Diary has always been a very personal show, at this point it’s not a diet show, a weight loss show or anything like that. I think about and discuss my emotional underpinnings and how they relate to my disordered eating, because that is what I need. I talk about bravery in life, because that is what I need to encourage myself to bravery. I talk about creative projects because that is interesting to me and a way to express my feelings without dieting or bingeing. I try to be a safe place for those who would like a forum to discuss feelings or share their creativity. We don’t have to all like the same things. I’d LOVE to hear more jokes, get more music, more stories. I’d love create new features like Stéfanie’s where YOU create a segment and we put it together. I’d love to feature more of you being who YOU are in ways without food. But if all you want is to listen, then I’m fine with that now too.
If this was a podcast episode, instead of blog post, I guess I would say right now, that what I’m letting go of today, is you.
I need to set you free in my heart to be whoever you are.
I need to set you free in my heart to participate or not.
I need to set you free in my heart to like me or leave me.
I need to set you free to set myself free. And I’m going to work on that.
Thank you Suz for posting this WONDERFUL video featuring Brené Brown’s awesome take on empathy. That’s what I’d like right now. Your empathy.