Some of you know I joined Overeater’s Anonymous in an attempt to get my eating and weight under control. I attend phone meetings for this group and was asked by my sponsor to tell my story on one of the meetings. I didn’t feel I was ready.
I decided to tell my food story here. You all are supportive and understanding. So here goes:
I always remember food as being a good thing. My mother was 18 when she had me and we lived with my grandparents. Looking back, Grandma was no gourmet cook. But she had her specialties and she had a hot dinner on the table every night.
Of course fifty years ago, everything was fried, buttered, and covered with gravy. The only salad we had was made from jello.
Like everyone in those days Grandma baked. This was a point of pride. She made cakes, pies, and cookies galore. These weren’t just for special occasions….we had dessert many nights.
Fortunately I was a skinny kid. I was never picked on about my weight. I was smart but lonely, being an only child. No one really bothered me about anything. I sort of floated along.
When I was six, we moved across the country from my grandparents. Not only were the hot meals gone, but my mom was mean. Just mean. She never cooked and I didn’t want her to. All I wanted was to escape her yelling. I’m not sure what the heck I ate during that time but I survived. Still skinny.
School food was great. They had homemade buns with butter all over them. You could get seconds and even thirds of anything if you finished your food. The cafeteria ladies actually LIKED it if you wanted more food. I still was a normal weight.
High school was actually a great time for me. I had friends, many activities and it got me away from home. I was still thin and ran with a nice crowd of kids. I had a best friend who lived a little way from the school. Every day, we’d go over there and eat lunch. Her mom cooked for us.
The first time I remember a weird food behavior was when I was babysitting. The mother had made a pan of lemon bars and set them to cool. She said I could have some and to give some to the kids. Well, I ate them all and the kids never saw any. I think the woman was sort of pleased that I liked her cooking that well. But she told my mom and my mom hit me for it. That was when I started sneaking food at other places.
I was suffering from severe depression by this time although it was not diagnosed. My stepfather was physically abusing me and I went off to college early. There was food galore at college. I had a meal ticket and ate everything in sight. I really liked the pudding. Fortunately I was involved in dance and that kept the weight off. I didn’t have any bizarre food behaviors other then just eating a lot wherever I went.
I graduated, got married way too early, and became a teacher. I also was hit with symptoms of bipolar disorder about this time. I got manic and had all kinds of poor behavior. But nothing really to do with food. I just forgot to eat when I was manic.
I became a principal and this is the first time I remember weighing myself and being interested in my weight. I would forget to eat and the school secretary would bring me food. I weighed myself and was 125 pounds. For me, this was thin as I am very tall. I had a lot of praise for being this thin. But I was extremely depressed and also getting a divorce. Food just wasn’t important.
I met husband #2 right away. I was so depressed at this point, I resigned from my job. I laid in bed and cried. I finally got to a psychiatrist who prescribed medication. I took it and it made me hungry. I wound up gaining about 20 pounds.
I still looked pretty good at 145. I got married at that weight and it wasn’t a big deal. We waited a year and then I got pregnant.
I thought getting pregnant was a license to eat. I got to 190 by the time I had my first baby. That was the beginning of the end. I lost about thirty pounds and repeated it all with the second baby. Then there was a third. At 200 pounds I wasn’t too happy. But I was raising three small children and battling depression. I didn’t have the energy to worry.
I tried a few diet plans but nothing worked. I was hospitalized a couple of times for depression. If you’ve ever been in a psychiatric hospital, you know the food is a major distraction. I gained weight there.
The doctors always jiggled my drugs around. Almost every single psych drug increases your hunger.
My kids grew up with me weighing around 170 pounds. I was tall and didn’t feel “obese” but I was heavy. Then I was hit with severe depression three years ago or so and literally was on the couch for two years. My weight went to a high of 245. That was the end of that. I got on a strict food plan which took ten pounds off immediately. I have been battling hard against the drugs, and I have stayed at 235. That probably sounds horrifically fat to many of you, but to me just maintaining is a victory. My friends and husband and kids still love me. I am very lucky.
I simply ate my way to this weight. I never purged my food. I did binge eat where I’d eat anything around. I have an incredible sweet tooth. If it has sugar I am there. That’s why I love birthdays, baby showers, and retirement parties. There is always cake. I have eaten food in gulps when it was too hot and I have burned my mouth. I have eaten food so fast I have choked on it. My life was truly unmanageable.
I hate to exercise, hate to watch what I eat, and still can’t get over sugar.
I joined Overeater’s Anonymous in the summer of 2015. To me, it is a very spiritual program that gets to the heart of the eating. My sponsor has bent over backwards to help me and she does it for free. I have met her in person and she is a normal weight and has normal behaviors. I can tell from her demeanor and writing that she has had a mental change toward food. It just doesn’t bother her. That’s what I want so bad.
So I keep working the steps. I know it will come.
Thank you for reading/ listening.