Once Upon a Fat Girl

Friday, June 09, 2006

Thanks Bill W.

I just finished watching the movie about how AA got started. It's called "My Name is Bill W." I'm not an alcoholic. I actually never drink at all. I rented this movie (it just came out on DVD) because of my interest in OA (the group for overeaters.)

Bill W. died the year I was born. 1971. How many people has he saved? What a fucking legacy, huh?

The movie got me thinking. Am I really addicted to food? Can you even be addicted to food?

Obviously being a food addict has significant differences from being an alcoholic or drug addict. Or even a compulsive gambler. For one thing, you can give all those up cold turkey and eventually be healthier for it. Can't really give up food that way, can you?

I think for us foodies, maybe the dependancy is different. Rather than a chemical addiction, like with alcohol or drugs...food addiction is completely emotional.

I know that often I ask myself why exactly am I doing this? Why do I care so much about being thin?

I'm happily married. Maybe if I was still a single mom, getting thin to attract a man would have been legitimate. But I weighed pretty much what I weigh now when my husband married me.

I'm healthy. No high cholesterol or blood pressure or pre-diabetes. No sleep apnea or serious pain anywhere. (Although since I was pregnant with Ruby, my back and hips have been hurting.) If I was sick, getting thin for my health would make more sense. But I'm already healthy. Trust me, I've had tons of blood work and exams done trying to come up with some medical answer to why I'm so fat. (It couldn't be all those Big Macs and Krispy Kremes, right? LMAO)

I've actually considered radical surgery...weight loss surgery that would reduce my stomach to the size of a thumb. That would scar me for life. Why? It would make sense if I was housebound because of my weight, or dying. But I'm not.

I have allowed ... what? Society? Culture?...to decide that I needed to diet since the THIRD GRADE. I obsessed about my weight every minute that I was a super-fit competitive athlete with olympic dreams. I obsessed about my weight exactly as much as I do now, at 315 pounds. No difference.

Why? And what exactly is it I want from giving up dieting, from training for a triathlon?

I want personal pride, I guess. I want to be able to say, "I finished a triathlon. I'm running in a half marathon. I'm an athlete."

I also want to be okay with myself and how I look. I finally just now realized that's going to take more than losing weight. Because I've been fit...very very fit...and I wasn't okay with how I looked. I was obsessed with weighing fifteen pounds less. Even though that would have meant losing fifteen pounds of lean muscle mass.

OA...no longer binge eating...recovering from my eating disorder (compuslive overeating)...it has to be for some reason beyond vanity. Because vanity won't do it. I have to learn to be okay with me right now. This minute, today...right now. At whatever weight. Because I've been unhappy and obsessed at every weight from 150 to 323. Weight loss alone isn't enough.

That stops with not letting myself fall into the trap of putting things off until I'm thin. This is the first time I've admitted this...really, even to myself...but I have stopped working on my novel the past few weeks. Basically since May 1. I haven't been focused on this thing that's been my dream since even before I started dieting. And I've caught myself thinking that I'll wait until I've lost fifty pounds...then I'll get back on it.

Because I don't want to do book tours, take author pictures, show up at conferences, meet agents and publishers--while I weigh 300-plus pounds. (Can you see? My problem isn't confidence in my writing. My problem is confidence in myself--which is a pretty damn effective excuse for anything I'm afraid of.)

That stops now. Right now. My life can no longer hinge on my pants size.


Blogger snackiepoo said...

Good for you and glad you got something from the movie. I grew up in a 12-step environment as my Dad has been sober for 27 years as of tomorrow actually; I do believe in OA and the food addictions you mentioned but you are right; it IS harder because you cannot stop eating, but you can stop the insanity that goes along with binge eating.

10:41 PM  
Blogger drstaceyny said...

Wow--you seem to have such a good handle on this. As another way of thinking of the food addiction piece, though, most anti-diet approaches (and it seems you're leaning in that direction) look at dieting, not food, as the addiction. The theory is that you can't be addicted to something you need to live (like being addicted to breathing), but that you can get addicted to the dieting cycle (the alternating periods of being "goood" and then rebelling or using food emotionally). Just some food for thought. . .

10:59 AM  

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