A week ago, my daughter and I made a commitment to eat healthy foods only. We have been eating fruit, vegetables and protein only; we are trying to avoid sugar altogether and grains as much as possible. For a week, we have done a pretty good job. We went off the wagon yesterday but have agreed to climb back aboard once more today.
As a rule, I eat healthy foods, but I have a sweet tooth and cravings for sweets, usually at the end of day. Since having children 22 years ago, my weight has crept up until now it is totally out of hand. I am not ready to own how much extra weight I am carrying but it shocks me. I don’t know how it happened. I look in a mirror and wonder when it happened, which sounds funny. It did not happen overnight; it happened with 300 extra calories a day over 22 years; 2-5 pounds per year.
On the surface, I am a pretty together person. I have worked full-time for most of the last 29 years; I maintain a home; I have raised two children; I have been with the same partner for 31 years; I am friendly with my neighbours, cashiers and people at work. But, when I stop my night-time nibbling, negative feelings and memories float to the surface. Feelings of shame about my temper; times when I have gotten angry with people in a work context. Feelings of shame about my weight; feeling that I want to just disappear; feeling that I don’t want to go out into public where people can see how fat I am. Feelings of loneliness; feeling that I don’t have any friends; feeling all alone in the world; feeling like there is something wrong with me because I don’t have any friends; feeling like it would be easier to just check-out.
I realize that these are the feelings I keep down, repress, swallow with food; feelings that are overwhelming, dark and dangerous; feelings that I don’t want to have. I know that these feelings stem from my mother. She was not well when we were young. She left when I was a teenager. So, I finished high school, went to university, moved out of home, got into my first serious relationships, gave birth to two children, and raised my children without a mother in my life.
My mother moved to Barbados to work, live with her lover, and party. She phoned about once a year; she came back to visit for a week or two once per year. But even when she came back to Canada, she did not come back for us. She came back to shop for things she needed for her business in Barbados. At some level, my sisters and I were happy to see her go because she had been so angry and so depressed for so many years before she left. But at some level, we have all been harmed by her abandonment. Afterall, if our own mother cannot be bothered with us, why would anyone else want to know us, be friends with us, love us??
Most of the time, I like myself. When I go through my days, when I am working, gardening, hanging with my family, or walking in nature, I am not thinking about me. I just feel good about life and myself. But there are moments when the demons float to the surface; when I can not find clothes that fit in a store; when I put on a bathing suit in the summer; when I get ready for a get together with my extended family; when I am alone in my house on a Saturday night; when I am not allowed to have food for comfort; when the self hatred floats to the surface and consumes me.
For too long, I have used distractions — food, TV, movies, the internet — to avoid these feelings. But what, l wonder, would happen if I just allowed them to come to the surface??