Are you familiar with xojane?
When it first started, I was a huge fan and since then, I don't love the articles as much as I used to, but once in a while, there is an excellent article that really hits home for me, like this one.
Gaining weight has been the hardest thing for me these past few years. Harder than my abusive relationship with Awful, harder than moving back in with my parents at 30, harder than trying to make a long distance relationship work while I run a very stressful (and often ridiculous) business.
I didn't gain 90 pounds in 1 year like the author, but I did gain 45 pounds in less than 4 years and it has been the biggest weight gain I have ever had. Yes, there have been times in the past that I have put on 15-20 pounds in a few months due to stress, happy new love, or simply falling out of my gym routine. But, these 45 pounds have been different. They were put on solely because I was unhappy, severely depressed, and feeling alone. I emotionally ate my way to a place that even I couldn't really understand. I abused food so severely, that I can no longer fully trust myself to nourish my body without hurting myself bite by bite.
As I look back upon my eating history in therapy, I realize that my relationship with food has always been totally restrictive or completely reckless. There has never been moderation and learning it has been difficult. It is hard to try to build healthy limits with something that soothes me, gives me structure, and keeps me company...but it is food?! Food shouldn't be filling all of these emotional needs as much as it does for me. I am relearning my entire way of thinking about it: hunger cues, fulfilling cravings, eating until I am satisfied. I feel like a baby sometimes.
In a quest to get super real with my journey and stop using crutches to pacify my fear of calories and knowing exactly what I am eating, I have been encouraged to stop WeightWatching and begin tracking calories on a calorie tracker. I am using MyFitness Pal (there are a ton of others out there, too). I have tried calorie tracking before, but not in an entirely healthy way....always by majorly restricting to get a quick result. I am so over doing that, finally.
My food therapist encouraged WeightWatchers until I became disordered with my tracking. You see, WeightWatchers constantly changes their programs (almost yearly) with new plan updates which I hate to say, but are most likely business related....they need update things so current members have to relearn and recommit and new members will be encouraged to join. This new program doesn't work as well for me as some of the past ones I have tried. One of the reasons why is because fruit is "free" of points and since I am a binge eater, I can eat 1,000 calories of it no problem. Additionally, each week gets 49 bonus points which can be consumed as an option and since I see any bonus as an invite to binge, I sometimes eat 49 points mindlessly just because I feel I can.
Some days I would enjoy my favorite breakfast, an egg white sandwich and coffee: eggs whites prepared in real butter, a regular English muffin, a slice of real cheddar cheese, a slice of Canadian bacon, and coffee with cream and sugar. This breakfast would be 15 WeightWatcher points or roughly half of my daily allotment of points even though it is less than 500 calories and I aim to eat 1,800 calories each day. So, after breakfast, I would give up because I would have a client meeting where I knew there would be food, or because I would be going out to dinner with friends late in the evening. I would quit midday. The fear of going over my points would leave me anxiety ridden. Calorie wise I could have made it work, but points wise, it would have been tougher. Again, I was playing complete and utter mind games and I was self sabotaging.
I know WeightWatchers is a great program and works for many people. But for me, a chronic binge eater with a much more severe addiction than I initially thought...well, it is very triggering for my own personal issues. Odd, because counting calories (what has been working for me) is often really really triggering for some. You just never know what will work for you unless you try it!
So, I am calorie tracking and I am currently at a 16 pound loss. The weight loss is slowing down, but I am not rushing it. I really want to learn about my food addiction and what I need to do for me. I don't care it is takes 4 years to get the weight off. There is no rush, I am simply NOT going to ever gain the weight again.
I want food to be my friend. Not my best friend, just a friend. I want to enjoy food, look forward to it from time to time, and enjoy the peace and fulfillment it can provide for me. Not there yet, but everyday food is becoming less of an enemy.