Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 13 (a little late)

This is the hardest post I've had to write so far..... and I wasn't going to write it, but I'm really trying to be open, honest and authentic (to myself and to the people in my life) while I'm here and really, if I'm not going to be honest here, then why blog at all? I can't pretend I'm perfect and things are all happy and rosy when they are not.

So remember when I said on Thursday that there's a lot of personal/emotional/mental work to still do, that I'd be trying to use my free time these next 2 weeks to work on ME and that I had an appointment with the counselor on Friday morning that I'd hoped would help spur me along in this department? Yeah, well I guess this is a case of *be careful what you wish for* as things definitely got spurred along!

I think my meeting with Essara (counselor) on Friday morning started some emotions swirling around in my brain that I hadn't been in touch with much during my first 2 weeks here (I was a tad distracted with all that hiking and working out!). We talked a lot about being authentic and how I don't feel I have a true identity. And after my great hike that morning (after my meeting) things seemed to go downhill a bit in terms of how I was feeling. All afternoon and into Saturday morning, I lacked motivation, didn't want to exercise (skipped most of the afternoon classes and the Saturday hike), and generally just didn't want to do anything. Well, that's not true, I wanted to eat. That voice was back.... that voice that has been relatively silent here (except on that hike where it made me question my ability, and a few times when I've felt the cravings in my room at night), that hasn't really been that dominant. Well yesterday, that voice was LOUD. That part of me was making an appearance in a major way... and she wanted to EAT. Not the good stuff here, but crap.

She got her way.

So. this is what I did. I went to the mall with a friend yesterday (Saturday). Because I wanted to buy postcards to send to my kids. Yeah right. Postcards. The WHOLE time, and I mean almost every minute, I was thinking about how I was going to be able to buy food without my friend seeing me. I took my big purse so that it would be easy to hide whatever I bought. There weren't a lot of options, but I knew I'd find a way, and my chance came when she got in a line up to buy a coffee. I told here I was going to look for some *postcards* and off I went. The only option I had was the food court, and I couldn't buy anything hot or big, so I walked around quickly, conscious of time, and there I saw them – bags of chips at a sandwich counter. Perfect! WOOHOO!! I bought 2. Soooo excited!!! We then proceeded to Subway where we both got a sandwich for lunch. This was ok, because we'd planned on this and even with the sandwich I would still be within a *normal* calorie intake for that day.... but I made sure she went first and was already sitting at a table so that when I was paying I could sneak in 3 cookies (because 3 were cheaper than 2!). The chips and cookies were eaten while watching TV that afternoon, and THEN I went to supper.

Unfortunately it doesn't end there.

I was then asked if I wanted to go to a movie with a bunch of people. And I did want to go.... but the main reason was so that I could get more food. We found our seats and then I made the excuse of having to go to the bathroom, and off I went – with my BIG PURSE. And I bought candy. Couldn't eat it there of course, but couldn't wait to get back in my room to eat it. And that's what I did. I felt the comfortable feelings I usually feel when pigging out like that. The autopilot I go into where I don't even notice I'm eating or how MUCH I'm eating... and it didn't even really taste good. But it wasn't about the taste, it was about filling something up. I don't know how many calories I ate altogether yesterday with 3 meals, a sandwich and all that crap, and it's really not that important. What's important is how I felt about myself the whole day and how it all fed into a feeding frenzy and then, as usual, we moved onto guilt. My best friend, GUILT.

Guilt, because this behaviour feels SO shameful to me... but I know also that this SHAME is all part of the cycle.... and the shame is what keeps me secretive, AKA lying – to myself and also to my husband. He's the only person I've really ever admitted my *secret eating* to – and when I finally told him... probably 6 or so months ago, it was HARD.... but I DID tell him... and then promised him I wouldn't do it anymore.... and I really did want to keep this promise, but I never did. When I talked to Marius today I was dreading telling him what I'd done yesterday (how could I cheat, how could I binge, how could I lie when we've spent so much money for me to be here), but I also knew I HAD to tell him or I'd be following the same destructive path I've always followed. AND I AM HERE TO CHANGE. I HATE leading this double life, and I HATE lying, but I hate disappointing the people I love more, and so it always felt easier to lie. The shame has kept me from being truthful. But the lying is also a big part of the vicious cycle and I think it FEEDS it.... because the shame gives me another reason or excuse to do it again; because when I feel the shame or disappointment, I want to eat to make myself feel better.

The hardest part about this is forgiving myself. Because in my mind it feels unforgivable.... it FEEDS into my insecurities and dislike for myself. I usually tuck it back into the mess of *failures* I keep a record of in the back of my mind, and then try to pull myself out of the sadness, and move on... but I never forgive myself. I've always just conceded that this is just part of what and who I am, and I have to live with it. But I know it isn't who I really am, and if I truly want to move on to a healthy state of mind and have a healthy relationship with food, I need forgive myself, but I also need to stop the lying and deceiving, as this is one of the ways the *voice* controls me.

The counselor also suggested that part of *addiction* is the adrenaline rush or excitement I feel when I *get away with* sneaking food, so maybe if from now on my new MO is to TELL someone what I did, then some of the thrill of getting away with it will be gone. Regardless, I'm glad I still have 2 more weeks to figure some of this out... I know it all won't be fixed by the time I go home, but I hope I will have some tools to keep it from continuing to happen, and I hope I won't do this again while I'm here. I'm definitely scared about going's almost easier to just stay on campus and not have ANY temptation.

If anything, this has shown me how important this part of my battle is. And how important my integrity is. I have never felt I had any (integrity) because of all this secrecy and hiding, which is a hard way to live!! So in by coming clean about my actions here, at the very least I can reclaim a little bit of that. Even if it's after the fact.

So..... I hope I've been authentic enough. I've had tears in my eyes a couple of times while writing this, because in those moments of weakness I felt that I wasn't just letting my husband down, but all of you out there reading this. But I know none of YOU expect me to be perfect and I know that of course I'll hit speed bumps and hurdles throughout this journey. I can also say NOW (the next day) that it was probably good that this DID happen, as it's allowed myself the chance to change a behaviour by telling someone about it, and I'm going to pick myself up and move on. 

Thanks for listening everyone :)

PS: I never did find any postcards

PPS: I saw *The Fighter* and it was an AMAZING movie... go see it

PPPS: I lost 9 pounds these last 2 weeks!


  1. My father reminds me regularly that guilt is not a useful or constructive emotion. Easier said than done, but each time I'm reminded of that, it makes it a bit less powerful.

    Wouldn't you forgive any of us for doing the same thing? Someone reminded me the other day that if I gave myself the same latitude and understanding that I give myself, I'd be WAY easier on myself. So I'd like to bequeath that question and thought to you.

    Good for you for putting it in words. It DOES make it way less powerful, I hope.

    Take care of yourself.

    Love, Amy

  2. Don't forget to celebrate the small wins too! and the big wins!! Woohoo @9lbs!! And you know what? You're right, it' probably a good thing that happened while you're there, might give you an opportunity to start addressing it - instead of dealing with everything except that *voice*.

    Hang in there, just like your hikes, your new journey will have uphills & downhills - the point is to keep on hiking! :)


  3. sending you MORE hugs, les! big, squishy, long hugs! love you. xo
    p.s. 9 lbs!!!!! woot! woot!

  4. Your honesty and integrity continue to inspire me Leslie. You are serious about your journey, and you will get to a place where you don't need the risk/rush and guilt/shame dynamic anymore. I have faith in you, and I'm so uplifted to see the faith you have in yourself.
    Love, Sarah

  5. When anything hard like this happens, make sure you reach out to staff (you don't need an appt) and other guests. Chances are they can relate more than you might imagine (they might have food stashed in their room and talking to them might help them out too). Remember Essara's cookie experience. She was not the only one there... Great job and keep up the wonderful progress you are making.

  6. You're awesome Leslie!


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