When I was losing weight, I felt camaraderie with others who were also trying to lose weight. I joined a weight loss challenge and would wait in line bright and early Wednesday mornings with the other hopeful losers to stand on a scale where my loss would be documented and then later in the day we would get a list and see who else had lost and how much. Who had the biggest percentage of weight loss and would win the weekly prize?? Who hadn’t lost and was eliminated from the challenge??
I was part of a group of people who were fighting the same fight - we would discuss eating tips and talk about what DVD’s we had tried for exercise. We would laugh about our weekend battles and tell stories of how we had successfully avoiding diving headfirst into a huge cake at the birthday party or how we had managed not to overeat at the family get together.
I tell my clients that I understand their struggle in early recovery. The experience of not fitting in with active users and partiers anymore. But they also don’t feel that they are a part of the clean community - the so called “normal” people who have never had an addiction problem. It can be a very lonely place. I assure them that their feelings are legit and it is why I so encourage them to get involved in self-help groups like Alcoholic or Narcotic Anonymous meetings - to be with others who get it.
I feel a little bit like that myself. I am not a part of the group anymore that is starting out trying to lose. I am not learning about what are good fats and bad fats. I am not struggling to eliminate processed foods from my diet. I know what healthy foods are. I’m not at the beginning of trying to incorporate exercise into my routine. I’m not doing a Jillian Michaels 30 minute DVD and feeling like I will die. I have been there done that.
And yet - I’m not a normal person. I’m not a person who has never had to struggle with my weight. I’m not someone who looks at a piece of pie and can just decide whether or not to eat it. I have to have a 20 minute debate with myself whether I am allowed to eat it. Food and emotional turmoil are linked in me, and people that have not struggled with their weight don’t get that. Food is just food. It’s not guilt and shame and all that other shit.
So when I was reading a magazine this week and saw an interview with a professional athlete who was talking about how he LOVES Oreos, but he never keeps them in the house because he would just sit down and eat the whole bag I was actually STUNNED.
I mean here is this guy who is incredibly physically fit - and he actually struggles with wanting to eat things that he “shouldn’t” - who has to mentally work at not over-indulging?
I realized that I sometimes create my own loneliness in this battle by thinking that I am so incredibly unique. When I have trouble with motivation I berate myself. Like lately I have lost all my will to run. The thought of running makes me feel sick nd depressed. I don’t know why. But I hate myself for it. I apparently think that I am the ONLY PERSON IN HISTORY that struggles to find motivation at times. I believe that all other runners happily throw on their shoes every day and delight in their running.
Or I believe that I shouldn’t struggle with eating too much. Because we all know that no one else who has ever lost weight still struggles with overeating, right?
What if I’m not a total freak? What if there are people that I have labeled absolutely normal or even superior to me that struggle and have doubts? What if I’m not alone on an island?