Because I am quite focused in this change lately, I have a lot of breakthroughs, or realizations. For example, I was talking to a friend about the starting point of my troubles and figured out something that is important in order to understand how it all started.
My relationship with food became unhealthy after I moved from France to Spain. In school, I found it hard to be accepted. I didn’t really have any friends and, because my parents worked a lot, I was very lonely. It started with the odd KitKat that I would get from the corner shop on my way back home and eat quickly before my parents came home, then hide the wrapper under other thing in the bin. This specific starting point I discovered while completing an activity while in therapy, but what I’ve figured out today just came to me as I was talking about it with a friend.
I didn’t eat it in hiding because I was forbidden to eat sugar. I had Nutella for breakfast and my mum baked cakes at the weekends. So I wasn’t hiding it because of deprivation. Obviously, to a certain extent, I thought I was doing something wrong, although I don’t know if the wrong thing was eating the chocolate bar or if it was eating it before lunch.
What came to me though was that my classmates all had something to eat during recess. My memories are of shop bought buns with chocolate and similar things. I never had any snacks to bring to school, and even if I had had any, I don’t think it would have been buns.
The other thing I remember was feeling different, not accepted. So I think it started as a strange way of being the same than everybody else. It then evolved into something else, obviously, but I think that was the start of it all. There is a satisfying sense of finding a piece in a 5000 pieces puzzle and fitting it just in the right place when you get these moments of clarity.
And these days it feels like clarity. My daughter, E, was sick over the night and I was in midnight puke duty, as well as 4 a.m puke duty, so I was really tired in the morning. When it came to breakfast, I had yet again the urge to overeat (although loneliness is my main trigger, tiredness is another important one). I was able, however, to pull back and tell myself that eating more was hardly going to make me any less tired and I was able to move on and eat my normal breakfast.
I’ve also been to the gym for the third day today. I’m not going back till next Monday though, so I’m not overdoing it, but at least I get to go to three classes I like. I am SORE, though, but I haven’t yet managed to go consistently. If I start going consistently, that should get better.
The gym is always a bit of a struggle, as much mentally as physically. It’s difficult to ignore that I am the only big person in the room, or at least the biggest one, and that most of the men and women there are thin or at a decent weight at least. Apart from the idea of unfitness that I discussed the other day, there is also the fact that I fell like I must be sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s not an overbearing thought, but it leaves comfortably in my mind, not being obtrusive, but just taking space.
My friend asked if it doesn’t make me feel psychologically better that I’m going to the gym but the truth is, it doesn’t. I don’t think it will until things start getting a bit easier. The positivity today came from her really. She messaged me later, when we were both in our respective homes, to tell me she was proud of me for taking the step to get better and that, in turn, made me see myself in a bit if a different life and made me feel proud of myself too. The thing is, you can be your best cheerleader, but you tend to second guess yourself. Ultimately, friends’ and family’s support is the most helpful kind.