I went to Orlando for Thanksgiving. It was nice to see family. It was nice to be in the sun. It was nice to score a couple sweet deals--3 new jackets for the price of one. A formal winter jacket, a casual winter jacket, and a rain jacket. The food was nice. The people were nice. Nice, nice, nice... What was not nice were the voices of criticism, shame, and hopelessness.
Threw my jeans in the dryer before I left for my trip. Big mistake. They shrunk and felt two times tighter than I could wear comfortably, but I wore them anyway because they were the only jeans that I currently fit. I don't even fit into last year's "fat pants" that literally used to fall off of me and expose my rear end to the entire world. By the time we hopped off the plane and stepped onto ground once again, a series of sharp pains in my stomach ensued and they did not stop there. In fact, I spent my entire Thanksgiving doubled over in pain.
The following day, most of the pain had faded, but I embarrassingly had to roam the entire Millenia Mall with the top button of my jeans undone because I didn't want a repeat of the previous day. I tried to find jeans that fit but no luck there. As my mini-vacation continued on, the voices inside my head didn't get any nicer. I was consumed by thoughts of failure in my healthy eating/exercise plan, feelings of overall unhappiness with my figure and outright rage towards my jeans--the source of how this whole problem began. At one point I even thought maybe I was pregnant and seriously considered buying a pregnancy test! Surely that would explain my bulging belly and unexpected weight gain.
I didn't understand it. I'd been working so hard--exercising more and eating better than I had in an extremely long time. It all felt like it had been for nothing and rather than lose weight I had gained weight. This time, I couldn't blame the scale for "lying" to me. This time it was my clothes telling me straight up--"you no longer fit into us. Time to get a size up." Even my dad, who is normally the one feeding me negative thoughts, took the opposite route and told me "it takes time to lose weight." Fine, I get that. But seriously to think I gained weight after all my hard work? That's a slap in the face.
To make matters worse, when I returned home and uploaded new pix from the trip to my computer, my jaw nearly hit the desk. That is what I look like? A year ago, I was so tiny I felt like I was disappearing. Yes, I may have been very unhappy at the time, but if this is the cost of happiness then I seriously question if it's worth it. I've always had issues with self-esteem, but when I was at my heaviest, it was dangerous. The voice of "Ed," a catchy abbreviation which stands for eating disorder, was back. And today it finally happened, I fell back into my disease, one I had been mostly free from for more than two years. I choose not to see my relapse as a failure, but as a sign that not all is right. What worries me most is that I won't be able to turn around those negative voices so quickly.
So here I am at a fork in the road and I need to figure out which direction to take. Do I continue to focus my energies on weight loss, or am I like the recovered alcoholic who learns the hard way that "just one drink" will quickly turn into a chain of events that lands him right back into his disease once again? I ask myself the same question David Carr addresses towards the end of his book, The Night of the Gun, which focuses on his addiction and recovery from drugs and alcohol--"why [had] I flopped around for three years before admitting I was right the first time when I said I was powerless over alcohol"? Replace "food" with "alcohol" and you've got me.