Breaking Free -- My Battle with Emotional Eating
Talking to the mirror: "How can I be so fat? This isn't my body! This
isn't me." But it was me, feeling miserable about my fat,
distorted body through more than five decades of helplessness against the power
of my food cravings and emotional eating.
I've eaten my way to a size 24 or more, and then lost 50 or more pounds, at
least six times over those many years. Each time, after a (very) brief
honeymoon with my slender and attractive self, my overwhelming food cravings
pulled me in again. I gained the weight back, and more besides. Why? I didn't
know, and try as I might, I couldn't figure it out. I was an intelligent and
capable woman, but food cravings and being fat -- to say nothing of losing the
weight and keeping it off -- seemed permanently beyond my understanding.
I was even unhappy a lot of the time during the periods when I "got
thin" -- although you wouldn't necessarily have known it. Fat or thin, I
wore a cheerful mask that fooled pretty much everybody but me. I couldn't fool
myself, though: Even thin, I knew the cravings were still there, strong as
ever. And I was their prisoner. It was as if my "fat fate" were sealed,
and nothing I did could change it for long.
Then, after the decades of yo-yo dieting with no lasting result for my body
or my life, something happened that did change my fate. And my fat. I
decided to work, not on my body again -- at least not right away -- but on my
heart. On my feelings (the "emotion" in "emotional eating").
And I lost 60 pounds without the torment of food cravings and
WebMD has asked me to tell you my story of how, with professional help, I
was able at last to escape the trap of emotional eating and an overweight body.
I'm excited about telling it, and a little nervous, too. But because what I did
may carry a message of hope for others, here goes!
Looking back over my life, I realize now that I was fat only for as long as
I needed to be. True, that was a period of many years. But when at last I
didn't need my fat anymore, it went away, along with my cravings.
Of course, the process of letting go of my fat and all that it meant in my
life wasn't as simple as those few sentences make it sound. It was sometimes
scary, sometimes reassuring. Sometimes puzzling, sometimes revealing. Sometimes
it was even funny! But it was never hurtful. And toward the end, it was often
joyous, as I realized that my old, self-loathing self had come to love and
respect myself fat or thin, now and then. That I was no longer
big, but whole.
How all this happened is what I'll be telling you about, and talking to you
about, over the coming weeks. Of course, I'm just one person, and my story
won't fit everyone who's struggling with food and fat. I'll be so happy if, for
some of you who read this, being fat for now will no longer mean being