Sunday, August 13, 2006

Things that make a life besides food

I am a food addict, no question. I have had more periods of freedom from the addiction in the last 15 years than ever before in my life. This addiction started as early as 5-6 years of age. It's touched every area of my life and was especially virulent in my '20s and early '30s. That was, oddly enough, when I was at my thinnest. Fat does not a food addict make, and thin doesn't cure one. I have been more closely cured of the obsessive addictive aspect of eating at my fattest than I ever was when I was thinner.

When I started my final weight loss journey last July, I felt that I was very much different on the inside and that this decision to lose weight would be my last. That has proven to be true, to a degree, but I didn't count on the habits of eating having such power over me. Nor did I really accept that there is no alternative to physical movement, that a life on the sofa will not be a healthy one and I'll never maintain a weight loss without exercise. With my ever increasing weight came less activity and more weight gain and so on and on and on. Past 300 pounds, the downhill slide of my physical condition picked up speed and by 368, I was in constant pain just walking, and standing for more than 10 minutes was impossible.

My eating habits have, for forty years, been wretched. Despite being on a diet virtually every day of my life, the subject of a future post, I have consumed as much fatty and sugary foods as a dozen people could eat in a lifetime. Getting a grasp on reasonable portion sizes has been a major eye opener. Today I keep track of my food intake every day and it is amazing to look at this very satisfying quantity of food I eat and think of how it used to be. It's no wonder at all why I have struggled with weight much of my life.

When the food is in its place, as it is today, I am reminded of the things that truly make a life worth living. I never found it inside of a package of cookies or a carton of ice cream: the only thing I found in those black holes was weight gain and despair. On this day, eating a moderate amount of healthy food and working out at the gym, I'm able to find time for and enjoy just being quiet, reading, spending time with my husband and our animals, talking to family on the phone, making plans for a trip, watching the birds out my window. Even more importantly, I'm able to feel a sense of well being, of peace and serenity and a modicum of joy. It's a good life and it's these small things that make up, for me, a life well lived. I am very grateful today.

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