i guess it comes apart so little by little you don’t know you’re there till you’re stuck in the middle…
I have always thought about my weight when I hear these lyrics…
People often ask me how I got so big, how could I not stop it before it escalated to the 600+ lb mark. It happened little by little, pound by pound, year after year until one day I realized I was stuck…literally. Growing up people didn’t know what to do, what to say or how to help and at some point not acknowledging it became the easiest way to deal with it…for everyone including myself. In a way I disconnected from my body, I know that sounds a little crazy but it is true. I will explain it the best way I can to help folks try to understand what it feels like to be in a body that large.
When you move through the world in a large body you think differently about space. I still do it today, not in the extreme way I did when I was at my heaviest but there is a running reel in my head of conversations justifying, rationalizing and praying that my body and the space in which I was trying to fit into, move through, sit in, would work out. Many times my calculations were wrong. I have talked in previous posts about squeezing in school desks, getting stuck in turnstiles, collapsing chairs under my girth, and I could tell you many many examples of times that my body did not mesh with the parameters of the world. I think the humiliation that came with those experiences wore me down, it is like fighting through a pool of cement there comes a time you just can’t move anymore. I just disconnected from my physical self.
How did it happen?
1.) My relationship with food was toxic. I ate when I was happy, I ate when I was sad, I ate to forget, I ate when it was hard, I ate when I was bored..I ate when I was mad at myself, and to punish myself. A vicious circle of self loathing.
2.) Ignorance. Much of my weight was gained in college and right after college…over 200lbs. In college I had the best roommate ever!( Hi Bethro) I love her, looked up to her and was amazed that she wanted to live with me! While I will write about our food differences I am in no way suggesting she attributed to my weight or food addiction. Actually she could not have been more supportive, always willing to exercise with me and help me in any way she could, but I was not ready for help. She was never embarrassed of me and she was my roommate all through college. She was thin and played basketball and was a picky eater. I was fat, not a basketball player and was not picky in any way imaginable. So here is how it would play out: I would eat breakfast, it was my favorite meal, biscuits and gravy, bacon, hash browns, eggs, chocolate milk and a gooey pastry of some kind. I think Beth ate cereal. Lunch was a fried something or another, with fries, and mac and cheese, dessert(s) and soda. Again, depending on what it was Beth might have had a turkey sandwich and chips. Then the evening meal was the worst…I would eat whatever they had and again desserts, oh and they had an ice cream machine. Beth maybe would not eat dinner, or maybe have cereal….then about 9:30pm…we would want to order pizza or go get subway. Now, one might think subway would not be that bad…this was not “jared’s subway” menu. I would get a foot long meatball sub with cheese, pickles, black olives and extra extra mayo…yes I know it sounds gross, but I loved them. What I did not know or really care about at the time was that there was over 1200 calories in that sandwich alone not to mention a large regular soda and chips, oh and maybe a cookie. Obviously I knew that was bad to eat after I had eaten dinner, but I didn’t know just how bad it was…I didn’t want to know. I was a Theatre major so we had late night rehearsals or study groups and would go to ….wait for it….Perkins. Yes, because that is just what I needed at 2:00am, a pot of coffee and a pot of syrup for my pancakes. Again, I did not want to be left out of the group, I wanted to be like the others and eat like the others. The price I paid was devastating.
3.) It was hard to see any way out. I could not imagine how to lose the weight, how I was going to find a way out of the mess I found myself in at that point. How I was going to get myself “unstuck” from the middle? I just kept eating. I have to walk the fine balance of accountability and acceptance of what my life has been so far, and I do. I work at it every day but for the most part my attitude is that the forgiveness of myself comes from the mentality that I must accept that things could not have been any different for me. This was the path my life’s journey would take me on.
This is the key to moving forward for me.
No matter what demon(s) in your past haunt you if you can somehow embrace that you can only move forward and not live in a world of “what if’s” it becomes much easier to look behind you and not see the ghosts you are running from. When you let go of the shame, you regain the power over the situation.
I have walked forward, I have walked away from the shame. It feels amazing.