A food addict's travels on the road to recovery.

Monday, August 10, 2009

30 Year Habit

Oh my goodness, it's been a rough day...and an even rougher weekend in regards to eating. I said I wasn't going to get on the scale this week til Friday. I guess I lied. I HAD to know what kind of damage I've done to myself after 3 days of mindless eating so I got on the scale after I got out of the shower tonight. I've gained 3 lbs. since Friday's weigh-in. How deflating.

I've got some family issues going on that I'm not going to splatter all over my blog. I really don't need to...I know that we ALL have crap that we have to deal with that many times is out of our control. It's just there. It is what it is and we have to find a way to deal with it. So when I tell you it's bad...and will probably get way worse before it gets better...if it ever gets better...then you know it's the truth.

I noticed tonight that I've been stress eating today. I didn't go all out...but I did end up over my calorie limit by a couple of hundred calories....AGAIN. The only good thing I have to report is that I did 2.5 miles on the treadmill this morning, and then did another mile tonight, trying to mitigate the damage. I've also drank all of my water for the last 2 days. Hooray for small victories. I would say that I'm glad the weekend is over...but truthfully, the stress of what I have to do tomorrow to take care of some family business is going to be worse than the last 3 days put together. Pray that I find my focus and can pull through...that I can set my eating aside from the stress that's in my face and not let it be affected in a negative way.

About the 30 year habit....when I first started this blog, I tried to think as far back as I could to find out how long I've been fat. I figured out that it was around 15 years old that I really realized I had a weight problem. I was so wrong. For some reason, in this past week, a couple of childhood memories popped into my head and I realized it was long before 15 years of age. Talk about depressing.

I had a memory of going to Weight Watchers with my mom back when my grandmother on my Dad's side of the family was one of their meeting leaders. I don't remember my exact age, but I want to say that it was before I was 10 years old because I think we were living at the "old house" when we went. Can I tell you how embarassing it was to sit in those meetings in front of my grandmother, who I wasn't very close to in my younger years (that has changed as I've aged), having her talk to "me" (all of us) about why I'm fat. Oh good Lord. I hated that. I think I buried those memories for a reason. Our mind buries certain things to protect us. Not sure why it decided to pop back up this week but I sure wish it would have stayed tucked away. Also, it was not lost on me, even at that age, that my 2 sisters weren't there with us. There was a reason I was the only one Mom drug along with her. I was the fat one. Another lovely reminder of childhood.

Also, I have memories of going to a restaurant on the weekends called Valley's. I want to say my earliest memory was around 7 years old probably. My Dad worked out of town a lot so we mostly only saw him on the weekends when I was young. I'm sure all he wanted was a home-cooked meal after he'd eaten out of town all week...but he took us out a lot when he came home...I'm guessing because we begged him and he knew we'd eaten at home all week long and going to a nice restaurant sure was fun!! I was such a little pig apparently. I specifically remember Dad always asking us, after we finished our plate, if we had enough to eat. "Did you get enough to eat girls? Are you still hungry? Want anything else?"

Of course I'd had enough...but I specifically remember (and I'm so ashamed of this) thinking that Oh boy! I could have a whole other plate of food if I want!!! But then, even at 7 years old, I knew it would be impolite to make Dad pay for more food, and make the whole family sit there and wait while I ate another whole plate. My thought processes had NOTHING to do with the fact that I didn't need anymore food. I refuse to believe that I was still physically hungry. So I must have had food issues as young as 7 years old. That just blows my mind. I'm embarassed by that...I'm ashamed of it...and it's just one more memory that I wish would have stayed tucked away.

I've been a food addict for 30 years. Incredible. Incredibly depressing is more like it. Do you know how easy it would be for me to tell myself....30 years? Seriously, Tammy? There's no way you can break a 30 year habit. That's more than you can handle. You don't have it in you. It would take more work that you're capable of doing. Why waste your time? Just accept who you are and live with it. Oh yes, it would be easy to just lay down and quit. Yes indeedy.

Or......Or I could realize that I have a choice. I can choose the defeatist attitude, throw my hands up in the air, feel sorry for myself, let the embarassment and shame take over and hold me down for the rest of my life. I could "just accept it" and "live with it". I certainly could.

Or I could make the other choice. I could choose life. Real life. A healthy life. I could choose to hold my head up high in the face of those memories...stare them down...and show them that it IS possible to break 30 year habits. Hard, admittedly....but possible. And I do have it in me to do it. I can take all that shame and embarassment and disgust for myself and turn it into the tools I need to push me towards my goals. I can turn it into anger for letting myself go this long. I can turn it into determination to get on that treadmill every day, without fail, and walk myself right out of this fat body. I can turn it into perseverance with counting the calories and staying under my limits every single day, no matter WHAT is thrown my way. I can turn it into pride that I care enough about myself to commit to reaching my goals.

That's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm taking my life back from the dreaded fat cells. I'm going to find out for the FIRST TIME what it's like to be a normal weight, because I obviously don't have a memory of ever being one. I don't have any skinny jeans stuck in the back of my closet to fit into because I've NEVER OWNED ANY. That's okay. That's perfectly okay. This whole "normal weight" thing is going to be completely new for me, and that in itself is exciting. I don't even know what I'm missing...I guess that's one way of looking at it. But I hear it's fantastic...it's liberating...it's something worth working towards and busting my a$$ for and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Freedom awaits....and I'm answering the call. I choose to lose. I choose to work hard. I choose to go at this with a positive attitude and leave the negative thoughts behind me. I choose to press on...to trudge through the muck and the mire that's been holding me back until I get to that mountain top. I will get there. I will. And I can't wait to see the view.....in my new skinny jeans. :)

Quote For The Day:

"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." -Chinese proverb


  1. It's interesting to look back and realize how long we've had this problem. I can remember my parents hiding the sweets from me because I'd just go nuts over them. Unfortunately I still have that problem, and the scary thing is I see my 7 year old doing the same types of things. You're doing great dear. We know that our weight can flucuate dramatically over even the course of the day. You're still excercising and a couple hundred calories isn't an atrocious amount to go over. I know you can get back on track and even more!

  2. Great post, Tammy! I felt myself getting pumped up, and I don't even know what for. Lol. You can change any habit that you want to. And regarding your family trouble, just try to remember that overeating isn't going to make you feel any better. It might at the moment, but later you'll still have the family trouble AND you'll feel guilty for eating too much. Hope it works itself out soon, and stay strong with your plan.

  3. Tammy - Thanks for sharing your childhood memories. It's just heart-wrenching to hear about children at WW, and the embarrassment. But, you can change. It is always possible.

  4. Going back into the deepest parts of our memories can be a very painful process. But your attitude about this 30 year addiction is splendid. I know you will succeed, I truly believe and I know you do too, this will be the final time you struggle with weight related and food addiction issues. the struggle continues for a while...but you'll reach a point where it becomes so automatic, this "good choices" thing, that you'll know even more. It'll cement this deal for you.

    You're on your way out and I'm so thrilled to be hear following along with your journey.

    Fantastic post. powerful. Loved it.

    My best always

  5. Tammy -
    I'm sorry to hear about the family issues. And yes, that kind of turmoil is a sure way to dig up old hurts and pain that are really hard to cope with.
    I would venture to guess that our eating habits start before our childhood memories. I believe that as infants, we are taught to use food as a coping mechanism, as we are given a bottle when we cried. This "programing" sets up responses and reactions in our brain that are really hard to understand. It's no easy process, or else people would be changing their bodies with no problem. You are learning new habits and new coping skills everday, and your doing a good job of it. Take this family crisis in stride, but remember you are NOT limited to your old coping skills to deal with it. You have knowledge and determination to fall back on. And remember, one of the most painful points about confronting old family hurts, is getting caught up in the "blame game". Don't bother, it doesn't matter any more who did what or why. What matters is that you have a new goal and path in your life that is taking you to a healthy place. Don't darken that path with blame (yourself or others). Keep up the good work ! Good luck tomorrow with the issues your dealing with.
    Peace and Blessings -

  6. As much as it hurts we do need to delve into that past. Once you face that fear and humiliation it can be quite liberating once you realize it doesn't own you anymore.
    I'm also facing a 30+ year old habit, so you're not alone on that one. I've just finally realized that I can't solve overnight what took me 30 years to get into. As have you, and you're doing great!!
    Stick with the exercise, it will save you even as your eating fluctuates due to family stress.
    And finally, I'm so glad you decided to answer that call!!!
    Great quote for the day too.

  7. It sounds like you are in a period of growth. It is interesting that it is now that you are able to remember things, is that because your mind now considers you ready?

    You have been doing so well and it looks like you are going to continue to do so - GO YOU!

  8. Freedom does await, and you are pursuing it. Great job!

  9. Oh, girlie. I hope that your family issues are resolved soon. I think as children we are taught to turn to food as reward and comfort, and you shouldn't feel ashamed of it. This is like saying you're embarrassed you didn't know how to tie your shoes at some point in your early childhood. We all have that feeling, we just have to learn to harness it and learn to reward and comfort ourselves in other ways. This is something that I am seriously working on, so if you get any ideas let me know!

    Coupla ideas:
    ~buy jewelry (even cheap costume jewelry that's like $5)
    ~go on an "active" date with your boyfriend, like putt-putt golf, or even if it's just roaming around the neighborhood (that was one of my husband's and my favorite dates when we were dating ... we'd look at the houses in his neighborhood and talk about elements of the house we liked and what we didn't like, haha)
    ~spluge days every now and then are okay. Did you know on the show The Biggest Loser they are pretty much allowed to eat whatever they want on the day after they have a weigh-in? Think about it. :) Just as long as it's not habit!! :)

    Keep up the positive attitude! Love the blog!! :)

  10. Tammy, I took all you girls with me to WW. I'm the one who needed to go, but I thought it would be good for ya'll to learn healthy eating habits too. Don't you remember us leaving WW and going to Kentucky Fried which was in the same parking lot? Mmmm!! You were not fat, just a tinch fluffy. You're remembering things worse than they really were. You were a beautiful girl. Still are. Love, Mom O.

  11. Mom....no, I'm remembering correctly. The WW you're talking about was a little later in life, on San Jose Blvd. Grandma didn't teach there. The one I'm talking about was way earlier on Saturday mornings at the one on Beach Blvd. that grandma taught at. Amy and Brandy were not with us while we were there doing our weigh-ins and listening to meetings. It was on Saturday mornings, so they must have been at home with Dad.