Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wolf Woman or Hungry Hungry Hippo?

There's such a difference between knowing something in your head and feeling it in your heart. 

I know that my ex b-f had distorted thinking - about a lot of things, but particularly about food, diet, exercise, body image.  When last I saw him, he was obsessing over being "fat," having put on a few extra pounds around his middle, though at over 6' tall and 160 pounds, no one would accuse him of being overweight.

He would talk with longing in his voice for his teenage days, when he'd gotten down to 95 pounds.  (Of course, he was living off speed and cigarettes then, and it landed him in the hospital, but still...)  Not in the beginning, but after I moved in with him, he made constant derogatory comments about anyone he saw who was overweight - whether he saw them while we were driving, on TV, etc. ( if never to the actual face of an overweight person who happened to be friend or family.)  They were disgusting, they had no self-control (this from someone who would drink to passing out), they looked revolting, all fat people should be shot...

Mind you, when we met, this is how we looked as a couple. 
from Nighthawk News
I was in a "very big girl" stage, and while that didn't matter to him at all during the "honeymoon" period, when we were courting, before that ended I had begun dieting and stepped up my exercising - for me, not for him - and he was very pleased. 

Of course, it wasn't enough.  I got down to within five pounds of my high school weight, and while he would join in the praise around others who would tell me how great I looked, in private, he'd tell me I would look great - if I lost another 10-15 pounds.

Well.  And then his OCPD began rampaging in full about 101 different things, and I became stressed, depressed.  I stopped exercising as much, because he was so jealous of the time it took away from "us," I stopped being as careful about what I ate.  He rationed my food and rode me constantly, at home, about what I should or shouldn't "pig out" on, and I began binging at work during the day.

No surprise, the weight began creeping back up.  I haven't yet regained all that I had lost, over that two years I worked so hard to lose it; but I've regained a lot of it.  And I hate it.  I hate the way my body looks and the way my clothes don't fit and the fact I had to buy another pair of "fat" jeans today because my thunder thighs are about to bust out the sidewalls of my other fat jeans.

I gave myself permission (mentally if not emotionally,) to gain a little weight since the split, but I think now...  part of me didn't think it would really happen.  At first I gobbled up all kinds of "forbidden foods," a natural reaction, I knew (mentally!) to being starved of them/for them for the years I lived with ex b-f.  Like in the story told by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, a wolf that has been starved in the winter will go on a rampage when spring comes.

I figured once I got used to the fact that I could eat these foods, any time I wanted, and nobody was going to take them away from me, my cravings for them would stop, as Geneen Roth said, and for the most part that's happened.

So I'm trying to be kind to myself and I'm trying to be patient.  I've been learning about mindful eating and taking baby steps towards putting it into practice, the past few months.  

from Master Isolated Images at FreeDigitalPhotos
  I still am enjoying foods I wasn't "allowed" to have, then, but not in huge amounts.  I am not binging at work any more.  I am learning to recognize when I am approaching fullness and stopping then, not eating to the point of being overfull.  I am eating lots of broccoli and salads - because I actually enjoy them, and because I feel good about giving my body foods that are healthy for it.  I'm drinking lots of water and very little (though still some) soda.  I'm still doing regular exercise.  (Though I could be doing more - one can always be doing more exercise - I'm not doing less.)  I'm learning to recognize the pull of emotional hunger and to sit and breathe and acknowledge my feelings, instead of stuffing them down with food.

I know, calorie-wise, even if I'm not counting calories or points or carbs, I'm giving my body less of 'em.

So why am I still gaining weight?!?  I know, in my head, that I am taking the right approach.  I know, from bitter experience, that "regular" diets don't work, long-term.  Been there, done that, got the T-shirts - sized XL to L to M, and back again.  Twice.

But I'm scared.  I think I had this unrealistic vision in my mind, that I would start my baby steps of mindful eating, and as a reward, the Skinny Fairy would come bonk me on the head and I'd magically wake one morning, twenty pounds thinner overnight.  And I still hear my ex b-f's voice inside my head, telling me I'm a disgusting fat pig.

I don't want to be patient with myself.  I want results right now!!  And I want all those horrible, negative messages that I've introjected into my brain, from ex b-f, from magazines, from pop culture, to STFU already.

<Sigh.>  I'm just gonna have to do this the long, hard way, aren't I?  One positive affirmation, one baby step, one STFU to the negative messages, at a time.

Have you ever had to struggle with an issue like this?  Where you knew something, in your head, but it wasn't making it down into your heart where you really felt like you believed it? 

Tell me how you did it (please!) in the comments.