May 17, 2010 by Marj Hatzell
Self-Esteem, oh Self-Esteem, wherefore art thou?
I’m about to own up to the fact that as confident as I appear, I still struggle with MAJAH self-esteem issues. Like, MAJAH. Like, body dismorphic type stuff. When I look in the mirror? FUN HOUSE. Distorted, shall we say. I try not to look in the mirror. Guess what? I look. I scrutinize. I cannot look away. And it ain’t because I am vain.
See, growing up in a “large family” (more than one definition for that) I felt enormous pressure to stay thin. More than half of my family struggles with their weight and I never had a problem with it. Well, the only problem I had was GAINING it. I was always called, “skinny” and “thin” and I hated those words. I think they are ugly words. When I hit adolescence I made myself puke for a few years so that I wouldn’t gain weight. Guess what? When you go through puberty you get taller and gain anyways. So I kept puking. Until I met my husband, that is. Then I stopped puking. Tons of therapy and support later, I do ok. But I still think about it OMG I THINK ABOUT IT just about always.
We’re binge eaters and comfort eaters here. We learned to eat fast because there wasn’t as much food as there should have been. We never stopped when we were full, we just ate because something tasted good and it was there so we were going to eat it regardless. Here I am years and years later. I eat out of boredom. I eat because I think about something and have to go and eat it. I eat because I am sad or happy or worried or stressed or ______. I rarely, if ever, eat because I am hungry. Because I’m rarely hungry. But for some reason, I have this weird desire to feel full ALWAYS. And a constant craving to drink something (tea). I guess you could say I self-medicate and it’s my drug of choice.
Now, I’ve been on my current “keep DG sane so she stops with the self-abusive behavior and manic mood episodes” medication for a few months now. I feel great. I feel really great. I still get tired, still struggle with the eating but it’s going ok. Wanna know what I realized? All this time I though the food issues were gone but my mania and depression were masking them. Now that I’m thinking more clearly and not depressed? I have to deal with the food issues. And obsessive exercise isn’t the answer (because it’s no healthier than overeating, in my opinion). I tried that once and got to 3 hours a day and had to quit the gym. Weirdo.
So let’s see. I’m up 30 lbs. I’m actually ok with it. What I’m not ok with is that my clothes are getting smaller again. What I’m not ok with is that I’m tired and bloated all the time. What I’m not ok with is that I have a very unhealthy addiction to food. So unhealthy that as soon as I’m done eating I literally start planning what goes into my mouth next.
Here’s my plan. Go to the gym a few day s a week. 2-3 times is good. I get a good amount of exercise. I’m never gonna be a marathon runner. My goal? Stop being so black-and-white. So all-or-nothing. I’m not a failure if I don’t get to the gym once in a while. If I enjoy a dish of ice cream I don’t have to starve myself. I am going to stop beating myself up over eating. I’m going to stop feeling guilty. Then I’m going to eat healthier, keep track of what goes in my mouth and slowly figure out how much I actually need to eat. Because? Last time I checked I was eating too much. Like, I’m eating about 2200 calories a day. And I wonder why my weight is creeping up.
And? Last time I checked, I’m worth it. Worth taking care of. And I don’t have to feel guilty about that.