I recently stepped on a scale in … Ohhh … about that long. I was amazed to see the number that ticked up. It’s a number that, with only slight exaggeration, has me weighing half as much as I did in college. My drop in weight isn’t because I’ve been trying. And yes, the first 50 pounds I lost (that permanently shrank my stomach’s capacity) were lost due to mono. Everything else has largely been a result of jobs that involve walking, moving, lifting, etc. etc. Ultimately, though, the biggest contributing factor to me not just losing the weight but keeping it off has been a cessation of me eating my feelings.
In college I could down an extra large, extra cheese pizza, large order of wings, and a pint of ice cream in one go. And did so. Often. Focusing on the food meant I didn’t have to focus on me. Much like how focusing on my friends and classmates meant I didn’t have to focus on me. Much like how, still, me focusing on anybody but me means I don’t need to focus on me.
I don’t know if or when that will ever change. I mean, even knowing that focusing on anyone but me isn’t going to help me in any real way, focusing on anyone but me means I don’t have to focus on me. I have a friend who, of late, has been going through a tough time. While we were friends before her tough time, it was me sending her a message of support in response to her difficult time that had us crossing the bridge to inner circle. Now she lovingly sends me emails saying, “Don’t cut,” or “Eating the cookies is better than cutting,” or any number of similar things. I have another friend who says, “You may have ordered a pizza, but at least you’re eating. Eating pizza is better than eating nothing.” Yes, for someone who compulsively binge ate — a lot — I’ve now swung to the opposite end of the spectrum. And it’s not that I’m not eating in an eating disorder way, I’m just… not eating.
What’s interesting about no longer eating my feelings is that it’s not that I don’t have feelings any more. I often have more feelings than I could even dream of knowing what to do with. A lot of times these overwhelming feelings lead to me eating a pound of peanut butter M&Ms. And that’s not good — that’s not healthy by any stretch of the imagination — but it’ll take me three days to eat that pound instead of downing them in one go. I’ve written here and elsewhere about my often feeling like I’m feeling all the feels. A lot. And I know it’s not the chocolate helping me feel less. Or the cutting. Or the internalizing. Or the whatever. But somehow, while I’m still feeling a lot of feels, I have people around me who help shoulder that burden.
I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve the people in my life who support me so unequivocally. I just hope I don’t mess it up so they disappear from my side. I couldn’t and wouldn’t be here without you. And you know who you are. And I love you so much.