My friend Jen from New York (need the location clarifier because any girl born in the 70’s has millions of friends named Jennifer) read my Potato post and reminded me that “addiction is addiction is addiction.” She is totally right. And I sure hope I didn’t give the impression that I thought I was above addiction. Because I am certainly not. I just feel lucky that I recognize my potential for alcoholism and have been able to steer clear of the deep, dark hole my dad threw himself into. I don’t have as many liquor rules as Joansy, and they aren’t as strict – but they are definitely there when it comes to alcohol. Generally I only drink on the weekends or when out to a special dinner during the week… and if I drink during the day, the sundial has usually clicked past noon. Unless we are in Mexico, of course. But then I am sweaty.
All my life, my “addiction of choice” has most certainly been food. I ate to fill me up when I was empty.
It showed up in my waistline and in my self-esteem.
I won’t go into the specifics of what I ate, because to think of it makes me want to throw up (and no, I never ventured into that specific area of eating disorder, although I definitely tried). Let’s just say it was a lot. Then I hit college and stopped eating altogether and dropped to a BMI that verged on underweight. And for a 5’10” amazon with HUGE HUGE HUGE bones to get a low BMI… Well, I wasn’t eating enough.
Then I hit my 20’s, met Bryan and started my life. Straightened some shit out. And buried some shit too. And my BMI started climbing again. Yes, I was overeating again – but nothing near what I did in my teens. I sincerely think my diabetes really started way back in my mid-20’s, even though they didn’t finally catch it until I was 32 and pregnant with Declan.
And funny as it sounds, the day they found the diabetes was the day they probably saved my life. OK, maybe that’s a tad melodramatic – but they certainly lengthened my life that day.
Because that was the day I changed my attitude about food.
It started to be a fuel for my body, and especially at that time – a fuel for the baby – and not just something to fill up my emotional emptiness. I started paying attention to how something actually made me feel after it hit my tummy – not just how it felt as it was passing my lips. And I realized feeling better in other areas of my life made the food less and less important.
Obviously this is my lifelong battle. I am still heavy. I will never be a skinny minny. I have big, heavy German bones. But I’ve lost a total of 40 pounds and I am only about 15 pounds from the goal weight both the doc and I will be happy with. And my diabetes is very much under control now. I am on psych meds now and I still see a therapist regularly. And I have not had one night terror for the entire month of February.
I feel great.
Isn’t it crazy that a major disease can totally turn your life around?