Carnival Ride To Nowhere

“It seems like you may be an emotional eater.” I stare back at my therapist blinking rapidly, thinking about him sitting at a desk in college taking notes on paper instead of an electronic device. He seems totally outdated. He’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t think he quite gets food addiction.

Way back when my grandparents were growing up, everything came from their OWN fields and hen houses. Now, it seems like everything is genetically modified. Sprayed chemicals on our fruit and veggies to help them grow faster and larger. Hormone injections are put into our cattle so that they grow faster and larger. Anything to feed our hungry and obese. I am the starving fat lady. God knows I need my over-sized burger and gigantic fruit!

So perhaps it isn’t the food itself we are addicted to. Like a heroin addict during withdrawal we are addicted to the chemical. It leaves us wanting more. It tickles our insides when we finally have it. Add a dash of convenience to the mix and you’ve got a hot ass addiction. We try to do good. I know I do. I can’t count how many diets and life change rodeos I’ve been to. Just eat better and exercise. Oh, that’s it? Thank God you’re here to tell me that. What a break through! meme Can you imagine if I tried to exercise all the calories I consumed? There aren’t enough hours in the day OR night to burn those suckers off.

My shame is unlimited. I walk into a restaurant and the first thing I look for is whether or not the booth tables are movable. Before going to an unfamiliar movie theater I call ahead to be sure their seats are large enough. Carnival rides? Forget about it. Being overweight you are constantly reminded just how fat you are. Every where I go I have to think about my weight. Can I walk that far? Can I fit? Will I be looked at and judged?

So do something about it! *nods at the stupidity of that statement* You know those little excited wind-up toys? You wind it up until it takes off real fast and then eventually it burns out and slowly winds down until you crank it up again. Well, that’s my “doing something about it.” I start out excited and ready to go. I take off! Full steam ahead! Then, I start to wind down. I no longer have the energy or care to try and I am back where I started until something else comes along to wind me up again. The roller coaster is unreal. All I know is, I want off this damn ride. Get me back to the concession stand. I’m starving.

cake

 

My Safety Shell

Oh Tonia! You are so pretty. I look down at the floor as if to feel ashamed. “Thank you,” I say politely. You know those kids, teens, and adults that model clothing sales in your local ads? Well, one of them was me. I remember the embarrassment when one of the women said, “This is for maternity. Let’s stuff this pillow in.” Looking back now, she was paying me a compliment without knowing.

I married years later, popped out a few kids, and got comfortable enough in my relationship to no longer care what my body looked like. The compliments dwindled down to “Oh Tonia! You have such a pretty face.”

A few more years later and I gain even more weight. The compliments have ceased and I take a breath of relief. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the feedback people gave me. I truly did because they didn’t have to say anything at all. But I cringed inside when I heard them. “What do you want from me?” “You are JUST being polite and don’t really mean that.” Inside I feel my gut turn and my heart race. It takes everything I have not to scream out, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” But that wouldn’t be very lady-like of me, now would it?

Perhaps it was the conditioning and abuse. Years of molestation by many different people damaged me beyond belief. I was tainted. I was dirty. I was no longer whole. I kept my secret for many years. It ate at me like a worm to an apple. It took over my core and left me feeling bitter, angry, and unsure. To hear someone compliment me on my looks made me cringe and I have my abusers to thank for that. When I finally did tell a family member they scolded me for not telling sooner. What the fuck did you want me to do when I didn’t trust anyone? The adults in my life betrayed me and I was taught to respect them. Thank you sexual molesters for ruining my life, oh by the way, here is your dosage of respect. It was much easier to just get fat. It has become my shell and well, I’m comfortable here.

I will definitely cover more of this later. But for right now, leave me to my donuts of despair.

Rewards With Consequences

“You’re going to finish all that is on that plate.”

“But I’m full.”

“Don’t move from that table until it’s gone.”

Ever hear this in your home growing up? It was always important to eat everything on your plate even if you’re not the one that dished it all on. So what you’re telling me is, you piled all this food on my plate not knowing how much I would eat and you want ME to finish it? I’m sure my parent’s parents told them the same thing. So, who breaks that cycle? Who will tell their child that it’s perfectly OK to throw food away? That wasting food is OK. That making your own choices about how much you put on your plate is OK. Once we’re adults it’s embedded so deep in our minds that we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. So we dish up our child’s plate and control the portion ourselves, not knowing our child’s OFF switch. So why not scoot Johnny up to the counter and have him dish his own? Within common-sense of course.

What about advertisements? Stop for a moment and think. How often do you see a food commercial after 5 pm? How many food advertisements on billboards did you read on the way home? How many grocery stores announcing great deals on their orange-bulb sign did you read?

Two for five!

One free when you buy two!

Kids eat free on Tuesday!

Buy 1 Get 1

The list goes on. Think about how much our grocery bill would shrink if we only bought what we NEEDED. Because it’s on sale, does it mean you should buy it? Do you write a grocery list to shop and then pick up a “few extras?” Does convenience outweigh obesity?

Rewards with consequences. Food becomes the reward. Obesity becomes the consequence.

When I first learned to tie my shoes, it went like this:

Over, under, around and through,
Meet Mr. Bunny Rabbit, pull and through.

“You did it! You tied your shoes! Every time you tie them on your own you can have a Twinkie!”Ah grandma’s house. I love grandma’s house.

Besides feeling hungry, when do you eat? My nasty cycle is, “You celebrate, you eat. You’re rewarded,  you eat. You’re fussy, you eat.  You go out with friends, you eat. You’re sad, you eat. You’re happy, you eat.” And again, it doesn’t help that there are signs and colors and smells… oh my! So today (just try for today) step back and take a look at your surroundings. Count up the billboards, the signs, the coupons, the sales! Take a list to the store and only get what is on that list. I will walk this with you and will post results! You can leave yours in the comments. Are you going to be the first to break the cycle?

My results done on 4/10/2015 within a 15 miles radius

  • 4 fast food commercials in 2 hours.
  • 6 food billboards
  • 4 family restaurants with large advertisements.
  • 18 fast food restaurants!

Thirty-two!! So at the least, 32 times a day I am subjected to food advertisements and how great food is and how cheap and easy it is!