This week’s topic “Ease Emotions without food” really talks to what I have written about a couple of times already. And it applies to my journey and my AHA moment on my journey to goal and lifetime. I am an emotional eater, but you already know that. So, I wanted to share my story, my beginning with you to let you know where I come from on my journey.
I joined Weight
Watchers for the 5th time in March 2006, after having tried many
different methods/programs to lose my weight.
I had tried meetings 4 times before and I never reached my goal….. I
never lost more than 20 lbs on Weight Watchers.
But I needed to do something.
My doctor had
suggested that I lose just 20 lbs. I had
back issues that would land me in the hospital every couple of years, in immense
pain and unable to walk much. He thought
that losing “just 20 lbs” would help take some of the pressure off my back, and
hopefully would help me get to a point of not having to have back surgery, something
I was adamantly against.
While the suggestion from
my doctor had me thinking about joining Weight Watchers again, it was what
happened the night before I joined that really got me through the door.
I was in the kitchen,
standing in front of the sink with an open bag of Oreo cookies in one hand and
tears flowing down my cheeks. I was
shoveling those cookies in my mouth, eating them without tasting them. And talking to myself, out loud. I was hurt and angry and not being kind to me
at that moment.
And then I said the
words, out loud, that made me stop dead in my tracks—“Terri, you are killing
yourself…… and I DON’T care, no one does, and no one will care when I am gone”.
Talk about a smack upside the head and a moment that made me hold my breath. Did I really think that? Did I really not care that my overeating was killing me? That one day this unhealthy way of living would be the end of me? Saying those words out loud, actually hearing myself say them, well it scared me. I HAD to do something.
And I did. The next morning, I walked into that Weight
Watchers meeting. I was scared, nervous
and ashamed. I had been to that meeting
before and I didn’t want to see anyone I had seen before. I was at my highest weight, ever! And I was embarrassed. Something had to change.
I sat through the meetings that
first year, which was the longest I had stuck with Weight Watchers. I learned to track my food, to eat the right
portions and to make healthier choices. I
was making friends in my meeting and I felt safe. I also loved my leader, she inspired me each
week and she cared about me and the other members. And that made a huge difference for me.
I lost 20 lbs that first year. The most I had ever lost on my attempts with
Weight Watchers. But I was struggling
and I couldn’t seem to push past that 20 lbs.
I still had over 50 lbs to go. I was
feeling frustrated and was on the verge of giving up.
It was at that point that my leader
gave me a popsicle stick…. She said it was to remind me to stick to it. I took it home and taped the popsicle stick
to my pantry door, where my comfort foods waited for me to eat them. Later that same day I got a phone call from a
family member. That phone call upset me
and when I hung up the phone the first thing I did was walk straight to the
pantry. I wanted… NEEDED… the peanut butter,
chips, cookies…. anything that I could eat that would stuff those emotions all
back deep inside me.
And then I saw it…. The popsicle
stick. I stopped. I did not open the pantry door. Instead I turned around and sat down on the couch. And then it hit me! I am a food addict. Food was my answer to anything in my life and
food was the answer to how I felt about myself and how I dealt with the pain of
my abusive childhood.
That AHA moment changed everything for
me. I realized in that moment that I did
not think I was worth it. I was not worth
the effort it would take to lose the weight and get healthy. I spent my young years and teen years being
told just how worthless I was, and I realized in that moment that I believed I WAS
I knew I needed to change something
or I would never succeed at this journey… or at anything in my life. I sat there and cried. And then I grabbed my laptop and I began to
write what was to become my weight loss journal. And I titled it “Stop Eating Your Emotions”. It was while I was writing that I decided I
needed to start each morning looking in the mirror and saying 4 words. Those 4 words are the most empowering words I
have EVER said to myself:
I AM WORHT IT!
I started saying those words the
next morning. And I did not believe
it. But I kept saying those 4 words,
every morning. I did not believe them that
first week, or the next. It was a couple
of months of saying those 4 very empowering words before I started to believe
I am worth it!
I am worth more than that jar of peanut
butter. I am worth more than the chips,
cookies, cake, ice cream and candy. I am
worth it to go to my meeting every week and I am worth taking care of.
Those 4 words changed EVERYTHING for
It took me another 10 months to lose
my last 52 lbs. I lost 72 lbs to reach
my goal weight. I felt amazing! I liked myself and I believed I was worth it.
I reached my goal weight on January
10, 2008 and lifetime 6 weeks late on February 14, 2008. I had done it!
And while I am now 23 lbs over my goal (I weighed in today and lost another 1 lb for a total of 2.4 lbs in 2 weeks), I KNOW I will NOT go back to the girl I was before Weight Watchers changed my life. While I forget some days, especially during the difficult times I have had these past few years, that I am worth it, it is easier for me to get back to that mindset, easier to remember that I am worth it!
I am not that little girl any longer, the girl filled with pain and wanting to stuff the uncomfortable feelings deep inside. I am not the girl who didn’t care that I was killing myself, slowly. When tough days come, I remember how far I have come. The weight has gone up a little, but because of the confidence and self-worth I gained on my journey to goal and because of the tools I keep in my back pocket, I can stop the gain before I lose too much control. And that is the difference between the “me” of today, and the “me” before Weight Watchers.
I am worth it!
No matter how imperfect. No matter how many slips I may have. I am worth it! And this journey is worth it!
I still have the popsicle stick that
my leader gave me all those years ago.
It is now tucked away in a keepsake box…. maybe it is time to bring it
back out and tape it onto my pantry door…. A gentle reminder that I can do this
and that I am worth it!