There is a reason I haven’t written anything in a week. It’s because I have been on a non-stop eating binge. I felt so guilty…like such a loser, and not as in losing weight (I wouldn’t mind being that kind of loser). I kept thinking to myself, “who wants to read about how I suddenly felt overcome with fear and insecurity, while driving with my son?” I was visiting him in Florida, we were on our way to pick up a rental car. What halfway normal (lets just say north of fifty year old woman) rents a car and it somehow translates to a sudden uncontrollable urge to inhale the biggest, gooiest cinnamon bun she can lay her hands on?
Since I did raise my son with good manners, he asked me if I wanted to follow him home so I didn’t get lost. I declined, saying “I had a few errands to run on the way.” I loved him but I couldn’t wait to get rid of him. The only errand I was running- was finding the nearest Cinnabon. And of course I did…failure was no option in my mind, it was Cinnabon or die!! I pulled in, got out of the car, and started toward the door. With every step I took, this little voice in the back of my mind kept saying, “Pam, don’t do it! Abort the mission! Run!”
The minute I opened the door to Cinnabon I felt my mouth start to water and knew it was all over… I ordered a mega warm Cinnabon with extra frosting on top with extra frosting to go. The last thing I wanted was for anyone to see me eating it. So I unlocked my car door, and opened the plastic container it came in with the urgency of a child on Christmas morning. I had them warm it up so my Cinnabun was actually swimming in the now melted frosting. Cinnabon did not equip me with eating utensils, but at that point I was so crazed all I wanted to do was eat it. Which is exactly what I did….with my hands!!
It’s really embarrassing to admit this, but that completely covid-sanitized car I just rented was now covered with sticky white frosting. Especially the steering wheel and front seat. My feelings of satisfaction, the warm fuzzies, and momentary peace all abandoned me after I took that last gooey bite. It was quickly replaced by feelings of overwhelming guilt, self hate, and the realization that I was never going to get control of my food issues. Not at this rate. Who was I kidding? Suddenly I was so tired, all I wanted to do was put my pj’s on (don’t have any lofty ideas of some cute little baby doll twin set. I’m talking flannel xxl drawstring flannel men’s christmas pajama bottoms that I got on sale at Walmart for $5.00 and an old t-shirt to my knees) and getting into bed. I just wanted to slip into a sugar/sleep coma which is exactly what I did for three days!!
By the time I finally got out of bed, my pj’s could have gotten up and walked out by themselves! It was not a pretty sight. Have you ever heard the saying, “you’re only as sick as your secrets” well that was me. On top of everything I lied and told my family that I didn’t feel well. That I thought I should stay in bed for a few days, I felt like I was coming down with something. Everyday I waited for the gang to leave, then I would order on uber eats everything from KFC fried chicken with mashed potatoes and a pot pie to pizza with double cheesy crust!! I was like a hard core drug addict.
I felt so sorry for myself, poor me…I’m such a victim. After the third day, my son Lex came into my room and sat on the edge of the bed. He said, “what the hell is wrong with you mom? It can’t be that you’re going through menopause, that ship must have sailed years ago…I’m in my forties!!
So why have you been in bed for the last three days eating, crying, and feeling sorry for yourself? What’s the problem? You’re not going psycho on me are you? I paused and hesitantly responded, “I’m scared Lex.”
He looked confused. “Scared of what Mom? Your life is full of so many possibilities! You have a family who loves you; you and your bestie Maria and I are working together and actually having a great time. Our relationship is better than ever, you’ve always dreamed of starting a weight loss community, and you’re doing it! (I wasn’t so sure what they would think if they could see me at the moment!!) You’re in love, and even though this falls under the heading of way to much information for an adult child to hear from his mother- you’re having great sex! So Mom, exactly what are you scared of?”
I took a deep breath and looked at Lex. “I’m scared I’m not smart enough, good enough, or just enough of anything. I’m ashamed of things I’ve done in my past. I feel guilty for not being the perfect mother. Why would I deserve life to be good? I never feel safe because in the back of my mind… I believe that any minute it’s all going to fall apart.”
My son said, “Oh my God Mom… after all these years you have never forgiven yourself. We are all imperfect. Get over yourself, no one cares about the past, but you. I certainly don’t. I love our life together now.” I realized he was right. For so many years I played a good role, always acting like everything was great… but instead of moving forward, I had the same stories of fear and doubt replaying on a loop in my mind. It was like a self sabotaging soundtrack!
I have allowed stories from my past to score my present and rob me of the moment, unnecessarily derailing my future. A perfect example is now, I find myself in a great life situation full of possibility … Suddenly I’m eating like it’s the last supper, staying in bed for three days, and basically self sabotaging my life. There have been so many times where I have had great ideas, started acting on them, and just when things started going really well- I became paralized by fear. So paralized by fear that I thought the only way to feel better was to self medicate. However, my drug of choice is food, and I binge ate my way through tough situations… watching my worst fears come to fruition.
Before my son left my room he said, “Mom happiness is a choice. The life that you want, the one you’ve dreamed of is waiting. It begins the moment you decide to change your perspective. Take time to look at the way you look at things, I promise changing your lens will change your reality. Remember that quote by Henry Ford you wrote on my wall when I was convinced that I would never get into a good college?
“Whether you think you can or you can’t either way you are right.” As he closed the door, his last words were, “For God’s sake Mom, just do it. It’s time. Stop saying, “I can’t stop eating, the truth is you can stop. But what’s happening is you experience whatever you believe. And you will believe whatever you repeatedly tell yourself. Mom, you constantly tell yourself and everyone within shouting distance that you can’t stop eating and therefore you can’t.” and with that he left.
It’s a very humbling moment when your son has a talk with you that totally makes so much sense it brings you to a truly life changing “aha” moment. But, it happened to me.
Ok, first and foremost I must keep showing myself in words and with actions that I am not a victim. I am human, capable of making human mistakes- such as falling off the healthy food train. As my son says, (wait…. how did he suddenly become my guru?!) “Here’s where the power of choice comes in Mom, it’s like a fork in the road…. each one of us has the power to make a choice to go left or right. If we choose left we continue down the self sabotage road which ends in you gaining all your weight back… plus all of the emotional yukiness that goes along with it. These are the consequences of our actions. Or we choose to turn right, realize we made a slight detour, but continue on our joyous (ok, mostly joyous) journey to losing the weight once and for all. Being totally committed to living the life we’ve always dreamed of. It doesn’t mean the journey will be perfect; as we all know life is not perfect. What it does mean is, no matter how many times we hit a bump in the road, we never lose sight of our goal and keep working toward it until it is accomplished.”
My son, Lex, is a sports agent and owns a company called Titan FC that produces MMA fights for UFC fight pass all over the world. One more word of advice he gave me was, “Mom, you need to have the mindset of my fighters. In your case, you are a warrior, fighting a battle. The battle is not over until you win. It’s all about perspective. Do we see ourselves as winners or losers? In my book we are winners.”
Soooo I’ve said all of that so that I can say this, I have decided to turn right. I’m not happy that I fell off the track, but I am happy that I am course correcting. And this time it only took a few days and not a few months (as it has many, many times in the past) for me to realize. To come to the realization that a bump in the road is just that, a bump in the road, a small hick-up. Each of us has the power to stop, midcourse correct, learn from our less than healthy choice, and put it behind us. As some song said, “keep on movin down the road.” Leaving the feeling of fear, guilt, and all the other crazy things we tell ourselves behind us.
It was very empowering for me to, as Nike says: “Just Say No.” Two little letters NO and actually mean it and act on it. NO, Pam, the binge eating stops this second! Not tomorrow morning at 9, so I can have what we all know as “The Last Supper!” I’m sure some of you are familiar with that last crazy binge before you “actually lose the weight this time.” I’ve eaten enough “Last Supper’s” to feed the entire country of India! I have started to feel like Superwoman when I say NO and mean it. Wait, Could it be that easy.. just say NO?
The truth is that it’s not always that easy, but the more NO’s we string together builds up our inner strength. Before we know it we have reached our goals and are more empowered than we’ve ever been. For real, not just a lot of self talk, but our feelings have turned into reality. Now we’re talkin!! That’s a huge accomplishment for me. I’ve taken the time to stop and truly think about what may have triggered my run in with the Cinnabon store, learn from it, and move on in a positive, healthy way.
So far so good! I’m happy, healthy, and losing weight. I’m writing about weight loss and how I’m doing it. I am feeling my fear, but moving forward regardless… because I am strong and I know I can do this. Have any of you ever experienced anything like what has happened to me? If so, I’m sure it would be helpful to me and many other people as well if you shared.