Tuesday, May 10, 2011

' The Truth Will Set You Free'

As the title of the blog infers, today's post is my effort to speak my truth in the hopes that I can motivate myself to better things and possibly inspire someone else.  I wrestled all day, yesterday, with thoughts about where I'm at in my quest for wholeness as a person.  I made a huge decision and started following through on it yesterday.  I've had many thoughts tumbling around in my head regarding the decision.  I attempted to write those thoughts down in my personal journal but kept procrastinating and couldn't figure out why.  Finally-- LATE, LATE, last night (more accurately early this morning) it finally occurred to me that what was eating at me was that I really wanted to blog about it, not just journal it privately.  I'm sure once I mentally purge what I feel necessary to blog, there will still be plenty more to journal that is just too private and wordy to share here.  My hope is that I won't have such a mental block in my journaling once I've completed this task.

Why would I feel so compelled to spill my guts and share my truth in such a public forum?  Only God can say, but I have some theories.  First of all, as I mentioned before, I think it will motivate me to greater things.  What I'm sharing here is something I've carried around with me my whole adult life.  It has plagued me and kept me from reaching my true potential.  It has made me feel ashamed, yet it is something that many, many people suffer from, which brings me to my second reason for blogging about it-- maybe someone reading this, suffers from it as well and will benefit from reading my post.  Even if no one else gets anything out of this, I know that speaking my truth will free me from the hiding, secrecy, and guilt that I have suffered from over the years.  I share in the hope that once I say it out loud (or in this case, write it down and send it out) I can't hide it any longer and I can move forward.

What I suffer from isn't anything grandiose or over-the-top.  It isn't some rare disease or abnormality.  Simply put-- I am an emotional eater.  That's it in a nutshell.  I eat when I'm not hungry.  I eat for many reasons other than fueling my body.  I crave unhealthy food and can't stop myself from eating them and eating far too much of them. I know many people do this.  I am far from alone.  Yet, it is so easy to feel alone in it.  It is a lonely place.  No one wants to talk about it.  No one wants to admit it.  There is a lot of shame in it.  You feel ashamed that you have no control over yourself.  I always feel embarrassed to talk about it because it seems so insignificant compared to "real" eating disorders such as binge eating, anorexia, or bulimia.  But I'm understanding, more and more, that I feel as much pain from my "eating disorder" as anyone else and my pain deserves a voice, as much as anyone else's does.

I want to rise above it and realized very recently that I am powerless to do so on my own.  I made the decision to seek professional help in the form of private counseling.  I have been to counseling in the past for depression, but until recently had not realized how much I needed professional help for this.  I had convinced myself that I could do it on my own, and that since I was no longer depressed, then I had no need for counseling.  I've watched some reality TV shows recently, regarding obese people, and saw how much they benefited from counseling.  I knew that it was time.  I finally realized that it was not a sign of weakness to ask for help but rather it is a sign of courage to realize that you lack the tools to make the changes on your own.

I have yo-yo dieted my whole adult life.  I have struggled with self-esteem and body image issues for decades.  I have tried many, many diets, weight loss programs, and exercise regimes.  Each time I tried a new one, it would work for awhile, but eventually I would revert back to my old habits.  I would then go looking for another solution, only to repeat the same pattern.  I was always looking outside myself for the answer.  Finally, a couple years ago, I recognized my self-defeating, sabotaging ways and took some time away from dieting and exercise to just focus on the mental issues.  I worked very hard to learn to look in the mirror and truly love myself.  I was very successful in changing the "mental tapes" in my head and no longer allowing myself to be critical and negative about my body.  After a time, and having gained back a bunch of weight, I started the journey once again to get a handle on my physical health and fitness.

I took up running again recently (I have blogged about my running, and why I love it, in previous posts).  I started working on eating healthy, instead of dieting, to fuel my body for the arduous task of running longer and longer distances.  I set a goal of running a half marathon before the end of the year.  I set smaller goals of running shorter races, leading up to the half.  I looked up websites on running and nutrition. I found an amazing book that told me exactly what and when to eat to fuel my runs.  The author broke down the formula for how much to eat to have the energy you need for running while still losing weight.  I finally felt like I had all of the missing pieces to my puzzle.  I chose a form of exercise I enjoyed and knew exactly how to fuel my body for it.  I was even excited about the fact that the more miles you run, the less "perfect" you have to be in your eating (not to mention that you GET to eat carbs and LOTS of them!).

So why am I still repeating the same self-defeating, self-sabotaging behaviors?  I have a few good ideas that I'm not going to get into here.  The fact is that I've figured some of it out but it isn't helping me discontinue the negative behaviors.  I've been so frustrated lately because I feel like I'm really close to finally reaching my potential after all these years.  I can see in my mind's eye a vision of myself looking over a chasm and I can see my true potential on the other side.  She is a fit and healthy runner who takes good care of herself and is happy and beautiful, both inside and out.  She's so close, yet I can't reach her.  I thought, at first, that I needed to find a counselor who could help me build a bridge to get across the chasm in order to finally reach my true self.  But then it occurred to me that the chasm wasn't really that wide-- in fact, I realized that if I just believed in myself enough, I could jump it.  But I'm too afraid I will fail and fall to my doom.  What I need is someone to help me feel confident enough to make the jump.

So yesterday I went on a search for a counselor/Psychologist nearby that works with our insurance and specializes in eating disorders.  I was actually surprised how many were right here in town.  I left a message with one office and heard back from them this afternoon.  I was actually scared, at first, that I might end up with someone I didn't feel a connection with but I read a blog yesterday regarding choosing the right counselor with the emphasis being on shopping around until you find the right fit.  So I gave myself permission to try one out and move on if it doesn't feel right.  I know that through faith and prayer, the Lord will help me find the right person.  If this counselor doesn't work out, there are plenty more to choose from.

The Lord will help me find the counselor and will help me finally win the battle over my demons, once and for all.  He wants me to be happy.  He inspired me to share this blog because He knew it would help me feel happy.  He helped me to share my truth and it has 'set me free'.


vaxhacker said...

Yeah, I struggle with that too. It's hard when you feel such an impulse to grab another snack you know you don't need, and have to choose between satisfying the craving for food and the craving for being in better shape.

Matt and Melissa said...

Thanks so much for sharing that. That took a lot of courage! You are so awesome Laura! I'm so proud of you and your desire to change and become better! Its very motivating! Thanks!

Tonnie said...

I am with you! I, too, am an emotional eater. You can almost watch me balloon up when I am struggling with some emotional thing and get thinner when I am in control and coping well. I admire your strength. I am here for you, whatever you need! I can be your partner! Want to come clog or use my elliptical? Any time! We can also cook together. It helps to find things you love that are good for you, too! It doesn't fix things, but helps!

Siouxsie said...

Thanks for sharing something so important to you. It's something I've struggled with forever, as well, and have been feeling way more frustrated by lately. I think you're going to be my inspiration to take it a little more seriously because it does make me pretty unhappy. Good luck. I hope you find someone fantastic.

Evelyn @ Hanging by a Silver Lining said...

Wow! You are very brave too! This is really hard to say out loud. I love how defined your goals are and I hope you get to cross your chasm very soon. Would you be willing to share the name of that book that teaches you how to eat to fuel for running and lose weight?

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