My Relationship with Food

Yesterday I found myself in a place I never thought I’d be.

Over the summer I was on track to “writing myself right” and I was walking my way to health.

But then something shifted, and I lost my way again. A few weeks ago I found myself in my doctor’s office, looking at a number on the scale that was higher than its ever been before. My doctor terrified me with the words that, “if you’ve gone this high it will be not time before your weight doubles.”

I didn’t agree with her words. I’ve gained and lost my whole life. I know, deep in my bones, that I can beat this. However she convinced me to sign up for a Bariatric Surgery consultation. “You don’t have to have the surgery,” she said. “It’s really a program to help you deal with your weight.”

“I know what I have to do,” I said. “I know what I have to eat,” It’s just that my head knows but my body responds in its own way.

I went home and cried.

Yesterday I found myself in an introductory meeting, surrounded by people who (for the most part) had more severe weight issues than I do. I listened to the explanation about the program, the expectations before surgery, the different types of surgery. All the while my mind was screaming “How did I get here?!” and I fought back tears. I learned that I wouldn’t even really be a candidate for bariatric surgery, or at least for a surgery covered by insurance, because my BMI is not high enough. I felt relieved, but I still wondered how I’d even gotten so close to needing the surgery. Throughout the presentation I thought, do I want to follow this program in a non-surgical track? Is this program right for me?

At the end of the presentation a group of patients who had the surgery done went up and shared their stories. They all said how it was life changing, and hard work, and took commitment. They’d all lost (or were on their way to losing) well over a hundred pounds of weight. The all seemed happy, but . . .

They all admitted that they couldn’t see their thinner selves in the mirror. They still saw their overweight selves.

One of  them had admitted that she also had a tummy tuck, plastic surgery to remove the excess skin that came after her bariatric surgery. She was still in pain two years later.

A few of them said, “the excess skin isn’t beautiful, but it wasn’t beautiful before when we were fat.”

Why not? I asked. Why can’t fat be beautiful?

Now, granted, there are many health reasons to lose weight, and extreme obesity is a dangerous condition. But it doesn’t mean people who carry extra pounds are not beautiful.

I felt like I was at a sales presentation, marketing procedures that will make you beautiful and, in that way, make your world perfect.

It doesn’t work like that.

I left thinking, this program isn’t right for me. While they do include psychological help, as well as nutrition and physical therapy, it just didn’t feel like a match for me. Maybe I’m making excuses, but I have to go with my gut here.

But then again, my gut has been leading me wrong for a long time, or I wouldn’t have been there in the first place, would I?

This morning I woke up with a new determination. I am getting back on track. I’m going to find my way back to a healthy weight, by eating with awareness and exercising. I will go back to the plan to “write myself right”. I will believe in myself and my ability to do this. I will confront the issues that lead me to seek comfort in food.  I started today, eating a healthy breakfast and then doing a 1 mile power walk with weights (a video exercise program)

While I’m doing this, however, I’m going to get up every morning, look into the mirror and say to myself, “You are beautiful just the way you are.”

Lisa the fairy queen



21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Julia Munroe Martin
    Dec 14, 2012 @ 10:36:48

    Obviously we want to be healthy — who doesn’t? And as you say we know the right things to do to get there… Physically. The other part, the acceptance and beauty is always the hardest part for me — no matter if I’m heavier or lighter, fat or thin. So I too get up every morning and tell myself I’m beautiful. Now how do we get our culture to do the same? I always tell my husband that fat is the only prejudice that’s still socially acceptable. It’s shameful.

    PS You are beautiful Lisa, and I love this post!


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 14, 2012 @ 10:41:23

      Thanks Julia. That is the challenge, isn’t it? Making society recognize that beauty is defined by something else.

      Your beautiful, Julia. I’m glad you’re part of my little blogging world.


  2. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Dec 14, 2012 @ 10:52:26

    Determination is everything. Telling yourself you’re beautiful is good, since you are! Have you seen Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead? I juice, but don’t seem to have the will power to go on a total juice fast. I have given up breads, though, for two weeks now. And, I love bread.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 14, 2012 @ 11:53:31

      When I was in high school, and first confronted my weight issues by joining Nutrisystem, my counselor there told me a secret. “Lisa,” she said. “The way I lost my weight [well over a hundred pounds] was by listening carefully to my body and feeding it what it wanted. Sometimes it wanted chocolate, but I would give it small portions.” She told me about a book, which I can’t remember now, that talked about really listening to your body. I believe the answers lie within us, we’ve just stopped knowing how to listen. I’m going to listen more.


      • Dana
        Dec 14, 2012 @ 21:39:26

        That sounds like the writing of Geneen Roth. She talks a lot about tuning in to our bodies and truly honoring our needs. I really enjoy her work and agree that moderation is always a better route than deprivation or self-deprecation. Good luck, Lisa!


  3. nrhatch
    Dec 14, 2012 @ 11:04:53

    Good luck finding the balance you need . . . on the scales and off them.


  4. academicronin
    Dec 14, 2012 @ 11:11:36

    You are beautiful just the way you are. But I know just how you feel. My doctor and I talk about this issue a lot, and she (also a large woman) is a firm believer of being fit at any size and that you can be fat and fit and still be healthy, no matter what society would like to tell you. Walk and write and be happy.


  5. termitespeaker
    Dec 14, 2012 @ 13:21:00

    Yes, serious surgery of any type is often not all it’s cracked up to be! I would try other things first. I’ve never needed to lose a large amount of weight, but when I wanted to lost like 15 pounds awhile back, what worked for me was keeping a rigorous calorie count. I found an on-line calorie counter, made a table in a Word document, carefully checked labels, and then after every meal I would record what I ate and the calorie count. I stuck to around 1400-1500 calories a day. I would even count grapes – each grape is 3 calories, so I would allot myself 10 grapes. I was very strict. And I lost about 15 pounds in I think three months. And it stayed off, because even after I stopped counting calories, I continued to eat the same sort of thing. I don’t count grapes any longer (they are very nutritious, after all), but still it seems to work! Now, that strict counting of calories might not work if you’re not an organized sort of person who will be tenacious in record keeping, but I’ll bet you’re the right kind of person for that!


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 14, 2012 @ 13:27:57

      I’m using where you enter what you it and it calculates the calories and keeps track of the nutritional value of your food. You can also keep track of your exercise throughout the day, and the water. Then, it gives you handy-dandy charts to show you how you’re doing.


  6. sharon
    Dec 14, 2012 @ 18:20:18

    You are courageous to write this. We really are cosmically related. I struggle with similar issues. Every. Single. Day. Doesn’t matter what the scale says or mirror shows: I still see 9yo fat girl. I’ve finally found an awesome therapist to help cope. I hope you find what you need.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 14, 2012 @ 20:16:27

      Sharon, that amazes me, you are so gorgeous. That shot of you trying on the dress the other day, I was going to comment on how fabulous you look. I guess it just goes to show how our minds can truly play tricks on us.


  7. Andra Watkins
    Dec 15, 2012 @ 12:04:23

    It’s so hard to find balance. I love to eat, but there are lots of things I can’t eat anymore. I’ve tried to focus on enjoying the things I can have, but it’s still hard.

    And, you are beautiful just the way you are.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 15, 2012 @ 12:17:01

      Thanks Andra. I noticed today, as I was slowly reading my way through the manuscript, that every scene of comfort, companionship, and friendship I wrote contains food and warm drinks. Says something about me, I think, I don’t want to lose that, although I know I have to make wise choices. One step, one day at a time.


  8. lisaspiral
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 17:42:41

    I’ve struggled with weight my whole life and I absolutely hear you. You’ve got to find what works for you. Are you writing yourself a write yourself right blog? If you were I’d certainly follow it. hint hint. Best wishes on your journey to better health! Oh, and I looked at the photo at the end of this post and thought “Of course she’s beautiful!”


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 16, 2012 @ 17:47:15

      Thanks Lisa. Maybe I will start a new blog, but if I do I’ll probably wait until after the holidays. I always manage to start my new attitude toward eating right before the holidays which just makes it harder. 😛


  9. notesfromrumbleycottage
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 21:21:07

    Lisa, I have been on a similar journey although without the bariatric surgery session. I have to admit that even with losing 40 pounds the person I see in the mirror is still too fat. Good luck in your journey, it takes time and effort.


  10. Trackback: The Whys and Whats of Change | Re-Envisioning Lisa

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