This past weekend I celebrated my 1 year wedding anniversary (yey!) For me, whenever an event comes up that marks a year’s time passed, I subconsciously think back to that same time the year prior. It happens on birthdays, holidays, etc. As the weekend of my one year anniversary neared, I began to reflect upon my wedding day. I replayed the surge of emotions that played into this life event. My wedding marked the start of freedom and security. Let me explain…
The minute I got engaged on January 18th, 2013 I thought what most girls think, “I need to be the skinniest I have ever been in my entire life on my wedding day. I seriously want to look emaciated.” You may have had this thought on many occasions in your life. Two days later, after the excitement of the engagement settled and the congratulatory Facebook posts subsided, I thought this thought again, “I need to be the skinniest I have ever been in my entire life on my wedding day.” In my head, I fast-forwarded and pictured myself wearing the dress I hadn’t even imagined yet. As I played the video of my life I watched myself struggle through the next 18 months of starving and exercising to get there. Then I pushed the fast-forward button again and pictured the day after my wedding. It was a scene of me binge-eating everything I had restricted from my diet in order to be so skinny on my wedding day. Then I envisioned the next couple months and I saw the unhappy ending. I had gained back everything I had lost, plus some. I knew this was my fate, because this was always the outcome. If you are like me, you have spent your whole life picking your weight loss deadline, losing the weight and then gaining it back. Starve. Lose. Eat. Repeat. Starve. Lose. Eat. Repeat. This is the reason my weight has fluctuated my entire life. And thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for confirming that through Facebook’s timeline feature. The mere fact that I was able to picture the weight gain, made me feel insane. The insanity drove me to seek the help of a nutritionist for the first time. My rationale, maybe a professional could pull me from the grip of my personal hamster wheel.
I was nervous when I first walked into her office on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Frankly, I felt stupid that I needed to ask someone for help to do something that’s seemingly so simple (eat less and move more). I also feared she couldn’t fix me. After all, I felt broken. When I sat down across from her and she asked me a little about myself and why I came to her, I told her I wanted to lose weight for my wedding. I explained that I had recently gotten engaged and I had 18 months to get to my unrealistic goal and I asked her if she could help me. Begged actually. Her response, “Do you want to be thin for your wedding day or for the rest of your life?” That question blew my mind. “The rest of my life?!” – I questioned in my head. “Yes, yes, yes! Sign me up,” I screamed on the inside. Naturally though, I played it cool in front of her. My response, “I’ll take the rest of my life option. Does that cost more? And does my insurance cover that as well?” Luckily it was all included.
I began seeing her about once a month for the next couple months. Despite her working extremely hard to create the perfect diet for me I still had ups and downs. She helped me see I knew what to eat to lose weight, but I didn’t know why I ate. She referred me to another profession upstairs from her that she worked closely with. That’s when I truly accepted that dieting for me, was 90% why I ate and 10% what I ate. I didn’t eat a whole sleeve of Oreos because I like Oreos. I ate a whole sleeve of Oreos because I was eating my emotions. I was an emotional eater. I slowly began to see that days or weeks of being completely off the wagon with food could always be traced back to something going on in my life at that time. I learned that my yo-yo dieting was not the problem, it was the symptom.
That was hard to accept because nobody wants to be an emotional eater. It feels embarrassing to be labeled as such. I knew I felt embarrassed by this flaw. But now, it’s something I love about myself.
Emotional eating is something many of us do but don’t realize it. It’s not always the easiest to recognize. But for me, learning this small truth about myself, fueled my perfect diet. The only rule to the diet, acknowledge your feelings, don’t eat them. Understand them, say them out loud, write them down, tell a friend, tell your dog, just don’t tell a bag of chips.
As, I celebrated my one year wedding anniversary, I was able to report to myself that I am the same weight now as the day I got married. Never in my life have I maintained weight loss for this long. I still worry I might gain it back, which is why it’s important to acknowledge that maintenance didn’t come in the form of calories or carbs. It comes when you remove emotional binges that can arrive anytime, anywhere. Believe me, there are times I forget this simple rule, but when the bag of chips or box of cookies is staring at me empty, I am reminded that there was a reason I finished the bag and I need to go back and find the emotional cause. That puts me right back on track.
Find one way this week to face your feelings. I know a bag of chips numbs the pain, but pain is good, it’s weakness leaving the body.
PS…you may be wondering how my husband plays into this past year… well he’s the calm to this emotional storm 😉
Anniversary Trip to Ireland <3