For the second time, I am reading Eat Pray Love. The first time I read the book it touched me. It made me cry and it aroused long-forgotten feelings in me. This time it’s resonating within me deeply. There are so many things that are comparable with my life throughout the book, even though our physical journeys are so different.
Whereas the author spent just 4 months eating, and for pleasure only, I have spent the last 4 years eating and while it has been pleasurable at times, most of the time it has been for comfort. I am now 21lbs heavier than I want to be. I look in the mirror and the worst thing that I think is not that I’m disgusted with myself or that I look fat, it’s that I’m used to looking this way now and actually what does it matter anymore?
The last four years, but most especially the last year, have been spent eating chocolate, takeaways and drinking coke. I am tired. I look like shit and I am actually getting fed up with looking crap, feeling worse and being so unattractive. I know that if I were to weigh considerably less than I do now, my confidence would take a surge and life would seem better, even if it actually isn’t.
So I find myself asking the question I have avoided for the last four years: Why have I stuffed myself with food that clogs my soul and bulks my body? Can it all be comfort from Tom’s abuse?
Tom constantly tried to put restrictions on what I ate. Making sarcastic comments every time I ate something that wasn’t a proper meal, complaining at every turn about the kids eating similar foods. Commenting on my appearance and how I was starting to look like my sisters or saying, ‘A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.’
He taught me that by doing what I’d always done (in moderation up to this point) I was a failure, I was a bad parent, I was ugly, unattractive, I was fat and because of all of these things I was not worthy of him or his love because wasn’t it this, in part, that caused some of the arguments and this that he hated about me. I’m not deluding myself here, there wasn’t much he liked about the real me. He only liked the fantasy of me that he’d built up in his head. He taught me that I shouldn’t eat it, that I should only eat proper meals and that I was ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ for doing otherwise. The more he said it, the more depressed I got and the more I craved the food that made me feel better, it was a comfort to me because it was what I had always had all my life, plus of course, the more someone’s told they can’t have something, or shouldn’t have something, the more they’re likely to rebel against it, even as an adult, in my case.
So then I left him and the last 14 months I have eaten whatever I want, whenever I want with no, or at least little word from him, but look where it’s got me. I’m bordering on a size 14. I need to wear hold me in underwear to do some of my clothes up. None of my jeans have top buttons anymore. I look frumpy. I wobble. I weigh 10 stone 3 pounds and at not even 5′ 2″ that’s just too much. My skin is crap. My hair is awful and I have no energy and no zest for life. I sit indoors every day on my laptop eating chocolate and then far too often I go and buy a takeaway or some convenience food and not only poison my body with it but the kids bodies too and that is a fucking disgrace because that makes me no better than what he accused me of.
Yet despite all this, do I feel motivated to stop? NO! I tell myself I will stop eating crap. That I will drink water, not coke. Eat fruit, not chocolate and cook meals instead of buying in, but the longest it ever lasts is 2 days. What a joke I am. It’s just too easy to give in.
I rebelled against the control of Tom telling me what I should or shouldn’t eat and now I’m in this mess. I have to do something about this. I have to stop making excuses and stop telling myself it doesn’t matter, that I’m not really bothered and I just need to do it and enjoy doing it. I need to have a real relationship with food for the first time in my life. Like my relationships with men have been unhealthy, so too has my relationship with food. Maybe by changing one, the other will change too?