The Jig Was Up

The jig was up …

Someone that I love very much has called me out on a problem that I have come to recognize as a lifestyle. A lifestyle I deemed as a success, that I gave many names and adjectives to except the correct one.  For dignity purposes let’s say health nut but it’s one of those nuts that fell on the pantry ground 10 years ago, was kicked into a dark corner, forgotten and is now rancid.

I have disordered eating. No, I’m not a 17 year-old girl trying to fit in with the popular crowd. I’m a grown woman with kids and an adult life full of responsibilities, friends, love and family. I wasn’t beaten or grew up neglected. But here I am at 33 without knowing how to really eat because, well, my eating is disordered.  Even worse my self-image is an extension of that disordered eating making my seemingly normal lifestyle perfectly disordered.

I feel full of shame and embarrassment as I even write this.  I mean for god’s sake this is the problem of a teenager, not a grown ass woman.  The thoughts in the back of my head tell me that people will judge me thinking that such behavior lacks common sense and willpower. Surely people will say  to just get over it. But I surely cannot be the only one that thinks this way. To say aloud or at least in words that I really do have a problem.

The jig was up ….

I started to look into the dark corners of this reality on my own and what I found was darker than what I had hoped. But where there is darkness there is always light, as long as you have faith.  I searched the all knowing internet, the books offered through Amazon, the library and online. I rifled through blog searches and chat boards. I found plenty dealing with mothers of those who had an eating disorder and I found a book here and there about women with eating disorders but the actual mother with an eating disorder that was a straight shooter and not part of a research project was pretty far and in between. Why was is such a secret? I have a feeling that I’m not the only one. After all, most women I come across are body bashing, talking about the newest diet or skipping a meal here and there to hopefully make up for that cookie eaten four days ago.

I began to look at the ways in which my behavior mirrored the inner workings of my mind. A control freak. A perfectionist. My self-image and body image crumbling with each new diet I latched onto or a day of eating that I deemed “bad”. My exercise regimen stressed like my body and mind were. I was caring and nurturing three little ones but when it came to caring for the one who loved those little babes the most … the word that comes to mind is anything but care.

The jig was up …

I was pouring so much time and energy into diets and rules surrounding my eating, molding my body and my mind frame of what was right and what was wrong. I spent lengths of time reading books, surfing Pinterest, sifting through blogs about achieving the ultimate clean eating and body. But in my mind I had never been to that point of perfection and I would never get there as I ultimately didn’t believe in myself. A reflection of so much more than just my disordered eating.

The jig was up …

One writing exercise in a self-image workbook that made me truly sad was one in which you were to write down all the eating rules you followed. After I completed my list I counted each one resulting in 26 different rules. That’s right 26. I can only imagine all the time and energy that went into upholding these rules. What’s even worse and more time-consuming is that each time I broke a rule I would mentally and emotionally beat myself up. I was a failure. Breaking a rule broke my vision of perfection which broke my spirit which broke my day which meant that I wasn’t living or enjoying life to its fullest all because the nutrition content of what I put into my mouth or the numbers on the scale or what time I had eaten my least bite of the day.

I fixated on these feelings of out of control fatness. That if I didn’t get up and move each and every second I was nothing but a sloth. That if I didn’t workout each day that I would blow up over night. That if I wasn’t thin than I was uglier than I already was. If I wasn’t the number I wanted to see on the scale then It all mattered so much. The skin that I wore on my body meant more than the soul that my body held. What had I done? The jig was up …

Exploration of this so-called clean living fixation that I associated will power and healthy habits is leading me through a dark journey of what I’m reflecting as a mother and how I’m acting as a woman and a wife. However, where there is dark there is always light. You gotta face the storm before the rainbows and Care Bears appear.  Let the journey begin.

The jig is up and now it’s time to share. Sharing to heal. Sharing to find. Sharing to let others know they aren’t alone. Sharing so other moms begin to realize that starving isn’t healthy, working out until the body aches is not natural, that we are not the number on the scale or the cookies we eat. Most of these fixations are only skin deep. What really matters are attributes that cannot be contained by the body, the scale or the rules we apply to foods and exercise.  The jig is up …

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