Food Affects My Marriage

I’m on a journey. A health journey. I know you probably can’t tell from my outside but on the inside I struggle daily. I struggle like a cocaine user or alcoholic or sex addict or porn user—my drug is food. I use it when I’m happy. I use it when I’m sad. I use it to self-soothe. I use it to forget. I use it to harm myself. I use it to self-destruct. I think about it way too much. And when my eating has gotten out of control and I have begun the process of gaining weight or have gone way over the edge and can’t fit in my clothes, I starve myself until I’m back down to a size I’m happy with. Then the cycle begins all over again. I’ve dealt with this for all of my adult life. This cycle scares my husband so bad that he hides scales and sometimes yells (maybe just gets intense but it feels to me like yelling) at me for my imbalance. I can’t blame him. He’s been dealing with this all of our marriage. I’ve accepted this cycle as part of what was left from my dark past. I struggled with bulimia as a teenager and into my early 20s. I just figured this was part of being a “recovered” bulimic.

Yesterday I went to the doctor and upon getting on the scale I told the doctor’s assistant he could weigh me but I didn’t want to see what the scale said. He agreed and I stepped on the scale. All was fine until while sitting on the patient bed I could see what my weight was while the physician’s assistant was filling in my chart on the computer. And I didn’t like what it said. I’m not giving numbers because it’s all relative—what is high to me may be high or low to you, that’s not the point, the point is I didn’t like what it said. I freaked out inside! I felt like I couldn’t breath and had a hard time concentrating and answering his questions. My blood pressure was low, which was odd, because, inside I was freaking out! He took my blood pressure again, and asked me to uncross my legs (I had my legs crossed and was swinging them back and forth). The second try my blood pressure was low but in normal range.

While waiting for the doctor to come into my room I sent this text to my husband: “I saw my weight. I’m freaking out!”

Later, I told the doctor I worked out 6 days a week and she said that’s why my blood pressure was so low. I guess that’s good. I was seeing the doctor due to a rash under my arm—it was itchy and driving me crazy so after a week of struggle I finally headed to the doctor’s office. I needed some more Xanax for flying and it was noted in my chart. Then the doctor asked, “How’s the anxiety, sweetie?” What anxiety? Can she tell I’m totally freaking out inside? Oh, the Xanax, that’s why she’s asking me this. I responded, “The Xanax is for flying. I get severe motion sickness and the Xanax enables me to fly with ease.”

I’m really not sure how to do this—how to get healthy completely. But I’m a writer, and so I thought I’d start there.

I am not going to starve myself. That’s my first decision. I did weigh myself this morning. I snuck out into the garage while my husband was shaving. And it was 5 pounds lower than what the doctor’s scale said…but still way too high for me. But at least it was better.

The scale is a guide. I can’t use it as my happiness meter. It needs to be a guide indicating to me if I’m on the right track or if I need to balance out my food intake. How I’m going to learn that I’m still not sure. I need to learn balance. I need to use food for fuel. I need to not panic when the scale goes up one pound.

Here’s what I’ve done so far today: Got up, sneaked out to the scale. Exercised with hubby. Took my measurements. Oddly enough, my arms are smaller! Go figure. Well, I’ve been working out with weights. We have been doing the Body Beast program for over a year now. So, I guess it makes sense. And at this point I know you’re probably thinking my weight gain could be from muscle, and yes, some of it probably is, but not most of it. I know where most of the extra pounds came from. It came from self-soothing with food after my youngest left for college. Something I have to learn NOT to do anymore. I also read my Bible and prayed offering my struggle to God. My power is weak but His power is infinitely strong. For breakfast I ate a big honey crisp apple with about a tablespoon and a half of peanut butter and for lunch a faux chicken “breast” and broccoli and spinach. I plan on a snack this afternoon. I think it’s a good start, don’t you? I know for dinner we are bringing pizza over to our son-in-law and daughter’s home and I am already having low-grade anxiety about the possibility of not being able to stop at eating only one piece of pizza. Which could kick me into starving myself again, and I am determined not to do that this time!

How does all of this affect my marriage? Oh my, I wish I could lie and tell you it doesn’t and that we have tremendous healthy communication about this, but I’d be lying. My food problem has caused a lot of damage. He thinks I look fantastic but I think I look, well, have you ever seen My 600 Pound Life? Yes, I know I don’t look exactly like that, but I can so relate. Things were tense when he left for work today because he is scared about what I will do having seen a number on the scale I do not like.

I had a blog post all ready to go for today but it didn’t seem honest, so I replaced it with this one. I want to be totally honest with you, and this is brutally honest. So here goes…one of my most honest posts to date. My relationship with food is unhealthy and it affects my marriage. But I am determined to fix it, and I will be writing about it.

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