I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with food lately and the many issues I have with it. Wondering how something that is meant to nourish and give us life can also be so destructive. Oh, it doesn’t start out that way of course. It starts out being a comfort, like a hug from a friend or your Mom’s famous casserole during a bad time. It lulls you in with this notion that whatever you eat, and however you do it, is okay because it’s just food. By the time we realize it is no longer okay we’ve gone and ruined that beautiful relationship.
I’ve always been a “big girl.” Being compared to a twin brother who had the metabolism of a hummingbird when I clearly did not didn’t help. Sure we’re twins, but we aren’t the same person. He is a 6’3” boy and I am a 5’4” girl. He spent his Saturdays running around playing sports while I was relaxing at home reading books or writing. He has a physical job while my days are spent sitting behind a desk. It is clear we are different people, so why are we expected to be the same? Oh right, that twin thing that means absolutely nothing aside from the fact we share a birthday and can have a full fledged conversation in four words.
Just like all those things that are different, so is our relationship with food. I am a take comfort in food person where he is a deny food as a punishment for some short coming only he sees. His response to trauma is to drink or use some drug and not eat for days or weeks. Mine is to eat all the food then sleep for a month. I feed the pain while he starves it. As we’ve gotten older the way we treat ourselves when it comes to food has only gotten worse.
After all of these years of using food to comfort I have to find a way to change that relationship. I have to. Because if I don’t it will kill me and I can’t leave my 10yo son without his mother, his only parent. He’s still coping with the recent loss of his Auntie Michelle and is afraid I am going to die too. I can’t keep telling him we can’t do something because Mommies knee hurts or because I’m in too much pain. He deserves the best version of me, even if I don’t always feel like I do.
My doctors response when I tell him I am in pain has always been, “You need to lose weight.” Easily said when he only looks at the weight and not how or why it got there. He saw the extra pounds on my body and refused to look at the knees that have now deteriorated to the point of being straight bone on bone. My pleas for something to take away the pain so I could move we’re ignored. In November my body decided it had had enough and one of my knees stopped working. He couldn’t just write me off as simply being fat anymore after being confronted with the X-ray evidence.
I now have an accessible parking permit (Damn that was a tough day), and crutches that I have to use more often than I’d care to. Crutches simply because they were the cheapest option and they seemed like the most temporary aid. I mean, who wants to use crutches to walk every day of their damn life? If I got them I would surely be forced to fix the problem.
That is where I am at now, trying to figure out how to fix the problem with my health and as part of that my problem with food. My doctor is finally looking at pain management and has recommended me for weight loss surgery so that I can then get the knees replaced next year. To be honest, having the knees replaced doesn’t phase me at all as I’ve always known it would need to be done at some point. But the thought of having weight loss surgery? That freaks me the fuck out.
I’ve been to a one day class to get me started on the weight loss surgery journey and it really was a huge wake up call. I’ve read the materials over and over, done more research, talked to friends who have had the surgery, and started to follow many of the “before surgery” guidelines. I’ve started to change my relationship with food and have seen some results. I am going to do all the pre-surgery tests and classes but am still not sold on actually having the surgery because the surgery doesn’t just make you lose weight, it changes the whole way your body processes food. Forever. I’m not sure I can ever be prepared enough for that.