I’ve been overweight my entire life. Food has always been my most faithful companion and comforter. It’s also an ever-present guest in my Cuban family’s celebrations. Without exception, every family gathering in my memory centered around all kinds of delicious food!
When I was a toddler (or so I’m told,) my insatiable appetite was “cute.” My family would feed me at all hours, giving me a bite or two of whatever they were eating. It was just precious how I ate pretty much anything. (my family are not vegetable eaters so there was no danger of accidentally ingesting broccoli or anything…)
As I got older, however, the cute aspect of my overeating quickly vanished and was replaced by concern at home coupled with relentless bullying at school.
The first diet attempt I can remember was at about age 11 when a family member took me to a Weight Watchers meeting. The public weighing ritual, along with the horrified look on the WW lady’s face at the number on the scale, introduced me to my 2nd faithful companion – shame.
Since then I’ve tried absolutely everything to lose weight and keep it off. Well, everything except eating healthy foods that actually nourished my body instead of just flirting with my taste buds.
Despite all the “encouraging” pleas to “eat less and exercise more” and “moderation is key” reminders, I sank deeper into despair and plunged higher up the size chart in the plus size clothing section.
WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS WRONG WITH ME?!?
I was relatively successful in every other area of my life but I simply COULD NOT get a handle on my weight.
Then – I heard about the book Bright Line Eating by Dr. Susan Pierce Thompson.
In it, she explains the science behind food addiction as well as her personal story through recovery. I pretty much cried the entire time I listened (audio book.) It was like she was validating my story and letting me know I wasn’t a complete failure or “just lazy” or beyond hope; I was using food as a drug. It had become edible anesthesia to keep me from feeling all the pain I tried so hard to avoid.
I followed the Bright Line Eating program for about 18 months and the results were phenomenal! During that time I lost 107 lbs and a whole bunch of inches! What was much more thrilling, however, was (and is) my QUIET BRAIN. I started to understand the difference between feeding my body and feeding my emotions. I stopped eating to numb my feelings for the first time - ever. That's when I realized that, while my new way of eating (mostly whole foods, no added sugar, no flour, 3 meals a day, no snacks) was healing the physical symptoms of my emotional eating and food obsession, I needed to focus on healing the emotions and triggers that drove me to misuse food in the first place.
This realization became extremely clear at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Suddenly I was working from home full time and the carefully crafted structure I had established during the past 18 months was GONE in an instant! That's when I began what I realized was "phase 2" of my health journey. I still have weight to remove from my body but healing the inside stuff has become much more important. The story continues... :)
If any part of my story resonates with you, I strongly encourage you to read the Bright Line Eating book! it absolutely helped me understand my unhealthy relationship with food and how to create some much needed boundaries around what I do and don't eat.
If you'd like some help or resources with the emotional side of your weight loss journey, please check out the self development and "living free" courses available on this site!