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Old Aug 08, 2023 at 01:29 AM
I've been dealing with an ED my entire life. I remember being in elementary school, 9 years old, and already dealing with binge eating and body image issues. I had a very food strict father so I was never overweight but definitely struggled with sneaking food, binging, etc. and went up and down a bit through my teens. he was even so happy when I started going to the gym with him, despite the fact I wasn't eating and worked out two hours a day minimum. when I left for college, i was alone for the first time and had zero coping skills. I went to class, work, and just found comfort in food. I gained a lot of weight and went from 120 to 230 in less than two years.
I finally got my life together a bit more, was working, had my own apartment, going to counseling, I made a lot of progress. Ate well, worked on harm reduction, worked out every day without it being a punishment. I was finally healthy in a sense. I maintained, happy and healthy for two years. I still didn't have a great concept around my actual body and size. Even after losing 70 lbs I was still not comfortable in my own body.
sadly it's been slipping a bit more over the last 3-4 years with a spouse. at first it was just little slips. dealing with stress. I wasn't buying and cooking just for myself. and I had new stressors and routine and life really. slowly I got more lax on working out, and then after my auto immune disorders got worse I stopped completely for a while. and then my eating got more lax. stress and life kept getting to me, we moved where I don't have family near by or friends or a support system any more. my weekly counseling that really helped is gone. I left the life I had built and my career of 10 years and then covid hit. any and all coping skills went out the window really. and the upset and resentment set in if I'm honest. we moved for my spouses job, so he could work on his career and promote - and then he is gone a lot for his work. it was all too much when we first moved, to have a sense of myself gone, the shut downs, isolation, and then I really was alone. sitting in this stupid house, in this stupid small ****** town, where there is no work, or connection. we've been here for over three years now. me just floundering - I've had more jobs in the last 3 years than I had in my entire life. I worked the same job for 10 years before we moved, 12 in my career field. and cant find decent work in our rural area.
with the isolation and stress I went back to sneaking food, binging, so much emotional eating. all the hard work I put it on those 2 years to lose 70 lbs and gain muscle and get into a healthier life style just slipped away, like I feared would happen. I've now gained that back plus another 30 lbs. When I step on the scale, see myself in the mirror, have to try on clothes its a bitter angry reminder that I let so much hard work go to waste. and when I'm stress eating a bag of chips or mindlessly eating a box of mac and cheese I know I'm just adding to the pain and problem but I can't stop myself.
to be another 100 lbs overweight hurts my heart. I have tried over and over to work out, to get back into doing the things I had enjoyed and it's so hard. its painful and I'm slow and the guilt and shame. I get so angry with myself. I know what I need to do and how to do it - and yet I can't seem to.
instead I yo-yo between not eating and eating till I'm sick and trying to stay active without getting discouraged. today I did a seated lower body work out and have found a few more to do to help me get going again. I want to get healthy again - I don't want food to rule my day or life. I don't want my weight to be equated to my sense of self worth. I want to be able to do the things I enjoy and to be comfortable in my own body.

this same spouse and I dated in my early years of college when I was still very much starving myself and over exercising. he met thin, unhealthy me. he told me when I started to gain weight the first time that he didn't find it attractive. then we broke up for unrelated reasons. 5 years later when we ran back into each other I was healthy again, working out, and eating well. those words have always haunted me, hurt me deeply. and I think of them all the time. when I look in the mirror and hate what I see, does he also hate what he sees?
he doesn't take a lot of pictures of me and when he finally did he showed me 'how I looked kayaking' and it was incredibly hard to see myself. I avoid mirrors and opt for loose, comfy clothes with the tags ripped out. I have such a disconnect between me and my physical self I don't know much space I 'take up' and seeing those photos is sobering and disheartening. when I face myself in the mirror it is devastating. and then i hear those words along with everything my mom, dad, grandma, mean kids, past exs, and my spouse have said. about me, my weight, my worth, my dignity. and I find myself eating handfuls of chocolate chips while I fully disconnect and stare, not watching the tv.
I dont want this to be my life. but I'm just really struggling again. for the last few years really. I just feel so stuck. I feel unsupported.

tomorrow is another day of seated workouts that I am going to try my hardest to show up for. I have a list tomorrow for the grocery store to buy myself meal prep stuff, if I have to do this alone, I will.
the fear of failing is ever present. but I can't keep not living my life like this. my feelings about myself and my weight keep me from being social, from doing what I enjoy, from a lot of things. and my literal weight just makes every aspect of my life harder. my poor, loving, body that is carrying 100 extra lbs.

I want to believe that I can get back to a healthy place with food again. that I can get back to a healthy place with myself again. where I take care of my body because it takes care of me. It's been all of my life, almost 30 years.
I am done.
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Old Aug 11, 2023 at 02:12 PM
Welcome to MSF.

My heart goes out to you.

I, too, am carrying an extra 100 lbs., or at least if I could shed 75 or even 50 lbs, I'd feel much better about myself. Medication is part of the reason for my weight gain, but certainly not all of it. I also live in a rural area and it's very difficult for me.

The weight is impacting my life and I feel so self-conscious about it.

Someone suggested a online group called Overeaters Anonymous. I have yet to check it out. Apparently there are Zoom meetings, so you can connect with other people and not feel so alone.
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Old Aug 11, 2023 at 02:28 PM

I am so very sorry you are suffering.

Since I am afflicted with an Eating Disorder, I can definitely identify with you.

I am helped a bit by the discoveries that have been made in the neurobiology of Eating Disorders.

Philosophers from thousands of year ago realized that human freedom is not infinite. It is often constricted and beset by obstacles not of its own choosing. We don't get to pick our parents and our genetics or our upbringing. We are often hedged in by the freedom of others.

Some people have compared human freedom to an underground spring that it is trying to reach the surface.

On its way upward it encounters things like gravity and obstacles like rocks and boulders and it sometimes doesn't come out in a straight line but only after many changes of direction on its way up.

Of course, if we were infinite beings, whatever we willed would simply come to pass.

We have freedom of choice, but it is limited not infinite. And will-power sadly cannot make it infinite although it can contribute to our freedom.

One of the obstacles not to our freedom but to our FULL freedom is brain pathology.

We learn day by day that the brain is not exempt from getting sick. It can suffer loss of volume, mass and density through abnormal atrophy, for example, when exposed excessively to the stress hormones.

Some people can be genetically predisposed to greater damage.

Through the marvels of medical imaging, it is possible now to see pathological changes in brain anatomy and physiology unrelated to normal brain aging.

When the brain is damaged it exerts powerful forces on a person.

The part of us that observes these things can put up resistance. But since we are not all-powerful infinite beings, even our resistance can encounter mighty obstacles and we win and lose battles. And even when we win we are sometimes scarred by the battles we wage.

Humans do not have to spend all their waking hours in a search for food or to avoid predators. We have time to set before us ideals. We aspire to ideals. And we constantly compare ourselves to our ideals and how we become closer or farther away from them. This can make us demoralized at times.

Society gives us values too. Society has ideal images of what a human should be and those often include one's weight. Sometimes these are aesthetic ideals, sometimes ideals for optimum health of the body.

People with rather simple views of human freedom can blame us or shun us based on our body weight. Usually this is unfair not only to us but also to the idea of fairness itself.

People who do not limp along with brain damage are not in a position to judge those who do.

The unfairness can extend to the issue of will-power and discipline. No one would scold a paraplegic for failing to climb Mr. Everest. But shaming or even secretly blaming people with weight problems is very common. Unfair, yes, but very common.

What reduces full freedom of will reduces responsibility. That is something that is even enshrounded in most legal systems. We have concepts such as "diminished freedom" and "diminished responsibility."

We know that people are free but the wise know that human freedom is not infinite in power or scope.

The fact that you struggle to maintain your moral ideals is heroic. It is not surprising that you sometimes fail at this. Me too.

Our brain's sometimes have a mind of their own. The priorities of our brain don't always match the priorities we set by way of ideals. And we can get internally conflicted.

One thing that can diminish responsibility is something called "contrary wishes." The famous example of this is the sea captain who is promised a large reward for bringing his cargo to port.

During the voyage, a strong storm comes and to save the ship and the people on it, the captain must throw the cargo into the sea.

Does he "wish" to do this? Yes and no. His wishes are divided. He may lose his money and business if he discards his cargo. But people may lose their lives if he doesn't.

So he prioritizes values and makes his choice. The fact that he doesn't really want to throw away his cargo shows that his freedom and responsibility are limited and not infinite.

I think it is important for people struggling with weight issues to try to realize that their freedom is not infinite. This is a very important insight. It can help them avoid beating themselves up over things that are not completely under their control.

I think it is also important to see things in perspective. There are "degrees" of falling short of ideals.

Falling short of not getting all A's in school is quite different than what Hitler did when he ordered the execution of tens of millions of people.

There are small failures, larger failures and HUGE failures. But sometimes people with eating disorders beat themselves up as though they had committed mass genocide.

So I try in my own life to keep my successes and failures in perspective. This applies to my weight issues too.

Now maybe I am wrong about some of this or even all of it. I am often wrong about things. But this is how I try to keep moderation and sanity in my striving to attain weight goals and so forth.

While it is not true that we always do the best we can, I think it is usually true that we do the best we can, given everything influencing us moment to moment.

Hopefully others here will have better words for you than my poor words. I am sorry that you are suffering. There is a unique but painful suffering that sadly goes with eating disorders and the battle against them.

I hope you will not lose hope. The fact that you struggle is proof to me of your worth and dignity as a human being, as someone who dares to strive for ideals that are very difficult to achieve. These struggles are some of the most heroic things that human beings do. And so I admire you.

Wish I knew what to say to help you, but I can only share what helps me. My heart goes out to you!
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