You will swear to all that you never saw it coming. You have absolutely no idea how or when you ballooned up to 500 pounds. You knew things were a bit out of control when the size of your pants whizzed through the “portly” forties and then settled into the hefty fifties, but at 35 years old you never thought that you would find yourself lying stretched out on your bed, struggling to zip up a pair of size 66 jeans. Wow, how did that happen and with that being the largest size you could find anywhere….what would you do now?
Admit it or don’t, but you did see it approaching. It sped towards you like a freight train on its track. You shove from your mind any recollection of the nights you pulled through Taco Bell and ordered $20 worth of burritos, on your way to pick up the pizza you were having for dinner with your roommate. You conveniently lost count of the hundreds…and more probably thousands of Quarter pounders with cheese you shoveled through your mouth, every single day, as if you might never eat again. It was an addiction…a compulsion, an obsession with food. Your body craved its food fix as bad as any junkie might hunger for their own drug of choice or worse, necessity.
You should have realized it Halloween night as you ate yourself into a sugar coma; devouring the candy you bought to hand out to the trick or treaters. Open bags of fun-size Snicker bars, Reese Cups, M&Ms and Milky Ways surrounded you on the sofa, while wrappers and empty plastic bags lay upon the floor at your feet. You had convinced yourself that you would need at least a dozen bags of candy, even though you had only seen a dozen little witches and zombies at your door last year. In the back of your mind, you realized that choosing all of your favorites would make the leftovers go down much quicker. You could not wait to turn the porch light off after just 5 or 6 groups of children bellowed “Trick or Treat” at your front door. You sat there in the darkness with only the television on, munching madly on the piles of candy and cringing every time you heard children pass the house.
Oh yeah, the signs were there, screaming at you. You could see your eyes pleading with you in the mirror each time you washed your hands or brushed your teeth. Your knees cried out whenever you struggled to your feet. Your heart strained and battled to beat in a consistent cadence while your lungs wheezed and gasped for air. There is no denying the ghastly reality of your disorder or the unmistakable circumstances that nearly led to your demise. Denial is a coping skill, however, not a skill one can ever brag about.
Facing this aggressive demon is difficult, in part, because the world is not sympathetic to your plight. “Why can’t you just go on a diet” they shout or “Get up and exercise! You’re just being lazy” is another bit of “skinny people” wisdom. The truth of the matter is this; if you find yourself growing out of your clothes or furniture you have a problem. When your weight begins to control every facet of your life, you must get help. You will not do it on your own. You need the support of a group such as Weight Watchers to espouse and encourage you. If you reach the morbidly obese status, you must get professional help. It will not go away on its own. This addiction will devour your soul and leave you sick, hopeless and alone if it first doesn’t steal your actual life.
Believe me when I tell you that there is hope and there is promise. You have it within you to do battle with this addiction. I myself weighed 528 pounds, I had a quick-fix surgery 14 years ago lost 200 pounds and gained most of it back. For the past three years I have battled for my life. I have fought the monster and I am winning. I have lost 250 pounds through hard work, WW support and counseling. I have a bit of a journey left ahead of me but I say with confidence that I have my life back! I start a new job on Monday, my college courses begin in two weeks and I have all of you and my blog to give me the strength, inspiration and motivation to keep moving forward.
There was a time when I could not wait to fall asleep at night. I would dwell in heavy slumber as long as possible for these midnight dreams were my only escape from the solemn reality which was my life. These days, I climb into bed late and open my eyes to watch the sunrise outside my window. I appreciate the realization that I am healing and on my way to a full recovery, because suddenly, an ordinary day… is better than an extraordinary dream.