Thursday, September 25, 2008

Free will

My therapist and I had a nice chat on Tuesday. Or, I should say, I attempted to chat through all the blubbering I was doing.

I've never cried in front of my therapist before, or at least not like this. Honestly, the floodgates were ready to burst open before I even got my butt on the couch. It had been a while since I'd seen her, so I had some stuff to catch up on. Mainly, I was there to discuss my recent weight gain, and my re-addiction to all things sugar, salt, and fat.

She wanted to know how it began. I explained (between sobs) that it was a convergence of factors. I was stressed from a good friend at work being fired. I got sick with a nasty cold. Pressures of marathon training were suffocating me. Lastly, I just felt like eating a bunch of junk.

Then, she asked me a rather obvious question, yet it was something I'd not considered: "Did you not think this was going to happen eventually?"

Well, no, I really didn't. When I was slimming down, I didn't think of it as a temporary effort. It was a lifelong commitment, like a marriage. I was married to this healthy lifestyle. We were happy. We held hands and ran along the beach; we picnicked in the green grass and fed each other strawberries. Then I cheated. I had an affair with McDonald's. It felt that shameful and sinister, like I was being unfaithful to my true love. In fact, I remember one of the low points a few weeks ago, when I told Angie I was going to fill up my gas tank, but on the way I cruised the drive-thru. Yup, I lied to her, got a crappy cheeseburger, and scarfed it down before I got home. I couldn't contain my remorse, and wound up confessing a few minutes after walking in the door. I was worried Angie would smell the beef on my breath, like the telltale lipstick on the collar. Guilty.

When I considered the fact that most people who lose a lot of weight eventually have a relapse, I felt a little better. Also, I like the term "relapse," because it puts me in the same category as a recovering alcoholic or drug addict. To me, my addiction to food is just as powerful as that of booze to a wino, or heroin to a junkie.

In the past, my motto for getting back on the wagon has always been, "just have one good day." I shared that with my therapist, and she thought it was great. But, she added that sometimes even a day can be too much to handle. If I'm having a hard time, I need to try taking it one hour at a time; even one minute at a time, if necessary. The key is to remember that it's always a choice. I am in control, even when I'm out of control. Free will.

I went into her office a hopeless, depressed wreck. I emerged with a purse full of tear-soaked Kleenex and a better outlook. Gaining ten pounds is not the end of the world, nor is it a white flag of surrender. I will beat this.


mongolove said...

great post :)

Change for Good said...

Do you go to a therapist who specializes in eating disorders/body image? If so, how did you find them?


Charlene said...

I'm inspired by your weightloss, your writing, your blog, you!

I'm curious about your answer to "change for good" as well.

Good work. Be bold!

Morgan said...

Thanks for your comments! I love reading them.

To answer Tiffany's question, my therapist specializes in addiction, but not necessarily to food. I found her online. I did consider going to a local clinic for eating disorders, but they didn't take my insurance. It worked out fine, because she's an excellent therapist.


SeaShore said...

Thanks for sharing this. I like your marriage/commitment analogy. You will beat this for sure!

Jersey Girl in DC said...

Hi! I just discovered your blog and am so inspired. I have recently begun to gain weight after turning the big 3-0 (I miss the metabolism of my younger 20s!), getting married, and sinking into an unhealthy routine of sitting all day at a desk at work, then coming home to sit on the couch. Your blog is just the motivation I needed to start running again. Thank you! :)

kate said...

Keep at it, Morgan. You're conquering this one day at a time.