I used to think I was a fat girl inside a skinny girl’s body. I trained for so long in a weight-controlled sport that I was always aware of my weight – usually accurate to within a 100g. But I never felt I belonged in it. At my skinniest, I would feel the absence of something tangible – but I prided myself on my discipline and self-deprivation. I always knew it was temporary, that eventually my greed would outweigh my willpower.
I’ve always been a sugar addict – notorious at the local sweet shop for the amount of time I could take to strategically spend my 50p pocket money! Even my brief foray into petty theft – shoplifting from the local supermarket – was based entirely on increasing the amount of sugar I could consume. Usually this accompanied a good book or two – I was also well known at the local library for maxing out my allowance on regularly recurring occasions.
I suppose it’s all about escape. Not feeling comfortable with who I am, or where I am, I’ve always sought distraction. Chemically doping myself with sugar, or losing myself in fiction; always finding another way to feel, and a different way to be.
I can understand why I would have wanted to escape my chaotic childhood – penny sweets and teen fiction sound like the perfect solution to that scenario! But why would I need to comfort eat now?
A certain element of being relaxed around my food naturally happened after I moved in with my then-boyfriend-now-fiance, but after 2 years of living together, we bought a house together last August. And ever since, I feel like I’ve been eating dessert after every meal!! My state of relaxation has become a source of tension – my comfort eating has gone too far.
I thought I had processed this. I thought I had worked through my weight demons. But life is not as neat as I would like it to be.
I am not comfortable with uncertainty. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens when you make significant changes in your life. Like buying a house. Getting engaged. Going from full-time to part-time at work. Taking on a 3 month voyage of self-exploration and discovery at Escape. And now, leaving my job altogether to focus on my passions full time – my writing and my women’s community, ToGetHer Further.
I have been medicating my uncertainty with sugar, distracting myself from reality by immersing myself in social media, and getting angry over political injustice as a way of discharging nervous tension.
I know that this change will be good for me. And that the discomfort is part of the journey. I know that judging myself based on my appearance is neither fair nor accurate. I know my worth. I know the value I am bringing to the world. I know the love and connection I’ve experienced in my life – and that it has only increased in the last few months as I’ve taken braver steps towards sharing my real self with the world.
Unfortunately knowing all of this doesn’t make me feel any more comfortable in my skin at the moment. I’m going to need to take brave steps to face discomfort in all aspects of my life if I am to actually achieve a healthy balance. Starting with my sugar addiction, which I have managed to avoid facing until now.
Since writing this post, I’ve reached out to Katie Shore to ask her help me with this challenge, and it feels good to know I don’t have to do this by myself. Now I just have to work on being patient, something else I have never been comfortable with!