I remember the exact moment that I realized I had a problem with food. It wasn’t when I sat in the seat of a rollercoaster, only to be humiliated when the safety harness wouldn’t fit around my girth. It wasn’t even when my clothing options had been reduced to the only four abayas I owned that fit anymore. The moment of realization for me was when I was heating up two frozen dinners for lunch at work. I had long since discarded any ideas I had about eating foods that I enjoyed, and resorted to eating just about anything that didn’t contain pork or alcohol. I stopped caring about quality. Cranberry chutney and brie all baked up together in a blanket of phyllo didn’t hold the same meaning for me anymore. Food was all about quantity; the more, the better.
I was embarrassed that I was eating enough food to make use of two of the microwave ovens in the break room, and silently prayed that no one would need to use one. That was why I always ate lunch late in the afternoon. There was no way I could bring myself to heat up that amount of food during the lunchtime rush.
Once my food was heated, I stuck both containers into my bag and brought them back up to my desk. I always ate at my desk. It was the only place I could scarf down my food without worrying about who might be watching. Safe within the tall, taupe fabric walls of my cubicle, I burned my tongue on rubbery turkey and substandard mashed potatoes that I was too impatient to allow to cool off. I made sure to discard one empty container at the trash can under my desk, and the other into the trashcan in the break room. That way, no one would be the wiser. Except me. I was like a drug addict when it came to meal time. Beforehand, the excitement I felt would just about make me dance. Afterward, I would berate myself and curse my gluttony. And I would spend the rest of the day in a funk so deep that I needed a six-foot ladder to climb out of it.
I’m not writing this post to garner sympathy from my readers. The behavior I was guilty of didn’t deserve sympathy. It deserved a swift kick and the behind, and a stern talking to. And on that day, as I left the office, I vowed to kick my own ass into gear. It would be the last day that I tipped the scale at more than 300 pounds without doing anything to fix myself.
I went home that night and made a few lists. I am a master list maker. I just don’t always follow though. This time, I truly did follow through. I made a list of a list of the wellness goals I wanted to achieve. Wanting to lose one hundred and forty pounds sounded ridiculous to me. I mean, there are adults in this country who don’t even weight that much. I was looking to lose an entire person. And the thought of that was overwhelming. So I broke that huge goal down into smaller pieces and focused one checking off one piece at a time. So far, that method has brought me a quarter of the way to the finish line.
I once saw a post on Instagram that said: “Don’t get discouraged by the amount of time it will take to achieve something. The time will pass anyway.” I don’t allow myself to forget how far I’ve come in the past few months. I still have a long way to go, but the time will pass one way or another. It’s up to me to make sure it counts for something.