Expressions of love

I went out for dinner the other night with a small group of friends and work colleagues to an all you can eat sea food buffet. It was an invitation at relatively short notice, just the day before. I flagged it with the 12wbt 30+ crew as a red flag evening and asked for suggestions on what I could have. 

It was a great evening and I was really happy to see one of my friends so happy after some tumultuous times.

Before we started eating we took a tour of the restaurant, including the buffet, Everything looked delicious, other than some of the seafood such as mussels, oysters and the like, which I have never liked. I chose small servings of those things that might have higher calorie content. I had: crab, seafood salad, crab salad, grilled baramundi and salad (with some home made tartare sauce), mashed potato, and then extra small (bite size) servings of lemon merange pie, caramel tart and chantilly cream. I drank only water. When I compare this food intake to past meals, there really is no comparison. The deserts would have each been 5 times the size and I would likely have added icecream as well. The servings of mashed potato, seafood and crab salads would have been likewise. 

Afterward, one of my friends told me that I did very well with my good choices. While I acknowledged that they were much better than they would previously have been, I was quite disappointed in my inability to stick to the plan.

Since reporting on the night back to the 30+ crew, I have had mixed responses. Some have given me a “great job”, while others have provided more of a tough love approach, clearly from a place of love and support. The people in this category know that I am capable of a lot more than I have been giving, as I am also aware. I have been encouraged to strive for greatness and not just mediocrity. That even small deviations from my health plan will hold me back from achieving my dreams and being an extraordinary human being. 

There is a part of me that thinks this viewpoint is a little drastic and rather extreme. However there is another part that agrees. I have known that I am capable of so much more than I have given to date. In the last 6 weeks I have certainly stepped things up and have achieved significantly more than I have done previously. And yet I AM capable of more. MUCH more. 

That said, following the tough love approach, I found myself wanting to EAT! I felt extremely confronted. Whilst at work yesterday I was successful in resisting chocolate and other treats at morning tea. And on the way home, when I filled the car up with petrol, I was not. Today I spent more than 3 hours at a laundromat and despite being hungry once again I successfully resisted the temptation of purchasing junk. Instead I had one wholemeal egg and lettuce sandwich. On the way home after 5pm I found myself wanting to go to Hungry Jack’s. I had in my head “I’ll show those girls that I can eat what I want”. Like I could and would be in control, even if it meant defiance of well meaning support. I came directly home and completely avoided HJ’s.

As usual in the evenings I catch up with Facebook and of course the 30+ crew page. One of the girls checked in with how I was doing and I expressed these thoughts to her in private. In response, she made a comment “Food is one of the only ways I was shown love when I was growing up”. 

Almost immediately after reading this statement I realised that I had been angry at the tough love. That defiance I felt with the urge to buy Hungry Jack’s was anger. Anger at those providing the tough love, and anger at myself for allowing myself to settle for less than I am worth. However I didn’t actually recognise that the anger was there. So how did I know? The fact that almost immediately following the reading of her statement, it was no longer there. The statement brought me up entirely short. It resonated with me.

My immediate response is to say that I felt the same about my own childhood, but honest reflection shows me that is not entirely accurate. Certain people in my life may have influenced my instinctual response, whilst others definitely did not. So, in truth, I have apparently been using food to numb my feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. Indeed, feelings that I do not deserve to experience love. Love that travels in either direction (toward me, and away from me) … I have known this in part for a while, but this sudden realisation whilst reflecting on the statement above has cemented the knowledge and it has become much more than an intellectual knowing. 

Now, the question becomes, what am I going to do about it?

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