We are a country obsessed with weight. We are a country obsessed with food. We are a country obsessed with thinness. We can’t stop talking about it. For some it is non-stop, making food the enemy.We are doomed when a morsel of forbidden food hits our lips. Carbs are making us fat. Fats are making us fat. Soda is making us fat. Video games are making us fat. Oprah is losing weight; Oprah is gaining weight. The government has declared a war on obesity. The medical industry does not have answers. We hate fat people, we hate ourselves for being fat. Diets are everywhere telling us how to eat, live and think. The more we talk and think about it, the fatter we are becoming. But wait and stop a minute, how about if part of the reason that we are losing the battle against weight is that we have not adequately acknowledged the significance of trauma as a root cause of obesity, including binge and compulsive eating. Largely missing from our public debate has been the recognition that trauma, sexual abuse and its after effects including anxiety, depression and other symptoms of POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER drive compulsive eating for millions of people. For most, it affects the whole of who they are. What we are learning from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, bariatric and social science is that the damage inflicted by trauma not only results in addictive eating but becomes part of a cycle that makes it nearly impossible for many survivors to lose weight and keep it off.
After years of unsuccessfully dieting, starving, hating and depriving myself, I learned that the abuse I suffered, while, part of my life’s equation, could be dealt with and I could feel better. They told me that If I did the work, eventually I could rise above it all. I could work towards eating normal, whatever that was. I could work toward feeling normal, whatever that meant. Compulsive/binge eating was my way of coping with the anxiety that overwhelmed me day and night. I ate to feel better, but when that stopped self-hatred kicked in. I learned that the research was showing new findings in the brain and that there was help, however it would take time. There was no instant gratification in this picture. When I first began to recognize that my past sexual abuse was in direct correlation to my feelings, I felt such relief. I was told that food was my way of coping with my life. It was such a new moment for me as I thought I was doomed to live this horrible life that was laid out for me. Was I ever going to feel better? Anxiety and depression were taking over my life. While it was a mighty struggle sometimes, I could either work on this and feel the pain or pretend and just let life go on as it was. At times I wanted to cave in and give up. It was my choice. I chose to do the work and after years of sleepless nights, feeling defeated and seeing no hope, something clicked in. I began to listen, hear and trust myself.
There are still sometimes when those negative thoughts come back to haunt me from the past but years ago learned I have the choice over what I do with those feelings. As I go thru my life, God has always been by my side to help me stand when I fall and pick me up when I want to lay down. In him, I have my HOPE. Let me encourage you to get support and help as this issue is so hard to deal with alone. You must trust yourself and feel you are worthy to live free! I YOU GOT THIS!