Mindfulness vs. Obsession

Somewhere along the way, my mindfulness about food, weight, health, diabetes, and “doing it right” became an obsession.  This has only occurred to me within the last month or so. It probably occurred to everyone else around me much sooner than that. I have been doing a lot of internal work, introspection, questioning of myself where my weight loss and food relationships are concerned, and I do not like what things have become. It has all crystallized into a very distinct understanding that I am currently dealing with disordered thoughts and behaviors regarding food, health, and weight loss.

It all started innocently enough — scared shitless of dying an early death due to being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at age 37, my health “rock bottom”, if you will. I immediately began purging my world of all the “bad” things and behaviors that brought me to that state — an over-abundance of carbs, an utter lack of exercise, over-eating in general, and complete and total apathy — all in a panicked attempt to undo what I had done to myself. And I did. I fixed myself. But, in the process, I have developed some legitimately worrisome fears and control issues regarding food.

I am constantly worried about bringing back my diabetes symptoms. I constantly monitor my carb intake (which is currently, by all accounts, a very reasonable one, coming in around 175 grams per day), yet the time I spend devoted to my carb intake, my food choices, and my caloric intake on a daily basis has become problematic. Correction: it has been problematic for a very, very long time, and I’m only now just realizing how much it is affecting my daily life and the quality thereof. I am also extremely focused on my blood glucose levels. I test myself multiple times a day, even though my blood sugar has been stable for a long time now. This isn’t right.

I thought I was being mindful. I thought this was how people managed to maintain their healthy lifestyle, their weight, and all of the other happyfunshinythings that go along with that. I thought mindfulness was how you Did It Right. And, it is.. the thing is, my mindfulness became obsession, and I couldn’t discern one from the other, because I’d never been mindful before, and I’d certainly never been obsessed with my health before, nor did I think it was possible. I didn’t know where to draw the line. I was in new territory with this whole caring about my health thing. I thought devoting most of my waking moments to thinking about it was how it was done, and even when I thought it might not be right to do so, I figured that this is why so many people fail at maintaining their new-found health and weight loss. I thought it was right because it was so hard.

I was wrong.

I have been debating on writing a blog entry about this for a few weeks, because I had hoped I would find a way to snap myself out of this, and then be able to write about it in a very relieved “Whew! That was a close one!” hindsight sort of way, but, it does not appear that this is going to be so easy. The other night, when I referred to a loaf of white bread in my kitchen as “unacceptable to me” whilst discussing how I had nothing “appropriate” to eat in the house, I knew this was going to be a long process. After I caught myself saying that, I made myself go make a sandwich out of said unacceptable white bread. It was an act that sort of forced myself to understand that I will no longer tolerate being a crazy food weirdo. 

What I am doing about it: I am participating in a Facebook support group called Eating The Food, founded by one of my favorite bloggers, Go Kaleo. It has been immensely enlightening. It has helped me to identify what my issues are — in the sense that some things are, in fact, issues, and some things are normal and healthy. Being able to tell the difference has been difficult for me for a long time now. That, in itself, is an issue. I am dealing with it. I will work through this, and I will be better for having had the experience.

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One thought on “Mindfulness vs. Obsession

  1. Ooooh, yes. It is a long road. And a complicated journey, compounded by the reality that the “typical American diet” (ie what is advertised, offered up for sale, and glorified) bears so little resemblance to healthy eating as to seem surreal and poisonous. It’s bound to feel weird. And yet. You have changed yourself, changed your eyes, changed your body. Don’t worry too much, love. It’ll balance out, I think. You are in charge, eating real food, living a real life. I am insanely, head-spinningly proud of you. Ain’t no one sandwich gonna kill you. I love your posts, and you are a fantastic, gifted writer too. That’s all for now-
    xoxoxo, Alex

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