Since finding out I have RA I’ve been focusing a lot of my writing and sharing on that aspect of wellness and how the changes I’ve made over the last year have helped me with my health. The fact is though, even before being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis disease I had an issue but not something I’ve admitted before. I’ve struggled with emotional eating and drinking and haven’t really shared that side of me. It was recently brought back to my attention a few months ago while at a work conference. They did a photo montage through the years of 2006 to 2014 and I saw a completely different version of myself in nearly every picture. In one pic I was probably a size 12 and the next an 18. My weight was anywhere from 160 to over 220. I started thinking back to the emotions at those times that “made” me emotionally eat and drink. When I saw the slideshow it hit me pretty hard for a moment before I said to myself “You know what, that’s in the past. I’m feeling great now, no sense in dwelling on it.” But I still find myself occasionally slipping back to old habits and I want other people to know that if they too suffer from emotional eating they are not alone.
Fast forward to this week when I went through my closet to dig out my wedding dress for a friend to check out. I pulled it out to snap some pictures and thought it would be interesting to try it on again and play dress up. Never did I expect the range of emotions to hit me that did when I put that dress on. I immediately thought back to how upset I was with my wedding pictures. I only have ONE actual wedding picture up in my entire house and my husband and I never watched our wedding video. It was such an amazing day and I’m not comfortable having pictures up because I don’t recognize myself in them. Thinking back now, I am able to recall some of the excuses I had for my emotional eating and drinking. I was upset that I didn’t have my mother alive to be part of my wedding day. I was stressed about certain people not getting along and worrying about pleasing everyone. I had to be selective on the number of guests because my husband and I paid for everything and I still had people upset with me because they weren’t invited. Writing it now doesn’t seem like much but for me at the time it was overwhelming and I let every little upset be an excuse to eat because food and booze made it better even if just for a few minutes before the guilt set in. It was almost like an addiction. I also chose to put others first and was giving all of my energy away until one day I magically woke up over 220 pounds.
My wedding day itself was truly one of the best days of my life (sounds cliche I know but it’s true) and I have some great and funny stories and memories. My at the time toddler sister catching the wedding bouquet and having to do a redo. My stepmother making a beautiful cake. My father fixing up his Mach I Mustang to drive me to the wedding and us having to drive down the highway with the doors open because the electric went. My cousin’s date being mistaken for the servers and he went around happily pouring coffee for people he just met (and he stuck around too he’s now her hubby!) My aunt helping me get my money’s worth at the bar and having way too much fun playing with the bubbles. Having my best friend from middle and high school there even though we lose touch often. Having our friends drive all the way down from Maine. All of the dancing. Another friend showing up with a Mohawk in our wedding color. It was a really, really fun time.
So, what’s my point? I’m not sure. I wanted to share my past and show you how much a person can change with the right mindset, support and healthy changes. Take care of yourself. If you’re feeling stressed out food should be the LAST thing you turn to. Talk to someone. Deal with your emotions in a healthier way. Are you an emotional eater? What are some tips you can share to help others?
On the Left: Me on my wedding day.
On the Right: Me now with BOTH of my arms in the dress with room to spare.
If you are healthy and happy and feeling great then it doesn’t matter what your size is. If you’re unhappy though, you deserve to look and feel good. Listen to your body and take care of yourself. But do it for you, not because anyone else says you should.