Hey everybody! Today while scrolling through my TV shows on my DVR, I watched Oprah’s Next Chapter show with Steven Tyler the lead singer from Aerosmith. Of course I know their songs, but I didn’t really know much about him. He very openly and candidly discussed his strong history with drug addiction. He has been sober for two years and is working the AA program. He said something that really stuck with me. He’s confident that he won’t get high again, but he said “I have to remember that there’s always a 500 lb gorilla waiting in the parking lot that wants to take me down.” Basically, meaning that he can’t get too cocky with his sobriety. He has to remember to work the program and continue to go to meetings. I have never done drugs of any type, but I definitely understand addiction. It made me reflect on my journey with my food addiction.
I think back to the first time that I really lost weight while attending Weight Watchers meetings. I was young and cute and maintaining a 50 pound weight loss. I thought I solved the problem, I was finally cured. Not skinny, but cured. Then those 50 pounds came back and brought their friends with them. Finally, years later I accepted that there was no cure, and joined the hospital weight management program. I lost 50 pounds again. In the past year or so, most of those pounds came back. Early in 2011, I halfheartedly tried to go back to Weight Watchers because in my mind I knew it was the best program for me, but my heart was not in it. On some level I was still in denial that I even needed such a program. Most recently, after literally bursting out of my clothes, I knew something had to be done, and it wasn’t buying new pants. I went back to Weight Watchers again, but this time with a new attitude. This time I am focused on health and positive thinking; not just looking cute. I was always angry that I was “cursed” with something as horrible as a food addiction. Before a stranger even says a word to me, they can look and see that I like to eat too much. At least alcoholics can stop drinking, at least drug addicts can stop snorting and smoking, but I’m forced to let the tiger out of the cage every day, take him for a walk and then I have to have the strength to put him away.
But here’s the thing that’s starting to change. I’m starting to accept that it’s just a part of who I am. I can’t change it, it’s a part of me that will be there forever. But, I’m re-learning that tracking my food and attending meetings helps me control the tiger. I always have to remember that the dark side is there waiting, but also remember that I have the power to stay away from it. Hearing Steven Tyler speak about addiction also helped me realize that even when I do get to a happy healthy weight, I will still have to be mindful of that gorilla. It’s a scary thought, but I’m actually finally starting to feel peace about it. I guess turning 30 is not so bad after all. I’m learning who I am and accepting the fact that I can’t change who I am, but I can change the way I play the cards that I was dealt.