Thanksgiving and the Emotional Bondage of Food

FLASHBACK: This was originally posted on my Facebook page on November 14, 2016. For reference, this was nearly 2 years after surgery and one week after the NYC Marathon.

Food. If Halloween is like the World Championships then Thanksgiving is definitely the Food Olympics. This is where you gather with family and friends and eat. Then eat. Then loosen your pants and eat. Followed by eating and packing takeout boxes for eating later when you can eat in sweatpants or leggings.

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. After being classified as Super Morbidly Obese for most of my life and then having RNY Gastric Bypass surgery I’ve managed to lose 250lbs. But please know that surgery may have cut my stomach but not my mind. I still love food. I’d love nothing more than to do a backstroke in a pool of stuffing but this is no longer my reality.

Yesterday, my church hosted this enormous Thanksgiving Dinner for our community completely free of charge and we get about 300 people. The night before we start to set up. I’m feeling tired and achy and thinking it’s just “post Marathon stuff.” It wasn’t. It was growing anxiety about being there. Being around people eating whatever they want in any amount. I miss being that free with food but when I was that free I was being held captive in a body that was so weak and sick.

By the following day, I was so tense thinking it was other things but really I was thinking of how many times people will offer me food, or pie, or anything! Will they say:

“Not even a little?”

“This can’t hurt!”

“Are you sure?”

Or when I explain why they say “Forever? Why would you do that?”

I would do that because I was miserable. I would do that because I was sitting on the sidelines watching life happen to other people. I would do that because I wanted to be healthy.

I know most people have no idea about the emotional bondage that food has for many people. If that’s never been your reality just know that for others Thanksgiving and all of the food holidays can be very hard.

So if I’m a little quiet, a little withdrawn, or refuse your invitation all together just know that it’s me and what I’m working through not any reflection of you or me not wanting to be there.

Missing our church Thanksgiving was hard but necessary. Missed you all!

2018 Addendum
Please, be aware of your words and actions with the people in your life who are dieting, making lifestyle changes, or who are trying to better their lives by reducing their weight. If they refuse your offer of food just know that it may be the HARDEST THING THEY’VE DONE.