A few months ago, Catch and I decided that we needed to lose some weight. She was having some health issues that are worsened by weight, and I was just hating my body. We agreed to try the keto diet to see how it worked for us.
Spoiler: she is doing AMAZING. I am not.
The first few weeks were hard for me, but I got through them. I lost a few pounds. I should have been happy, but I wasn’t. I was miserable without carbs and I was totally consumed by my misery. It was not making me a great person to be around.
At some point, I gave up. Since then, it has been like a carb fest around here when Catch isn’t home. I’ve been pretty out of control, although now I’m trying to be more aware that I am not ten years old and I don’t have to hoard carbs to eat in secret when my mom isn’t home. (More on that in a bit.)
Catch continues to do great. Last weekend, her parents were here and she and her mom talked quite a bit about the keto program. Catch was talking so excitedly about how well it’s working and every time the subject arose, I started to feel an old familiar guilt/anxiety/anger bubble up inside of me. I should be happy because my wife is happy. I should be supporting her. Instead, I’d find myself wanting to leave the room so I didn’t have to hear about it. It was massively triggering—particularly the mother/daughter angle—and I hate that.
I know that the roots of these feelings I’m having are deep and twisted. I have had food issues my entire life. I was always a chubby little girl, and my mom was obsessed with my weight. My two best friends in PRESCHOOL had a little song they sang to me that I can still remember to this day, “Chubby chubby cheeks today.” I was teased mercilessly in school—just seeing the names of some of those bullies pop up on Facebook is enough to trigger that old shame. I actually declined a friend request from my best friend in middle school because she was friends with the bullies and I didn’t want to invite those assholes into my life in any way. Even my Girl Scout troop leaders made comments about my weight. (Shocking that I quit, eh?)
I saw a nutritionist in grade school. I went to two different “fat camps” as an adolescent. I was on Weight Watchers around age 12. Jenny Craig was in there somewhere as well, although I can’t recall how old I was. Everything was fat free or sugar free. (Hello, 80s/90s!) When I lost weight, my mom would shower me with new clothes and praise. When I inevitably gained the weight back again, she would say things like, “Maybe we could actually find you some cute clothes if you would lose some weight.”
I had no self confidence. None. For decades I felt like I had to apologize for my very existence. I was convinced that no one would ever love me unless I was thin. I never felt like I was good enough for anyone.
There have been periods of time when I was happy to be losing weight and had no issues with it. I lost 50 pounds when we were going through fertility stuff, and I was doing great. I had no issues with it because my RE told me I needed to lose weight to have a baby and I wanted that dang baby SO. BAD. I would have done anything for my baby. I was like a rabbit on a treadmill chasing the carrot on a fishing line.
Today, I just don’t want to diet. I don’t want to hate my body. I don’t want to see pictures of myself and cringe. I just want to be able to sit here and accept who I am and where I am right now. I am so fucking tired of this narrative that runs through my head every time I look in the mirror.
I have so much going on right now, and it feels like keto was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had no idea it was going to open the flood gates of childhood trauma, but it did and there’s no going back. I need to find a way to deal with it now. Preferably a way that doesn’t involve hiding boxes of pop tarts behind the almond flour and flax in the pantry.
(Catch, if you’re reading this please know that I support you 1000000% in whatever you do. Always. My issues are not your issues.)