As I head into my 10th straight day of perfect lines, I find myself in the curious position of feeling somewhat more confident than the situation warrants.
I’ve been here before. Several times. And by the scale’s numerical measurement, I’m no better off at this moment than I was when I first heard of Bright Line Eating. Successes have preceded failures, time and time again. Hope, happiness, and expectation, followed by the crushing defeat of reality, depression, and despair. The same 30-50 pounds lost and regained, over and over and over again.
I should have given up by now.
But I haven’t. Granted, I pulled myself back into BLE this January with more grit and determination than actual hope. But I did it. I can’t seem to help myself. Some people give up, become comfortable with who they are. With being overweight and unhealthy. They come to terms with it, maybe even make peace with it. That has never been me. Even in the absolute depths, when my eating is completely out of control, I hate myself for it. There is a part of me screaming for me to stop. Looking for an opportunity to overpower the monster that’s taken over my life, and drag myself out of the hole I’ve dug. And eventually, she finds her moment. She re-emerges. Re-establishes order and control.
My Food Controller at her Finest
She is the controlling part of me, and she has no place for nonsense. No room for frivolities like hope. She is there to clean up the mess that the Indulgers left behind. And she does it not so I can fit into a smaller pair of pants, but so that I don’t burst out of the last ones I have. Her motivation, her goal, is simple: to prevent me from becoming 600 pounds and being buried in a special coffin. She sees where my out-of-control behaviour is heading, and she pulls the breaks.
I have nothing but gratitude for this. I don’t know – actually, I know all too well – what would happen to me if it weren’t for her. She’s not fun, but I need her. I need her strength, her will. I need to be scared into submission.
BLE Can Be Fun
But once the Controller has been active for a while, some other parts of me start to peek their heads out. And when it looks safe, they come out to play.
What do I call this part of me? I’m not sure. I picture them as a small group of wild 6-year-olds. Easily excited. Full of energy. Unrealistically, but irresistibly optimistic. And today, they have been looking at colour palettes.
They’ve decided I am an Autumn. Because of course, my clothes are going to be too big for me, soon. First my fat clothes will start falling off me. I’ll move on to my skinny clothes. And once I pass that 50-pound mark, I’m going to have to start buying new things. And we have to be ready. Because if I get thin, I will be able to buy clothes I actually like. So I have to make sure I know what I like, and what looks good on me. I need to choose some neutral colours, some base colours, and some accent colours. Colours that look good with the undertones in my skin, hair, and eyes; that coordinate well with each other; and that communicate to the outside world who I really am on the inside. Because I’m going to be thin, and things like this will matter in a way that they can’t matter to someone whose 1st concern must always be to find something that fits and that doesn’t make me look fatter than I already am.
It’s been less than 10 days. I’ve lost less than 10 pounds. I have absolutely no reason to believe this attempt at BLE will last any longer than any of my past attempts. But these little rascals have decided that today’s number 1 priority is choosing my favourite shade of green. For that future shopping trip I’ve been dreaming about for the last 18 years.
You see? Getting ahead of myself.
I’ll admit, it’s fun having these kids around. Letting them have a little freedom. Letting them waste a bit of my time. It feels good to get excited about the future. To imagine what might be.
Preparing for Reality
What worries me is that I know this phase won’t last. I’m losing weight rapidly right now, but it will slow down. At some point, I will plateau. And when that time comes, these little kids cannot be in control. Because they’re children. And just as children can light up our lives with their uninhibited happiness, they can just as easily break down in tears of utter despair when things don’t go their way.
They lack emotional regulation. And if I’m not careful, their reaction to that inevitable period of time when the scale stops cooperating will drag me down with them.
At that point, my Controller will be much more helpful. Unlike these little munchkins, she is not fun. But she also does not require outside validation of her methods to provide motivation. She will insist that I stick to the rules even when it doesn’t seem to be doing any good. I don’t want her to be in charge, necessarily. I have to be in charge. But I’ll want her to be there, in the back seat, offering some advice and direction. I can’t do this without her.
So, as much as I’m enjoying the fun right now, I can’t let the fun and excitement become my primary motivation. A pretty new wardrobe is nice to think about. It’s not the ultimate goal. Cause you know what? It may not happen for a long, long time. I may be one of those people whose weight loss slows down to an almost imperceptible crawl when I am still far from my ideal body. And I have to be able to live in that zone – in this zone, of being overweight, but with my food under control – and be content. To not let an imperfect image in the mirror destroy my sense of peace.
To be happy with free, while I wait for thin. Without letting go of hope.