Relapse Is My Middle Name

Those who remember my technical blatherings about the Stages of Change Model describing how people voluntarily change behaviors know that I have tried to relate my journey from merely thinking about eating healthy, to seriously planning, to acting on the set of behaviors, and then integrating the mechanisms (processes) of change to help me keep going. (Fifty-word sentence, good grief.)

Relapse is one of the stages, and I am in it. “Don’t despair,” I tell myself because this is normal. There is always something to be learned from a setback. And, recycling to a later stage of change means not starting all over. I do not need to build motivation. I do need to re-establish my ability to shun certain trigger foods. Regain my self-efficacy/confidence. This is especially hard given that I have a binge eating disorder. Yep, depression, anxiety, PTSD, BED. One wonders how I ever functioned so successfully in academia. Here’s a secret. I almost ate myself to death. I gained 150-pounds and no one talked to me about it. If I had reeked of alcohol think someone might have initiated an intervention? Yep? Do I harbor some anger at those charged with my training during medical residency, those who supposedly valued behavioral sciences yet ignored my tremendous weight gain during my residency? You bet. Time to let that go.

I have returned to the world of the present by being open with my family about what has been going on. Sought support from key friends and loved ones. Agreed to not eat in private. Talked with my long distance shrink who is an incredible sounding board. Finally, I stepped into my tightest jeans and found they were almost too tight to wear. Reality check.

Losing weight and maintenance are difficult enough without adding a binge problem. I don’t expect sympathy. It’s a real disorder that I magically thought had disappeared. Nope.

Ever vigilant without obsessing is a fine line. I’m back in the saddle and wearing my tight jeans.


9 thoughts on “Relapse Is My Middle Name

  1. Good for you wearing those jeans! I am sitting here in a (cringing at how this will sound) velour two-piece with an elastic waist. Comfort over style is MY middle name:) I am here to support your in any way I can. And I’ll root you on or kick you in the butt, whatever.

  2. It’s truly scary how you think (and write) resonates with me! “Agreed to not eat in private.” I’ve just recently started to recognize that’s what’s going on with me – at 73 it’s about time. don’t ya’ think? And, “Ever vigilant without obsessing is a fine line.” Yup, uh-huh. Two of my new favorite mantras…


  3. Oh yes, I get caught in “magic wand” thinking sometimes and act as if all the ‘before’ stuff just went away–poof! There’s always work to do. Fortunately, you’ve proven you’re more than capable of getting it done.

  4. Ah, the private eating….yes, that is how I gained 50 pounds in one year. I couldn’t wait for my husband to leave for work each day so I could run out and buy my goodies….candy, cookies, ice cream, etc. The only private eating I do nowadays is a couple of tangerines and a couple of cups of tea. But I have increased my portions of healthy food at meals and that, coupled with an inability to work out as hard as I did before, has caused several pounds to reappear. I have to admit that there are days when I’m discouraged and would just like to sit down and drink a cup of tea with about two (or ten) dozen of my favorite homemade cookies — which is why I don’t make the cookies. I keep reminding myself that if I do that, I’ll just be clogging up my arteries with all of that butter — I think that, more than the pounds, is what keeps me from doing it. My pants are a little tighter these days, too, but I keep wearing them rather than even think about moving back up a size. Stick to it, gal!

  5. Great piece, Dear Daughter! Upon reading that first paragraph I was ready to give you an A+ for reading the epistles cuz it sounds like the Apostle Paul! He would talk for 14 verses and then say something like, “And finally, brethren…” whereupon he continues until, I think, being out of breath and intuitively knowing he was going to lose his audience unltess they had some reason for hope;
    he would again repeat, “And finally brethren.” — and I have just done the same thing. I need to go back to English class and learn how to apply more periods in both talking – and talking on paper. So proud of you, Babe. Moving from Biblical terms to how my young friends would cut to the chase in lauding you: You rock!

  6. Jan, I really LIKE that you reiterate that relapse is a part of the process of change. There’s a new book on change (that came to my attention from a very reliable, reputable source) that I intend to read when my schedule calms down in a few months. It’s called “Change Happens: When to Try Harder and When to Stop Trying So Hard” by Avrum Geurin Weiss. Here’s the Amazon link:

  7. I’m wearing my tight jeans too! I find stretchy pants are dangerous because I can never tell if I put on the pounds. Jeans are my way of knowing I’m right on track đŸ˜‰

  8. You’re right of course. Don’t despair. Recognizing what’s happening is half the battle. Now you know what to do. You can do it.

  9. That has always been an issue for me, not just the relapse, but the knowledge that I will always want to eat “in private”. That I will always want to binge eat. So all of my lief I will need to avoid the foods I love and fight against my desires. Some years it has not felt worth it and the weight goes up and up. Now I am working to change those thoughts.

    I do admit that I am not aiming for such a low weight as you. When I was young and really working hard to look good I always aimed for 130. Now I will be fine with 150-175 which was always an easier weight to maintain.

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