I have always had a tumultuous relationship with you. When I was a child, I was alone a lot with books and used you as my companion when I read. I read a lot! Now when I look back, I really was just in a normal kid-sized body.
However I was teased – not in a cruel way but in a loving way by people close to me – my mother, sister and later brother in law all called me chubby. A normal kid would have just laughed this off, but I was a very sensitive child and took things to heart. For a long time as a child I thought I was ugly. As a teenager, I finally understood that I could react to this teasing by controlling how much I ate of you, food and by doing that I got compliments and felt beautiful.
Then came the college years and I found I needed to control you even more, food because now I was the one responsible for buying and eating you. I had very low self esteem as a child and did not know how to be around boys. In college, I dated a guy I had a huge crush on, who acted like he was doing me a favor by starting our relationship by saying “ok we can date but you need to lose weight”. I bent over backwards for this relationship – did a lot of yo-yo dieting in those years when I would lose a ton of weight by severely restricting you, food, then get into a happy place and forget about dieting, while gaining weight.
I finally left this boyfriend and moved to another country. I met my future husband and for a couple of years was very happy and comfortable around you food. I thought I was in heaven because for the first time in my life I had found someone who truly did not see my weight and saw me as a person. I am sure I gained weight in those years but it didn’t seem to affect our relationship.
However it didn’t last long. My (now husband) has been the cruelest critic of all with the most influence over my eating habits and weight because of how close we are. He has told me he’s not attracted to my body, we’ve had big fights and little ones over my weight and my eating and he thinks if I truly loved him I would lose weight for him.
Over the last 20 years of us being together, 17 years of marriage, 2 kids and many of life’s milestones, I have developed a serious binge eating problem. I hide and eat you food. I no longer feel conformable eating what I want in front of any one, even at work when I am away from the judging eyes of my husband. As soon as I finish one meal, I am thinking or looking for my next one. Even when I’m not hungry, I am still buy and eating you in secret. I no longer have any will power against you food and have not been able to diet or lose weight (even 5 pounds) for the last 10 years.
Over the last year as I turned 40, I have been doing different things like meditation, journaling, reading blogs and listening to podcasts to get a better control and understanding of my mind. I have begun to slowly open my mind to the concept that it was never you food, but rather how I thought about myself and my body that was the problem.
My question is this – my husband and I have been to therapy a few times and my weight and his issues with it have always come up. He has always been adamant that he is not trying to be cruel but that he is just not attracted to someone who is overweight. A quick search on the internet shows that there are thousands of men out there just like him. I know that my desire to please him may have started me down this path of hiding and eating, but I have now internalized it and taken it to a whole new level that is all my own. Is my only option to leave him and try to rebuild my life? We don’t fight about my weight any more but we are also not intimate or loving. We have two kids and he is a great dad – I feel I owe it to them to stay in this relationship. How can I build a better relationship with you food, when I have someone in my life who doesn’t believe in this approach?