My insidious relationship with food; and my need to escape reality

Circa 1980. Miss those swims to that dock. Always Love being alone in those waters

Grief has an amazing way of sparking thought.  My modus operandi has always been a reality escape. Sports were an early coping partner.  My mother loves to talk about how I’d head to the backyard in my football outfit and play a full game ALONE.  After the “game” was over, I’d grab my baseball uniform and play another full game with crowd noise.  We grew up with a pond nearly in our backyard.  The “Pond” intersected two streets and was a quick jaunt across the street.  I’d skate for hours before school then be there as soon as it was over.  Having people with whom to play, meant nothing to me.  I lived in my own world, oblivious, at times to people. 

Life was ironically hard as a teen.  I was competent athlete.  My features were bland enough to make me a solid 6.7 in looks.  My grades were terrible although I did very well on exams.  Homework, which accounts for 99.9% in our grading system was ignored in my world.  For context, “my world” refers to my cloudy brain.  I had friends. Really.  Good.  Friends.  My life should have been good.  It wasn’t.  I lived in a constant state of fear. Quiet tears were produced faster than fake N-95 masks. 

Trauma is real.  It’s something I experienced in two forms.  There may be a day I discuss, but not Today.  It took years for me to understand the depth of my pain.  In some ways, the surface is only beginning to get scratched.  As I got older, escaping to sport wasn’t enough.  I started to drink daily.  I hid it well, early.  Over time, I couldn’t hide it.  Hurricane Brandt was in full effect.  Eventually, I got sober.  This is where the real story begins.  I was chubby in my 20’s but manageable.  At 31, I was a married father of two without alcohol as my crutch.  Immediately, food took its place. 

Ice cream has always been a friend.  A good friend with no side effects.  My metabolism was high.  Exercise was still a thing.  I got sober and sedentary.  Remember, I cope by escaping.  I ran to church basements for sobriety and parlors for ice cream.  After 2 months of sobriety, I was up 15 pounds but SOBER!  That weight never left.  It snowballed.

People have talked about life changing moments.  Fascinating tales when they were hanging off a cliff, survived it, and changed.  I don’t know my tipping point.  It happened.  At some point, I stopped moving altogether.  Travel plans centered around my lack of mobility.  How close is the beach?  Does that restaurant have chairs without arms?  Is there close parking?  Even Covid became a crutch.  Instacart stopped grocery visits.  Mobile pickup became an evil friend.  Even Mitchel’s brings ice cream to my car.  WT actual F?  Obesity is a malevolent enemy.

The decision to pursue surgery doesn’t come lightly.  There are so many thoughts and feelings.  I’ve wrestled with the thought that this is another escape.  Am I putting a bandage over a gun wound?  I learned when I got sober, however, that I must surrender to win.  There will be a time for a goodbye letter to gluttony.  Today, I am focusing on good health and moving my frame. 

To anyone suffering from excess weight.  I feel your pain.  I live your reality.  Many of us do.  Just keep trying and be gentle.  Never Ever Give up!

2 responses to “My insidious relationship with food; and my need to escape reality”

  1. Kathy Armstrong Lehman Avatar
    Kathy Armstrong Lehman

    I am out here and mentally, spiritually/ prayerfully on your journey with you.


    1. Thanks Kathy! It means so much


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