By April 21 I had, as they say, hit bottom. While I was probably 10 lbs down from my all time high of 347 lbs., I was done, I was beat. Food had kicked my ass and kicked it good. I was desperate.
Not desperate enough to have surgery. I had decided several years ago, in the wake of learning of two ministers in my extended circle who had died of complications following the surgery, that I would not do that. Ever. It was not an option to sacrifice myself on that particular altar. If pharmaceuticals could help me do it safely, I would. But since they didn't... my only option was to figure out a way to change, to interrupt the addiction, to stop killing myself with food.
I walked into that meeting and met a woman I'd known slightly from work circles. I'd known her about 100 lbs heavier than she was when I saw her that day. She became my sponsor. Beginning that day, I started doing a number of things:
Down on my knees first thing in the morning to ask for help from God, to commend this impossible situation into her hands.
Calling my food for the day in to my sponsor. Then, eating what I had committed. No flour, no sugar, three meals, all weighed and/ or measured. Lots of green vegetables and fruit. Good amounts of protein. No starches to begin; a couple (potatoes and rice) were added after about four months.
Taking a daily time of quiet and prayer.
Making phone calls to other folks in the program... three per day.
Attending meetings... three per week.
At the end of the day... down on my knees again, to thank God for an abstinent day... or even for a non-abstinent one in which I gained some insight on my addiction.
The program is simple. Not necessarily easy, but I found it to be much more so once I "detoxed." About 2 weeks after my last flour and sugar I felt the obsession and addictive feelings lift. They have returned occasionally. Sometimes I have managed to get through, with the help of others in the program. Other times I have succumbed (I have had exactly one flour/sugar item in the last 8 months. My reaction to it: it wasn't really worth it. It tasted ok, but I am not longing for any more).
I ended 2008 more than a hundred pounds lighter than I began it. And I ended it far healthier by every measurement. Elevated blood pressure? Gone. Choleseterol level? Better than ever. Knees (which were, to be honest, starting to be creaky, especially in the mornings)? Perfect. I can run up the stairs. I can walk long distances (and I do). Though I fit no one's definition of "thin," I love getting dressed to go anywhere... I don't dread shopping for clothes, and I enjoy adorning myself in ways that are attractive.
Do I think I'll never eat flour or sugar again? I have no idea. Today, I don't really care. That in itself is an amazing, almost unbelievable sentiment to have flow out my fingers and onto this screen. Today I am looking forward with enthusiasm to the meals I have committed to my sponsor. I know that if I continue to put one foot in front of the other, continue to do these simple things, my body will ultimately settle into the weight God intended for me to carry. (I have a way to go).
Beloved is so proud of me. So are my children. And so are the members of my congregation, who have been watching me "melt away," as someone has said. I have so much to do... so much I want to give and share. I feel that God has called me... into ministry, into family, into my relationship with Beloved. And now... I may just be around for long enough to enjoy all of it to the fullest. Maybe.