During the winter of 2016 and on into the spring of 2017, I rebounded hard from a 50-pound weight loss. In a matter of months, I regained all of the weight I had lost in the first half of 2016—plus an extra 30 to 40 pounds.
I had lost the weight on what seemed like a healthy diet program. But as soon as I experienced a few major life stressors, my desire to emotionally eat was off the charts and instantly I gravitated back to my favorite “off limit” comfort foods!
You see, I have struggled with disordered eating issues since childhood and around the tender age of 10, my emotional eating increased to the point that I started to pack on the pounds. Thus began my lifelong struggle with morbid obesity, closeted shame, embarrassment and body image issues.
Throughout the years I had tried diet after diet, counseling, diet pills, shakes, weight loss clubs, support groups, even weight loss surgery, but nothing worked long term.
Every diet and weight loss focused program and procedure that I attempted would only work for the short term. Sometimes, if I was especially “good” I might find a diet option that would work for up to a year before I would crash and burn and eat the inevitable fatal bite of the “forbidden food.” After the brief pleasure wore off, I soothed my shame-ridden self by eating whatever I wanted for the day, with the plan to start my diet afresh the next morning. However, tomorrow never came and before long I was deeply enmeshed back into my old eating habits.
By the time the spring of 2017 hit, my weight had hit an all-time high on the scales and I felt extremely hopeless. Depression and anxiety settled in and I avoided seeing family and friends who had not seen me since the rebound weight gain. Thankfully one of my dear family members and her mother lovingly reached out to me and helped me see that I needed more than a new “healthy diet”…I needed help with my eating disorder. She suggested I consider looking into a professional eating disorder program.
As I pondered her suggestion, I knew she was right and I began to research eating disorder clinics. I wanted one that did not feel “institutional” and one that would be sensitive to my physical needs, as I was struggling with decreased mobility due the weight gain and an autoimmune disease that caused me to have chronic and disabling joint and muscle pains.
After reviewing several clinics, I serendipitously discovered Green Mountain at Fox Run! I called Green Mountain and immediately felt a connection as I spoke with their Director of Enrollment and Alumnae Relations Penny. She patiently answered my many questions and I intuitively knew Green Mountain was the fit for me.
I signed up for their six-week program and checked in the first week of August 2017. Literally within hours of arriving, I felt accepted, loved and nurtured!
During the program it was such a comfort and relief to learn that I was not a failure, but instead, it was the diet industry that had failed me and millions of others. Through the Pathway program for binge eating and emotional eating, I had one-on-one therapy and group educational sessions where I learned mindful ways to eat, deal with my emotions, and combat stress. With a great sigh of relief, I had entered the no-diet zone and was learning ways to listen to my body and mindfully enjoy all foods instead of labeling them as good or bad.
Everyone at Green Mountain truly lived the motto of “your pace is the pace” and despite my chronic pain, the staff helped me find exercises that were comfortable and healthy for me. They cheered me on as I gained mobility and began to navigate the stairs and attend the fitness classes. I discovered fitness classes that were enjoyable, such as the drumming classes! I participated in the drumming class seated but was still able to work up a sweat and thoroughly enjoy myself. During the drumming classes, it took me back to the joys of free movement that I experienced as a child.
I found healing and an awakening at Green Mountain among the all women guests and staff. I made incredible lifelong friendship with the other guests—but most importantly, I learned ways to make friends with myself and my body, and to practice self-care and compassion towards myself as I learned to implement the tools of intuitive eating.
If you are tired of dieting, of feeling stuck in an awful weight-loss/weight-gain cycle, maybe trying something different—not another diet—will set you free, too.
For more information on Green Mountain’s non-diet approach to wellness, read more about our program.
Originally posted on by Tales From the Junk Food Aisle.