My Banded Time

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting Rid of Food as my Security Blanket, My Crutch, My Friend

The band is a great physical tool to help prevent overeating.  But aside from having this physical tool, I've been working on gaining the skills to overcome my dependency on food.

I think of why I've gained 60 lbs in the last 12 years and I can probably correlate weight to significant stressful times in my life.  Food has been my security blanket, my crutch and my protector:

-stressful client jobs-I'm a management consultant and for a people pleaser what a lethal profession...always trying to make clients happy.  TIME FOR A WHOLE BAKING DISH OF LASAGNA
-stressful co workers-It's not always relaxing working with engineers and people with MBAs...and I think its a reality that people bring their issues to work.   I got yelled at over the holidays once because my project lead was on vacation and the deliverable didn't meet the expectations she had in her head.  Another time my boss revealed to me, months later, that she had been yelling at me because she had been going through the demise of her marriage.  Nice of her to acknowledge this but still...?!  TIME FOR A BAG OF CHIPS
-stressful in laws-they are kind people but some of them are off.  For instance I helped my nephew get a job out of school and his parents complained that I put him a position where he never went anywhere with his career...even though he never chose to work hard, put in the hours or even show up sometimes...he forgot to file his taxes for 5+ years and it nullified his chances to get a security clearance and higher advancement in my old firm.  My sister in law told me that I should have told him about the importance of filing taxes...and that if I had, he wouldn't be living from pay check to pay check even with an ivy league degree.  The same sister in law told me she was surprised my kids were so good looking when me and my husband are just mediocre looking?!  Also I'm Asian and most Asians are so small.  I don't fit the norm and they let me know that I'm too big.  TIME FOR A PINT OF ICE CREAM
-juggling motherhood and working-my days would start at 5:30 am and end at midnight...stressful but I'd create these high standards for everything and work myself to exhaustion and overwork. TIME FOR A LOAF OF GREAT BREAD WITH LOTS OF REAL BUTTER
-inability to deal with failures and breakdowns in relationships-when friends/relatives have hurt me in the past, I would just withdraw from the friendships versus working them out.  TIME TO TREAT MYSELF TO A THREE COURSE LUNCH

Food has always been a way to comfort myself, to get myself through late nights of working, late nights of motherhood, late nights of stress in general and the pain of broken relationships.  And before that, when I was a child and adolescent, it comforted me in a house that was sometimes filled with tension and financial insecurity.  The dependency on food is a pattern that I have built up over the years. I'm starting to break the negative patterns and cycles.  Now that I don't have the ability to overeat, I've had to deal with things without my security blanket of food...which would comfort me but cover me in layers of fat as well.  Without the comfort of food protecting me from reality, I've had to face reality and its been hard but rewarding and a renewing and learning experience:

-Work-I've talked to my bosses about the type of client engagements I wanted to participate on and got switched to a much more reasonable client.  I've told people when I don't think they are fair.  For instance when my project lead yelled at me over the Thanksgiving Holiday, I told her exactly why I did the things the way I did and I turned it around.  And the outcome was always really great.
-Friends-I've learn to acknowledge times I've been wrong and tried to work things out with friends and relatives.  I've reached out to friends that I have distanced myself from in the past because I'd get hurt and then just internalize it.  I've told people how much they mean to me and why I distanced myself and guess what...the world didn't was just nice to renew the friendship.
-Over Committing to Reasonable Committing-I've said "no" to many PTA and kid commitments and just tried to focus on the activities that bring the most value to my kids.
-In Laws-I haven't told them off.  But told them gently things I've held in for years.  For instance, my nephew could be successful if he shaved, wore normal work clothes and showed up and did a great job.  Yes my weight has been out of control but I'm taking proactive measures to address it.

So this weight loss thing has been as much mental as physical.  I have a long way to go but I'm learning and growing and trying to break the cycle that has made me fat.

Thank you for listening and talking through things.  It has helped so much.


  1. Rachel - I know all too well about that security blanket... here in the time before my surgery it crosses my mind often, "what am I going to do without my best friend?!" and I get a little panicked... then the rational part of me comes out and tells me how insane I am and how it's not normal to feel that way towards food... ((sigh)) ahh the life of a overweight woman! ....

  2. This is a fantastic post! You have come so far :)

  3. Hey, great post... thanx for visiting and commenting on my blog... Please visit again soon. I look forward to following your journey. *Maria*-blogger from "This one time at BAND Camp..." Follow my journey at

  4. BTW....Mediocre looking, are you sure we don't have the same Sister-in-law? Mine makes a circle hand gesture when she talks about me... and I', her only sister-in-law married to her only brother. Is is really necessary for her to "Explain" that I am the round one? EFF her!

  5. I agree with Grace. It's not just a physical change we make but as much a mental one too. Good for you!

  6. well written and so on target for me..Kudos to you for figuring out how to change and be more proactive...I am a step behind you on that. I am trying to name where my boundaries are, stick to them and demand that others do the same but thinking and doing are not always the same. Your post is inspirational.


  7. You've been through alot with your family in the past, that's great of you to acknowledge it now and hold back anymore, I would have told off my sister-in-law a long time ago for insinuating I was the 'round one"! Asian or not, people become overweight for all kinds of reasons, and I so wish others would be more understanding of this instead of acting like we're lepers or mentally disabled. Sigh. :(

    Anyway, have a restful Sunday, and great post! :)

  8. Wow, can't believe your sister-in-law. *boggles*

    This is a great post and I can't tell you how closely it speaks to me. Food is such a security blanket-- that huge pan of lasagna or enchilada, the big fast food meal that put me in afternoon food coma. It's strange to say goodbye to that now and it definitely takes some work and a whole lotta self-talk as we get ourselves through the challenging times.

  9. What a great post. I really see myself in it. Food has always been my comfort, my celebration, my tool for dealing with boredom - you name it.

    I am so glad to see that you are really working on your "head" band and working your tool. I love reading your posts since our band dates are similar as well as our age and weight loss goals.

    Keep up the great work!

  10. I've been working on this as well - I started seeing an eating disorder therapist for compulsive binge eating. Its totally not just about physically being restricted. We have to take care of the emotional side too. For me personally, the head stuff is proving to be a much bigger hurdle than having surgery.

  11. Oh Rachel, I've wrapped myself up in that blanket so tight at times that it becomes hard to breathe.. I am really seeing how you're working through this from the inside out, and I'm so very proud of you!!

    Please continue to be an inspiration for me and for so many others whom you touch with your words!

  12. Great post! So much of this whole weight loss thing is mental. It's fantastic that were able to address the different challenges that contributed to your weight.

  13. Great post, Rachel! I found myself wanting to do that food-medication thing over the last two weeks, since I've had a lot of deadline-related stress on a big project. This came at a great time -- nice to get confirmation that I'm not the only one! :)