An Unhealthy Weight can Kill just as Easily as Alcohol
Chronicles of My Weight Struggles
Many years ago, a friend of mine shared with me a secret. She was struggling with alcoholism.
After work, this friend and I had a routine to visit a Tex-Mex restaurant to decompress regularly. We would go to this local mom-and-pop restaurant where they had the most delicious cheese-filled enchiladas, pork tamales covered in decadent sauce, refried beans, and Mexican rice.
During our many conversations over a large serving of comfort food, it never once occurred to me that she had a problem with controlling or moderating alcohol. We would share our one pitcher of margaritas and be done with alcohol for the night.
Our lack of control seemed more focused on the food part of the meal. My friend revealed that the shared enjoyment of friendship, food, and drink would jump-start an alcoholic binge after leaving.
I never knew.
These times together would also start me on a binge of a different sort, an eating binge. I often went home and ate a bowl or two of ice cream. I, too, struggled with control and moderation, but my issue was food and the resulting weight gain.
From then on, I was very supportive of my friend and her journey to sobriety. We changed and adjusted our routines and created new ones that better fit my friend’s needs. I did it readily without a thought that it should be otherwise.
During that same period, I, too, was struggling. My Body Mass Index (BMI) was well over 40. When measuring a person’s fat density appropriateness for their body frame, this measurement is called BMI. The normal range is between 18.5 and 24.9. With my BMI well over 40, I was considerably over the appropriate amount of fat for my body frame.
I did not think I had to tell anyone I was struggling. That I had a problem moderating what I ate, I assumed everyone could see it by looking at the amount of excess weight I was carrying.
One day, over a meal, my friend was lamenting how difficult it was to be an alcoholic, and the temptation to drink was everywhere. She expressed how difficult it was to abstain from having a drink and longed for an easier path. After much sympathetic listening and support, I looked at my friend and said,
“You are so lucky you are an alcoholic. I would trade you your addiction to alcohol for my addiction to food any day.”
My friend was dumbfounded. She was aware of my struggles to lose weight. She had witnessed my many attempts at dieting, successes, and failures. She had watched me lose weight only to gain it all back and then some. Although she knew of my struggle, I don’t think she realized how difficult it had been for me.
I asked her, “What if you had to have three servings of alcohol each day to live? Could you ration yourself and not drink too much? You are lucky because you can completely abstain and live with the desire to drink. For me and my issues with food, I must eat to live.
It seems impossible to manage the desire to overeat when it is right before you while actively consuming it. That is an incredibly difficult challenge.
My health issues related to my weight will kill me just as easily as alcohol will kill you. It is just a more accepted way to run your health into the ground until it slowly kills you.”
I know I sound dramatic; however, the truth is, if you are trying to quit cigarettes or alcohol, everyone around you is supportive. Everyone knows the dangers of alcohol and cigarettes and believes in these dangers to you and others around you.
Secondhand smoke from cigarettes affects others. Alcoholism affects others with drunk driving and violence. Maybe that is the difference, why people take those addictions seriously. On the contrary, a person’s weight only affects that person.
It may seem like a losing battle to reduce your weight and keep it off. But, I will show you how to lose it for good at Healthy Endeavors. I have kept it off for over 15 years, and I still enjoy food and drink without feeling deprived. I know you can do it too. A healthier version of you is waiting to begin.