The Monster Within

April 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

I don’t know about everyone.  I just know about me.  And for me—hunger was the biggest problem in my life. 
I was hungry when I woke up.    I was hungry when I went to bed.   Even in the night it would wake me.

 I couldn’t sleep because my stomach would growl.  

It would fight me.  It wanted food.

 It demanded it.

 Every thought that went through my mind was about food. You know the line–sugar plums dancing in my head?

That was me.

Except it was Big Macs. And donuts. And cupcakes.
There was almost never a moment when I wasn’t thinking about eating.

What I would eat today
 What I would eat next 
What I would eat tomorrow
No matter what we were doing or where we were going—food was the first thing I had to plan out.
 Because I was scared.  Scared that if I didn’t feed the raging hunger inside of me I would go insane.


Literally insane.
 Every diet that I ever went on ended with a panic attack.

I would try so hard to stay away from the food.  To only eat the portions allotted.

But the harder I tried, the hungier I became.

 It was like a monster living inside of me

A monster that had no mercy.

It possessed me. 
It taunted me. 
It controlled me.  

What force could make a person overfeed themselves to the point that their body becomes distorted and disabled?

It was bigger than me.  It had more power.

 I prayed.
 I begged.
 I pleaded.

But it wouldn’t let me go.It had me by the throat.

 It demanded that I feed it.

The amount of strength and willpower it took to lose weight was unbelievable.   Like trying to hold a door shut with an ocean of water ready to rush in and drown you.  I would try to keep it shut . With all my strength I would lean against the door.  Pushing on it. Praying I could hold it at bay.

But eventually, the water would overpower the door and the waves would rush over me.

Throwing me underneath.

Drowning me. 
The hunger had control of me again.  It was so intense that I could think of nothing else.

I can only compare it to the most intense pain you’ve ever felt in your life.

A migraine headache.
A broken bone.
Where nothing in that moment matters. All you can feel is the pain.  You can’t think straight.

 It dominates you.
That was the hunger.

 Loud. 
Obnoxious. 
Forceful.  
Domineering.

It never left. Not even when I was eating.

 Not even when I was binge eating. 

 Maybe a few seconds of comfort .
A few seconds of peace.

And then there it was again.  

Driving me. Calling me.  Demanding that it be fed.

And then I had this surgery.

 80% of my stomach was cut out.
Removed.
Thrown away.

I imagine that it was the part that had dominated my life.

The part that controlled me .

The part that demanded I feed it until I was sick.

Until I was dead. 
A surgeon with a knife cut it out of me.

That monster inside that was killing me .

And then I woke up.  The monster silenced.

Peace.
It’s been 9 months and in that time I have experienced a quiet comfort that I’ve never felt before.

I don’t wake up hungry. 
I don’t go to sleep hungry. 
I sleep peacefully.

 No longer awakened in the night by the abusive and raging hunger inside of me. My every thought is not dominated by food.  No more anxiety attacks about when I will eat.  

 
But  have you ever watched a scary movie where the monster is killed?

And everyone relaxes

But right then…right at that moment…when your guard is down

The monster rises again.  Not dead at all.

You see, I would be foolish to think it was completely gone. 

Because part of it is still there. 

It can still rear its ugly head.

It still has ways to get to me. 

Like a bite of this or a sip of that.

Whatever trigger food might set me off.

My stomach would never allow me to eat a whole Big Mac—but I could eat a few bites.

And in an hour or two, I could eat a few bites more.

My stomach won’t tolerate a whole pepsi

But a sip spread out over a whole day could be enough sugar running through my veins to start the cravings back.

There’s no surgery for that

You can cheat the system

You can find a way

And if I put those triggers back in my body or that sugar that starts the cravings

They will come just like that raging hunger

Back again to taunt me

Food could still dominate me if I let it.

It still knows my weaknesses. 

And that is why this will always be a fight

If I lose sight of that things could slip away

I’m thankful for the tool the surgeon gave me

But I’ll always have a tidal wave sitting right on the other side of that door

At least now I can hold it back

With good decisions, smart choices and lots of prayer.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

~TMcGee~ April 3, 2012 at 9:18 pm

"At least now I can hold it back With good decisions, smart choices and lots of prayer." Yes! yes you can, you are and you will. 🙂

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Frickin' Fabulous at 40 April 4, 2012 at 3:48 am

Food is a demon all of us with obesity fight. We have an unnatural relationship with food and unfortunately we can't go "cold turkey" and give it up. We need to learn to live with it and find out why we need it so much. We may eat it in private, sneak-eating so no one can see us, but we publicly wear the shame of over-eating, unlike an alcoholic who can hide the bottle or a heroin-addict who can hide their track marks. God Bless you on your road to recovery!

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Kelliann April 4, 2012 at 5:54 am

I love, love, love this post (as I do all your posts). I relate so much to the hunger monster. For me, however, it never really went away. I used to joke I was hungry when they rolled me out of surgery.
However, I have now learned it is not physical hunger that plauges me, it is the dreaded "head" hunger. I battle it with lots of prayer, lots and LOTS of preperation and planning. It's a battle everyday. Go girl!

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Lee Ann April 4, 2012 at 9:42 am

Holly, I totally relate to this post. For me, physical hunger truly was my biggest problem. It was a huge relief to leave it behind in surgery. Sure, I occasionally suffer from boredom and will find myself looking for food to occupy some time, but that's not what got me 70-80 pounds overweight. It was the hunger monster. I think everyone, even naturally thin people are guilty of eating when they aren't hungry, but for me, that isn't the reason I was so overweight. It was constant, unrelenting hunger. It totally sucked to be that heavy considering that 90-95% of what I ate was considered healthy (same as now, I still indulge a little). I got big from too much fruit, too much greek yogurt, etc. I can't imagine what I might have weighed if I'd fed my monstrous appetite with junk food (which I would've preferred). Even when I got down to 180 lbs for surgery, my friends asked me why I thought I needed it—-they had no idea what it felt like to be ravenously hungry 24/7, making good choices, to STILL be 40+ lbs overweight. I couldn't hang on much longer, If I hadn't gotten surgery when I did, I would've let go and fallen back into the pit of hunger & despair, and stuffed myself with sugar instead of healthy stuff, which is what I really wanted, and I know for sure I would be at an even higher all-time high by now instead of at nearly the lowest I've been in my adult life.

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Mom to the Fourth Power April 4, 2012 at 10:14 am

I relate to this post so well! Even when it does get tamed, that ranging hunger monster can still come back. I now try to control it by eating less refined carbs and all and through LOTS of prayer!! 🙂

~Margene

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Staci's Slimdown April 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

Wow. I eat out of boredom or emotions most of the time when I'm overeating. I can't imagine feeling constantly hungry. That would stink so bad. 🙁 You are smart not to put triggers back into your mind, body, or soul. Steer clear! I can totally relate to that part!

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Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm

This is exactly how I have felt today. All day long I have been eating and I have never gotten filled up. And it makes no sense at all. I have been busy and had a lot to do- but yet I cannot ever get filled up. The more I eat the less productive I become. The human body is a crazy thing.

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spunkysuzi April 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Wow this makes so much sense to me! There are certain foods that if I let them will take me right back to where I don't want to be. I find processed foods and overly sweet or fried foods do it to me. One bite will just take me by the hand and lead me back to where I no longer want to go.

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Joy April 4, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Wow you have come a long way!!!! Keep making great decisions every day!! You've got this!! I believe in you!!!!

Keep focused!!!

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Ducky April 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm

How courageous of you! I can even imagine the awesome successes you've had and the struggles you've overcome!

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Czesia April 4, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Being hungry is so hard to explain to a "normal" individual..you've nailed it love! That feeling of drowning is such an insight.

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ReJoyce777 April 5, 2012 at 4:13 am

I now have Skillets song "Monster" running thru my head. 🙂 Holly, you are right, that is why it cracks me up when folks that don't know (I was once one of them) think we are taking the easy way out. There is nothing easy about this. Yes, we eat less, but it is still up to us to make the right choices and to exercise. It is still a mental battle when I am going thru a difficult time and my old "friend" calls to me to offer me "comfort".

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Toesinthesand April 5, 2012 at 5:40 am

I have felt that physical pull in my stomach when I knew it was unreasonable that I be hungry, but I have never felt it like you describe it…constantly.

My hunger has always been emotional. I started eating when I was pregnant with my first child because I knew I was unhealthy and too thin, and I wanted to give her the nutrients she needed. I went overboard (hey, I'm an overachiever) and gained almost 100 pounds. That's when it started for me.

I think it was a lot of regret because I knew deep in my core that I did not want to be married to the man I was married to. I felt stuck, pushed the feelings aside, and DECIDED to be in love with him. I tried so hard to be in love with him, and looking back I think he tried to be in love with me too. We definitely cared about one another, but we were that couple that put on a happy face for everyone and were miserable together, looked forward to being apart, and just really couldn't stand being together.

It was an infatuation at the beginning; it ended up with pregnancy and marriage (in that order) and three more children.

I ate all those years, I sneak-ate, I was very possessive about "my" food and treats, keeping them from even my children. I would stop anytime I was alone in the car and get a donut, then stop again for a candy bar.

I ate to avoid the fact that at 23, I was too young and immature to have children. I ate to avoid my marriage; I ate to soothe my guilt that I actually cared about figuring out who the heck I was. I ate to soothe the difficulty of figuring out adult emotions when emotionally, I was still a child and had my own children. I ate to avoid knowing that my husband resented me for not being Martha Stewart perfect. I ate to avoid knowing his rage was about to explode. I ate to avoid knowing that the insults he hurled at me and my children would mark their hearts forever.

I don't know why I started on this tangent, Holly. It tends to happen to me when I read your blog!

I guess I wanted to say, I kind of get it. I don't get it from a physical hunger standpoint, but emotionally, I could never eat enough to fill up all that hurt, guilt, confusion…etc. etc.

I found my way out a few years ago and lost 70 pounds.

As you know, I've gained back 20 and battled it…but THIS time I don't have so much going on emotionally. I can do this.

We all can do this.

I'm not going to be controlled by food.

I'm not going to eat myself to death like my mother did.

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Toesinthesand April 5, 2012 at 5:43 am

Holly, the above comment "toesinthesand" was me, Chandra, from judyjane.com. I was logged in under my personal gmail and not my blog gmail 🙂 I looked at it and thought you would think, "Who is this girl?"

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Overhauling-Me April 5, 2012 at 11:28 am

I haven't felt the constant hunger but I have been pulled my food, mostly emotional eating. Once hooked I get reeled in until I sink from a binge. Still struggling with it but keeping up the fight! Prayer is a definite must to get me through this battle!

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JC April 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Great post. I can relate to always being hungry.

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Sheila April 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

I love this post Holly! You are so right about everything. The hunger always controlling and even now with the hunger monster being in a cage, it CAN rear it's ugly head if we let it.

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Kara April 12, 2012 at 4:08 am

Thanks for this post, Holly! My eating over the last week has been horrible. Small amounts, but small amounts of food that definitely has not bee the best of choices. And my body feels like crap for it too. I know this will be a life long struggle, but how I wish I could just flip a switch and have that nagging voice telling me to eat crap be gone!

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