I’m on a diet.
Well, it started as a diet but things have probably moved on a bit…I’m manifesting, I guess, anorexia, or am I?
I’m fully aware, fully conscious of what I’m doing and I wonder, I’m not a psychologist nor am I a psychiatrist, but I wonder if that differentiates me from an anorexic: are anorexics aware of what damage they are doing or do they justify what they are doing, do they honestly, genuinely believe that what they are doing is ‘ok’? Are anorexics aware of the damage they are doing to their health?
I do say that I’m fully aware/conscious of what I’m doing on my diet….but am I? I tell myself that I’m ok, that I know what I’m doing and that I’m fine but am I fooling myself? I say I’m fully in touch with what I’m doing and that I’m fine, that my diet is ok but am I fine? Is the diet ok?
I started just over a year ago. I was genuinely overweight, no argument about that! I’m 6ft 1in (about 1.85/1.86m), 202.4lbs / 14st, 6lbs (92kg). I’m not muscular in build, this was fat, not muscle!
I can’t remember what happened to make me start the diet but the important thing is that I did start. I also realised that I had to start doing some exercise (my cycling was too casual). I decided to start running. Running, as a form of exercise – in any form, for that matter – was anathema to me. I didn’t say “I don’t run”….I used to say “I can’t run”. I didn’t just close that particular door – I locked it!
I don’t remember having any targets when I started. I think I just wanted to cut down on the amount of food I was eating, to cut down on the biscuits and sweets etc and to do a little running, something being better than nothing.
I’ve got OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
I don’t ‘do’ moderation.
I’m an “all or nothing” guy.
One of the problems, one of the ways in which this condition manifests itself, is as follows:
I think about things for a long, long time before starting. I don’t, or can’t, just start, I don’t, or can’t, “just get on with it” unless it’s really, really well, fully, considered and thought through. I need to be ready for the long haul, no “I’ll dip my toe in the water and see how it goes” and, for that reason, because starting means having to finish, because starting means diving into the deep end, because starting to run, for instance, means having to run and run and run and run and run, it makes starting a frightening, terrifying, stage.
….but start the diet and the running, I did…
It’s a ‘stop eating’ diet. Yes, I know what you’re saying, it’s not sustainable. It is certainly sustainable IF you have OCD. You see, when you have OCD, abstinence is much easier than moderation. Since I started the diet about 13 months ago, I have not had one biscuit, I’ve not had a slice of cake, not a crumb, I haven’t had one sweet, I haven’t had one alcoholic drink. I simply ‘flick a switch’ – or it flicks itself, which is probably more precise – and I’m off the ‘bad’ food. I eat bread but only brown, I eat pasta but only wholegrain….you get the picture. I try, pretty successfully, to keep to a max of 1,000 calories per day (even on running days when I’m burning in the region of 700 calories on the run). I get hungry, of course I do, but I chew a lot of gum to take my mind off the hunger pangs, I eat plenty of fruit (but I count those calories as well, of course), I allow myself a low calorie, low fat yogurt, I might pop a tomato or two into a mouth, I fill the gap (or, more precisely, I do things to take my mind off the hunger). I’m afraid that if I eat a biscuit, that’ll be it, back to my old weight in a few days.
The running? It started as a once or twice per week thing, 1km here, 1km there. I’ve built that up to 3 x 10km runs per week. I’m obsessive about it, of course. I have to run, there’s no question of my missing a run just because I’m tired, I must run. I must keep going. I’m frightened to stop. I believe that if I miss a run, that’ll be it, back to the sofa, exercise stops, food is back, sweets, cake ‘n all, back to square one. I have to keep going….
It’s working, that’s unarguable.
I started when I weighed 92kg.
If memory serves, the first ‘goal’ was to lose one stone (14lbs) / 6.4kg.
When I got there (I can’t remember how long it took), I decided that I wanted to get down to 78kg (which meant losing a total of 14kg).
When I got there, I decided that I wanted to lose another couple of kilos, to get down to 76kg so that I could have a little wiggle room, move up and down in the 76kg – 78kg zone.
Was that it?
Of course not!
I dropped through 76kg. Instead of that being a minimum, I saw it as a maximum!
I’m now around 73kg. When I was around the 75kg mark, I set myself a new goal – 72kg. I really, honestly, genuinely believe that that will be enough, that I’ll stop there. It’s a ‘round number’ loss – 20kg – it’s just over 3st. It’s enough – it’s MORE THAN enough!
If I do stop there, one can argue as to the advantage or otherwise of my OCD. It will have undoubtedly played the major part in the ‘success’ of my losing weight….or will it have been responsible for my over-zealous dieting, my dietary extremism?
Enter the subject of anorexia:
I see my dieting ‘madness’ as being related to my diagnosed OCD, not an anorexia issue. I am sure that it is tied up with my OCD but I don’t know if that means that it can’t be an anorexia issue or whether anorexia and OCD can/do go hand in hand.
I’m sure, absolutely positive, that my dieting is about control. It’s gone beyond a ‘look thing’. I know I’ve lost a lot of weight, I can see in the mirror, I’m under no illusions in that department. I don’t look in the mirror and think I see an overweight person. No, this is about control. I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety, I have little or no self-confidence so this ‘diet’, the fact that it is ‘working’, and I’m bolstered in the belief by all of the “Wow, you’ve lost so much weight!” comments, the fact that it is working, that I’m totally in control of it, the fact that it’s totally up to me if I eat or don’t eat, the ‘success’, I’m liking – loving – it. It is giving me a feeling of success and I don’t want to lose it. I would lose it if I had a biscuit. As for how I feel when people are startled by my weight loss, when they haven’t seen me for a while and then do see me and ask my wife if I’m ill, now THAT really bolsters my sense of euporia, success and self-confidence. I thrive on that “he looks ill’ compliment. Even I know that that is ‘sick’, perhaps a dangerous state of mind, but, well, there it is…
So, is the ‘OCD Koby’ now swimming in the anorexia river and if the answer is “yes”, into which sea does this anorexia river flow?
OCD is a blessing and a curse. I have clinical depression, I’m not bipolar so I’m not ‘qualified’ to talk about it but I think I’m ok in saying this, that just as bipolar sufferers often say that they wouldn’t want to be rid of their condition, that the lows are a price worth paying for the creative productivity of the highs, I wouldn’t want anyone to wave a magic wand to make my OCD disappear (my family would doubtless differ with me on that!).
My OCD often – usually – manifests itself in negative behavior. Many or most people would say that it’s doing that with respect to my current dietary regime. OCD stops me moving from thinking/planning to ‘doing’ because I need to get to a point of comfort/certainty/assurance etc about the planned action before starting, points which are usually unattainable, and because I can’t get those assurances, because I can’t get a deep enough sense of “this is the right thing to do” comfort, I don’t start.
HOWEVER, when I do ‘see’ the green light, when I do sense “all systems go!”, it really is all systems go!!
When I manage to ‘lock’ my OCD onto a work project, the work gets done!!
When, as is happening now, I manage to ‘lock’ my OCD onto a diet, I lose weight!!
When I decide to do something AND start AND ‘lock’ my OCD onto the course of action, it gets done!!
OCD means unswerving focus and gritty determination.
I’m currently at a crossroads. I want to write, talk, speak, communicate, create, ‘perform’ etc etc etc but I’m stuck at that decision-making stage. I need to ‘see’ the green light and then ‘lock’ my OCD onto the decision.
If I decide to write the book, it’ll get written and I’ll fly to the moon to get it done if that is what is required.
If I decide that vlogging, more than blogging, is my ‘thing’, I’ll pull out all the stops, leave no stone unturned, to make it the biggest vlog on YouTube or, rather, I’ll get as close as I can to that point (see my YouTube channel: koby gould).
One of the OCD negatives is that it is ‘extra’ difficult for me to make a decision. The positive flipside of that is that when I do make a decision, I lock the OCD onto it and I pursue the goal in a ‘manic’ frame of mind.
It’s chaos in the creative part of my brain at the moment.
I need a mentor – and this is needle in a haystack stuff – a mentor who can understand me, a mentor who can help to steer me through the swirling waters of my thoughts, a mentor who can visualise the road I should be on and where I should be going, a mentor who can keep assuring me that I am on track.
“Somewhere over the rainbow….”