As I look back at my past relationship with food, I don’t believe I would have changed IF I had not gotten so sick with “hyperinsulinemia.” For those of you who don’t know what that “big word” means, it is pre-diabetes…insulin resistance and insulin overproduction. It is also called “Metabolic Syndrome” and “Syndrome X.”
I couldn’t care less about what it was called. I honestly didn’t know anything about it. I only knew what it felt like and it was very frightening. Throughout my life I had anxiety attacks, never realizing the reasons behind it. “Hyperinsulinemia” isn’t something that happens one time. It happens over time, and symptoms can last for decades. Sometimes they speed up depending on family medical history and personal dieting history, as well as exercise history, but other times they happen “on occasion” when certain foods are eaten out of balance or food timings are out of whack. I had no idea about any of this. All I knew was that I was a compulsive, out of balance eater, preferring to snack and not eat regular meals. I delighted in bingeing, but unlike some who binge, I did not usually eat large portions of foods. I did, however, eat continuously….a bite here and a bite there. I had no idea what kind of impact this had on my pancreas, liver and other organs in my body. I was blind to all of this….unfortunately.
Waking up to the truth was a frightening experience. I didn’t trust myself to be able to control my relationship with food. Food was my answer to all stress….it was my major release tool AND it was deeply embedded in my subconscious mind along with the behaviors/habits that accompanied it. To make matters worse, I had a high level of hyperinsulinemia which meant that I would have problems balancing the amount of food I needed in relation to my exercise and stress levels. Strangely enough, I needed a lot of food, but the right kinds and at the right time. All of this was foreign to me. Asking myself to change everything and keep the changes “in motion” was the base of my fear.
I always considered myself an intelligent, successful professional person….easy to get along with and fun-loving. While all of this was most likely true, there was another part of me that ran my life in a disorderly fashion. This was my addictive self. Through the decades of my life it was my best friend and set all the rules for managing whatever stress came along…and there was a lot of that.
When I came upon the information about hyperinsulinemia I was blown out of the water. I was happy and horrified at the same time. I realized how much damage I had done, frightened that I wouldn’t be able to reverse it, and at the same time scared to death of that part of me that would not let me change. That part would rather kill me than help me. When I woke up to this reality I found myself frightened of ME. I remember the moment the revelation was brought to me….I must have sat for an hour in the chair before I could move into any sort of action. The fear was so huge that I was afraid to stand up and go anywhere. I didn’t know what to do. In a way, I was paralyzed.
Being afraid of “who I was” was an unraveling experience. I remember praying. I remember being freezing cold. After a while, I heard a little voice tell me to “move.” I stood up and found a piece of paper. I wrote some simple directions to follow….beginning rules. It was “as if” I had been sent to some sort of rehab hospital and needed to be told everything in a step-by-step manner. I knew there would be many rules, but I would be well again. This seemed to be certain, most likely an answer to my prayer. I felt some energy flow back into me, but not like in times past when I would decide to “diet” or start an exercise plan. This was a very different feeling. I felt like my tired body had been given a new spark plug, but it was going to take a long time to get completely well. My compulsive self had been replaced by a patient self that was willing to walk the path step by step along with “whoever” was leading me in those early moments.