July 2, 2012

Games people play

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These days when I think back to some of the misadventures that I had when being over 250 pounds overweight, I often chuckle to myself while also admiring my stamina for not only getting through that time in my life, but also conquering it by taking off all of those excess pounds. But during the time I weighed over 450 pounds it was a different story entirely. Not only was I trying to hide what I was going through from the rest of the world, I was also trying to hide my exploits (and the fact that I was the reason I was so heavy) from myself.

Case in point? When I would make my daily treks to fast food restaurants to order multiple entrees to then take home for lunch or dinner. Not only did I prefer to eat in private (thinking I would be adversely judged if anyone saw me actually consuming food out in the “open”), but I also preferred to wear an oversized bathrobe while eating – a clothing item that didn’t require any pain when wearing. (At 450+ pounds most of my clothes – even the balloon-y, oversized ones – were very uncomfortable when being worn.)

Yet I wasn’t merely content to eat in private. I didn’t want anyone in public – or even at the fast food joints – to know I was ordering all that food for myself. Thus, I came up with what I thought was an ingenius plan. I used to scribble everything I wanted onto a piece of paper and, when arriving at the counter to place my order, would read off of it – as if I was ordering for a group of people. Add to that, I would order several more drinks than I needed (and a variety of drinks at that) to further cement my charade of “Ordering for a small group.”

Even if I utilized a drive-through to place my order, I would have a list in hand and “pretend” to read off it (as if I were a great voiceover actor) – just for the entertainment of whomever was at the other side of the ordering microphone. And when I would finally reach the drive-through window, I would often hand the employee my list and ask them to throw it away – as if “visual proof” was a crescendo (of sorts) to my great performance.

Of course, looking back, I can see that the only person I was “fooling” was myself. I imagine that most employees of the restaurants I frequented couldn’t have cared less about what I was ordering – much less whom it was for. And if they did care, so what? And yet I kept this “Lying game” up for years (during my most obese period in life).

Back then, I never imagined that I would share this “deep, dark secret” with anyone – much less write about it publicly on a blog. But I’ve learned over the years that sharing tidbits like this not only helps others realize they’re not alone in their mental and physical struggles to take off the pounds, but also to help myself accept my past and stay committed to never returning to that kind of mental game playing again.

Have you ever played out a similar “game” to fool others and/or yourself? What were the results? Is it anything you feel like sharing? I promise not to judge. Again, our confessions to one another only serve to bond us – not to mention help us (and others) – proving that old addage to be true: What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. Or, at the very least, gives us a good chuckle.

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6 Responses to “Games people play”

  1. Eve says:

    Even though fast food is not my nemesis, at one point in my life I would order the biggest pizza the local pizzeria made and have it delivered. When the delivery guy was at the door, I’d yell, “I got it!” or “The pizza’s here, guys!” or “Get out the plates!” as if there were a whole family in the house somewhere, all because of my shame over the fact that I was going to eat that entire, giant pizza that’s supposed to feed 6 – 8 by myself. Everyone for whom food is an issue has stories like this.

  2. Hannah says:

    I have done the same thing…even going so far as to pretend to be on the phone with the “other person” I was ordering for.

  3. Gregg says:

    Genius plan with the phone, Hannah. Wished I had thought of it at the time. Would have saved me a lot of writing-things-down time! 😉 (I really appreciate your share! Thank you!)

  4. Gregg says:

    You are likely right (as usual), Eve — in that so many of us who have struggled with our excess body weight have stories like this to tell. I love that we can all be honest about our exploits and even laugh at them (without laughing AT ourselves). Our humanity bonds us and gives us strength to set and accomplish any goal. With or without a “performance” for a stranger delivering food! (“I got it,” indeed!)

  5. Justin says:

    I have to admit I’ve done the same thing myself. Like Hannah, I’ve pretended to be txting someone just before ordering so people behind me would think I was ordering for someone else too. Then I’d get 2 meals with different sodas. One order I’d place confidently and the other as if it were totally foreign, no matter how many times I’d rattled it off into the box.

    Thank you so much for sharing this post! Not only was I surprised to see my own tactics in black and white, but I was surprised someone else had written them. My own shame is mounting to stronger and stronger methods. I think it’s time to stop

  6. Gregg says:

    Glad you can relate to what I and others have shared here, Justin. But the last word you should use about your “Texting tactic” is shame. It’s amazing that you can talk (write) about here and acknowledge it. No sense in beating yourself up for things you’ve done up for now. Instead, join the rest of us and laugh about it and realize it helped you through whatever situations you were in, in the past. But today is a new day. A day that you can do anything! 🙂

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