One day in February or March 2008, perhaps it was even January; I was watching what I was eating…again. Again, Aaron, among others knew it and was willing to help.
One night I was at an information meeting for a seminar I was helping to put together where I was going to be sharing a piece of my story about how this seminar has helped to change the way I look at the world. In particularly I would be highlighting some things I had discovered about my weight and how I used my weight as a protection (Ironically, I still had not dealt with these things yet, only acknowledged them!) I would talk about while this reality of being overweight had not changed fully yet, I was THAT much closer because I wasn’t willing to completely give up anymore. I was nervous.
There are always yummy snacks at these meetings and usually quite a variety. Everything from veggie trays, cookies, brownies, soda, cheese and crackers…you get the idea. On this night I was acutely aware of the sugary, chocolaty snacks, but was being ever so diligent to eat the healthy things. Shoot! I can’t get up in front of a bunch of people I don’t know and some I do know and share how since attending this seminar, I have been able to keep going again and again in my efforts towards weight loss instead of giving up altogether, forever. During the whole 2 1/2 hours I was at this meeting I think I had one bite of brownie. I may have even had someone share it with me…likely Aaron or Adam…but I pretty much stuck to the veggies. I do recall at one point Aaron was eating a cookie in front of me and he stopped and asked me if he should eat the cookie somewhere else. Was it causing an issue for me? Nope it wasn’t. I truly was good at that moment.
I shared my story and looking back now I can say I was feeling pretty vulnerable. All sorts of strangers came up to me and wanted to talk to me more about my experience and at that point I still wasn’t ready to go much beyond that fact that abuse had happened. At least not emotionally.
When the meeting was over and we were all packed up and ready to go home, I realized I had not officially eaten dinner yet. I only had the veggie snacks. Hmmm I should get something for dinner, despite not really being hungry. The fact that dinner had not been eaten was the only factor in place. Not to mention it was 10 or 11 at night now. A time when no one should be eating a full meal. I knew what I wanted though. I wanted my all time comfort food. Fried chicken. I also didn’t want anyone to know I was eating it. In public, I had done so well. I ate well. I shared my story well. I looked all together. So I hung around the parking lot until all my friends left then I drove slowly through the streets to the local grocery store and went in. I got 4 pieces of their fried chicken to go.
I got back in my car and began to drive home, eating chicken and knowing that it had to be eaten before I got home, because my roommate couldn’t know either. Oh the signs of sickness! As I was eating, a familiar ringtone went off. I knew instantly who it was without even looking. Partly because a few moments before I had thought this person is going to call me and partly because of the ringtone. Yep it was Aaron. I immediately looked around me to see if perhaps he was nearby and was seeing what I was doing. Oh the guilt I felt! I knew what I was doing was wrong. Not because chicken is so terrible, but because of the secrecy of it all! Despite the guilt I was committed to keeping my secret.
I put down my chicken, wiped my hands on a napkin and answered the phone…all while driving. This is how I recall the conversation going down…Aaron is welcome to correct me…
Me: “Hey Aaron, what’s up?” (this said in a very chipper, happy to hear from you voice…)
Aaron: Hey Kim, I was just thinking about you and felt like I should call you.
Me: Oh yeah? Where are you? (I am still thinking he is seeing me and knows full well what I am doing and is fishing for a confession)
Aaron: Oh I am almost home…just a couple miles away in fact.
Me: Oh, so what did you call for? (I was relieved…he was no where near me. In fact he was about 10 miles ahead of me)
Aaron: Oh well, I wanted you to know that you did really well tonight with your eating and I felt like I was supposed to call you and tell you not to screw it up when you got home. I know when I have been around tempting treats like tonight and do well, I can easily get home and be tempted to toss all the good eating aside and eat crap and ruin it. So I wanted to encourage you to not do that when you get home. I just felt like I was supposed to call you and tell you that.
Me: Oh, I think I am good. I don’t think I will even want to eat when I get home. (Of course not! I am eating now!) Thanks for calling though! That is so kind of you! Really! I appreciate your concern!
I hung up the phone and began eating my chicken again. Except this time, it wasn’t so easy to do and it didn’t taste nearly as good as a few minutes ago. I was already feeling guilty and ashamed for eating in secret and now for the first time ever I flat out blatantly LIED to Aaron about it. I could have just as easily said to him…Thanks for calling, I AM struggling. In fact I am eating chicken now. Stay on the phone with me while I throw it out. Or any number of things. But that would have required going to a vulnerable place I wasn’t willing to go to.
In that moment though, the chicken, the secret, the stuffing of the vulnerable emotions I didn’t want to feel anymore was more important than a friendship that had become very dear to me. I knew I was wrong. I couldn’t believe I was willing to put this friendship at risk over a piece of fried chicken. Really? Food was more important to me than relationship?
I got home and I sent a text message to Aaron asking if he was still up and if so, could we talk for a few minutes. Of course, he said. So he called me or I called him I don’t know which. I suppose it doesn’t matter who called who. What does matter though is that when we talked I told him the truth. I told him about the chicken. I told him how I just knew he was watching me eat that chicken. I told him how I hated that I put food over a relationship. And I asked him to forgive me.
He had no idea. I could have gotten away with it. He could never have known about the lie. Or the chicken. Or the vulnerability. I would have known though. And in confessing to him, there was great risk. Trust was broken. I had lied for the first time to him. And with exception to an April Fool’s joke or surprise planning, the last time, so far.
I realized on this day that I had a problem. Sure I ate in my car at times. I ate secretly all the time and while I never told anyone about it, up until this moment, I had never flat out lied about it. I had never put a relationship so blatantly at risk…for a piece of chicken before. I hope I never do again.
Thank God Aaron forgave me. I did not lose his friendship that night, although he had every right to walk away. The lesson I learned most is that food is not greater than friendship. Now, I would much rather be ashamed of what I am eating and own it than lie about it and risk not only my health but the relationships of those who have stood so solidly with me.