Co-morbid with autism is anxiety. This can sometimes lead to overeating which in itself leads to anxiety which makes me feel like I’m being watched to see if I make progress, act on advice etc.
I developed my present weight problem in my late twenties roundabout the time I lost the best job I ever had. I was fighting to hold onto my mental health as undiagnosed OCD got me in a vice-like grip so anything else people said was good for me or necessary (apart from earning my keep) took second place as I dealt with inner panics few could understand. Also I was less physically active – partly because I had quit the warehousing industry and also because I was on the internet a lot more. I’d never had so much trivial info at my fingertips before and it was an Aspie’s paradise.
Sixteen years later after trying diet plans and finding them very hard to stick to, I’m going to lay some ghosts here.
For your reassurance I am at the time of writing going out walking with friends more and potentially about to purchase a bike.
The trouble is the minute anyone makes even a simple suggestion like that I feel like either (a) they think I’m ignorant enough not to have thought of it for myself or (b) I’m a stubborn reprobate for not having done it before or (c) plead a list of circumstances that may have mitigated over the years.
But I don’t want to be this big anymore. I’ll write more about how I feel the problem developed another time. But for now, here are my responses to some stock questions and statements I receive about the matter from my wonderful friends and family (for such they are).
What do you do to keep fit (if anything)?
In the past I used to enjoy walking. I guess I lost that habit round about the time I came as near as I ever have to a breakdown. Also the rise of the internet gave me occasion to spend most of my free time chasing the trivial information I so crave.
Why don’t you join the gym?
No thanks, especially not after one famous author suffered a fatal heart attack after going on the exercise bike at his local gym. I like swimming when I can spare the money and the time which I should do more often. Trouble is swimming pools aren’t often open for the use of all – a lot of classes and senior citizens sessions etc so you can’t just go along whenever you’re free.
Is there anywhere nice to walk round where you live?
Most of it you have to walk down main roads to get to. A lot of traffic dodging even when you walk on the right.
What about changes to diet?
OK let’s look at a few of them.
Cut all carbs and/or fats and/or sugars
I am not psychologically equipped to go cold turkey. I got put on loads of different diets as a kid to alleviate undiagnosed problems, irrational fears, poor co-ordination, bed wetting, you name it. One of them I got taken off because it just wasn’t working. The memory of having to avoid most of my favourite foods for a year (and it looked like it would be for life) is so painful.
Alright then just be moderate. Try a diet plan where you’re only allowed so much of XYZ per day.
Long lists confuse me. Also I save on my weekly budget and reduced benefits by volunteering at a cafe where I get my food for free. No it’s not a soup kitchen for those of you about to say so. The food is very difficult to quantify when it’s not the kind of thing that’s saved in a fitness app and has no calorie count already attached. I try to just have a big meal there and eat minimally for breakfast and dinner but it often doesn’t work out particularly when we get to take freebies home.
Do you think you might have compulsive eating disorder?
I have in fact had that looked into. My local mental health centre concluded I didn’t have one, I was just overeating because of ‘unhelpful belief systems’ referring to the religious based anxieties that had contributed to the problem arising in the first place.
You’re killing yourself you know
Of course I frickin’ know (adopts autistic whine and covers eyes)!!! You obviously either consider me stupid or a reprobate.
We’re all very worried about you
You know what? I’m worried about me too. I just feel so hooked and trapped. Just keep me far away from nice food. Really far away. Unless it’s a special occasion of course 😉
I’ve got a suggestion for you
And no doubt you’re expecting me to either act on it or give you a very good reason why not. You know what? That makes me feel like my back’s to the wall. My motto is that I never promise anybody anything, least of all to act on their advice. That doesn’t mean I won’t, just that I don’t appreciate feeling like I’m being watched.
We’re not having a go at you/trying to be horrible etc etc
I NEVER SAID YOU WERE!!!!!!
MY BIT: Some thoughts of my own
When people are addicted to drugs they get sent off to a clinic
When people are addicted to tobacco no-one takes much notice as long as they go outside to smoke. When did a smoker last hear anyone say “We’re all very worried about you!”?
When people are addicted to booze it’s much easier to diagnose (well so it seems). They even have medication for alcoholics now.
When people are addicted to certain foods they’re expected to join a group and get a grip of it.
But if it’s any reassurance peeps…
My blood pressure is regularly checked and medicated by my doctor who was pleased with my progress the last I heard. Also my level of negative triglycerides has been dropping steadily in recent years.