Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

I love you more than bacon. Just please don’t make me prove it.

So I’m unpacked and settled and happy at home. My new home. South. Hot and slow. And surprisingly enjoyable. I’m writing from the pool. And I’m wearing my bikini. In public.

I love it by the way. Wearing my bikini in public. I’m still a little insecure. Of course. I have a lifetime of thinking “nobody wants to see that.” But it’s my sun. And my summer. And my body. Just the way it is. And I am in love. And someone really amazing is in love with me back. Which makes my insecurities a little less. Seem a little silly. Who am I trying to impress? Plus it’s not New York City. It’s the south. Where people love their barbecue. And don’t care so much about body size.

I love the sun. And how it makes me look and feel. I’m allowed to just love it. It’s the first thing I am loving about leaving New York City.

And other things have changed already, as well.

When I stopped eating compulsively 7 ½ years ago, I went from eating constantly, to eating three times a day. But I still cherish eating. Or maybe “still” is the wrong word. I used to live to eat. Now I love to eat. Because I do it without guilt or shame. So I really wanted to relish those 3 times a day. I never wanted to share my meal times before. I always wanted to eat alone. I used to hole myself up in my room to eat. I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to think. I wanted to be entirely wrapped up in my delicious, glorious, guilt-free meal.

Another thing that happened when I put boundaries around my eating, is that I would go through long phases of eating the same things. I refer to periods of my life by foods I ate. There was the summer of turnip “french fries” and coffee shakes. There was the winter of baked custard. There was over a year when I ate deep-fried onions three times a week. I just recently ate carrot cake and pickles every night for dinner. All specially made by me, without sugar or flour, of course. All within my boundaries.

But I just moved. And some interesting things about my eating rituals have changed. Like there’s somebody to eat with. Not that my boyfriend eats the way I do. And I certainly don’t expect him to. Or wish he would. But it’s nice to sit across from him. Not somebody. Him. This man whom I moved half way across the country to be with. I’m not wishing somebody were there to eat lunch with during the week when he’s at work. But when we are together, sharing my meal times with him feels sacred. Like family. Like home.

And the things I have been eating since I got here keep changing. I have had so many different things and I haven’t even been home for a week. Plus there are new things I want to make. To try. I am looking forward to experimenting.

So here’s the epiphany I just had. Before I fell in love, food was my biggest source of joy. And experimentation was a risk. I was risking how much joy I would experience on any given day. So I didn’t. I wouldn’t take the risk. But now my joy comes from love. So I have more room to risk not loving my food.

Don’t get me wrong. I still really love my meals. And loving them is still really important to me. But I love my boyfriend more. (And that’s sayin’ something!)


The first thing I miss about New York

So I have left New York City. I don’t have a home there anymore. I’m officially living with my boyfriend now. But before we go home, we had to make a stop this weekend to go to a special first birthday party.

I love being with my boyfriend’s family and friends. He’s an amazing guy all the time, especially with me, but I love seeing his warmth and generosity with them. It’s a fantastic reminder that I have impeccable taste.

But let’s get to the big birthday party, with lots of food. I already know that most catered events are not for people like me, who don’t eat any sugar, grains, or starch. Ever. (No, not just this once.) Plus thinking that something might be ok for me to eat, (like it’s a green vegetable) but then still having to ask how it’s prepared isn’t the most agreeable part of my food boundaries. Especially when people don’t understand. (Of course, I don’t expect them to.) And they can’t imagine that it could be that big of a deal. “I’m not really sure how it’s prepared. But I’m sure it’s fine,” doesn’t actually mean it’s fine for me. And taking care of myself and my food needs is my own responsibility. The way I eat is high-maintenance. And I know that. So I can never expect someone else to take care of it for me. I wasn’t going to show up unprepared and hope for the best…

So I packed my lunch before the party. And I’m really glad I did, because about an hour or so in, I got really hungry. So I sat down with my boyfriend and pulled out my food.

All of a sudden I looked over, and a woman at the next table clearly said to the rest of her table, (with a malicious sneer, I might add. And lot’s of appalled emphasis.) “Look over there. That girl brought her own food.” And the rest of the table, about 6 people, proceeded to stare at me.

I really wanted to ignore them. But I couldn’t. And then I really wanted to show that it was incredibly rude. So I gave a pretty good what are you looking at? look to one of the people staring at me. (Who obviously got it, and proceeded to pretend to be watching the hockey game on TV behind me.) And I really wanted to be impervious to their judgment.

But here’s the problem, I can’t not give a f*ck. As much as I want to be indifferent and untouchable, I am not. It hurts me. It bothers me.

But even at that point, I was uncomfortable, but still ok. Until the person who was going around taking pictures of all the guests came by and wanted to take a picture of me and my boyfriend. And I had my tupperware out. And I could see it now. It would be immortalized in pictures. And I would eternally be that girl who brought a tupperware of her own food to this little girl’s catered first birthday party.

So when she asked if she could take our picture, I had a mouthful of lunch. And I looked at my boyfriend. And I started to cry.

He was great. He said, “Let’s just let her eat and we’ll take a picture later.” And we did.

Obviously, I’m going to eat the way that I eat. And it has been that way for years. I once brought my own food to one of my best friend’s big New York City wedding. But I have just thrown over the life I had for over 14 years. And I have been running around, saying goodbye, packing, sorting, throwing away, and generally moving nonstop for about 2 weeks to prepare for probably the biggest step I have ever taken.

I’m exhausted. And I feel like I’m under a lot of pressure. And I’m emotional. And I’m not home yet. And some woman who doesn’t know jack sh*t about my life decided it was ok to shame and humiliate me at a party I was also a guest at. So the first thing I miss about New York is that there, nobody gives a f*ck about how I eat, or what I do with my food. Or what I do in general. (As long as I don’t steal their cab or stop at the top of the subway stairs to look around before I get the hell out of the way.)

I looked fantastic yesterday. Because I keep boundaries around my eating. And I got to enjoy the company of my boyfriend and his family because I wasn’t obsessed with food and cake. But I’m glad it’s over now.

Nobody gets a say in how I eat. And I will never ever ever cross my food boundaries to please or accommodate someone else. Because I’m not normal around food. And I like me when my eating is under control. And I hate me when it’s not. And I have to live with me all the time.

I’m telling you this because I’m telling myself. And I am reminding myself that I can’t not care. That not caring never got me anywhere. That to not care is to shut down my heart. And I just finally got it open. And getting it open is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Even better than getting my eating under control. (Of course, opening my heart was only possible because my eating is under control. But you probably already knew that.) So I have to remember that being sensitive is part of being open and available and madly in love. And I don’t want to give that up for anything. Ever.

My life in boxes

This week’s post is early. And short. Because I have going away parties tonight and tomorrow. Plus I still have meals to prepare. Because life-altering moves are no reason to cross my food boundaries. (And thank God for that!)

It has occurred to me that I haven’t yet freaked out. I haven’t cried. I haven’t mourned. I haven’t panicked.

Maybe I won’t. Maybe.

But I love New York City. Obviously I love my boyfriend more. But I’m still going to miss this place. This city shaped me. I grew up here. From a 21-year-old, fat, compulsive eating, dishonest, bad at life, wreck of a girl to a beautiful, capable, woman of integrity. (Did I mention humble?) With a handle on my eating. In a body I love.

It will also always hold a very special place in my heart because I got my eating under control here. And this place made it easy for me. Or at least as easy as it could have been. If I needed to get out of my house at night because I was afraid of binge eating, I could go to a bookstore that was open until midnight. Or I used to go to a bar down the street from my apartment. In my pajamas. To read comic books and drink diet coke. Nobody gave me a hard time. Or even looked at me funny. It’s New York City. Neighborhood regulars are expected to be neurotic and weird.

Plus, you can find anything in New York City. So if I needed vanilla extract with no alcohol, I could find it. If I wanted pasta when I stopped eating sugar, grains and starch, I could find soy pasta. If I wanted a cantaloupe bigger than my head, or a 1 ½ lb apple, there were famer’s markets.

I never expected to leave. But when I look at my life, the way it has turned out, so many things make sense.

My boyfriend and I knew each other 23 years ago. When I wasn’t ready for him. So God sent me to the big city. To grow up. To learn about myself. To become the kind of person I wanted to be. To become the kind of woman I wanted to be. To dismantle my fortresses. And to learn to love myself. And to learn how to be awake and alive and good at life. Without being numb. To learn how to deal with my feelings. To learn how to stop eating compulsively.

New York City was a fantastic 14 ½ year adventure. I’m so grateful for my life here. Because of all of the things that I did here, I am available for this next adventure.

But by next week’s post, neither this apartment nor this city will be my home any longer. And as I look around at my life in boxes, I’m a little sad. Not sorry. Not for a moment. But a little sad. (Ahhh. There are the tears…)

Dear God, thank you for answering my prayer. Oh, and one more thing…

So finally, for the first time in 11 months, not only did I not gain weight, I lost weight! 2 whole lbs! I’m back down to 160.2. Which is about where I was back on February 1st. And I can’t really explain to you the relief.

The consistent, nonsensical weight gain is finally done. I don’t know what will happen now. But that irrational fear, that I would continue to gain weight endlessly, even while I maintained my food boundaries, has gone. And it feels similar to waking up in the middle of the night to find that your fever has broken.

But I am trying not to start projecting my weight loss into the future. Because I started to go there pretty quickly. Right away, in fact. I got off the scale and went into the kitchen to make breakfast, and started calculating losing 2 lbs a month. Or what if I lost more than 2 lbs a month?!? I could be down to 135 in under a year!

And then I started to ask myself “what if I don’t get that skinny again? What’s the highest weight I could live with?”

I want to stop that kind of thinking. I mean, “live with”? I used to weigh 300 lbs and I’m not dead, so I’m guessing I could live with any weight. I don’t want to love myself conditionally.

And also, ungrateful much, Kate? I prayed so hard for the weight gain to stop. Begged and bargained with God. Just for it to stop! And here it has stopped, and I barely took time to be grateful that I didn’t gain weight. I barely even took time to be grateful that I lost weight! Within minutes, I started worrying about how and when I was going to lose even more weight.

I really thought that the weight gain stopping would be enough to satisfy me. At least for a while. And the truth is that my relationship to my body is now different than it had been since the weight gain started. When I stop to think about it, there had been an underlying heaviness and a fear that permeated my daily life since last July. And yet, already, I am used to the “new normal” of not being perpetually worried about indefinite weight gain. And I have already begun having expectations of weight loss. And not just expectations. Ultimatums for God. You better, or else. Good Lord, Kate. Or else what? Or else, nothing. That’s what…

So all I can do right now is stay in the moment. When I find myself worrying or projecting or wishing or daydreaming about how long it will take me to lose the weight I gained, I have to stop thinking that thought. I have to change my mind.

And I have decided that when I start having thoughts about how it would be ok if I only end up losing 15 or 10 or X number of lbs, I want to stop having those thoughts too. I want to stop focusing on my body.

I wanted that before too, of course. And tried not to focus on my body. But while I didn’t know what was going on, or how much weight I would gain, or how long it would go on for, that wasn’t really a practical option for a girl with food issues and body image disorders. But now that there has been a break in the trend, I have some room to breathe. And to shift my focus.

Because I have many things to focus on. Being madly in love. Making sure my meals are delicious and within my boundaries. Figuring out what of my stuff is worth keeping and what is not. Boxing up my life and shipping it to my new home. Planning my going away party. Tying up the loose ends of the past 14 years of my life. Preparing for my biggest life adventure yet. And generally figuring out how to be the best girlfriend in the whole world. Important things. More important than what size I am.

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