onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Want to get a bikini body this summer?

Put a bikini on your body…

I have mentioned before, just last week even, that other people’s eating disorders can bring my own eating disorders to the forefront of my thinking. That’s true of my body image disorders as well. And I’m in a funny place right now. I would say that it’s a pretty good place. But weird.

See, for the most part, my body is not an issue lately. But also, grocery store checkout tabloids and people with body issues on social media are putting images that make me angry (frustrated? freaked out?) all up in my face.

I did not lose 150 lbs for my health. Period. (Just like I did not quit smoking for my health.) I have never ever ever done anything for my health. It is not what motivates me. And I’m not sorry for it. Or ashamed of it.

Yes, I know that the world wants health to be the great motivator. Good Lord, they say it often enough. Just try putting some artificial sweetener in your coffee in a public place. You’d think you were snorting cocaine on the Starbucks counter top. That’s so bad for you!

And it was certainly vanity that got me to get control of my eating. (And quit smoking.) But it was not really physical vanity. It was less what my body looked like, and more what my body said about me.

Here’s the way I think I can explain it. Being fat was, as far as I was concerned, the physical manifestation of how messed up, out of control, morally bankrupt, self-hating, unlovable, and pathetic I was. It was the big billboard that announced “This girl is totally f***ed up!” So yes, I did not want to be fat anymore.

But my experience is that there is a crazy paradox that goes along with losing weight. And even more specifically, getting the body I wanted. And now love.

I had to stop caring about whether or not I would get the body I wanted. And I had to love the body I had. I had to let go of what I thought would be a good body, the right body, a beautiful body.

Because I do not have the body that I thought I would have to have before I could love my body. I just plain don’t. But I sure do love my body. LOVE it!

Those fashion magazine articles that tell us to tape pictures of women with the bodies we want on our refrigerators for motivation, with the promise that if we work hard enough, and be good enough, we too will get that body, well…they’re lying. Those women are models. And I’m going to be blunt here, they are models because they have a rare body shape and type. That a very greedy beauty industry is trying to sell us at all costs. And those pictures are probably photoshopped. The truth is that no matter how disciplined, committed to our diets and regimented in our workouts we are, we will probably never get a body that looks like those women’s bodies.

I know for a fact that I never will. Never ever. I have my own body. It’s the one I got from my parents. And God, or Nature, or Life, or whatever you want to call it. And there is nothing wrong with that. Did you get that? Let me reiterate. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! I even abused the hell out of my body. And it is fantastically beautiful!

If I had gotten control of my eating to get a beautiful body, I would have given up a long time ago. I would have decided that none of it was worth it. If I couldn’t have a magazine-worthy body, I might as well have had chocolate cake.

But I don’t need to have a model’s body. Thank God! I don’t need to be seen as skinny. Hell, lately, I don’t even need to worry about how fast (or if) I’m going to lose the rest of the weight I gained when I quit smoking. (I do still have body image disorders, so frankly, that might come up again. But for now it’s a non-issue.)

I certainly do not think of this blog as being a weight loss or eating disorder instruction manual. I do my best to keep it about my own experience. But today I’m branching out a bit. So if you read me looking for clues about how to lose weight, here’s my advice. And it’s good!

Don’t wait to lose weight to love yourself. Love yourself now. Don’t wait to get a beautiful body before you start thinking your body is beautiful. Think it’s beautiful now.

Because there is magic in that! It’s a Jedi mind trick. It works. It will probably help you lose weight. And even if it doesn’t…You will love your body! How could that be a bad thing?!?!

Thank God for the people from other worlds!

My boyfriend is not a person who loves to eat. I don’t mean to imply that he doesn’t enjoy the food he is eating when he is eating it. But he does not love eating. He does not look forward to eating. He sometimes forgets to eat. It sometimes doesn’t occur to him to eat until he is ravenous.

This is not a world I live in. It’s not even the same galaxy. It may even be an alternate universe in another dimension…

I am very sensitive to other people’s eating disorders. It is hard for me to be around both food, and people who have an unhealthy relationship with food at the same time. It’s like a sixth sense. I can feel it. It makes me nervous. Edgy.

And not just eating or over eating. Not eating, too. Restraining. Managing. Depriving.

If I am at a party or a dinner with a (usually) woman who can’t stop eating, or can’t stop looking, or can’t stop going back for just a little bit more, or can’t stop telling other people to stop her, or can’t stop apologizing with a guilty look every time she takes a bite, I usually have to walk away. I don’t know what it is, but my own eating disorders start jumping up and down and waving their arms in big, sweeping motions.

Here I am! Over here! Remember me?

Yes, I remember, thank you. It is my life’s goal to eternally remember you. To never forget. And never let you out again.

But for several years now, first with roommates, and now with my boyfriend, I have lived with a number of men who just don’t give a shit about food.

Some have been generally healthier eaters than others. But they all eat junk food. They all eat sugar and carbs. But in moderation. In fact, they will let things sit in cabinets forever. Maybe even let them sit until they go bad. One of my roommates once had a box of ice cream treats in the freezer for about a month. One day he said “Oh! I forgot about those.”

WTF do you mean you forgot about those!?!? If they had been mine, they would have haunted me until every last one was gone. And the carton had been licked.

The first time I stayed with my boyfriend, I woke up after he had left for work, and on the counter was an open package with one of two snack cakes. In other words, he opened it, ate one, and left the other one. Just left it. Didn’t even take it with him. He eventually threw it away. Seriously.

And then yesterday evening, for the first time since I moved in, he ordered a pizza. He hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast 9 or 10 hours earlier. He ate two slices and put it away. Maybe ate another one a few hours later.

When he asked what my blog was going to be about this week, and I said, “Maybe you ordering a pizza,” he said “Oh no! I didn’t think that would be tempting.”

I told him that, thankfully, at this point, nothing in particular is tempting. (Frankly, uncomfortable situations are more “dangerous” to me than any particular food. I basically just occasionally have a difficult feeling and know that food would numb it. I don’t crave sugar or carbs anymore.)

He said, “Don’t worry. It wasn’t that good anyway.” Which was funny to me because it never mattered so much if something were “good” as if it were sugary, starchy, or carby. You know, if it would get me high.

The deal is that I know what is mine and what is not. And I know what is not mine because I have trained myself to know this. I did a lot of work to get to this point. To not pine for foods. To not wish. Or feel deprived. To not resent the fact that I am not a normal eater, but a woman with a sugar addiction and a whole slew of eating disorders. To look at the idea of eating sugar or carbs as stealing somebody else’s food. Not just my boyfriend’s or my roommates’, but anybody else’s food. Even if it’s still on the shelf in the store, it’s not mine!

I did not look at that opened snack cake and want it. I did not have to throw it away to get it away from myself. That pizza is still in the refrigerator. And it will probably be in there until I throw it away in a few days. Because it will almost certainly get old before my boyfriend eats it. But no, it does not talk to me. It is not mine, and it never will be.

But I am still grateful. Grateful that for years now, I have lived in safe places, with safe people. People who don’t have eating disorders or food obsessions. People who can leave a box or a bag or a container long enough that it needs to get thrown away. I’m not saying I understand it. I’m just saying it’s good to be around it.

I never thought I was boring…but I may have been wrong

I am definitely at a loss for what to write this week. And I would be lying if I said that didn’t scare me. I am all too afraid of failure. And that I had a good run. But now the well is dry.

I have to remember that I have been here before. More than once in the past year and a half. And that there has always been more to write about. Eventually…

And it’s probably that I don’t have much to write about because I’m bored.

My boyfriend’s job is requiring more and more of his time. Which means I get less and less of it.

And I don’t have any friends here.

And there are no sidewalks here. And I don’t drive. I came from New York City. Who needed to drive?

And I don’t have a job here.

And there is only so much cooking and cleaning a girl can do. I mean, there are only 2 of us.

So maybe the big news is that I am more bored for more time than I can remember being, and I’m not eating compulsively. And when I consider that objectively, that’s a pretty big deal.

If you are a person who relates well to your body, knows when you are hungry and eats, knows when you are satisfied and stops, this may not seem like anything extraordinary to you.

But I am a compulsive eater. Until I got my eating under control, boredom seemed like one of the better reasons to eat. They were all good reasons – celebration, mourning, worry, stress, excitement, anxiety, good news, bad news, wanting some particular food item, wanting to get some particular food item before somebody else got it instead – but boredom was like a perfect package. I need something to do, and I love to eat. Hey! Eating is doing something!

So it is a miracle that I am not eating compulsively.

It’s not hard. I don’t mean that. I’m not tempted. Thank God. Temptation was lifted a long time ago. Occasionally, it pops up for a second or two. But I know how to stamp out a spark before it catches fire. I know not to romanticize food. Not to entertain, foster, and certainly never nurture thoughts about food. I change my mind. I cultivate my thinking. I remind myself that the truth is that eating outside of my boundaries is poison. Death and insanity. So no, not eating compulsively is not difficult.

But it is still a miracle that I am still me, and I don’t compulsively eat out of boredom. Or for any reason at all. I don’t eat compulsively. Period. That’s the miracle. That there is never a good reason to eat outside of my boundaries. Who knew?!?

We will probably be leaving here soon. Going where, we’re not sure. What comes next for my boyfriend is up to his company. And what town I live in next is up to his company too.

But as for what is next for me, well, I don’t know yet. And in the meantime, a little boredom won’t kill me. And keeping my food under control will mean I’m ready for the next thing when I figure out what that is. And trusting that life is always right will keep me peaceful, knowing that there is a next thing, and that I don’t need to force it. It will show up at the exactly right time.

Just like everything else has since I got my eating under control.

Take on the world or take a nap? Decisions decisions…

Do you know what’s amazing? How quickly new and different can become the norm. Accepted. Expected. How quickly the human brain can assimilate.

I’m tired lately. Often sleeping more than 8 hours. And having a hard time getting out of bed. I have been having (and remembering – which is unusual for me) vivid nightmares and anxiety dreams. I have been getting tired earlier in the evening. Physically too. Finding it hard to sit up at the table after dinner. Want to go be limp on the couch or on my super-comfy chair on the porch. I’m having a new, minor outbreak of my eczema. And found out I’m allergic to something else I didn’t know about before.

I have been feeling kinda beat up. (Not emotionally unhappy. Just put through the ringer.) And I have been wondering why.

And then today I looked at the calendar, and I realized that I have been here, in my new life, for less than 7 weeks. Not even 2 months.

And a bunch of stuff has happened in this 7 weeks. Good and bad. Exciting and stressful. It’s not like it has been one big 7 week vacation. But the important part, the relationship part, has been so natural, that it seems like it has been going on for years. So I forget. That I need to adjust. Yes, even though it seems like regular life by now.

I know I’ve touched on this topic before. But apparently I forget things I already know. So I’m telling you again. Because I’m telling myself again.

Because this happens to me all the time. I start something huge, like quitting sugar, or quitting smoking, or, in this case, moving half way across the country and starting a relationship, and I adapt. Quickly. And then I wonder why my body is “acting up.”

These things that are happening right now – the dreams, and the fatigue, and the eczema – these are all things that have happened to me before when I have made big changes.

And even now, I am anticipating that this should end soon. Soon. In a week or two, right? Isn’t two full months enough? Can we get a schedule nailed down here?

If I were a friend of mine, I would laugh. And tell me to give myself a break.

But there is this part of me that thinks I’m so special. You don’t understand. I’ve got this. I’m settled now, and I know how this works.

I so often give so much honor and credence to my thoughts, and so little to my body. It’s a bad habit. One that almost certainly stems from when I was fat. And shame for my body made me think of it as “not me.”

But of course, it is me. And, frankly, my body is significantly more honest and straightforward than my mind.

My mind tells me that if I were good enough, if, I would be healthy, and full of energy, and ready to take on the world. That I have had enough time to adjust. That I should be done adjusting.

My body, on the other hand, tells me that the reality is that I am not. It wants me to take care of myself. Take my time. Take it easy. Be patient with myself.

And that slow, still, quiet voice in my heart, the one I started to hear when I stopped eating sugar and started putting boundaries around my food, reminds me there is no “should” and no “if.” That if there were another way for it to be, it would be that way. That I am exactly as I should be. Nightmares and eczema and all.
Note to self, sit still and listen to that voice more often…

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