onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “November, 2014”

Dear Tradition, consider yourself flouted. Love, me

And that is Thanksgiving done. Phew.

As you may know, it is my least favorite day of the year. I had ignored it, considered it just another Thursday, for a long time.

This year we went to my boyfriend’s family’s home for dinner, and my Mom’s for dessert. (Of course I did not partake of dessert.)

It was fine. It was even nice. Or at least there were some really nice moments. But it’s so much. It’s so much food. It’s so much noise. It’s so much heightened emotion.

I have said before that I am not afraid of food. I don’t worry about eating things I’m committed to not eating. But it is not always comfortable. It can sometimes be a matter of holding my thoughts in check. And that can be exhausting. Especially when I am out of my element.

And also especially on Thanksgiving. Because the traditional mode of celebration is eating. To not eat can somehow feel like I’m saying, “screw you, tradition. And screw you too, America.” To go to Thanksgiving celebrations and not eat sugar and carbs, and not over eat, and not do anything “special” is, without a doubt, to set yourself apart. It is to show up at a party and then…not party. It can feel like being the party-pooper. Which is why I used to just treat it as another day. It’s easier that way.

Of course I DO NOT WANT to eat sugar. I do not want to over eat. I am not telling you all of this because I want an excuse to “live a little.” I do not want any excuses. I love my boundaries. Seriously, getting my eating under control is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. And I am not interested in giving that up for a feeling of inclusion. Or normalcy. I am telling you this because I have made a choice. The choice to participate in this tradition on my own terms. For my boyfriend, mostly. Because it’s important to him to do his family traditions. And I love him.

But my food always has to be on my terms. Always. Period.

Look, people know. My boyfriend’s family is totally supportive. My family is totally supportive. I’m not saying that anyone was pressuring me. It is having to protect myself from the “Great American Institution” that is Turkey Day that is exhausting.

But it’s only one day a year. And nobody said I had to love it. I just have to get through it. And I don’t have to worry about that for another year.

If you have something to say about my weight, DON’T! Seriously, just don’t.

Something came up this week that I want to talk about.

It was nothing major, really. It was a common enough occurance. But good Lord did it piss me off.

A woman I don’t know very well said to me, “How’s your diet going? I can see that you have lost weight since last time I saw you.”

Number one, I have not lost weight since the last time this woman saw me. At all. I may even have gained weight. So it occurred to me as a lie. And I am not even a little interested in polite lies. I am positive she meant it to be nice. That she thought it was the neighborly thing to do. But that kind of thing is disingenuous to me. And not welcome.

Number two, I am not on a diet. Diets have a goal and an end. You lose 15 or 20 or 50 or whatever number of pounds and then you eat crap again. Diets get cheated on. Because diets deprive you of anything enjoyable so sometimes you have to “live a little.” Diets are about losing weight.

What I do is a way of life. I don’t want to cheat. I don’t have a goal so I can stop. I don’t want to stop. I have boundaries around my eating because it makes me happy and free. If I lose weight great. If I don’t, it doesn’t change anything. I eat delicious meals that I love that don’t include sugar or simple carbohydrates. Because I am addicted to those things. I am not on a diet. I have a diet.

And number three, and this is the important one, it is rude and obnoxious to talk about someone’s weight. Stop that!

I would say that the average human has between 1 and 5 people in their lives who are allowed to speak openly about their weight. Because they are loving, nonjudgmental, and a clearing for the person. If you want to know if you are one of those people, you need to ask. Seriously. Just because you are a parent, or a friend, or a sibling, do not assume you are welcome to comment or ask about a person’s weight. If you are too embarrassed to ask, then you should keep your mouth shut.

And if you ask, and the person says no, then keep it to yourself. Not, “Well I just want to say…”

I don’t care if you think it’s a compliment. I don’t care if you think it’s important. I don’t care if you think it’s polite. Whatever it is, no means no.

I hate this idea that people think somebody’s weight is open for discussion. I understand that it is on the outside for everyone to see. But it is still deeply personal.

My body is the only vessel I have. It contains the entirety of my life. Without it, I am very literally dead. It is a deeply spiritual thing. Whether you see it that way or not. So mind your own business.

OK. I am done ranting. Thank you.

Novelty helped me survive eating food I didn’t enjoy

Today we spent the day driving home again. It was a nice day.

I liked the town where we stayed in Kentucky. I went walking every day. I enjoyed my time there. It was nice to be away.

But there is something else that I find enjoyable about going out of town. Especially for a short while. I am forced to do different things. To break my routines and branch out. Especially around food.

I don’t know that I have ever thought about the fact that I cook almost everything in the oven. Meat and vegetables alike. I occasionally sauté. I rarely fry. And I never steam. Bacon and eggs get cooked on the range. Basically everything else is baked or roasted.

But there was no oven at the hotel we stayed in. Only burners. So I made chicken the other day. Because it was easy to get and I was going to have to pan cook it. And it had been maybe years since I had it. At least the boneless, skinless breast cutlet. And I kept apologizing to my boyfriend that it wasn’t very good. And he kept saying it was perfectly good.

Right. I don’t like chicken. But I already knew that. I almost never make it, unless it’s bone in, skin on and I deep fry it twice. (It’s called confit. And it’s awesome.) It was nice to have boring old chicken breast. If only to remember that I really don’t want it. And that I don’t have to eat it again any time soon. I didn’t even feel disappointed. It was just a new meal in a new place. There was a kind of freedom in being away from my norm. I made vegetables I hadn’t made in a long time either. Sautéed green beans. Brussels sprouts. Broccoli. It was also nice to eat a bunch of things that I hadn’t made in forever but actually loved!

I thoroughly enjoyed being someplace I didn’t know. And doing things I I don’t usually do. I liked exploring. I liked looking around.

I am not a person who jumps out of bed in the morning hoping the day is filled with excitement and adventure. But even for a girl like me, who likes sameness and contentment, variety is still the spice of life.

And if I learned anything from keeping the boundaries around my eating no matter what happens (or what doesn’t), it’s that peace is not about sameness or contentment. Peace is about trusting that everything is exactly right in the midst of upheaval and discontent.

And yes. I’m happy to have my oven back.

Otherwise how would I learn?

I’m on the road again today. To Kentucky for a bit. Maybe not more than a week. But I’m happy to be going.

My boyfriend and I were apart for 2 weeks. The longest since I moved in with him. And I didn’t like it.

It’s funny that when I lived in New York I used to fear/hate leaving home. Because food is easy at home. And now, I would rather be on the road with a cooler as long as I can be with him. My definition of home has changed. My definition of comfort too.

We will stay in an extended stay hotel so I can have a kitchenette. And there is a grocery store within walking distance. So it’s not as if I am flying by the seat of my pants with my food. And so far I haven’t had to. But I really think I could if it came to that. For a short stay in a small town.

But the other thing I get to do is not worry about that right now. That’s not what is going on right now. I only have to deal with now. I don’t have to figure out how to deal with vague possibilities in the distant and uncertain future.

When I was eating compulsively I would often give up before I started something. The fear of having to deal with hardships and discomforts that may or may not pop up was an excellent excuse to quit. And quitting gave me more time to get high on sugar.

But for today, right now, I am incredibly happy to have my eating under control, my food taken care of, and to be available for adventure. Or at least life in the form I chose it. Which happens to be rather adventurous.

I was not the kind of person who would have chosen a life of regular travel. I chose love, of course. And it happened to come in the form of wandering. But I have learned that life likes to give me things I don’t think I want. Otherwise how would I learn that I love them?

In case you missed it, it has already begun…

Another Halloween over. Of course, Halloween kicks off our collective debauched food binge that lasts through the extreme hangover that is New Years Day. The day we firmly resolve that this year we will be better. We will lose weight and drink more water and less alcohol and stop yelling at our kids and be better listeners.

I am so grateful that I don’t have to play that game anymore. Of course, at this particular moment I am most grateful that I did not have to eat compulsively just because it was Halloween. Trick or treat would have been, without a doubt, all trick and no treat.

I handed out the candy this year. Which wasn’t hard, because I don’t crave it since I haven’t had it in my body for over 8 years. And there weren’t many kids since it was so cold, so there is still a whole bunch of candy in the house. But thank God I don’t have to eat it. Thank God it’s not mine. Thank God I don’t have to start, and then be expected to stop. Because I don’t know if I have another stop in me. And I don’t want to find out.

I also love that I still love Halloween. I love dressing up. I love my own creativity. I love the chance to show off how clever I am. I love getting to wear a costume I can feel beautiful in. (I was Miss America this year. Complete with evening gown, tiara, sash and running mascara.) In a body I can feel beautiful in. I love that I don’t have to feel deprived. Of fun. Or chocolate. Because the truth is that I would not have just eaten some chocolate. And I wouldn’t have just eaten all of the chocolate. I would have eaten the things I didn’t want or like. I would have eaten everything that was there. And then I would have gotten more. I would have needed to go get more. I would not have been able to not get more. But instead, I get to still love Halloween because I don’t have to eat myself to shame and self-loathing. I love that I get to wake up with some dignity. Even after the binge-fest that is National Candy Day.

So now it is time to beware the Holiday Season. I may not be in danger, but food is still dangerous to me. Even after all this time. I don’t take it lightly. I protect myself from my eating disorders. By remembering that I am eternally a compulsive eater. Hopeless and without a cure. By making sure that the meals I make myself are delicious and decadent while keeping them within my eating boundaries. By remembering that I am addicted to sugars, grains and starches. By remembering how eating compulsively manifests in my life. On my body in the form of 150 more pounds. And in my personality in the form of lying, cheating and stealing. And in my heart as depression and self-hatred. I remember these things because I want to continue to wake up with dignity.

I may have made it through Halloween, but there is more to come. Pumpkin Pie and Christmas cookies. Mashed potatoes and stuffing. Wine and eggnog. There is little time to take a breath between bites and gulps for the rest of the year. For other people. For me, there is plenty of time. Hours and hours between my three meals a day. To do and be. As long as I keep my head on straight and keep the boundaries around my eating.

So I hope you had a Happy Halloween. And I wish you a peaceful Holiday Season. Because it has already begun.

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