onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “August, 2020”

With respect to Sally Field, I like me! Right now! I like me!

This week I had to go into the office for a meeting. And there was a new woman who recently joined the company. And about half way through the meeting, it became clear to me that she doesn’t like me. Because I am a know-it-all.


There was a time in my life, before I had my eating under control, and for the first few years that I did, when this woman not liking me, or my perception of this woman not liking me, would have haunted me, and I would have done anything in my power to try to coerce this woman into liking me.

Don’t get me wrong. I *do* want people to like me. Certainly this woman. We are colleagues. We work for the same company. And I tried to be pleasant, friendly, and relatable.


But ultimately, I don’t actually care. If this woman finds me insufferable, may she never have to suffer me. Because the reason I come off as a know-it-all could be that I am excellent at my job and I do “know it all.”


All of my life that I spent in active food addiction was spent hating myself, second guessing if I was “doing it right” and thinking that being liked meant I was doing it right, and being disliked or sneered at meant I was bad and wrong.


Having my food addiction under control means that I like myself. A lot. I like being me. I am not embarrassed or ashamed. I love myself. I love my life. And if I don’t, I have the clarity to pinpoint the things that are making me uncomfortable or ashamed, and take some action to make a change. To change me, really, and not simply someone else’s perception of me.


In my addiction, I was paralyzed by the numbness and the muddled thinking that came from using sugar as a drug, as well as the pain that came from looking at myself with an eye towards my faults and my character defects. Because it felt like I was my faults and defects, and they were me.

One great gift of having my eating taken care it is that I can look at my bad actions and see that they don’t mean anything about me as a person. Except that I am exactly as failably human as anyone else, and that in some particular situation or another, I need to make some amends.


But it also gives me the clarity to know what is not my problem, or my business. And how this woman at work sees me is really none of my business. I am coming from a space of helpfulness and generosity. And I don’t get a say in how those intentions are received.


I am grateful to have this clarity of mind and spirit. I don’t want to use my time or energy trying to force someone to see me the way I see myself. And that is the best gift of having these boundaries; how much I like and love myself has everything to do with me, and my integrity, and nothing to do with anyone else.

Outsourcing the tough choices is a definite life hack

There is an aspect of my food boundaries that is very important to me that I don’t talk about a lot. Mostly because it doesn’t come up a lot. But there are times when I don’t make decisions about my food, when I have other people make those decisions for me.

The primary reason it doesn’t come up a lot is because I don’t make a lot of mistakes with my food. I am generally meticulous and focused when it comes to my food because i take my addiction seriously. But, if I do make a mistake or have a problem, I don’t decide what to do about it. I call someone and they make the decision for me. And this is a thing that has saved my life and my sanity more than once. And it happened this week.

So the short version is that I knew I was going into the office this week – they had work for me to do that had to be done on site – so I prepped my food over the weekend. And one thing I did was weigh out some raw peppers and wrap them in foil and put them with all of the other food I had weighed out. But my husband cut an onion, wrapped it in foil, and instead of putting it back in the produce drawer, he put it on the shelf with my pre-weighed lunches. So when I got home from work and packed up my lunch for the next day, I thought I was grabbing a pepper, and instead grabbed half of a raw onion.


When I opened my lunch the next day, I had a moment of panic! But then I made some phone calls. And I managed to reach a friend and she told me what to do about it. So I just did what she told me to do. And it was done. And I could eat my lunch in peace and calm and not have to worry about it.


Here is the deal. I am crazy when it comes to food. I am addicted. I am obsessive. I can go in crazy circles. And if I had made a decision about the onion-pepper problem myself, I could have second guessed myself right into a chocolate cake.


True, it may not have happened immediately, but the chatter in my head could (would) have led to other decisions that bent rules. After all, I would have already made a choice that was not strictly within my boundaries. And that could have led to lies to myself and others about my food or my eating. And that most certainly would have led me to eating foods I am addicted to.


I want to say that I chose these boundaries. They were not forced on me, nor was I coerced. I chose them because my food addiction was ruining my life and they were a solution because 1) they exclude foods I am addicted to, and 2) these boundaries come with a community for help, support, and camaraderie.


So when I say I don’t make decisions about my food, I don’t mean anyone tells me what to eat on a regular basis. I have a huge list of foods that are available to me for guilt-free eating and I choose the foods I love. I make those food choices every day. Lots of people who do what I do don’t eat pork rinds, or make their own sugar-free ice cream, which are favorite choices of mine. And unlike many of my comrades-in-eats, I am not going to eat a chicken breast, or lettuce, or celery.
But when it comes to a moment of upset, problem, or panic, it is a great relief to not have to make a decision, and instead to give it to somebody else.


The other part of that is that I am available to make those decisions for someone else. And I do regularly. And let me tell you, it is *much* easier to make a decision like that for someone else.


So I am grateful to the people who do what I do. To the ones who have picked up the phone to give me guidance when my heart is pounding and my head is spinning because there is a problem with my food and I don’t know what to do. I have a community in place that assures me that in a scary or difficult food situation, I don’t need to know what to do. I just need to make a phone call, and be willing to heed the advice on the other end. And that is a safety net I never knew I needed or wanted but feel very lucky to have.

Lots of love, but no pretending

When I first started this blog, I wanted to heal the parts of myself that had been squashed and damaged by all of the self-preservation I had put in place. I wanted to work through the default thoughts and actions of my life to that point that kept my life small. That kept me protected from any kind of hurt or embarrassment. From really any kind of emotions.

Also, I hated fatness. I hated being fat. I hated seeing fat people. Even the ones I loved and liked and admired and respected. And having given up sugar and lost over 100 pounds, I felt incredibly self-righteous. 

Since then, I have grown and changed a lot. Much of the change was because of this blog. And one thing that I have changed my mind about is fatness. I am so much less judgmental. I have love and compassion for my fat self, and that love for myself has overflowed into love and compassion for others.

But there is a place that I stand that is very much considered fat phobia by fat people and fat acceptance culture. And it is that I do not want to be fat. 

It doesn’t matter that it is about me and nobody else. It doesn’t matter that I have been fat and hated it. To not want to be fat is to value thinness. (Sigh. Again. I am not that thin. I wear the biggest of straight sizes and I have plenty of chub.) But I do value not being fat. For myself. For my life. For how I feel about my body. For how I feel about navigating the world in this body. 

I am writing this because I saw a social media post that said “If you don’t want to be fat, that is fat phobic.” And I immediately thought “No! Not me! I’m not fat phobic!” But maybe I am. Probably I am. 

My body stays relatively thin-ish, because I don’t eat most sugars, grains or starches. And I don’t eat those things because I am addicted to them and I have the same kinds of behaviors as an alcoholic or drug addict (btw, sugar is a drug for me, so I really am a drug addict.) I lie, cheat and steal. I manipulate. I am self-centered and emotionally volatile.

I don’t continue to abstain from sugar because of my weight. I do it because I don’t like the person I am when I eat it.

But I also don’t want to be fat! And I don’t want to have to feel bad or ashamed or uncomfortable or like a heartless asshole because of it. And I guess if that makes me fat phobic, then I am. And I don’t feel the need to do any work on myself over it. 

I remember what it was like to be treated like a disgrace for being fat. The way people would comment on my body with laughter and jeers and sneers. Strangers and acquaintances and people I considered friends. And how people would stand by and let it happen to me. And to this day I hate doctors, and the medical community in general. Because the way they treated me as a fat person always made me feel like I was a failure as a human being. I always felt ashamed and embarrassed. And I was scrutinized and reprimanded whenever I went for an appointment. And yet, I was never offered a solution that worked. (Willpower is not a solution, my friends.)

I see other people, fat people,getting the same hate and cruelty that I received for so long, and I am so sad and hurt by it. When I listen to the casual fat jokes and dehumanization of fat people in all forms of media, I still feel an echo of the excruciating pain I used to feel as a kid when I saw a fat joke or a fat shaming on TV shows or in movies. Some of those movie lines and jokes are burned into my psyche.

I want to be trusted and accepted by the fat acceptance community. Because even if I don’t look like it, I feel like fat people will always be my people. But maybe I can’t. And maybe I shouldn’t. And maybe I need to let that go. Because the actual, absolute truth for me is that if someone wants to do what I do – give up sugar, weigh their food and keep strict portion control, keep boundaries about when and how and how often they can eat – I want them to. Because it is without a doubt, the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and it is the foundation for the life that I have which is a life beyond my wildest dreams. And I didn’t get it because I wanted to have a spiritual awakening. I got it because I didn’t want to be fat anymore when I was in my 20s.

So I am going to keep following my fat brothers and sisters on social media, and loving them and their hot fashions, and their beauty. But perhaps I am going to have to give up wanting to be accepted, and a true part that movement and that moment and that group. Because I have a different set of experiences. And I don’t know how to be over here, grateful to not be fat, and still make fat people feel loved and honored as themselves.

Maybe I can’t. Maybe I can, and I just don’t know how yet. But I love having an easy body. And I am not willing to pretend I don’t.

The long game of self care

I started out writing a blog today about the food industry, and how they use the same model as big tobacco to keep people addicted to their products. But it’s a lot. It takes a lot, both energetically and emotionally. And I don’t have it in me today.


And that is a valuable lesson I learned from getting a handle on my sugar addiction. I know what kind of energy I have. I know what I have to offer and what I don’t. I know how to prioritize and organize. I know how to practice self care.


I feel like self care is such a funny term right now. When I hear it in the media it could mean taking a bath, getting a facial or a pedicure, or even just getting really drunk so as not to face reality. In other words, it is so often sold as things you want to do.


But that is not my experience of self care. In fact, I find that self care is basically the opposite for me. It’s never hard for me to do the stuff I want to do. (At least in “the before times.”) I was always willing to make time for a mani/pedi or a full body massage.
What was (still kind of is) hard was prepping my meals for the work week. Waking up an hour before my husband to get my jog in before work. Stopping what I am in the middle of to meditate. Drinking my water instead of yet another cup of coffee. Flossing even though I just want to brush my teeth and get into bed.


These things are not easy, because I don’t enjoy them. These things are the things I do that don’t lead to instant gratification. These are things I do because I am playing a long game. Because I want to live a long time with a healthy, easy, relatively pain-free body.


But back to the idea of writing a long post, delving deep into the manufacturing of addiction and the food industry. One thing that regular self care affords me is the means to recognize what I have time and energy for. Without judgment or expectation. And the ability to remember that while I may not have the wherewithal today, I will on another day. And that is perfectly acceptable. If nothing else, playing a long game is an excellent reminder that it *is* a long game, and there will be time for more.


Ultimately the things I do for self care do make me happy, and keep me grounded. But their power is in the practice of them. The results come from consistency. And it is not the same kind of happy that gets the blood pumping. Instead it’s a contentment and a peace. And while that may not be exciting, I apparently think it’s worth it, because I keep doing it.

Is This Growth?

Obviously, this is my blog about how I have and keep my sugar addiction under control. And one of the ways that I do that is by keeping boundaries around my food. Part of that is weighing and measuring most of the food I eat. There are lots of rules and they make me feel safe. Having hard and fast rules means that I can eat guilt-free. Which was not a part of my life when I was eating sugar and eating compulsively.

But I am still an addict, and I still love to eat. One of the rules is that I can have half a cantaloupe for breakfast. And one of the ways that I and other people who have the same eating boundaries I do work the system, is to find the biggest cantaloupe we can. I once heard a woman tell a group of us she found one that weighed 8 pounds. And we all laughed and cheered and nodded. We all would have bought that 8 pound cantaloupe. It is not breaking the rules or crossing boundaries to do this. It is in bounds and fair game.


I have had people who don’t do what I do or understand my lifestyle tell me that buying an 8 pound cantaloupe or a 1 pound apple is “cheating.” Which only goes to show that they are mistaken as to the game I am playing. I am not on a diet. I am not trying to get skinny. I am trying to navigate my eating life, so that I am nourished, sated, and serene. I do that by keeping my boundaries. But my boundaries have a lot of room for personal choices inside them.

But over the past 3 or 4 years, my cantaloupes have gotten smaller. I mean, they are still really freaking big. But I started to realize that I don’t always love the way I feel overstuffed after breakfast when I automatically buy the biggest cantaloupe I can find. When I told a friend with food boundaries she laughed and said, “Yes, I don’t need a basketball sized cantaloupe. A volleyball sized one will do fine.”


I am still an addict when it comes to food and eating. I still always want more. Even when I am stuffed. Even when I just ate. Eating still holds all of the charge that it did when I was eating compulsively. But having boundaries is the best way for me to keep my feelings out of my food life. I can make myself sick with cantaloupe and still not feel bad about it. And I can finish a meal and be done. Even if it was wonderful and I wish I could have more. I can. At dinner. Or tomorrow. There is always another meal coming.


But I also want to say that sometimes, I eat 8 ounces of pineapple for breakfast. A nice, “normal” sized bowl of fruit. And it’s enough. More than enough. It is delicious and satisfying and gets me through the morning to lunch completely content.
I guess what I am saying is that so much of my eating life is still about how much I love to eat. How much I want to eat. How much eating still makes my life better and happier. It is not now, and never has been, and I expect never will be about eating to live, or food as fuel. It is still about eating as a joy, as a comfort. And in these times of great discomfort, food as a true comfort, without guilt and shame, is a wonderful blessing. But maybe another blessing is that I ate the second half of my very large cantaloupe for breakfast today and tomorrow’s breakfast fruit is going to be a 12 ounce apple.

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