onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “August, 2021”

“How do I flip this PDF?”and other terrifying questions.

I have been having a hard time thinking about what to write today. Because all I do right now is work. But I suppose there is something to say about work in my food addiction blog. It’s about what I sometimes call my “primordial brain,” and how much of my thinking stems from a deep seated expectation that I am always in trouble. 

Regularly in my job, my boss will call me into his office. And every time he does, my immediate thoughts are that I am in trouble. That I have royally screwed something up. That I have single handedly, through some colossal data entry error, cost my company *billions* of dollars. And every time he calls me in, it is over some form of IT trouble he is having. Why won’t this print 11×17? How do I flip this PDF over? How do I get rid of/add this line to a Word doc?

For over a month I have been having a mild panic attack every time he calls out to come to his office. Even though I have never been in trouble. Because being in trouble is so old and historic that it lives in my body like a truth.

So here is why having eating boundaries saves my life. When my eating is under control, I can feel the primordial panic, tuck it away into a far corner of my brain, and walk into the office. Once it is clear that I have not cost the company billions and brought ruin upon my home and family for all of eternity, the little nugget of panic can fall away. 

But if I were eating my drug foods, that panic would eat at me. I would hear that call and immediately begin cataloguing all of the things I did wrong. Or potentially did wrong. Or could be perceived as wrong by someone in charge of my job. I would be coming up with excuses to make and people to blame for problems that didn’t even exist. I would be figuring out how to avoid going into that office. The point is that even if I didn’t do anything wrong, I would do “wrong,” or desperate, or disingenuous things to avoid getting in trouble. I would be *making* trouble for myself to get out of my fear of being in trouble. It wouldn’t matter that I had not done anything wrong in the first place. 

When my eating is under control, I see things clearly. I see myself clearly. And I don’t have to project my greatest, and unfounded fears onto the future. I can stand up, walk into the office and face whatever there is to face. Like a frustrated boss asking, “why can’t I open this attachment?”

Living the life I actually have

I recently stopped running. It was a difficult, and frankly, really scary decision to make. But I made it. And I am grateful and glad I did.

About a week after I started my new job, the job changed. The workload quadrupled, the stakes were raised for my company, and my personal stress level went through the roof. (I started to break out in hives! Hives!) 

I told my boss that I needed help, and he told me that they would get me an admin, but as of yet, I don’t have one. And it means that I work over 12 hours a day 4 days a week, and 9 on Thursdays when I have my food meeting for people with the same food boundaries as me. I am working about 60 hours in 5 days. I insisted that I could not work 6 days. Since my husband is also working over 12 hours a day, but he *is* working 6 days a week, and he is running the night shift (I cannot tell you how much I hate it.) I need two days off to do all of the things that he now can’t do for himself. I have to do his grocery shopping, his laundry, and keep the house as tolerably clean as I can (my friends, it is not particularly clean) on top of my weekly food prep, which now includes breakfasts as well as lunches.

So I leave for work at 5:30 in the morning, I work from 6:30 in the morning until 7 at night. I get home around 8 pm, and I only have time to get my food and clothes ready for the next day, scarf down a small dinner and get into bed by 9:30 to get about 7 1/2 hours of sleep. 

It was my husband who recommended I stop running for now. And I was terrified at the prospect. It is a thing I have done for so long as a commitment and a priority that to give it up felt like I was going to become unreliable again, like I was when I was in the food. It felt like I was going to slide down that slippery slope of laziness and shame.

But I am not the person I was when I was eating compulsively. I am a person who knows how to go with the flow, and how to adapt to new and uncomfortable situations. And ultimately I am grateful for my husband’s loving suggestion that sleep is more important than exercise when both are just really not an option.

And I am happy to remember that this too shall pass. That this job will slow, and eventually end. That all of this should be calmer by Christmas, and the new year should see me settled back into my slower schedule and more peaceful work life. I can trust that I can get back on the pavement in 2022.

Getting my eating under control taught me about priorities. At this moment, my job is a priority. Sleep is a priority. And of course my food boundaries are always my first priority. But when I have more time, more than just to sleep, and work and honor my food boundaries, running will go back on my priority list. But for now I am going to live the life I actually have.

Does my ice cream bowl miss me?

My week has been insane and full of ups and downs. I have been under a huge amount of stress. And I have not been hungry. Which is an interesting thing for a compulsive eater. 

Perhaps I should rephrase that. It is not just that I am not hungry. I have lots and lots of experience eating when I am not hungry. I mean I don’t want to eat. I mean I am forcing myself to eat my meals. I mean I am choking them down. 

Because of this I have changed what I eat for some meals. For example, at dinner I have been eating 2 eggs, instead of my delicious delicacies like my homemade ice cream with soy nuts, or pork rinds. And I have also had to make a few calls to emotionally recommit to eating my food. Because I have not wanted to eat so much that I scared myself with the thought of not eating.

I eat my meals because eating my meals is what I do. I am not on a diet. Not being hungry isn’t “a great chance to skip meals and lose weight.” Not being hungry means I make my meals as small as possible within my boundaries and eat them anyway. Because I eat three portioned out meals a day. No matter what.

If you think what I do with food is about weight and weight loss then this may be confusing to you. But I do what I do with food because I don’t have a normal relationship with food. I don’t know how to “eat intuitively” and I don’t know when I have had enough. For right now I may not want to eat, but this, too, shall pass. And when it does I want to be right here where I am with my food addiction under control, my boundaries in tact, and my ice cream bowl sitting in the freezer just waiting for me to make ice cream.

A life beyond your wildest dreams will spoil you for anything less

Oh guys. This one is going to be short because I am tired. 

I worked 56 hours this week. Fifty-six. And that doesn’t count my hour commute each way. (Thank heaven for audiobooks! They make the commute a pleasure rather than a chore.) If you know me, you know this is not how I roll. I like a lot of free time. I like my time even more than I like money.

Since I took this job (19 days ago. Not even 3 full weeks.) the workload for me alone has increased fourfold. And my husband, who was not even on this job, has agreed to run the night shift. An actual night shift. Until December. So we will barely see one another for the rest of the year. 

Here’s the thing. I am not entirely unhappy. I do really like the job just because I am that good at it. In many ways, this job was custom made for me. I was trained for exactly this kind of detailed tracking. And the company I work for just gave me a *huge* raise. I mean, I asked for it, but they gave it to me. 

But I am tired. And I hate the idea that I won’t get to spend time with my husband. I married him because I genuinely love his company. We have talked about the times we can spend together. 4 am, my wake up and before his bedtime. The time we may be at work at the same time when he has a break. And I am trying to work out the best way to get the job done and still take care of myself. How to fit in my run and my meditation and my full night’s sleep and cooking my meals for the week.

Because, as I have said in this blog before, self care is not all bubble baths and spa days. Self care kind of sucks. I don’t want to wake up at 4 to run. But I do. I don’t want to spend hours of my precious weekend cooking for the week. But I do. I don’t want to stop and meditate and have to be still for 3 minutes when I am busy and already feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day. But I do. (OK, mostly I do. I sometimes forget. But I am committed to 3 minutes daily.) I don’t want to put down whatever I am doing to go to bed….Actually, nope. That last one was a lie. I like the shit out of going to bed.

Having my eating under control gives me the possibility of enjoying living the life I have instead of lamenting the life I think I should have. It lets me be flexible. It lets me prioritize. And it keeps me clear about the reality of my situation. If I come to be miserable, if it starts to hurt my marriage, if I make myself sick, I know that I can ask for help, or back off my hours, or even just quit. Having my eating under control lets me see myself clearly, my options clearly, and the reality of my situation clearly. 

Putting boundaries around my eating offered me a life beyond my wildest dreams. I am not going to settle for less than that anymore. So for now, I am going to do the best job I can. And if it ever no longer serves me, I know that I can move on. I will trust that life is giving me what I need, and that it will continue to do so.

Maybe the least weird thing I have ever done with food

This week I am going to talk a little about the practical aspects of keeping my eating boundaries.


I work on the office side of construction. I do things like make sure workers get paid and keep the paper trails of what was built when, and who signed off on it. And a lot of times, the thing getting built is getting built where there was previously just a big field. So often there are no restaurants or grocery stores close by. When I have a job where I go into a physical office, especially when that job is in the middle of nowhere, I keep backup food on the job site.


Today I will cook and pack meals for the week. And every morning I will pack my bag with a breakfast and a lunch to bring into the office. And they will be decadent and delicious.

But sometimes something happens. Sometimes things go wrong. Food spills or spoils. Or heaven forbid, I *forget* to pack my food and I drive the 45+ minutes to the job site. 

In my office I keep an emergency food bag. It has an extra food scale and extra batteries. It has canned pineapple and a can opener. It has boxes of milk that last for months without refrigeration. It has several kinds of protein options like cheese crisps, bags of pepperoni, and soy nuts. Plus a jar of wheat germ and a jar of pickles. It is more than enough to feed myself within my boundaries for two entire days. I keep all of it in a little box in the corner of my office. In a perfect world it will all go bad and get thrown out at the end of the job. But it is not a perfect world and I am not perfect.


The items in this box will not add up to a decadent meal. They will be fine. Even tasty. But not anything as delicious or exciting as the meals I will make myself today in my kitchen with everything at my disposal. But they will make meals that are 100% within my boundaries. And that is the most important thing for me. Even if the meal is meh, I will still have my abstinence. And the chance to eat another guilt-free, 5 star, 10/10 meal at dinner.

I have kept my eating boundaries for over 15 years by doing things like this. By having a plan for trouble. By putting preparations in place in case trouble comes. By protecting my eating boundaries from circumstances. 
Getting my eating under control is still the best thing that ever happened to me. I want to live like this for the rest of my life. It is not a chore or a punishment to me. It is a gift and a blessing. And I will do whatever it takes to keep it. 

When I think about the things I did to get sugar – the lying, cheating, stealing, manipulating, the ways I ignored danger – just to eat, I think that keeping a box of food in my office may be the least weird thing I have ever done with food.

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