onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “October, 2021”

Halloween connections >>>Halloween candy

It has been a while since I *really* did Halloween. I have cobbled together a handful of last minute costumes over the years, but nothing like I used to do when I was young and/or single.

But this year I decided I am going to do it up, as the kids used to say when I was a kid. (I don’t know what the kids say now because I am old and out of touch.) This year I am dressing up as a Fae Princess, which is very on brand for me since I am obsessed with YA Fantasy novels about Faerie courts. My costume this year is complete with wings and a flower crown and pointed ears, and lots of glitter. And doesn’t “trick or treat” sound like faerie bargain in the making? 

When I was eating compulsively I loved everything about Halloween. I loved the costumes and the atmosphere charged with endless possibilities, some fun and some dangerous (I grew up in the 80s and 90s. We were given way more opportunities to do stupid crap unsupervised.) And I loved candy and I loved that on that day, I could eat candy with abandon the way I wanted to. And the other kids could and were too. I didn’t have to feel so shameful about it on that day. I was just one of many on Halloween, unlike most other days for the rest of the year.

When I gave up sugar and my drug foods, Halloween didn’t lose any of its appeal for me. Even though I thought it might. I thought I would be hard to watch people eat candy and get drunk when I could not. (I got my eating under control at 28, years past legal drinking age.) Instead, it became more about the costumes, the dancing, the pretending. And I got to enjoy it without all of the self-consciousness, and the out of control feelings, and the obsession with food. I got to have more “moments” with friends and strangers. It became about my and other people’s creativity. It became about connections. 

One of the best things I’ve gotten from getting my eating under control is my ability to connect with people. When I was in the food, everything was about food. Everywhere I went and everything I did was colored by either the food there or the lack of food. Every celebration was a celebration of food and food alone. When I put boundaries around my eating, celebrations became about relationships, and experiences.

I love that I still love Halloween. I love that I don’t need candy to love it. I love that I don’t need alcohol to love it. I love that food is not why I love my life, and yet, in between the moments of experience and relationship, I still get to love my food.

37 years of stories about my work ethic

I put in notice at my job this past week. I won’t go into details, but starting two weeks ago, I was crying basically non-stop until I did. I hated my job. I hated my life with the job. And for as much as I have loved the work itself and how good I am at it, I have known for a long time that I was not a good fit for the culture of the company. I told them they could have me until January, and that I would do a great job until then, but then I was done.



Having my eating under control means that I cannot ignore my feelings. I cannot eat my feelings. And I cannot live a life that makes me miserable. I cannot cry over something for days and not see that there is a problem that I need to take action to remedy.



I want to say that I am low key terrified about having to find another job. I have some long-held, deeply difficult stories about myself and my work ethic. They go all the way back to the kind of student I was. Not just in High School, but in 2nd grade and 5th grade and 7th grade. I have stories about being lazy and not living up to my potential that reach back to me at 7 years old. Can you imagine that? I’m 44 and I still have to deal with 7-year-old Kate not doing her homework. And in retrospect I can see that 10 and 12-year-old Kate probably lived with that too, and how do you shift your thinking about yourself when you are still so close to having been the 7-year-old only 3 or 5 years before?


The thing about transforming every aspect of your internal life is that it doesn’t happen overnight. And it is usually the oldest wounds that you get to last. And this definitely feels like a wound.


But there are lots of things about me that are completely different from who I used to be. And not only that I have a very right-sized work ethic. (I am definitely not a workaholic. I want to do a spectacular job for fair compensation for 35-50 hours a week and be done.) And one of those things is that I know how to take action in the face of terror. I know how to sit with the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. I know how to keep moving forward.


I was paralyzed when I was eating compulsively. I was always avoiding and deflecting. I got scared, panicked, and then ate drug foods until I couldn’t feel the worry anymore. And then stayed in a food coma until the consequences caught up with me. And they always did. And someone (99% of the time, my mom) would bail me out of whatever conceptual prison I had landed myself in.


I don’t know what happens now. And really, nothing yet. I still have a 60+ hour a week job to take care of for the next 2 months. But I keep reminding myself of 2 things:
1) At least half of the jobs I have ever had came to me without my seeking them out. My professional acting job, my start as a newborn nanny, and even the job I have right now, were acquired by someone coming to me out of the blue and asking if I wanted the job. Which, in retrospect is kind of crazy. Who gets that kind of care from Life?
And 2) Every time I say “no” to something that doesn’t serve me, Life gives me better than I had before and usually even better than I thought I wanted.

It’s not science, it just works.

When I was eating compulsively, I spent a lot of my time looking for spirituality. I tried out all sorts of religions. At first I tried to get really into Catholicism, the religion I was raised in. Even when my mom started going to a different church after she got remarried, I still went to Catholic mass every Sunday by myself. And when that didn’t do it for me, I tried Wicca, and I looked into Judaism, and I gave a shot to Zen Buddhism. (If you know me I’m sure you can imagine how good I was at sitting still for any length of time, let alone long stretches.) I tried self help books like “Conversations With God,” and “After The Ecstasy, The Laundry,” and “The Artist’s Way,” and I even looked for meaning in books on theoretical physics like “The Holographic Universe,” and “The Elegant Universe.”

There is a saying I learned in 12 step rooms that made perfect sense to me. I was “trying to fill a God-sized hole.” I tried to fill it with food. And I tried to fill it with religion. And I tried to fill it with science. And none of those things worked. Certainly not for me.

There is a thing that happens a lot when I meet somebody new and they have opinions about my food plan. If they care, they often get upset that I can’t eat certain things. “Avocados are so healthy!” “Why can you have peaches but not nectarines?” “Dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants.” “Red wine in moderation is good for your heart.” 

I didn’t make up the food plan I use. It was made before I was born by people I don’t know and have never met. And this brings me to a very important point. I don’t do what I do because of science. I do it because it works. I do it because for 30 years before I found it, it had been working for a group of people who, like me, couldn’t stop eating until they tried doing it. And it works for me when science did not work for me. 

In fact, science kept me miserable and suffering. Science kept me on the hamster wheel of “moderation.” Moderation never ever worked for me. It only makes sense to eat one cookie if you are capable of eating one cookie. I am not. I am an all or nothing cookie eater. That is why I choose nothing when it comes to cookies.

I do believe in science. I am vaccinated. I know the Earth is round. And if I had a problem with malnourishment, or allergic reactions, or some other physical ailment, I would absolutely go to science to look for the answers.

But my problem is not wholly scientific. It is personal, emotional, and spiritual, as well as having a physical aspect.

So don’t come at me with “but science” when it comes to my food. Better yet, don’t come to me at all when it comes to my food. What I do is not science and I don’t need it to be. I do it because it works. It’s as simple as that.

Hands off the food. Hands off the wheel.

My husband was feeling sick and he tested positive for covid yesterday. We are both vaccinated (two shots no boosters.) So I am not particularly worried about him, though I am sorry he is suffering at the moment. And I am not testing, but I assume I have it and I am just asymptomatic. But what it also means is that neither one of us can go into work for the next week! And seriously, hooray!!!

My husband can’t do his job from home, but  I ertainly can. I will still be working. Probably the same number of hours every day. But no hour long commute each way means more sleep, more personal time, and most importantly, more quality time with my husband. Maybe we can even eat a few meals together once he is feeling himself again.

I have been feeling burnt out over the past couple of weeks. I think Life knew I needed a break. I really like my job. I like it the way people like things they are great at. It gives me a lot of pride and self-esteem. It brings in good money. I don’t need or want to not work. But having work be the only thing in my life has been a struggle. 

If you know me, you know I am very much *not* a workaholic. I am a perfectionist. And I am a hard worker. And I have lingering people pleasing tendencies from when I was in the food, but I always want to work less, not more. I am currently working 60 hour weeks, dreaming about the end of night shift, when I can probably get down to 50 hour weeks. And some day, when this job is over, maybe I can get myself a cushy 40 hour a week job! That would be living the dream!

A few weeks ago, my office got me a temp to help with the workload. She and her family had just moved back to Illinois from Tennessee, and she told me several jobs had fallen through on her in the weeks before she started with me. And that her fiancé had not been able to find work either. But the construction industry has a labor shortage right now. And the union has a program to get new people started, and potentially get them in the union down the line. Unions are often exclusive groups and getting in usually has a lot to do with who you know. 

So my company got my temp’s fiancé a spot in the new program. And while her job with me will end when the night shift ends, she found out about how to get trained as a Safety Manager in the construction industry by our Safety Manager. In other words, in not getting all of those other jobs, not only did their family go from no jobs, to one job, to two jobs, she and her fiancé potentially gained two careers in construction, a field she didn’t know anything about until she got a temporary admin job on our construction site. And she said to me this week, “When they say ‘everything happens for a reason,’ I think this is what they mean.” 

Putting boundaries around my eating taught me to stop fighting Life. It taught me that so many of the things I thought I wanted paled in comparison to the things Life wanted to give me. I’m certainly not happy my husband is sick. But I am also certainly not sorry that he gets a break from our brutal work schedule. And that I do too. So I trust that Life is right. And I can see that, and feel it in my heart, because my eating is under control. I’m still peddling, doing what I can to the best of my ability, but I am willing to take my hands off the wheel and let Life steer. And so far, with my hands off the food and my hands off the wheel, Life has not let me down.

How’s That for Woo Woo Magic?

I don’t want to meditate lately. And I haven’t been. And I have a friend who holds me accountable for meditation so I had to have a conversation with her the other day, and make a commitment to figure out what I was going to do. What I *am* going to do. Which I already know can’t be nothing.

I was very excited to start my miracle door meditation two months ago. The problem is, it worked too well. I got miracles. Big ones. Huge miracles that I didn’t have the skills to step into right away. So it was learning curves left and right. And that was overwhelming. And stressful. 

I am afraid of that. And what that comes down to is that I am afraid of my own power. 

This may all sound very “woo woo” to you. It may sound silly or impractical. And I certainly couldn’t tell you *how* it works. But if getting my eating under control has taught me anything, it’s that “practical” thinking has never gotten me anywhere I wanted to be the way “magical” thinking has. Because how in the world could putting my food on a scale and giving up sugar, grains and simple carbohydrates change my life entirely, all for the better? In practical thinking terms, it couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t.


When I first put boundaries around my eating, people would say, “weigh and measure your food and your life will get better.” And I was incredulous. How could that really *do* anything? But in reality, it has shifted everything for me so completely that from in here, this body and mind and life, every last little thing is entirely transformed. I went from hating myself and my miserable life, to loving myself, and rejoicing in a life beyond my wildest dreams. And I could never get to this place before by being practical.

When I think about all of the ways everyone in my life tried to encourage me to lose weight when I was fat, and all of the advice from doctors and dietitians, and all of the regimens set up for me, and all of the money spent on programs and prepackaged meals, I see a lot of practical thinking strategies that got me absolutely nowhere new. They enforced all of the old things I thought about myself. And none of them were kind, or pretty, or in any way loving toward myself. 

But when I followed that crazy advice to weigh and measure my food and expect a great life, I got a great life. 

I do want to keep getting miracles, even if I am a little scared at the moment. I know I don’t want to work for the company I work for forever. I know that I want to go somewhere with a culture more aligned with my values. I want to make the kind of money I deserve for the caliber of work I do. I want something better for myself, even if I might not be able to imagine it right now.

But of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that there is a practical side to these “woo woo magic” opportunities. I got the miracles because I sat still and did the meditation. I got my eating under control because I weighed and measured my food. And of course, once I got the fancy job, I had to *do* the fancy job. 

I don’t know what I will do about my meditation practice, and my miracle doors, and my spiritual life. Maybe the answer is to just do it, and stumble forward over the stumbling blocks. But another thing getting my eating under control has taught me is when I don’t know what to do, I don’t do anything. That the answer will always come in time. How’s that for woo woo magic?

Post Navigation