Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “October, 2022”

All the angels are here.

I started a new meditation practice this week. It feels good. It has been a while since I have had a strong, long-term, daily practice of some sort of meditation and reflection. 

The most spiritual thing I do in a day is weigh my food and keep my eating boundaries. That action itself is a kind of prayer of gratitude. Thank you God/Life/Universe for this nourishment that also blocks the obsession of eating. Every time I do it I know that I am doing something that keeps me on the path I want to be on. The path that leads to my most authentic self. The path that gives me a chance for a life that I love.

I used to think that spirituality was amorphous and ethereal. A thing that couldn’t be fully understood. But now I think of it as a series of actions. Weighing and measuring my food 3 times a day. Writing 3 pages of stream of consciousness. Being still and quiet for 3 timed minutes. Writing out at least 3 things I am grateful for. (Apparently I like the number 3.) 

Every time I make a commitment to myself, for myself, and keep it, that is a spiritual act. Did my workout? Spiritual. Drank my water? Spiritual.

Having a practical spirituality changed my whole way of thinking. I no longer have to wonder about God and if I am doing what God wants. I am doing what I want, and giving myself all of the things I want for myself. Heaven is empty and all the angels are here.


Does the baby need a pacifier? (Yes. The answer is yes.)

When I got back from the grocery store yesterday I could not help thinking about how many drinks my husband and I consume daily and weekly. And most of them, for both of us, are zero calories (or very low calorie for him) and many are caffeine free as well. There is no nutritional value. They are essentially just pacifiers. 

This is not a judgment. I am not judging myself, my husband, or anyone else for this. Because zero calorie drinks always have, and continue to, help me keep my eating boundaries. They help me get through the day without eating between meals. Or feeling like I want to eat between meals.

I have the desire to eat all the time. Not for nourishment. Not because I actually want to eat. Not because I’m hungry. I just love to eat. I love the way it makes me feel. I love the experience. And drinking calorie-free drinks tricks my brain into feeling like I’m eating when I am not. 

Because actually eating all the time made me miserable. It made me hate my body, made me hate my life, and made me hate myself. But diet drinks are a safe way to feel satisfied without breaking my boundaries. 

So much of keeping my addiction under control is following rules. By which I mean, it’s about honesty and integrity. It’s about making and keeping promises around food. It’s about being fully aware of what is going into my mouth, and knowing, unequivocally, that it’s aligned with my commitments. And zero calorie drinks are within my boundaries and can be partaken of guilt free.

The kinds of things I drink have changed a bit over the years. I used to drink coffee and espresso all day every day. And now I mostly don’t drink caffeine after noon. I make some notable exceptions, like if I go to a bar or restaurant to be with family and friends, I drink diet cola and I don’t worry about caffeine. But not drinking caffeine is a goal, not a rule or a promise. Knowing what is a hard and fast rule is what keeps me peaceful. It keeps me proud of myself and happy in my body and my life. And if I need a pacifier, so be it.

Suffering and sustainability are mutually exclusive

The good and bad of a person like me with food boundaries moving to a new place is always getting to know a new grocery store. Or a few. Inevitably there will be new things that I haven’t had yet that I am happy to find, and old things I can’t find anymore. And that, my friends, is why I love shopping online. Because if I can’t find it in my new grocery store, I can get my sugar free barbecue sauce delivered to my door.

I am obsessed with food. Eternally. I love to eat. Keeping my meals within my eating boundaries lets me eat without guilt or shame. Loving my meals keeps me within my boundaries because I don’t feel deprived. There is no boneless skinless chicken breast and steamed broccoli for me. There is no chicken breast at all! If it’s chicken it’s wings with the skin on or thighs or drumsticks. And the broccoli is definitely sautéed and seasoned and maybe even has some hot sauce in it.

Every place we have lived I have gotten a new menu of meals within my boundaries. And acquired a new list of foods and flavorings to find online from the things I now need but can’t get locally. But no matter where we are or for how long, I make sure my meals are delicious, satisfying, and a haven for me 3 times a day. They are still a source of joy and contentment for me.

I could never “eat to live.” I could never consider what I put in my body as a tool as opposed to a joyful experience. And I could not do this for over 16 1/2 years if eating were an aside or an afterthought, and not the main event. I could never sustain that kind of relationship with food. And ultimately, if I can’t do something long term, it doesn’t work. If you want to understand how a person like me, an addict, has maintained over a 100 pound weight loss for over a decade, you have to recognize that I am not on a diet. And that I continue to do what I do because I am not doing it “just until I’m thin enough to eat what I want.” I do it because I genuinely love my food.

If I’m going to sustain, I can’t suffer. The two are mutually exclusive.

Always another meal coming

Today I get reunited with my husband (finally!) and we both get to live in daylight hours and eat dinner together and go to sleep at the same time! 

I am headed out to the grocery store soon so we can have our favorite dinner tonight (sous vide filet mignon with a baked potato for him and sautéed garlic green beans for me) for the first time in months. 

When my husband is not around I eat a lot like a kid. I make a lot of homemade sugar free ice cream. I eat a lot of bacon and eggs. Together or separately. Plus I eat a lot of nostalgic things, like eggs with cheddar cheese and ketchup, which was my go to bodega breakfast sandwich back in NYC when I was both poor and ate bread. And I love it for that time! Of course I do. But the truth is it’s not as great as sitting down to dinner with my husband. 

Food is always emotional for me. I am not neutral around it. Not around sugar, but also not around the things I do and can eat. I am just as obsessed with eating as I ever was. But the boundaries make it easy for me to be obsessed 3 times a day. Instead of all day every day. 

I have had to make friends with the way I relate to food. Mange to keep it in its proper place, while accepting that I will never not care about it. But the great thing about that is that food can still be my sanctuary. In fact, it is more a sanctuary now than when I was eating compulsively. Because I get to go hide in the food for a time now. Half an hour or an hour. But then I can walk away and leave it to go have a life until the next meal. And there is always another meal coming.

Sensible Priorities for a One Track Mind

I have spent my week building furniture. Two night stands, two end tables, a TV stand, a coffee table, a small dresser, and a platform bed frame with headboard. The dining set and couch should be delivered this coming week.

We ended up buying all of our furniture on line, and I am the one who is here. So I am the one who has to build it. To be honest, I kind of love it. I like building things. I’m good at it. And there is something deeply satisfying about taking an array of stuff, putting it together, and getting something useful. Not that the things that I am building are particularly complicated. They are not. And some of them, like the end tables, are literally just screwing the legs directly into the table tops. No tools or hardware required. (The bed was more complex.)

And any time there was something particularly difficult, or really more like cumbersome and meant for more than one person, I figured out a way around it. Because I like problem solving too. And I am good at that too.

A project like those kinds of projects are fun for me. But they can also make me obsessed and obsessive. Once it’s begun I don’t want to stop until it’s finished. Even if there is something else important I should be doing. Like eating lunch. Because it’s time, and I’m hungry, and I am not thinking as well as I would be once I ate my lunch. 

That is one of my many gifts of getting my eating under control. Common sense priorities. 

I can have a one track mind. Even when I was in the food I could have a one track mind, even about things that weren’t sugar or carbohydrate related. (Though that was a huge part of it.) I can get caught up in a crochet or knitting project and not want to stop. One more row, one more line, one more pattern repeat. I can get caught up in making a costume or some other kind of art piece, and look up and realize it’s after midnight and I have been at it for hours. 

But getting my eating under control taught me that eating my weighed and measured meal at a reasonable time is more important than the momentum of building a bed frame. And the bed frame will still be there when I get done, and my body is sated and my brain is getting enough fuel to not put the piece on backwards and screw the hardware in so tight I strip the screws. 

I have a lot of crazy. A lot of intense feelings. And not just weepy sadness or incandescent rage. I have a lot of strong desire and driven ambition. It’s not a particularly useful kind of ambition that makes me a boat load of money, like the desire to build a company from the ground up, or be a CEO. It’s definitely centered more around arts and crafts. But it can still make me crazy and single minded to the detriment of my health and well-being.

So getting sensible priorities was a gift of putting the food down. Yes, I can still get lost in a project. Start designing a new part of my latest crochet doll and miss my usual workout time. Or get caught up in fixing a mistake in my blanket and look up and realize I need to stop and eat lunch or I will have to push dinner back. Or stop trying new crochet techniques for nothing in particular but my own learning and go to sleep if I want my 8 hours. And I most definitely want my 8 hours. 

Getting my eating under control didn’t change my personality. It just made me able to manage my own natural craziness. But that is definitely a gift worth having.

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