onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “March, 2023”

Rest and work

This week has been a bit of a whirlwind. We got told that my husband’s company is moving us back home. To my own fancy kitchen. And back yard.  In less than 2 weeks. In time for spring. I’m pretty happy. But it is going to be a lot of work I wasn’t expecting for another half year.

The first few days after we got the news left me a little stupid and distracted. I couldn’t focus on much. And I had a hard time getting things done.

But that is a thing I learned from getting my eating under control. That I don’t always have control over the ways I think or feel. And that those things can have an effect on the practical aspects of my day. And that it is totally normal to have days when I am less productive and effective.

I used to have a lot of judgement about what I was doing or what I was not doing. What I should have been doing or been able to do. I thought I should be like a machine. And usually all that pressure led me to break down, like a machine, and left me unable to do anything.

This week I had a lot of room for myself to be scatterbrained. And I spent the times I could get my head straight making a list of the things I am going to have to do this week to pack and clean and tie up all of our loose ends.

I never stop taking care of my food. It is my first priority every day. And thankfully, after 17 years, it is more ingrained as a habit than anything else in my life. And as long as I keep my eating under control, I have a chance of getting my head back in order and getting back to my normal, efficient self. 

When I first got my eating under control was when I first had people tell me to do less. To rest. To put on my bedroom slippers and make myself comfortable. That is was normal both to need a break and to take one. And being told it was OK to rest was how I learned how to work.

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Change takes change

There is a sentiment that I have heard many times from women who are already married or in a relationship when they get their eating under control. Their spouses say things like “I just wanted you to lose weight. I didn’t want you to change.”

When I first got my eating under control I had a kind of revelation. That if I was going to change the way I ate, I was going to have to change the way I ate. But also it meant I had to change other things about how I went through my day. Because eating was a major part of my day-to-day life.

Before that, I had wanted to change my body. And I was only vaguely aware of the fact that it had something to do with my eating. (Sugar is a hell of a drug.) But I didn’t want to change anything significant. It didn’t occur to me that success in arresting my compulsive eating meant I had to change anything except to do the few very specific things it took to “keep to a diet.” And I somehow expected it to work. 

Except that I didn’t. I always knew, and always FELT deep in me, that whatever diet I was on would not work. Wouldn’t work for me, at any rate. 

And I was right. Because there was no endgame. I was eating to get thin enough that I could eat the way I wanted to without judgement. But I did not want to stop eating. I simply wanted to avoid the consequences of it. 

I certainly could not have put that into words until I got my eating under control, but ultimately that was what it was. Because what I did NOT want to do was give up sugar.

What I really learned early on in recovery was that in order to make a real and lasting change in my eating and my body, I had to make other lasting changes. And in many ways, the things I had to do to get my eating under control made that part easy. It meant I had to go to the grocery store. I had to schedule that into my week. I had to cook meals within my boundaries. I had to figure out how to do that and still get to work on time. And I had to figure out how to get to meetings and talk to other people recovering from their own food addiction. I had to make time and put in effort. All of those things changed the shape of my days. And changing my schedule was the perfect way to change my actions and my results.

To change my life and get something different from what I have had, I have always had to change my life in practice. To take new and different actions and approaches. To behave differently. And it has always been worth it.

The thing that is killing me quickest

In the past 17 years since I got my sugar addiction and eating disorders under control I realized that a lot of people come to recovery wanting to change everything about their lives now. Right now! And I heard people with a lot of time in recovery say “for now, just quit the one thing that is killing you quickest.”


And that was amazing advice. I smoked for the first 6 or 7 years of having my eating under control. Because eating compulsively was definitely killing me quickest. (Physically? Who knows. But personally, emotionally, mentally and spiritually? Absolutely.)


I could only quit cigarettes because I had already gotten my eating taken care of to the point that I wasn’t afraid of the food anymore.


Well, this week I went to a doc-in-a-box because I was running out of the rescue inhaler I have been using for the last three months. And the very nice doctor (or nurse practitioner? Whatever) said that using a rescue inhaler every day is an issue. So she prescribed me a maintenance inhaler. And she told me that I need to get a primary doctor. That whatever I have is not something that she can diagnose. And that it is a big deal.


So apparently the thing that is killing me quickest currently is my fear of doctors.

I have trauma around doctors and medical professionals. You know that thing that Maya Angelou said? “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The culture of doctors and healthcare providers has always made me feel shamed, unworthy, and unwelcome. And while I was stressing over whether or not a doctor would refill my rescue inhaler prescription, I realized that I am afraid that I have to “deserve” healthcare. By being a good girl. By taking care of myself perfectly. By being worthy of a doctor’s time and attention.


Because when I was fat, I was always made to feel that I *didn’t* deserve to be taken care of. Because if I really cared about myself I would not have been fat. And if I didn’t care enough to stop eating, I didn’t deserve care from others. This is the way it is for a lot of fat people. And many of them have not had the privilege I have of being relatively healthy. I have not needed a doctor in the past 25 years. But I am 45 now. And apparently have some sort of lung issues. And I have to take some actions to find a doctor to be *my* doctor.


Just the thought makes me very emotional. And very afraid. But I am not a fool. And I do know that this is the thing that is killing me quickest. So just like any other thing I know is not serving my needs, I will change it. Slowly I don’t doubt. And imperfectly I am sure. But I will change it. One day at a time. One step at a time.

Fun at parties, but also, exhausted.

My husband and I flew home for a long weekend, and for the past few nights we have been staying up late and socializing. And I am exhausted. Not physically. Emotionally.

I am an outgoing person with a big personality and a lot of funny stories. In other words, I’m fun at parties. And I love being around people. But it’s a lot for me. It takes a lot out of me. 

This has generally always been true, but I did not necessarily know it when I was younger. What I do remember is that I would “disappear” from social life for long periods of time – weeks or even months sometimes – and my friends would call and I might or might not call back. And this often felt very shameful for me. 

The thing is, when I was giving all of my extroverted charm and entertainment, people decided that that was what I was really like. And they told me so. And I was either not confident enough in myself or not aware enough of my own heart and mind to recognize that my inner life and my outer life didn’t always match up in the ways others were telling me they did. And I thought it meant they should. 

In the past 17 years of having my eating under control I have realized that I have a reaction to how I think I should be, and it feels true, whether or not it is. And that reaction is a kind of panic. And I actively have to dismantle it. I have to put words to the panic, assess their value in the moment, and decide on a course of action that works for me.

In getting my eating under control I have the clarity to see that the panic is a feeling, not a truth. And that I have plenty of time to assess any given situation and act accordingly. Not as a rash decision, but as a calm evaluation of the circumstances. So today, I don’t have to feel bad or wrong or ashamed for being exhausted. And I can decide for myself what to do about it. 

Because another thing I got by getting my eating under control is the ability to make choices and not have to second guess myself. The ability to decide what is right for me and what I need and not have to be embarrassed about putting myself first.

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