onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “bodies”

Because I can’t unshoot the gun. And I don’t know that I would if I could…

I was talking to a friend this morning. Another woman with eating disorders and body image issues. Someone I love and identify with. The kind of person with whom you can have a conversation that is both intellectual and spiritual at the same time.

She said something that I had never heard before. “Genetics loads the gun, but environment pulls the trigger.” It’s a quote by Dr. Francis Collins.

I believe that I have a genetic predisposition to have an unhealthy physical reaction to sugar, grains, and starch. And I believe that when that physical reaction was triggered in my childhood, it triggered a mental obsession. But the environment I grew up in triggered a very specific mental obsession. It was an obsession with eating. Eating more. Eating constantly. I hated being fat. So I disconnected from my body. But my obsession was with food. Sugar, specifically.

Then I moved away from that environment. To New York City. And in that new environment, I developed a whole new set of mental obsessions that stemmed from that same physical reaction. All of a sudden I had a kind of vanity that I had never experienced before. I did not have bulimic tendencies or the same kinds of body image issues before I moved to New York City. There I was still obsessed with eating, but then there was this added obsession with appearances. With being beautiful. With appearing like a normal eater by maintaining a socially acceptable body.

I am clear that I am not going to be able to reverse any of these things now. Perhaps if I never moved to New York, I would not have become a bulimic. But I did. And I am. And now I can’t unshoot that gun. Or the sugar addict, compulsive eater gun. I am now irreversibly a compulsive eater, bulimic, exercise bulimic, and sugar addict with body dysmorphia. One particular blessing is that I do not have to engage in the damaging behaviors of these diseases because I do the work I do every day to keep my eating and my eating disorders under control.

But then I have to ask, what of it? Does it even matter? Is there an environment that I could have grown up in that would not have triggered my eating disorders? And even if there were such an environment, that’s not how my life went. Who is to say that growing up with a healthy relationship with food would have given me a better life?

Because along with a certain amount of pain and difficulty, my eating disorders gave me another gift. Dealing with them meant changing the way I looked at life and the world. In other words, I don’t know if I would have learned the best lessons of my life if I didn’t have to learn them to stop killing myself with food.

• Keep your eyes on your own life. You don’t know what people are going through by looking at their shiny hair and skinny thighs on the subway. All you are seeing is their outsides. You don’t know their troubles or their pain.

• You have your journey and everybody else has theirs. You didn’t get a bad one. Or the wrong one. You didn’t get a life any worse than any other.

• Control is an illusion. The only things you control are your actions and your reactions. Outcomes are totally out of your hands. So behave in a way that makes you proud of yourself. Because when you think doing it “right” means it will turn out the way you want, you’ll start to think you always do everything thing “wrong”. Bit if you live like you can’t do it “wrong”, you start to notice that everything always turns out “right”.

• Perfection is not an option. And once you accept that as the truth, you are free to be yourself. And free to be happy.

I guess what I’m trying to say today, is that it doesn’t matter that genetics loaded the gun. It doesn’t matter that environment pulled the trigger. It doesn’t matter that I can’t unshoot it. It’s life. My life. I happen to think it’s a good one. Full of blessings. But in reality, it’s the same life as when I thought it was a great big bucket of suck. I just make better decisions now.

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Now that I know what is possible, I am doing my best to forget it

Something came to my attention this week. Something that has absolutely nothing to do with me. But it affected me. So I am writing about it today.

A woman named Caroline Berg Eriksen, who is a famous fitness blogger (and the wife of a famous athlete) in Norway, posted an underwear-clad selfie 4 days after giving birth. She looked totally physically fit.

This made some people very angry and frustrated. Some (only some) of those people were downright mean, calling Eriksen names.

The angry people made other people angry. These other people defended Eriksen.

If you want to go look at her picture you can, obviously. But I am certainly not going to link to it myself. And if you have body image disorders, like I do, I do not recommend it.

I do not like this world we live in now. Where unless we choose to actively avoid it, we are inundated with images and stories of the daily lives of people who fit a narrow standard of beauty. And sometimes we see these images and stories in spite of our active avoidance.

I do not go out and seek pictures of other women to be told that they are beautiful. To be told what beauty is. I am an active avoider.

And I do not like this world where we as a whole global society selectively share with one another glimpses of our wins, our joys, and our successes. While hiding or glossing over our less shining moments. Asking the rest of the world to compare their whole lives to our manicured and polished outsides. Our facades. Our half-truths.

I do not like this world where we are so afraid of being inadequate that we feel the need to express ourselves to the ENTIRE WORLD, but only the parts of us that we think are adequate.

I certainly did not go looking for this story. It is exactly the kind of thing I avoid. It came to me.

Do I think the women who disparaged Caroline Berg Eriksen are right? No. But do I think Caroline Berg Eriksen has done women in general a disservice? I do.

First, people have said that this is her job. She’s a fitness blogger. She has to look good. I do understand that. So on that note, can we stop pretending she’s not selling something? That she’s “just really proud of herself.” I’m sure she worked very hard. But I’m also sure that she won the genetic lottery in regards to the modern standard of beauty. And that she is making a lot of money from that. So you’ll excuse me for not pitying her.

I think that we already put too much emphasis on women’s looks, and bodies. Their size and shape. And this is coming from a woman who lost 150 lbs. And is happy about it. You will not hear me defending my “right” to be fat. But does it really need to be put out into the world that it is “possible” to be “hot” 4 days after giving birth?

I think that men will be judging the women in their lives differently “now that they know what is possible.”

And I think that young girls will be thinking differently about who they should be in the world, and what they should expect from themselves “now that they know what is possible.”

And I think that women who are having and soon to be having babies will judge themselves much more harshly “now that they know what is possible.”

I think that all women will be judging themselves more harshly “now that they know what is possible.”

I have heard it asked why women have to be so mean to other women. There is, to me, an unspoken, underlying context in this question. They are asking why the “jealous” women are writing nasty things about the “hot” woman. Why can’t they just be nice?!

But to some of us, maybe the less cultivated souls, the less enlightened, the less peaceful, Caroline Berg Eriksen has put a limit on our options. We can either hate her, or hate ourselves. If these are my only options, I will hate her in a heartbeat.

That is not where I stand today. And that is not who I want to be. I don’t want to be a person who hates. Anyone. I definitely strive to cultivate my soul. To be peaceful. But I think self-preservation, no matter how clumsy and inelegant, is always preferable to self-hatred.

No, I don’t hate her. I can see that she has to live in the same society that I do. She just lives in it in a different way. But that picture did make me feel inadequate. And it made me sad. It made me cry for myself.

And no I don’t hate myself. But I have years of actively learning to love myself. And of not seeking out pictures of “what is possible” so I can compare myself. I have years of practice knowing I am beautiful just the way I am. And I mean practice. It takes practice.

And I still forget sometimes.

Do I think she shouldn’t have posted that picture? Who am I to say? I don’t know. Isn’t life too complicated to answer that question?

I can say that her picture hurt me. And shamed me. And that the outcry that came from so-called jealous women all over the world shows me that it hurt and shamed them too.

I am grateful that when I remember it, there is relief in knowing that the possibility of perfection is off the table. There is freedom in the acceptance of being flawed. But sometimes, like when somebody posts a picture of themselves being seemingly impossibly flawless, it’s hard to remember.

No. I don’t hate Caroline Berg Eriksen. I don’t wish her ill. But I don’t like her, either. I won’t defend her. I don’t praise her. I don’t honor her. I do not thank her for showing me “what is possible.” It wasn’t a gift to me.

Putting the ‘fun’ in functioning like a normal human being

This is the first weekend in long time (6 weeks? 7?) that my boyfriend and I didn’t have any obligations to take care of. I didn’t have to jump out of bed and get ready for the day. I got to lay around until whenever this morning. (Whenever was about 7:30) I had a leisurely breakfast. I took my time cleaning up the kitchen. I threw a couple of loads of laundry in.

The last couple of months have been exciting. It has been great to travel. It has been fun to see friends. To celebrate life and love. To dance. To experience new places and things. I have enjoyed it very much.

And I am also positively loving this lazy day at home with my boyfriend.

One of the best parts about having my eating under control, is that I can enjoy just general life. (Frankly, the very best part about having my eating under control is having my eating under control, but anyway…)

I was basically unhappy when I was eating compulsively, but not just about being fat, and food obsessed, and ashamed. I was also never satisfied. With anything. I would have been easily angered and frustrated by all the traveling I enjoyed so much this past month. I would have been devastated by the smallest hiccup in any of the plans. The truck breaking down. My flight from New York being delayed. I would have been so worried about embarrassing myself and trying to be, look and act perfect that I wouldn’t have enjoyed the wedding.

And then this morning, I would have been some nonsensical mix of anxious and bored. Or I would have spent my entire day doing nothing (high on sugar), and then have been humiliated at night when I did nothing all day.

The other thing that I sometimes forget is that when I ate compulsively, I never slept at night. I stayed up until at least 1 or 2 in the morning, if not later. If I had to be awake in the morning, I often overslept. If I didn’t have to wake up, I would easily sleep until 1 or 2 in the afternoon.

I hated the daytime. People were doing useful and productive things in the daytime. I wanted to eat and smoke and read comic books and not have anything be expected of me.

I am so the opposite of that now. If I am up past 10 pm, I am exhausted! I love the morning. I love breakfast and coffee and sunshine and making the bed and straightening up the house from the night before.

When I was eating compulsively I lived in terror of missing out on all the fun. But I never really enjoyed the “fun”. Now, I show up for what is going on, and I usually have fun, whatever that is. Whether it’s driving for 12 hours, dancing at a wedding, or laying on the couch reading and drinking coffee.

And finally, there is one more thing I want to talk about today. At the very end of September, I spoke to my friend who helps me make decisions about my food, and she recommended that I stop weighing myself on the first of the month for a while. She understood that it was torture for me. She said that as long as I was keeping my boundaries around my food, I was doing the right thing. And that there was no reason to punish myself by weighing myself. This is what I’m doing for now. The time when I begin to weigh myself on the first of the month will probably begin again at some point, but that point is not now.

Well… since I stopped weighing myself a little over a month ago, my clothes have been getting bigger. Around mid-September I bought some new jeans. One pair that I bought was a size 8 and fit. One pair was a size 6, and I could get them on, but they did not fit. Last week I noticed that the 8s were falling off of me, and today I am wearing the 6s.They fit.

Everything in me wants to get on the scale. Wants to see the number. Wants to see exactly how much weight I have lost in the past 2 months.

But the truth is, that will only lead to eating disorder thinking and I know it. I will not be happy with the number. Whatever it may be. I will want to lose more. More quickly. Now.

And the other truth is that I do not think it is a coincidence that I started to lose weight after I stopped weighing myself. I have not been eating any lighter. (If you didn’t know, I got a deep-fryer!) I believe that fear of my weight kept me stuck. I believe that the obsession with my weight wouldn’t allow me to release it. In other words, I couldn’t let it go until I let it go. I don’t want to think about my weight any more than a body-dysmorphic girl with eating disorders has to. And insisting that I get on the scale, when I have been given a loving suggestion not to, is to go looking for pain and drama.

I don’t want to care about my weight. Yes, I want to be healthy. Yes, I want to be sane. Yes, I want to be in a comfortable body. But I want to be free to be comfortable in the body I am in…

With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Last week, I learned about the existence of something that I found deeply upsetting. (This is gross hyperbole, by the way.) And I had to decide if I wanted to write about it here. Because I didn’t want to give it publicity. Or help steer people toward it.

But I realized pretty quickly that I needed to write about it. Because it exists. And my responsibility is to tell my truth. Not to shield others from reality.

This thing I’m referring to is something called Pro-Ana. As in pro-anorexia. As in “all for starving yourself as a means to be as thin as possible in order to be beautiful.” There are people who refer to anorexia as Ana, and often personify the disease. Like I’m hanging out with my friend Ana. She’s the only one who understands me.

Obviously, this creates a visceral reaction in me. When I looked into it, I immediately became an unsettling mix of angry, nauseous, and down-right terrified. And that kind of knee-jerk response makes me want to spout off. It makes me want to say cruel, sick things. It makes me want to lash out at these people, and verbally attack them where they are weakest. Because I know where they are weakest. It is where I, too, am weakest, and most afraid.

But I’m not going to do that today. Today, I am going to talk about disease. I am going to talk about the ways eating disorders affected my spirit and my mind. The way they ruined my life. Until I found out how to deal with them. I figured out how to control my eating disorders. Not “myself”, or my weight, or my eating. I did eventually get control of all of those things. But first I had to get control of the disease. The spiritual, mental and emotional sickness.

I’m not going to spout about health and beauty. Because to focus (attack) on health and beauty is to imply that I would like to deny people their own standards and opinions, their own choices, and their own rights to live as they want to live.

And the terrified girl inside me does want that. Wants to say that pro-ana should not be allowed. Wants to vilify the people who are creating blogs and websites promoting eating disorders, giving tips and tricks for how to be better at starving and/or purging, and glorifying extreme weight-loss with pictures and stories.

But I don’t get on my high horse when it comes to smoking, or drinking alcohol, or drug use. I have respect for healthy people’s life choices, and sympathy for people living in addiction.

But eating disorders revolve around obsession. They eliminate even the opportunity for satisfaction. And they lead to deeper and deeper self-involvement that leads, not to self-love, but to self-loathing.

I have been morbidly obese. But I have also been a bulimic, an exercise-bulimic, and a laxative abuser, among other things. I have less experience with anorexia, but I have some. I have gone through short periods of starvation. And I have gone through periods where I restricted to the point of shutting down my body. Eating only egg whites and raw vegetables. Not eating any fat. So that I stopped getting my period. And ended up so bloated that people started asking me if I were pregnant.

I went to a gynecologist when my period didn’t come for 3 or 4 months. She asked me how and what I was eating. I was secretive and dishonest. I wanted my period to come back. I wanted her to fix me. Even though I knew that the problem was the way I was and wasn’t eating.

She could never understand. I had been so fat. I could never go back there again. I needed to lose more weight. I just needed her to make me start menstruating again. It was none of her business what I was or wasn’t eating.

She put me on birth control pills. That made me get my period again. But it didn’t stop the bloating. And it didn’t stop me from feeling out of control, and crazy. It didn’t bring me the peace I wanted. I wanted my period to come back because I wanted to be assured that I was ok. But I was not ok.

So then I went on a 6 day green juice fast. I had nothing to eat for 6 days. I drank 3 green vegetable juices a day from a juice bar. That made me feel fantastic! It made me feel powerful, and in control and like master of my weight and body. It made me lose all of the water that I had been carrying in my belly. I think I lost over 15 lbs in those 6 days. And that triumph was followed by the darkest period of my life so far.

It led to uncontrollable bingeing. It led to the most damaging bulimic acts I would ever commit. It lead to the deepest self-hatred I have ever experienced. It lead to self-enforced isolation. It lead me to distrust everyone. I was delusional and crazy. I was miserable.

And I felt trapped. I couldn’t see any way out. I felt doomed. Either to perpetuate this horror of bingeing and purging and exercising and starving and striving. Or just plain giving up and gaining back the 150 lbs I had lost. And living in shame for the rest of my life.

One thing that my eating disorders did was allow me to convince myself that a certain weight would bring peace and happiness.

Of course, I might reach that goal. I did. A few times. And I would be happy. Maybe even satisfied. For a moment. But then I would either want more, or I would be tortured trying to maintain what I had accomplished. I’m saying it was never enough. I was never good enough. I was looking for perfection. And I was positive that if I were only good, better, worthy, I would attain it.

That is what my eating disorders did to me.

I can’t go on anymore today. It’s too big a topic for me to be able to handle in one post. Even having had this week to think about it. I’m feeling how scrunched up my face is at this moment. This has been painful for me. But important. I’m glad I got to write it. And I will probably write about it again in the future. But for this week, put a fork in me. I’m done.

Sidewalks on Memory Ln.

If you had told me last week that I would be thoroughly enjoying my longish stay in the suburb where I grew up, I would have told you that you didn’t know me very well.

But apparently I didn’t know me very well.

First of all, there are sidewalks! Thank God for sidewalks! After being stuck for 3 months (Ok, stuck pool-side. In a luxury apartment complex. But still stuck…) I find myself disposed to love any sidewalks. And the same sidewalks of my formative years proved to be as good as any.

I have been walking. For hours. For miles. Just walking.

It’s good for my mental health and morale. It feels good to move my body. The way I did in New York. Loving to move is one of the best gifts of getting my food under control and losing 150 lbs.

When I was fat, moving my body was exhausting and painful. Now I love it. It is exhilarating. It reminds me that I’m alive. And that I like it. No, that I love being alive. That I love my life.

I still don’t like “exercise”. You won’t find me at a gym, or running on a track. I will not be wearing spandex clothes and sweating for an allotted amount of time so that I can feel like I did what I’m “supposed to do.”

Plus “exercise” makes the bulimic girl in my head go a little crazy. 5 more minutes. 1 more hour. 10 more laps. You’ll be that much closer to losing another pound. Another 5. You can get back to 133. Maybe you could break 130! You could be the thinnest you’ve ever been!

Um…yeah. No. We don’t need her butting her nose in. And walking, just plain walking outside in the world, keeps the bulimic girl calm. Or at least reined in.

But there is another thing here in the place where I grew up. Something I hadn’t particularly expected. Or at least hadn’t expected to find the least bit enjoyable. Nostalgia.

I did not like myself growing up. And that made for a rather unhappy childhood.

And it has happened a few times this past week that I have passed a place that has brought up a painful memory. Or a shameful one. I’ve done some cringing. And experienced some discomfort.

But it has also been a good opportunity to remember that the fat girl who grew up here is me. That she walked here too. Not with confidence. Or much grace. But she walked these same sidewalks none the less. And that not all of it was bad. That there were people I liked who liked me. That there was fun and happiness.

Sure it was always colored by my own self-loathing. But not even that can make all of life terrible. Plus, that’s not what my life is like anymore.

That integrating of my past and my present is probably the hardest part of my life’s journey so far.

But it occurs to me that it is probably not an accident that I fell in love with a man from that past. Who owns a home in this same place I grew up. God is sneaky. And has a twisted sense of humor. But is apparently also infinitely wise.

Just because it was cute and funny in the afternoon, doesn’t mean it wasn’t actually a nightmare at night

Thursday this past week was the 1st. If you’ve been reading for a while you know the first of the month is “weigh day.”

Since May, when I started to lose the weight I gained from quitting smoking, weigh day has become less and less scary for me.

When I was continually gaining, with seemingly no rhyme or reason, and no correlation to what I was eating, I was constantly afraid. I worried about stepping on the scale no matter how far away it was. I was worried about November 1st on October 2nd.

Just last week I wrote about how I’m not so worried about my weight lately. And that’s true. Even on Wednesday (7/31) I wasn’t worried. Aware, yes. Thrilled about getting on the scale, no. But not worried.

Or so I thought.

Wednesday night I had a crazy nightmare.

First, I started to eat before I weighed myself (which is not something I do in real life. I have my weigh day ritual. I weigh myself bone dry before I so much as take a sip of water and after I *ahem* go to the bathroom.) But then I remembered it was weigh day, so I stopped eating and I ran home. I told a friend who was standing outside my door that I had forgotten to weigh myself as I ran past her. And I downloaded a free app to my bathroom scale that would make it talk to me in the voice of The Cat in the Hat (a la the 1971 animated special. What the hell. It was free.) So I got on the scale and it told me I had lost 4 lbs. “Ho ho! It went in the direction you wanted it to go!” But when I looked down, I noticed that the scale was not flat on the floor. And that my floor was so cluttered with junk that I couldn’t find a flat place to put it. But I finally found a place to put it. Only when I went to step on it, the app kept giving me various menus, and I had to figure out which one was the right one to tell me *my* weight, not somebody else’s.

This absolutely occurs to me as hilarious now. Both ridiculous and humorous. But at the time it was an out-and-out nightmare. I was overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. And it took a long time for me to get out of bed Thursday morning. I did not want to get on that scale.

But I did. And I lost half a pound. I have lost 6 lbs total in the past 4 months.

It takes a lot of thought management to deal with my body image disorders. And even then there is only so much I can do. I didn’t want to have that nightmare. And it would be ludicrous to blame myself for my subconscious working things out.

Thankfully, there are boundaries in my life. Actions that I take and don’t take. Things that make nightmares and thoughts and wants utterly insignificant.

I weigh myself on the 1st. And only on the 1st. It’s what I do. It doesn’t matter how I feel about it.

I eat within my food boundaries. Always and only. It doesn’t matter if I’m hungry or not. It doesn’t matter how I feel about it.

There is a freedom in that which is counter intuitive. It may seem like a limitation. But what it frees me from is being a slave to my feelings. And having to decipher which of my feelings are real and honorable, and which are my crazy trying to get out. Weighing myself when I have made a commitment to do so makes it go away. I don’t have to second guess myself. I don’t have to wonder if I made the right decision. It doesn’t have to stay with me and haunt me. I can let it go. And it will actually go.

So after I weighed myself Thursday morning, I spent the day cooking and packing food within my boundaries to take with me to the airport on my way for a family visit this weekend. I made and packed a full day’s worth of food, even though we should land before lunch and long before dinner. Just in case of delays or unexpected trouble. Because whatever my weight, or my situation, or how my plans work out, or don’t, there are still boundaries to keep. And 3 meals every day to be relished and savored.

I know that all things are temporary. And I am looking forward to the time when my body becomes a non-issue. Both consciously and subconsciously. But until then, I am grateful I always have rules. Rules that I follow no matter how I feel. Clear and simple.

Want to get a bikini body this summer?

Put a bikini on your body…

I have mentioned before, just last week even, that other people’s eating disorders can bring my own eating disorders to the forefront of my thinking. That’s true of my body image disorders as well. And I’m in a funny place right now. I would say that it’s a pretty good place. But weird.

See, for the most part, my body is not an issue lately. But also, grocery store checkout tabloids and people with body issues on social media are putting images that make me angry (frustrated? freaked out?) all up in my face.

I did not lose 150 lbs for my health. Period. (Just like I did not quit smoking for my health.) I have never ever ever done anything for my health. It is not what motivates me. And I’m not sorry for it. Or ashamed of it.

Yes, I know that the world wants health to be the great motivator. Good Lord, they say it often enough. Just try putting some artificial sweetener in your coffee in a public place. You’d think you were snorting cocaine on the Starbucks counter top. That’s so bad for you!

And it was certainly vanity that got me to get control of my eating. (And quit smoking.) But it was not really physical vanity. It was less what my body looked like, and more what my body said about me.

Here’s the way I think I can explain it. Being fat was, as far as I was concerned, the physical manifestation of how messed up, out of control, morally bankrupt, self-hating, unlovable, and pathetic I was. It was the big billboard that announced “This girl is totally f***ed up!” So yes, I did not want to be fat anymore.

But my experience is that there is a crazy paradox that goes along with losing weight. And even more specifically, getting the body I wanted. And now love.

I had to stop caring about whether or not I would get the body I wanted. And I had to love the body I had. I had to let go of what I thought would be a good body, the right body, a beautiful body.

Because I do not have the body that I thought I would have to have before I could love my body. I just plain don’t. But I sure do love my body. LOVE it!

Those fashion magazine articles that tell us to tape pictures of women with the bodies we want on our refrigerators for motivation, with the promise that if we work hard enough, and be good enough, we too will get that body, well…they’re lying. Those women are models. And I’m going to be blunt here, they are models because they have a rare body shape and type. That a very greedy beauty industry is trying to sell us at all costs. And those pictures are probably photoshopped. The truth is that no matter how disciplined, committed to our diets and regimented in our workouts we are, we will probably never get a body that looks like those women’s bodies.

I know for a fact that I never will. Never ever. I have my own body. It’s the one I got from my parents. And God, or Nature, or Life, or whatever you want to call it. And there is nothing wrong with that. Did you get that? Let me reiterate. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! I even abused the hell out of my body. And it is fantastically beautiful!

If I had gotten control of my eating to get a beautiful body, I would have given up a long time ago. I would have decided that none of it was worth it. If I couldn’t have a magazine-worthy body, I might as well have had chocolate cake.

But I don’t need to have a model’s body. Thank God! I don’t need to be seen as skinny. Hell, lately, I don’t even need to worry about how fast (or if) I’m going to lose the rest of the weight I gained when I quit smoking. (I do still have body image disorders, so frankly, that might come up again. But for now it’s a non-issue.)

I certainly do not think of this blog as being a weight loss or eating disorder instruction manual. I do my best to keep it about my own experience. But today I’m branching out a bit. So if you read me looking for clues about how to lose weight, here’s my advice. And it’s good!

Don’t wait to lose weight to love yourself. Love yourself now. Don’t wait to get a beautiful body before you start thinking your body is beautiful. Think it’s beautiful now.

Because there is magic in that! It’s a Jedi mind trick. It works. It will probably help you lose weight. And even if it doesn’t…You will love your body! How could that be a bad thing?!?!

Take on the world or take a nap? Decisions decisions…

Do you know what’s amazing? How quickly new and different can become the norm. Accepted. Expected. How quickly the human brain can assimilate.

I’m tired lately. Often sleeping more than 8 hours. And having a hard time getting out of bed. I have been having (and remembering – which is unusual for me) vivid nightmares and anxiety dreams. I have been getting tired earlier in the evening. Physically too. Finding it hard to sit up at the table after dinner. Want to go be limp on the couch or on my super-comfy chair on the porch. I’m having a new, minor outbreak of my eczema. And found out I’m allergic to something else I didn’t know about before.

I have been feeling kinda beat up. (Not emotionally unhappy. Just put through the ringer.) And I have been wondering why.

And then today I looked at the calendar, and I realized that I have been here, in my new life, for less than 7 weeks. Not even 2 months.

And a bunch of stuff has happened in this 7 weeks. Good and bad. Exciting and stressful. It’s not like it has been one big 7 week vacation. But the important part, the relationship part, has been so natural, that it seems like it has been going on for years. So I forget. That I need to adjust. Yes, even though it seems like regular life by now.

I know I’ve touched on this topic before. But apparently I forget things I already know. So I’m telling you again. Because I’m telling myself again.

Because this happens to me all the time. I start something huge, like quitting sugar, or quitting smoking, or, in this case, moving half way across the country and starting a relationship, and I adapt. Quickly. And then I wonder why my body is “acting up.”

These things that are happening right now – the dreams, and the fatigue, and the eczema – these are all things that have happened to me before when I have made big changes.

And even now, I am anticipating that this should end soon. Soon. In a week or two, right? Isn’t two full months enough? Can we get a schedule nailed down here?

If I were a friend of mine, I would laugh. And tell me to give myself a break.

But there is this part of me that thinks I’m so special. You don’t understand. I’ve got this. I’m settled now, and I know how this works.

I so often give so much honor and credence to my thoughts, and so little to my body. It’s a bad habit. One that almost certainly stems from when I was fat. And shame for my body made me think of it as “not me.”

But of course, it is me. And, frankly, my body is significantly more honest and straightforward than my mind.

My mind tells me that if I were good enough, if, I would be healthy, and full of energy, and ready to take on the world. That I have had enough time to adjust. That I should be done adjusting.

My body, on the other hand, tells me that the reality is that I am not. It wants me to take care of myself. Take my time. Take it easy. Be patient with myself.

And that slow, still, quiet voice in my heart, the one I started to hear when I stopped eating sugar and started putting boundaries around my food, reminds me there is no “should” and no “if.” That if there were another way for it to be, it would be that way. That I am exactly as I should be. Nightmares and eczema and all.
Note to self, sit still and listen to that voice more often…

Breaking news! This just in: I’m cold

It’s a slow news week here in eating-disorder-land. Or, you know, under-control-eating-disorder-land. Lots of grocery shopping and cooking and general food preparation. Lots of sitting on the porch crocheting. Watching the lizards and the birds. As I write this, there are four hawks circling above me.

For a New York City girl, I sure do love the big, open sky. And the total lack of urgency. The quiet. Except for everybody else’s air conditioners running all the time.

The weather down here is hot. And I love it. No, seriously. I love it.

People don’t believe me. Think I must be exaggerating. But I love the extreme heat. When I say everybody else’s air conditioners, I mean it. I don’t like a/c. And my boyfriend is incredibly generous with me. He let’s me live in an a/c-free home.

We live on the first floor, our windows face east, and we keep the blinds drawn. So our apartment is generally 10 degrees cooler than it is outside. But for most people, that’s still hot.

When I was fat, I was hot all the time. I sweated all seasons of the year. I didn’t wear a coat in winter. In Chicago.

And then in the summer, there was the heat. And then that added heat. Because I had so much shame around my body. So I wore lots of clothes. Dresses and jeans together. Over-sized shirts over tank tops. Always pants. Always. If there was air conditioning, I wanted to be in it. Or really needed to be in it. I hated being outdoors. (Which may shock you if you met me within the past 7 years, since it’s my favorite thing now. In New York, if I wasn’t wandering the city, I was on my roof. Here I’m on my porch, or laying out in the sun.)

Now, I rarely sweat. I am always somewhere between cold and comfortable. In fact, every year I don’t eat sugar, grains, or starch, I get colder.

I’m at the point now where if the temperature is below about 73 and the sun is not directly on me, I’m kind of chilly.

I bring a sweater with me everywhere. I never know if I’m going to end up in some air-conditioned place and be incredibly uncomfortable.

The truth is that it’s a problem I have now. Maybe the biggest issue going on in my life here. That I need to bring a sweater to the grocery store. That if I’m going to have my super yummy, home-made frozen smoothie for breakfast, I have to wear sleeves and drink hot coffee or I get too cold. In other words, my biggest problem is a luxury problem.

Obviously, I was being serious. It’s a slow news day. That’s the best I’ve got for you this week. And I won’t even lie and tell you I hope I have something more exciting to write next week. Life usually has a way of furnishing some form of drama. Eventually. I don’t need to wish for it to come faster. I promise to write next week. About something. And if it’s peaceful and unexciting…well, hooray for me!

I’m like a super hero. I’m so fast, my own body has to catch up to me.

So it’s weigh day. And for the second month in a row I lost weight. (Yay!) I’m down another 1.4 lbs. I’m at 158.8. It’s good. I’m grateful for it. I’m trying not to wish for it to go faster.

I have done a pretty good job of not focusing on my body. (Except for my tan, anyway. I have spent a lot of time focusing on that.) I haven’t been eating “lighter”. I have not been choosing “diet” foods. I have been eating plenty of bacon and cheese. Always, of course, within my boundaries. But I have not been trying to help the weight loss along. Or hurry it up. I’ve got enough to process without also trying to manage my weight.

Eat within my boundaries. That’s all I have to do. It’s enough.

Also, I have been very emotional lately. Very emotional.

Yes, I am happy. Still. More happy every day, really.

But I forget that the kind of life change I just made, accompanied by a physical move half way across the country, is traumatic. That it would be for anyone in the world. And that love doesn’t make it not traumatic. It just makes me forget that it’s traumatic. But even if I forget or fail to notice that I just jumped into a new life with no preparation and almost no time to adjust, my body has noticed. My heart and soul are overjoyed. I know that I am in the right place. With the right person. But my body is letting me know that it has to deal with the upheaval.

There are two things that are happening that have me understand that my body is in shock. I have a stress-related form of eczema. I have had it most of my memorable life. And I am having a particularly severe outbreak right now. And on a few occasions now, I have found myself crying over silly things. Irrational crying. In other words, I am having feelings that I can’t explain and I don’t know how to manage.

And I don’t get to eat them.

These kinds of feelings and experiences are why I ate sugar. Why I was a binge eater and sugar addict. Because sugar got me crazy high. Anesthetized. So I didn’t have to deal with feelings. And I didn’t have to deal with discomfort. And the not dealing occurred like managing.

But that was not the reality. I was not managing. The thing about not dealing with feelings is that they don’t go away. They just become dormant. Until they’re not anymore. Until they come back with a vengeance. From out of nowhere. When I least expect them.

So I’m not eating over my irrational emotions. And I’m not trying to hide or stifle or contain them. I’m crying when I feel the need to cry. And honoring what is going on in my body. And letting it be what it is. Because it is what it is. And carbs and sugar and binge eating won’t change that.

And then I’m trusting. That everything is going exactly the way it should be going. And that life is giving me the right things at the right time. And that as long as I keep my food under control I can come from a place of love. And that when I come from love, I can’t do it wrong or mess it up or fail. Because I know I’m where I want to be. And where I’m supposed to be. And with the person I’m supposed to be with.

I have heard it said that the only way around is through. So I’m going straight through. Right through the center. Because when this adjustment is done, I want it to be really done. And when I have moved on, I want to really be moved on.

I like to live clean. Honest, with integrity, and in the present moment. And I can say at this particular present moment, as I hit the “publish” button to post this, that I am well and happy. And that there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

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