onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “Halloween”

Not my candy, not my problem, not my business

I made it through my 12th Halloween without sugar and carbohydrates. And it was painless. 

We had plenty of candy on hand for trick or treaters, and we only got 4. But it didn’t tempt me. And not because it wasn’t “the good stuff.” It was exactly the stuff I wanted as a compulsive eater. (And even the stuff that wasn’t my favorite, I would have eaten anyway.)
I wanted all of the candy. Any candy. I have heard people in food recovery day that they ate their favorite things first, and then when they were gone, “ended up” eating things they didn’t particularly like. Not me. If I thought it was just OK, I ate it first, and saved my favorites for last. Because I always already knew I was going to eat it all.
I’ll say this for my food addict self. There wasn’t a lot of lying to myself about not eating it all. There was, however, a lot of lying to myself about how long it would last. And a lot of lying to other people about how much I could, would, and did eat.
But the big bowl of candy was a non issue for me at home. And now it’s at work where I hope a crew of construction workers will eat it. But whether it gets eaten or just thrown away, it is not me who will eat it, and it’s none of my business what happens to it.
There are 2 aspects to my immunity to the very candy I once lived for. First, the drug is not in my system, and has not been for over 12 and a half years. And second, I changed the way I think about candy, and about sugar and carbohydrates in general. It’s not mine. None of it is mine. It can be anyone else’s. I don’t have an opinion about that. I don’t need to know who it belongs to. Just who it doesn’t belong to. That’s me.
It’s simple, but not easy. At least not at first. It takes retraining your thoughts. And that takes practice. It doesn’t come naturally. I had to work at it daily before it became my default setting. Now it offers me the gift of giving out candy with a smile, and without a hint of either longing or self-loathing.
I think that aspect of it, the mental aspect, is a thing that is lacking when we talk about “fighting obesity.” Doctors and nutritionists tell us what to eat, and expect that whatever it is they are warning us against will make us obey. Diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s. It’s like the dietary version of “scared straight.” I have even heard medical professionals speaking to one another say, “If you were told you needed to change your diet or you were going to have a heart attack, don’t you think you would?” The implication being that people who don’t are lazy or stupid.
But a change like that takes resetting a lifetime of impulses and beliefs, truths buried so deep we sometimes don’t have language for them. It takes struggling through a million instincts to eat the candy.
Changing takes a certain amount of mental flexibility. And that is not easy, or obvious. Absolutely possible! But not a no-brainer. It takes lots of brain. And lots of action. And lots of sitting through pain. But there are peace and freedom on the other side. And I like peace and freedom better than chocolate.
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A Really Scary Halloween Story

Goodbye Halloween. I love Halloween. But it has been a while since I did much to celebrate. This year I didn’t even dress up, since I had to work.

No matter how I look at it, it’s such a beautiful miracle that I don’t care about candy. Halloween exactly 10 years ago was filled with humiliated binging, and a general sense of shame, but in a normal sized body.

Halloween 10 years ago was one of those days when I knew I was hitting bottom, but before I knew what I could do about it. It was the time in my life that I was most terrified about what would become of me. It was the time of my life when I felt the most out of control. I was barely managing to keep myself sane. I was in a regular sized body, but I could not stop eating. And all of my energy went into eating, and then trying to not gain weight from eating. 

Halloween 10 years ago was my first successful bulimic episode, where I stuck a toothbrush down my throat and actually managed to throw up. I had tried before that, but bulimia is not easy. (It turns out it’s not all that effective either.) I remember looking in the mirror and seeing how bloodshot my eyes looked from it. I remember being bloated and taking some gas medicine because of it. Gas medicine because I could not get the water pill some old woman recommend. I remember asking a pharmacist where I could get a water pill, and the pharmacist looking at me funny and asking if I had a prescription. And when I said I did not, telling me that they were dangerous and were not sold over the counter.

I remember being embarrassed and ashamed. I remember wondering if she could tell that I wanted it because I was bulimic. Wondering if it was written across my forehead. This girl is doing shameful things with food. I remember feeling crazy.

I remember that I was terrified that I was going to look fat and ugly for the Halloween birthday party I was going to. And I arrived later than I wanted because I was doing whatever I could think of to look normal. To not look bloodshot and bloated. 

The truth is, maybe I didn’t look as ugly as I thought I looked. But I was so unhappy. And I thought it must be obvious by just looking at me that I was so out of control that I had resorted to making myself throw up.

I thank God for many things about that day. I am grateful that I hit that point of desperation. I don’t think I could have found my solution for my eating disorders if I hadn’t tried something so extreme.

And ultimately, it would make for a very happy ending. Just two months later, I would find the solution to my eating problem. I would never have to worry about how to get rid of the food I wished I hadn’t eaten. 

I would get a life that was more peaceful than I could ever have imagined in my wildest dreams. A life where I can walk by a bowl full of candy, and rest easy knowing it’s not mine.

In case you missed it, it has already begun…

Another Halloween over. Of course, Halloween kicks off our collective debauched food binge that lasts through the extreme hangover that is New Years Day. The day we firmly resolve that this year we will be better. We will lose weight and drink more water and less alcohol and stop yelling at our kids and be better listeners.

I am so grateful that I don’t have to play that game anymore. Of course, at this particular moment I am most grateful that I did not have to eat compulsively just because it was Halloween. Trick or treat would have been, without a doubt, all trick and no treat.

I handed out the candy this year. Which wasn’t hard, because I don’t crave it since I haven’t had it in my body for over 8 years. And there weren’t many kids since it was so cold, so there is still a whole bunch of candy in the house. But thank God I don’t have to eat it. Thank God it’s not mine. Thank God I don’t have to start, and then be expected to stop. Because I don’t know if I have another stop in me. And I don’t want to find out.

I also love that I still love Halloween. I love dressing up. I love my own creativity. I love the chance to show off how clever I am. I love getting to wear a costume I can feel beautiful in. (I was Miss America this year. Complete with evening gown, tiara, sash and running mascara.) In a body I can feel beautiful in. I love that I don’t have to feel deprived. Of fun. Or chocolate. Because the truth is that I would not have just eaten some chocolate. And I wouldn’t have just eaten all of the chocolate. I would have eaten the things I didn’t want or like. I would have eaten everything that was there. And then I would have gotten more. I would have needed to go get more. I would not have been able to not get more. But instead, I get to still love Halloween because I don’t have to eat myself to shame and self-loathing. I love that I get to wake up with some dignity. Even after the binge-fest that is National Candy Day.

So now it is time to beware the Holiday Season. I may not be in danger, but food is still dangerous to me. Even after all this time. I don’t take it lightly. I protect myself from my eating disorders. By remembering that I am eternally a compulsive eater. Hopeless and without a cure. By making sure that the meals I make myself are delicious and decadent while keeping them within my eating boundaries. By remembering that I am addicted to sugars, grains and starches. By remembering how eating compulsively manifests in my life. On my body in the form of 150 more pounds. And in my personality in the form of lying, cheating and stealing. And in my heart as depression and self-hatred. I remember these things because I want to continue to wake up with dignity.

I may have made it through Halloween, but there is more to come. Pumpkin Pie and Christmas cookies. Mashed potatoes and stuffing. Wine and eggnog. There is little time to take a breath between bites and gulps for the rest of the year. For other people. For me, there is plenty of time. Hours and hours between my three meals a day. To do and be. As long as I keep my head on straight and keep the boundaries around my eating.

So I hope you had a Happy Halloween. And I wish you a peaceful Holiday Season. Because it has already begun.

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