Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “it is what it is”

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.


My other body is a Porsche

The few weeks before this week were filled with all sorts of insights and revelations. They were exciting and moving. But, as happens in life, the new and exciting makes way for the practical. Don’t get me wrong. Things really have changed. And I have used my new information to make some changes. But life goes on. It’s like that Zen saying. Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

I have been making a point to be in my body. To feel every feeling and experience every sensation. The way my clothes feel. The way my stomach feels after my meals. What it feels like when I wake up and I’m hungry. The way an emotion registers physically. How I feel in my skin.

I have also been looking at it in the mirror. Not to scrutinize. Not to look at it to make declarations about what “needs work”. I have even chosen not to suck in my stomach. Not to distort or imagine my body in some other form than the one in which it exists.

I have decided to celebrate it. To admire it. To love it. To enjoy it. To enjoy the physical experiences of being alive. Not just the intellectual. To think it’s beautiful. Now. Right this moment. And I do. It’s beautiful. I love it. Most of the time. Which is a pretty good start.

I also changed my Facebook profile picture to one of me in the body I’m in now. (I might change it again. To a different picture of me right now. A friend said it’s cute and pretty, but not very sexy. And, you know…That’s a big part of how I identify myself.)

I hadn’t wanted to change my picture. I hadn’t wanted to exhibit my weight gain. I was thinking I would wait until I at least started to lose weight again. But to intentionally not post a picture of myself the way I look now felt like hiding and manipulating. It felt yucky. I can go many months without changing my picture and not think twice about it. But this time I wanted to specifically not do it. On purpose. So I pulled a Jedi mind trick on myself and changed it anyway.

And it worked. Putting up the new picture eliminated a lot of my worry and anxiety. The truth was out. There was nothing left to struggle against.

I even took some pictures of myself in my sexy underwear. (No! Not for Facebook! I don’t need to be that sexy! Good Lord! Get your mind out of the gutter! They are just for me.) And I’m hot. Seriously. And taking them made me feel hot.

All of these little actions have helped me stop thinking negative thoughts. When I notice myself having a negative thought about my body, I stop having that thought. I cut it off. Like I cut off thoughts about cake. Instead, I have a thought about how beautiful and sexy my body is. I create the new thought.

It’s something I understand now. That if I do something, take an action, that is different from what I have been doing (and usually different from what I want to do), it opens up an opportunity to change my thinking. When I change my thinking, it opens up an opportunity to act differently.

It’s scary to me how I pass judgment my body. And I wonder in some ways who I am judging it for. Who is telling me it’s not good enough. And why am I agreeing? Because I have been seeing it as beautiful. And basically, because I have been choosing to.

But first, actually, I had to stop running away from it. I had to make a choice to let myself be me in this body.

Of course, there wasn’t any other option. It is my body. I am me in it. But I have been spending many months disconnecting in my head. And this is reminiscent of how I thought about myself when I was fat and eating compulsively. I was not my body. I was my ideas. My personality. I was so much better than my broken, gross body. It was just this unfortunate card I was dealt.

I once heard a woman say that when she was fat, she carried around a picture of herself when she was thin, and would show it to people and say, “This is what I really look like.”

Since I gained this 27.4 lbs when I quit smoking, I have been doing something like that.

My real body is in the shop and this is just the loaner they gave me. I mean, it’s ugly, but it gets me around.

Um…Ewww. That’s repulsive of me. It’s so disrespectful of my body. And my journey. It’s such an eff you to God and Life. Not to mention a blatant denial of reality.

Plus, being disconnected from reality has been making me miserable. Just like it did when I was fat. And when I stop fighting what is so and surrender to life, everything always feels better. My experience is always better.

I don’t know how I will feel next week. But for now it feels right not to identify as my mind, my thoughts, my personality. To remember that I am my body. And my body is me. And that there is nothing wrong.

How I gave up chasing unattainable tail

At the beginning of fall, I bought two new pairs of jeans. I packed away the jeans that I wore every day last winter, and stuck them under my bed. I knew there was nothing to do about gaining weight. I knew I was going to have to wear clothes that fit me this winter. And that last year’s jeans weren’t them.

When I noticed that my metabolism was starting to kick back in and my body seemed to stop getting bigger and start moving in the other direction, I decided I wanted to see how far away I was from my last year’s body. Or more accurately, how far I had to go to get back into last year’s body. I went under my bed, pulled out the jeans and tried them on.

I didn’t think I had any expectations, but it became very clear very quickly that I had indeed. I pulled the jeans up. And that was it. That was as far as it got. There was nothing else to do, except take them back off again. I gained 24.4 lbs from June to January. And apparently, 23.4 of it settled between my waist and my knees.

Thank God I didn’t do this a month ago. I don’t know what I would have done. To myself. I really don’t think I would have been able to handle it. It is a blessing that I waited until I started producing dopamine again. (Thanks God! Good looking out!)

Very quickly and without tears (yet), I realized that I might never get back into those jeans. Or that body. (Since then I have cried about it a few times. I’m crying about it now. But it’s not despair. It’s mourning.)

If I have a lament, it’s that I didn’t know that I was skinny when I was skinny. I knew I loved that body. That I was comfortable in it. But I was skinny. And I didn’t know because I’m a fat girl. And skinny is something I can never be. It is incompatible with my existence. My mind has never been able to wrap itself around the idea. Which is a shame, because I would have liked to have enjoyed the experience.

And then I had an epiphany of sorts. And I took a bold action. Yesterday, I got rid of last year’s pants. I put them in a donation box. I made a decision. A really freaking empowering decision. I will not chase that body. It was a good body. It was beautiful. But it’s in the past.

There are things that I like better about this body compared to that one. I’m more hourglass than I was a year ago. Last year’s body was more pear-shaped. My hips have always been kind of square, and now they are round. I really like the curve from my waist to my hips right now. It’s beautiful. And I have a butt, which has not always been the case.

Oh, right! And I was poisoning that body. It’s not a moral issue for me. I am not lashing myself over having been a smoker. But it is probably safe to say that in the long run, the body I’m not poisoning with cigarettes will end up more beautiful than the body I was.

I like that I have given up the idea that there is a specific mould I’m supposed to fit into to (literally). It gives me a certain amount of freedom to let me be in the body I’m in now. And to let it go where it’s going to go from here. And to let me see the beauty of my body as it unfolds. Instead of stubbornly insisting that my beauty can only exist in a form that doesn’t exist anymore.

And it turns out that stores are still carrying jeans. If I do lose a lot of weight (I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for that, of course…) and need to buy some new ones next fall (I don’t wear pants in the summer), chances are good that there will be a pair or two that fit next year’s body.

It’s always an eating disorder blog because I always have eating disorders

I wrote a post earlier today, but I don’t think I want to share it. Not today. Not yet. It’s about my anger. My hate. My distrust. I have a lot of it. I am overflowing with it. And it’s ugly.
I am not afraid to show you my ugly. But it would not do any good right now. It would not serve me. Or you. There would be nothing for either of us to learn from it. Except that I am human. And that I have ugly feelings. Which I already knew. And you probably did too.

I am doing my best not to be ashamed of my ugly feelings. I am doing my best to remember that denying them doesn’t stop them from existing. And that the closest thing there is to making them disappear is to eat them. which is not an option. And I would like to say that I know that there is nothing virtuous in turning my hate in on myself instead of hating the people who have hurt me. But I have always used self-abuse and martyrdom as a kind of substitute for virtue. And I can forget when my rage scares me enough.

So for today, I will spare you my ugly feelings.

A friend said recently that my blog is as much, and maybe more, about quitting smoking lately than it is about compulsive eating. I think that may be true. And I told him that I made a decision a while ago to let it be what it is. That both the experience of getting control of my eating and that of quitting smoking are similar for me. I’m actually pretty sure that in time, my eating disorders will return to the forefront. I just happen to be going through a particularly difficult time with regards to quitting smoking. I am having a hard time with the feelings and the weight gain. I am having a hard time finding my footing after making a significant choice about who I want to be in the world. And who I want to be in the world is even more awake and aware and alive. I want to be not numb.
But there is something that I know, that you might not. In my mind, every day, always, I think of myself as a woman with eating disorders. I am a compulsive eater and bulimic with body dismorphia. A woman with a sugar addiction. And more specifically, woman who painstakingly takes care of her life with food so that she can be sane and stable. That is my primary identity. (I know…sounds super sexy, right?)

I have given up many things as a compliment to that identity. Smoking is one of them. Along with alcohol, and smoking pot, sugarless gum, diet soda and excessive caffeine. And behaviors like making rash decisions, and acting out in anger. But first, last, and always comes the food. Food was my first drug. It was my first numb. And getting control of my eating and letting go of getting high on sugar led me to realize that I actually wanted to be alive. That I don’t actually like numb. And that one step at a time, I want to come back to life fully.

I am in excruciating pain at the moment. I am more angry and hurt and scared and tormented than you can possibly imagine. I am burning with rage. I am overwhelmed with grief. I wake up puffy and swollen and encrusted with dry tears. My throat is sore from how tight I clench it. I am more miserable than I can remember being in the past (almost) 7 years.

But I do not eat to numb it! I would rather be here in honest, living, livid pain than be numb. Than be dead. Because eating compulsively is death to me. Numbness and death.

Yes, I have been talking a lot about smoking. And I’m ok with that. But my life, all of my life and every fiber of my being, is about being free from the food. I was able to quit smoking because I have my food under control. Because I learned how to feel pain when I let go of sugar and put boundaries around my eating. And if I thought that my eating boundaries were in danger, I would certainly go back to smoking. Or caffeine. Or chewing gum. Or whatever. Because the food will kill me quickest and make me hate myself the most.

So I hope you’re ok with my smoking talk. That you can somehow see that quitting sugar and quitting cigarettes are connected. Or if you can’t, that you still think I’m brilliant whatever I write! Or that you’ll humor me…

Even the angry, destructive side of me likes sexy pants

I have multiple eating disorders, hence I have a whole cast of messed up characters that live in my head when it comes to food, eating, my body, and my emotional life.

I talk a lot about my fat girl. She’s relatively easy for me to talk about. She’s lived in my head for almost the longest. (The girl who is a burden has lived in my head the absolute longest. We’re not going there today…) And in many ways, I think my fat girl is the easiest for you to process and handle (unless you have an eating disorder of your own). She’s sad and a coward. She couldn’t stop eating. She hopes I’ll go back to being a coward so she can have her cake back. That’s about the extent of her. Don’t get me wrong. She’d kill me if she got the chance. But it would be a slow death. Diabetes and heart disease. Death by chocolate, if you will. Which I bet sounds great to you if it’s not actually a possibility for you like it is for me.

But there is also a bulimic girl who lives in my head. And she’s the scary one. The one that is the most dangerous. And damaging. The kinds of things I was doing to myself because of my bulimic girl scared me into quitting sugar entirely. She is the reason I keep such strict boundaries around my food. She would rather see me dead than fat. She is angry and obsessive and cruel. And she’s excessively vain. Not a healthy, see-how-I-take-care-of-myself kind of vanity. A seven deadly sins kind of vanity. She has no peace and no love. Nothing is ever ever good enough for her. Especially not me.

My bulimic girl has a tag line. A particular thought. Get it out. Actually it’s more like Get it out. Getitoutgetitoutgetitoutgetitoutgetitout Get. It. OUT! NOW! (And this is said through clenched teeth.)

It was this thinking that had me abuse laxatives, drink castor oil, run 14 miles a day and eventually make myself throw up my food. My bulimic girl was full of hair-brained schemes to deal with the aftermath of my fat girl and her binge eating. If it were humorous, it might be a version of The Odd Couple. A grotesque murderous version…

Since I quit smoking 3 months ago, I keep gaining weight. I have gained 12 lbs since June 1st. It has been hard for me to deal with. (This may be my understatement of the year.) I put on a pair of jeans the other day, and they were tight. This was especially embarrassing and sad for me. In February, they were comically big. They had to be held up by a belt and sagged around my butt. I wore them to babysit when I expected to get dirty. Feeling these jeans pressed up against me was incredibly uncomfortable. Emotionally. Because it was a reminder that I feel incredibly fat. And I know there is nothing for me to do about it. It is not about calories. When I first quit smoking, I didn’t change my eating at all and I gained 3 lbs. The next month, I ate lighter than usual, (more salad, less cooking in butter) and I gained 4 more lbs. So it is not that I have been doing it wrong. It is not something I can control. My body is changing. I don’t get a say.
Guess who hates this? Any thoughts? My bulimic girl. This is killing her. She insists that there must be something I can do. At least don’t get fried onions this week. At least chill out on the full fat yogurt. At least walk a couple more miles a day. Do SOMETHING! Do you WANT to be this fat? GET IT OUT!
So my fat girl wants to give up and eat cake (not like she’s popped up this week – she just always wants to give up and eat cake), and my bulimic girl wants to resist and starve me. I decided not to give up or resist. I decided to accept. My body is what it is. Right now. And I don’t know for how long. And I don’t get a say. There is nothing for me to do.
But that is not true. There was one thing for me to do. And I did it. I went out and bought bigger pants. I bought pants I feel sexy in. Because maybe the hardest part of this weight gain is that I have been feeling incredibly unsexy. And sexy has been a very important part of my life for years now. It is a part of my personality. It is one of the things that I love about myself and my life.
And buying sexy pants that fit my body the way it is right now has shut my bulimic girl up. For now. I’m sure she’ll be back. Just like my fat girl, and my burden, and my good girl. But today, because I have my eating under control, none of them get to run my life.
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Should I be worried? Meh…

I’m feeling sort of out-of-body lately. So if this post seems weird…well, you’ve been warned. I have had a surreal week. But really good. The one word I can think of to explain it is “surrendered”.

I have been very calm. Inside. I am pretty sure I occur as a bitch to the outside world. But inside there is no malice. I definitely do want to be left alone. But I don’t have the energy for many words of explanation. To let you know that I’m touched that you want to help me/talk to me/be neighborly, but that I don’t want to talk or be neighborly. That I am declining your help. So I don’t use a lot of words. Or give you a simper and put my hand over my heart and praise you for your generosity of time and spirit. I just say no. And I feel like it keeps coming out wrong. At least not how I mean it. I don’t mean it to sound harsh. But it keeps sounding that way. And I keep not caring. And I keep not explaining myself. I have zero desire to smooth everything over. And make you feel good about me and yourself and our interaction. I could not give any fewer shits, frankly. And I’m wondering who this woman is. She’s not Kate the “good girl”. And I really like her. She’s easy for me to be with. She’s easy to be.

I have noticed several other things too.

I have been harder to ruffle. The other morning, I was on the train to work, when it stopped at a station. There was an announcement that the particular train that I was on had a technical problem. Everybody was told to get off and wait for the next train. This is normally the kind of thing that shifts my stress levels to high. Uncertainty about how long I will have to wait for the next train, the potential to be late for work, the knowledge that the next train will already be filled with its own passengers, and may not have room for all of us from my broken train.  That I might have to wait for more than one train. And even if it does have room, it will certainly be uncomfortable. And yet, none of this phased me. I got off the train. I waited. I got on the next train. I went to work. I cannot tell you how long I waited. I do not recall how crowded the next train was. It all escaped me. It did not matter.

I’ve been sleeping a little more. Nothing crazy. I’m used to sleeping 7 or 8 hours a night. And because I regularly sleep enough, my body will often wake me after 7 hours. Sometimes 6. Tell me it’s rested. And for the most part, for the last year at least, setting an alarm has been a precaution. (Because, as I already touched on above, I think being late is possibly the most stressful thing in the world.) But on the days I have set an alarm, I have been waking up to it, not before.  And the days I haven’t, I have been sleeping 8.5 – 9 hours. I don’t mind. I think my body is healing. That my brain is processing new things. That my soul is catching up. But I think it’s worth noting. So I am.

I have been remembering dreams. Now the way I understand it, everybody dreams, and some people don’t remember their dreams. And I am one of those people who almost never remembers her dreams. But recently, I’ve found myself going through my day, and all of a sudden I will have a feeling, and that feeling will remind me that I had a dream. And some odd snippet of the dream will come back to me. Sometimes a dream I had days or weeks ago. For me, dreams are visual, but the most important thing about them is how I feel in them. The most vivid part of any dream (that I happen to remember) is the emotional landscape. What I did or said or saw in a dream is secondary to that.

And I have been doing so much nothing this week. Just being. I’m not even talking about thinking. I have even been thinking less than usual. I have been spending less time on the internet. I have not been reading. I have just been sitting quietly. And I have not been bored at all.

I feel like the primary excuse I have had (in my own head, for my own benefit) for all of the things I have ever done/used/abused, was a fear of “being bored”. That life would be unbearably dull without sugar, caffeine, alcohol, pot, drugs in general, cigarettes, TV, staying out all night, staying up all night, etc. And instead, I have been…I don’t even know what the word is. Content? Unhurried? Uncluttered? Not bored!

Also, I am wary to use the word peaceful. For me, peace has a connotation of happiness. Of quiet joy. The corners of my mouth turned up and every exhale a little celebration. Peace has a kind of energy of its own. A sense that all is right with the world. But this week has not been that. It’s not that all is right with the world. It’s that it doesn’t matter if the world is right or not. That it is what it is. And that I am fully surrendered to what is so. Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. It is not apathy. Or resignation. It is just easy. Calm. Unencumbered. It has been great. Just not peaceful.

I don’t know what is going on with me. And that’s ok. I don’t expect it to last. Like everything else, good and bad, this too shall pass. But I have a feeling that my life has officially changed. In ways that are not yet clear to me. And I hope that this is an indication of the direction I’m headed and the path I have set myself on. Because I do not expect life to be easy. But I would like to spend more time taking it easy. To have more surrender in my daily life. To spend more time being and less time…well everything. Doing, worrying, fixing, explaining, whatever. And for now I am enjoying this interesting little pocket of surrender. Because life has a way of happening.

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