onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “male-female relationships”

My just desserts (spoiler alert: it’s not desserts anymore)

I consider myself to be lucky. I am very happy with the way I look. I don’t love the creases between my eyebrows, or my knock knees, or how big my belly is, but I also don’t hate them. And I feel like that is pretty good for a modern, Western woman, especially one who used to be morbidly obese. I think I am naturally beautiful.

And I think a lot of that peace and confidence in my physical self comes from taking care of myself.

There was this thing I learned years ago. When we wrong someone, we have to justify it to ourselves, or we have to own up and make amends. So if we are not willing to make amends, we have to make the person we harmed appear wrong to us in some way. For example, if I were a jerk to my husband and yelled at him about something, probably trivial, (not that I would ever do something so imperfect!) I would either have to make it right with him, or I would have to really dig my heels in about what a jerk he is. (My husband is most definitely not a jerk.) This is easy enough to see in a relationship like a marriage. (Well…Easy-ish to see. It’s not always easy for me to admit I have done something wrong.)

But what I learned since I got my eating under control is that it works the same in my relationship with myself. Only not so straightforwardly.

When I was eating compulsively, especially because I just couldn’t stop, I was forced to reinforce all of the negative talk about myself in my own head. I was fat, I was ugly, I was worthless. Because if I were beautiful and strong and capable, I would have to admit that I was abusing my body. I would have to admit that I was harming myself. And I would have to make amends to myself. And for most of my life, I wasn’t going to be able to do that. I really could not stop eating. I had no idea how.

When I was harming myself, I had to choose that I “deserved” to be harmed. My “just desserts” were literal desserts full of sugar and flour, that were making me fat, and crazy and miserable. I hated my body, because I fed it junk and poison, processed sugar and carbohydrates that got me high and made me lethargic. I abused it, which only made me hate it more, and made it justifiable to feed it more poison.

Now that I take care of my body, I love it. I love it even though it is not tiny and svelte and “flawless.” I love it with all of its rolls and sags. I love its 41-year-old’s share of wrinkles and moles. It never had to fit into society’s definition of perfect for me to love it. Really, I only needed to start treating it like it was lovable.

And when I started to love it and treat it as beautiful, the world around me started to agree. I don’t wear makeup. I don’t dye my grey hair. I don’t wear shape wear, and I rarely wear heels. But, for the most part, people like me. People are attracted to me. And I think it’s because I love me enough to treat me, my whole body, the way I deserve to be treated. With love and respect.

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Asking the important food addict questions

I am a food addict. But I can laugh about it. And that is a beautiful thing.

Yesterday I bought a cantaloupe and a honeydew, both of which smelled amazing, and I kind of agonized over which I was going to have for breakfast today. This is what is known as a “luxury problem.” I eventually went with the honeydew. It was incredible. I will get to eat the cantaloupe in due time. All of it is mine! (Luckily, neither of these things is a fruit my husband wants in the slightest, or there may have been trouble. And I take this stuff seriously, so in the event of, say, a fight to the death, I’d put my money on the food addict.)

I found these exquisite specimens because my husband took me to a different grocery store than my usual yesterday. It was a date. Because to a food addict, that’s some romantic stuff, right there. I found Italian sausage and Chicago-style giardiniera that I can eat! (Mom, you don’t have to drive it up from Chicago now!) And my favorite full fat Greek yogurt that I can usually only find in NYC or Florida! Plus all of the other things I need like sugar-free bacon, lots of salsas, and my Liquid Aminos! (Look at all of those exclamation points! That is how exciting that was!)

Food is still exciting to me. It is actually more exciting because I eat guilt-free. I love being in a comfortable body. I love being able to jog, and fit into my clothes, and I love not feeing like I don’t have the right to take up space. But I would do what I do, all the shopping, prepping, portion control, and food restrictions, just for the guilt-free eating.

I was always embarrassed and ashamed of my eating before my boundaries. Now I can eat without a thought to if I “should” eat something. I love my guilt-free full fat yogurt. I love making it into guilt-free “ice cream.” I love my guilt-free bacon and pork rinds. I love knowing that whatever it is that I am eating, I am doing the right thing.

The other day a friend told me she was going to eat a decadent breakfast that was totally within her boundaries and that she was going to love every last bite and I said “good job!” And I meant it. It was not sarcasm. There was no “but.” I was proud of her for loving her food. I think it’s important to love our food.

How can I love my body if I hate what I nourish it with? How can I love myself if I hate my body? I don’t think I can. At least I have never been able to. So I love my food, my body, and myself. And my husband who takes me on dates to fancy grocery stores. *Swoon* Maybe I would let him have one of my fruits if he wanted one. Maybe.

Where the love is

On Friday I celebrated my 2nd Wedding anniversary. I don’t really think about it on a day-to-day basis, but it’s a miracle. Certainly to my child self it’s a miracle. I felt shameful and unlovable for nearly all of my early life. I had resigned myself to being alone forever at a very early age. And to my early-teen self, it’s something more than just any miracle. Because I married the guy I had a huge crush on from about 12 to 14, until we lost touch. If you told 13-year-old Kate that she would marry him, she would have told you that you were crazy.

Of course, it took more than 20 years of separation, and a whole lot of personal change, physical, emotional, and spiritual, but it sure did happen.

And that is all thanks to keeping my eating boundaries. All of it. Period. Sometimes my husband says very sweet, romantic things about how he would still love me if I gained weight. And I believe him. Because I don’t think he understands what would actually come along with weight gain. I think he is thinking in terms of physical beauty. And I think he believes that I am just beautiful no matter what. Which I love! And I am grateful for.

But when I am eating compulsively, I am not beautiful for a few reasons that have nothing to do with size. I don’t like myself when I am eating compulsively. I get depressive and ashamed. I second guess myself. Also, I don’t have a whole lot of integrity when I am in the food. I lie, cheat, and steal. I hide truths and manipulate people. I am just generally difficult, angry, and unhappy. And I don’t think about anyone but myself. Everything is all about me.

When I started writing this blog over 6 years ago, it was to open myself to love. It was to stop thinking all of those thoughts I had about not being worthy. And there was something to do about it. I took an honest, searching look at myself, took stock of what about myself I wanted to change, and started working toward being the kind of person I wanted to be in a relationship with. There is a saying: Self-esteem comes from doing estimable acts.

But I could only do those estimable acts because I put sugar and carbs down. When I am eating sugar and carbs, I am only thinking about that. If something I want would impede my eating, I would let that thing, that wish, go. Because eating sugar is the most important thing in the world when I am eating sugar. When I am not eating sugar, my life and my relationships are the most important things.

So at this time of the anniversary of my marriage, I am so grateful for that 28-year-old Kate who decided that a life that revolved around sugar was not enough. That there was something better to be, and something better to be had. And that she was willing to go through the dark, scary world of withdrawal and uncertainty, to get to the other side. That’s where the love is.

Keeping my eyes on my own plate

I feel sort of silly writing today. I am not feeling particularly qualified to inspire lately. I’m feeling a bit like I have regressed into some behaviors that I don’t particularly love.

No, not with food. With food, I am as committed and vigilant as ever. Thank God. Frankly, that’s the reason I can tell that I’m not behaving my best.

I am probably not behaving as badly as I fear I am. I can be a little blind to the reality of things. Especially when I am observing myself. I would do well to keep in mind that I am growing. And that growing is not a straight line. That there will be some regression. Some circling back. That just because I can see the person I want to be doesn’t mean it’s possible to just be that person. It takes time. And work. And a whole bunch of failing at it. That’s the way of it. And it always has been. I am without a doubt a better person than I was. I have grown and changed for the better in huge and fantastic ways over the years. But it has always been by baby steps. Why would I expect it to be any different now?

So what I am going to focus on for now is minding my own business. That is where I want to grow today. One baby step at a time.

Yesterday I had some good friends come to visit. While I was doing something else, one was refilling the coffee pot with water. She didn’t know that the part that holds water is removable, and was using a cup to pour water into it. I said “Oh, that comes off so you can refill it in the sink…” And then I stopped and said, “But that works too. Never mind. You’re doing great.” Because she was. What she was doing was working perfectly well. She was getting the job done. I was trying to be helpful. But in that moment, I recognized that what would have been even more helpful was to keep my mouth shut.

I did the same thing to my boyfriend while we were trying to find the place we lost in our audio book. I insisted on “helping.” But all I succeeded in doing was expressing that I didn’t think he was capable. (Which isn’t true, sweetheart!) And it clearly offended him. (Sorry!)

There is a saying I learned when I first got my eating under control. “Keep your eyes on your own plate. And keep your eyes on your own life.” It doesn’t matter what anybody else is eating. I only have to be concerned with what I am eating. It doesn’t matter what anybody else is doing. I only have to be concerned with what I am doing. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. Even about me.

And frankly, what a relief!

When the worst thing VD stands for is actually venereal disease and not that February 14th holiday…

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. And it was my first ever Valentine’s Day where I had a valentine. Ever. And I am 36 years old.

I didn’t need this Valentine’s Day to be a special day. And it really wasn’t. My boyfriend and I both worked a full 10 hour day plus commute. We came home and had dinner. We watched an episode of Heroes on Netflix. It was no big deal. But Valentine’s Day being no big deal was a VERY BIG DEAL for me.

I have very much hated the day for as long as I can remember. I didn’t even want the chocolate, though I was a sugar addicted compulsive eater. Because it came in a heart-shaped box which I was sure was only going to make the contents taste bitter. Like my heart.

Because I was sure that not only was I not going to get any romantic gifts that year, but I was never going to get any romantic gifts any year ever. I was going to be alone for my whole life. I was positive that I was fundamentally unlovable. And VD (as I used to call it) was a day when everything seemed to revolve around being single or not being single. Being loved or not being loved. Being somebody’s chosen, or being alone and neglected. It was about measuring up. And I not only didn’t measure up this time, I was never going to measure up.

For the first time, because I am in a relationship, I can look at the day with some clarity. Because it was too loaded for me to ever see it properly before. And I have to say, it is an unkind holiday to the single. I can see that there is first a kind of shaming of people who don’t have “a valentine.” There is an expectation that you should at least have something. A date. An admirer. A booty call. There is this underlying idea that to be alone on the day is pathetic.

And then there is a shaming of single people who hate it because they are being shamed. There is a clearly stated reprimand if you don’t like it, and especially if you say so. You are ruining it for everybody with your bitterness.

Seriously? Bitter single people are ruining your Valentine’s Day? Are you joking? It was so hard to choke down your chocolate? It made your filet mignon with the person you love taste bad? You had to throw away your bouquet of roses because you couldn’t stand to look at it while Bob and Mary were hating February 14th?

I have compassion for those who suffer on that day. I’m serious. Not pity. Compassion. Because I suffered too. I hated the holiday. And I felt ashamed of myself for hating it. And for being bitter. And I am so grateful that I have a new context, and can see it from a new perspective.

No, I did not shun this Valentine’s Day. I have to admit that it felt amazing to have someone to give a gift to because I love him so much. My boyfriend did indeed get heart-shaped chocolate from me. And I am graciously (and very happily) accepting my gift of being whisked away to Florida for a long weekend at the end of the month. But it didn’t feel amazing because I “finally” got chosen. It felt amazing because it’s him. Because I have a relationship that has continued to exceed all of my expectations. Because it took 35 years, but I ended up with love that is better than a fairytale. Because it’s not “happily ever after.” It’s a day at a time of honor, and respect, and laughter, and music, and Netflix, and dinner together, and grocery shopping, and laundry, and cleaning the oven, and making the bed, and mundane life.

Getting my eating under control gave me a ridiculous amount of clarity in my life. Not being high on sugar, not being obsessed with eating, not being obsessed with my body and my weight opened up so much room in my head for understanding, and critical thinking, and hearing my intuition. But for the 7 years that I had clarity but no romance, I could not have been this clear about Valentine’s Day.

This has been a powerful reminder for me. That there are still things that exist in my blind spot. That there are still things I can’t see, for all of my heightened perception and lucidity. That my life will continue to change as long as I continue to grow. And it is my intention to grow. It is what I want and what I work for. So I’m looking forward to the next time I get taken out of my own context and watch the world shift.

Humble Pie for Thanksgiving

Wow I sure did not want to write this blog this week.

When I started oneafatgirl, I made a promise to write the truth. And to be authentic. Even when it was scary and hard. And humiliating. And I am definitely humiliated today.

I went on a mini-vacation with my boyfriend for Thanksgiving. And it didn’t go so well. And I was the reason it didn’t go so well. My food boundaries and me.

That’s hard for me to write. Especially because I know how I talk about my food boundaries. I perhaps make it seem effortless. It usually feels effortless to me. I’m good at it after over 7 ½ years. Good at parts of it, anyway. And I am afraid that a post like this will scare somebody away from making the tough decision to change their own eating.

But the truth is that it is not my job to convince people who are suffering to choose relief. I put boundaries around my eating by my own choice. I was desperate. I took desperate measures. I still do. No person made me do it, or even could make me do it. And no person is going to stop me. So I’m not going to worry about this post. And who it stops. And who uses it as an excuse to continue to suffer. And for all I know, it will help someone who is suffering find some relief.

Anyway, back to my vacation. And food. The first thing I should point out is that my boyfriend doesn’t think about food. He doesn’t look forward to eating. And he doesn’t plan it. He doesn’t have to. He will literally forget about food until he is starving, look around himself at that exact moment, walk into the closest place, and eat whatever they have to offer.

I on the other hand, love to eat. I look forward to each of my meals, and savor every bite. I have said before that I didn’t stop loving food when I put boundaries around my eating. In fact, I started to love it more, because it was guilt-free. But the boundaries themselves are the most important part. Most of the time my meals are insanely delicious, but as long as each meal is within my eating boundaries, it doesn’t matter if it is delicious or not. If lunch is not so good, dinner is not so far away.

So to go on this mini-vaykay, I packed a whole bunch of food. But not great food. Not #10 meals. Just enough easy, portable food to make sure that if I needed to eat every meal in our hotel, I could always be within my boundaries.

And then it seemed like I was going to have to eat every meal in our hotel room. And I was upset.

Here’s the thing, though. I wasn’t asking for what I wanted. And I wasn’t just taking care of it myself. I was worrying about asking for too much. I was worrying about being a “Good Girl.”

I spent my life alone. And for the last several years, I was poor but independent. I didn’t have much. But if I had something, it was because I earned it.

But now I am in a relationship and I am not independent. And I can have a hard time distinguishing what I deserve. What I contribute. And what that earns me.

In other words, do I deserve to ask to be taken out to a restaurant when my boyfriend isn’t hungry and I have a cooler full of food up in my hotel room? Even if it’s not the food I want?

I did eventually go out to lunch. I got a nice meal. But it wasn’t until I stopped worrying if my boyfriend was having a good time. (And even writing that makes me feel selfish and unworthy…)

And the other thing I need to take responsibility for, is that I have scared my boyfriend into thinking that I can never eat out easily, happily, or comfortably. Because the truth is that I have a lot of anxiety. About everything. I live with a steady stream of low-level anxiety. I don’t think it will ever go away. And the food thing is such a big issue for me that it always makes me a little anxious. But I don’t want him to think we can never go on vacation. Or that we can never go out to eat.

Look. I’m not good at it. I get nervous eating out. Especially now that I live outside of New York City. But I could get better with practice. And I would like to.

My food boundaries are not a burden for me. They are sometimes inconvenient, but they are ultimately only a relief. I am free from the obsession over food and my weight, and the fat body I lived in, and the compulsive eating and exercising and purging and laxative abusing. But I don’t want my food boundaries to be a burden for my boyfriend either. And I don’t know what the next thing to do about that would be. So I guess I’ll just let it be what it is for now, and trust the right answer to come in time…

I’m trying not to think of it as the “un-holyday season”, but don’t push me

I got back home from a fantastic trip to NYC, and I’m already gone again to the Chicago suburbs for a wedding.

So yes, there was more food prep and packing for the airport. And there will be lots of getting ready for the celebration. Grooming and dressing as well as even more food prep and packing. Thankfully, I’m going to celebrate love and union, not to eat.

And then after the wedding, welp…it’s the holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year.

Oh, and Happy Halloween! This year I went as the place where socks go when they disappear from the laundry.

I actually love Halloween, and I always have. And no, it’s not about candy. It’s about dressing up. And it always has been. I was fat. There was always plenty of candy in my life. But Halloween was something else. It was a chance to show off how fun, creative and original I could be. It was a chance to be clever.

Since I had been fat all of my life, I tried very hard to be identified as something else (especially because I self-identified as fat, and hated it). I have always been proud to be clever. So I have never been one to buy prefab costumes. The fun was always finding and making them piece by piece. And I was good at it. I always enjoyed the details.

But the holidays coming up have not historically been my favorites. Thanksgiving and Christmas are not about being clever. They are about food and people. And they are filled with rituals that are specifically designed to raise our emotions to a fevered pitch.

I hate this. I am too susceptible to this already! I live in a state of high emotion. I don’t need winter holidays to touch my heart. My heart is all too easily touched as it is.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ve changed enough that none of it matters anymore. Maybe everybody in the whole world knows that I keep my food boundaries all the time, no matter what, even for Christmas, and maybe they just don’t care. And maybe I have enough peace that I won’t find holiday festivities emotionally exhausting and dangerous for my eating disorders. Who knows anymore. It has been many years since I celebrated either Thanksgiving or Christmas. And my boyfriend and I have agreed to spend Thanksgiving alone on a mini vacation this year. So that’s at least one I don’t have to worry about…And really, I have no idea what to expect. Maybe I will positively love Christmas. (Ok, that’s a stretch, but I’m keeping an open mind…)

I guess I will find out how far I have come by the end of the year. But one thing is for sure, I’m sure not going to leave the whole thing to fate. I am going to prepare. I’m going to protect myself. And never forget that I have eating disorders, and that keeping my eating under control comes first.

Exit closed due to relationship

Remember how I said last week that I didn’t need to wish for drama because life has a way of making plenty? Well, yeah. Got some.

And real drama. Not petty bullshit about how I don’t like the way you looked at me. Or some other such fabricated nonsense. But important stuff. Life and loss and pain. Real drama. Frankly, trauma.

Thankfully, I am separated from the trauma. It only affects me indirectly. And it only partially affects my boyfriend. But it does affect him. And that affects me. And for a time I didn’t know how severely it would affect him. And that, the not knowing and the waiting and the uncertainty, did a number on me.

When I got my eating under control 7½ years ago, I started a process of eliminating people and situations from my life that made me crazy or anxious or unhappy. A lot of them were people I loved. Most of them, really.

Jobs, bosses, friends, family, groups, activities. If something or someone took up room in my head with worry or anger or resentment or fear, I walked away. There was always an EXIT sign.

Even when it came to real life, trauma not drama, if it wasn’t mine, I stayed detached. I learned to keep my eyes on my own plate. And my own life.

I was single. Independent. I was the only person I had any responsibility to.

And now, I am not single and independent. I don’t stand alone in the world. And that is scary. Really, much scarier than standing alone.

Because I have made a decision to weave my life in with another person’s life. And there are people and situations I can’t walk away from anymore. They are not mine. Whether they are drama or trauma, I’m bound to them because I am bound to him.

And I learned something this week. Worrying about someone else, this man who I am so in love with, had me more in danger of eating sugar and carbohydrates than anything else ever has in 7½ years.

More than being homeless and sleeping on people’s couches. More than being jobless. More than being sick and not having insurance or being able to go to the doctor. More than being afraid that my neighbor was going to be a stalker. Even more than knowing that my Gram was dying.

When I didn’t know how my boyfriend was going to be affected by this traumatic situation, I realized that this kind of worry was a brand new experience for me. And that I could very seriously be in food danger. I sat down and asked myself what I would do when the worrying about him got so bad that eating sugar seemed like a viable option and a good idea. I knew that I had to have a plan and be prepared. So that I could stay within my food boundaries. And stay sober from sugar.

Because no matter how bad things can get, losing my food sobriety would only make everything worse.

Thankfully, none of my fears came to pass. My boyfriend is well. And I am well. And though all is not well for everybody, it is well enough for him and me to move on and live life.

I am starting to see, as I write this, that I fear not being in control of situations in my life. Not being able to keep my relationships and experiences on a short leash.

But I should remember that every time I have released another inch of control, and surrendered to Life and God, and every time I have let go and begun to trust, I have been given a life that is richer, happier, sweeter and more beautiful than anything I could have imagined for myself.

So I guess the next step is to learn to find peace where I am. Wherever I am and whoever is there with me. Because I know that I always have choices. But standing by the man I love is a choice I made. And want to continue to make. And that’s going to mean a lot more people and situations I can’t walk away from.

Now that I have everything I ever wanted, I guess it’s “back to the ol’ drawing board”

This past Thursday, I turned 36. It was fantastic. Best birthday ever. Didn’t do much out of the ordinary. Got a few hours of sun. Did some laundry and grocery shopping. Ate like a queen. (But I always eat like a queen.) Got a fancy diamond necklace. (Ok, that was a super-exciting-out-of-the-ordinary-big-deal.) And watched some Walking Dead.

But my birthday brought something to my attention, as I am one who likes to take inventory at times of ending/beginning. I do it at the New Year, too.

I started this blog in a new year. Jan 2, 2012. Because I was tired of being alone. And lonely. And because I had spent my life as a sugar-addicted-binge-eater hiding. Unwilling to take risks with my heart. Terrified of rejection.

That day, a year and a half ago, I knew that I was beautiful. And likable. Smart and funny. And that I was a good person. Honest and honorable. Kind and loving. And working to be more every day. I knew intellectually. But I lived in an old conception of myself.

I was absolutely, positively sure that I was destined to be alone. That I had been fat because I was broken. And that being broken made me unloveable. Or I was unloveable because I was broken. Either way, I more than “knew” that nobody would ever love me. I existed in the reality of it.

And somehow, in January of 2012, I knew that I wanted out of that reality.

So I started writing this blog. To get the demons out. And get the crazy out of my head. And try some new thoughts. And some new actions. And to stop living like I was still the girl I had been. Not just fat. But miserable. And crazy. A liar and a cheater. And incapable of stopping eating.

Because I had stopped eating! And stopped lying! And stopped cheating! I had learned how to live with integrity. How to honor my word. I had learned how to be a person I liked. And loved and respected.

So I started writing this blog to give myself a chance to fall in love. Because I was pretty darn sure that falling in love, (and being in love, and staying in love) was the most important thing to me. That it was what I wanted more than anything else in the whole world. And I thought that saying out loud, all of the thoughts that lived in my head, that I was afraid were true, would prove that they were not monsters under the bed. Just dust bunnies. I thought that this blog could be the flashlight. If I would just have the courage to look.

And it worked. Holy sh*t! It actually worked!

I am madly in love. With a man who is madly in love with me. And I was right. Loving this man, and being loved by him, is the most important thing that I have ever done in my life. It is actually bigger and easier and more special than my fat, food-addicted, miserable past-self could ever have known to wish for.

But this blog is still not over. It’s not done. And I’m not done with it.

I don’t know what comes next. What the next goal is. The next wish. The next dream. But there must be one. Because it never occurred to me to be done. It merely occurred to me that I got exactly what I asked for. Only better. And more quickly than I could have imagined.

So I’ll keep thinking about what I want next. And in the mean time, I will keep writing to you every week. And keep you posted on what it’s like for me to be a woman who lives with eating disorders.

I love you more than bacon. Just please don’t make me prove it.

So I’m unpacked and settled and happy at home. My new home. South. Hot and slow. And surprisingly enjoyable. I’m writing from the pool. And I’m wearing my bikini. In public.

I love it by the way. Wearing my bikini in public. I’m still a little insecure. Of course. I have a lifetime of thinking “nobody wants to see that.” But it’s my sun. And my summer. And my body. Just the way it is. And I am in love. And someone really amazing is in love with me back. Which makes my insecurities a little less. Seem a little silly. Who am I trying to impress? Plus it’s not New York City. It’s the south. Where people love their barbecue. And don’t care so much about body size.

I love the sun. And how it makes me look and feel. I’m allowed to just love it. It’s the first thing I am loving about leaving New York City.

And other things have changed already, as well.

When I stopped eating compulsively 7 ½ years ago, I went from eating constantly, to eating three times a day. But I still cherish eating. Or maybe “still” is the wrong word. I used to live to eat. Now I love to eat. Because I do it without guilt or shame. So I really wanted to relish those 3 times a day. I never wanted to share my meal times before. I always wanted to eat alone. I used to hole myself up in my room to eat. I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to think. I wanted to be entirely wrapped up in my delicious, glorious, guilt-free meal.

Another thing that happened when I put boundaries around my eating, is that I would go through long phases of eating the same things. I refer to periods of my life by foods I ate. There was the summer of turnip “french fries” and coffee shakes. There was the winter of baked custard. There was over a year when I ate deep-fried onions three times a week. I just recently ate carrot cake and pickles every night for dinner. All specially made by me, without sugar or flour, of course. All within my boundaries.

But I just moved. And some interesting things about my eating rituals have changed. Like there’s somebody to eat with. Not that my boyfriend eats the way I do. And I certainly don’t expect him to. Or wish he would. But it’s nice to sit across from him. Not somebody. Him. This man whom I moved half way across the country to be with. I’m not wishing somebody were there to eat lunch with during the week when he’s at work. But when we are together, sharing my meal times with him feels sacred. Like family. Like home.

And the things I have been eating since I got here keep changing. I have had so many different things and I haven’t even been home for a week. Plus there are new things I want to make. To try. I am looking forward to experimenting.

So here’s the epiphany I just had. Before I fell in love, food was my biggest source of joy. And experimentation was a risk. I was risking how much joy I would experience on any given day. So I didn’t. I wouldn’t take the risk. But now my joy comes from love. So I have more room to risk not loving my food.

Don’t get me wrong. I still really love my meals. And loving them is still really important to me. But I love my boyfriend more. (And that’s sayin’ something!)

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