Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “male-female relationships”

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!)

Dear God, thank you for answering my prayer. Oh, and one more thing…

So finally, for the first time in 11 months, not only did I not gain weight, I lost weight! 2 whole lbs! I’m back down to 160.2. Which is about where I was back on February 1st. And I can’t really explain to you the relief.

The consistent, nonsensical weight gain is finally done. I don’t know what will happen now. But that irrational fear, that I would continue to gain weight endlessly, even while I maintained my food boundaries, has gone. And it feels similar to waking up in the middle of the night to find that your fever has broken.

But I am trying not to start projecting my weight loss into the future. Because I started to go there pretty quickly. Right away, in fact. I got off the scale and went into the kitchen to make breakfast, and started calculating losing 2 lbs a month. Or what if I lost more than 2 lbs a month?!? I could be down to 135 in under a year!

And then I started to ask myself “what if I don’t get that skinny again? What’s the highest weight I could live with?”

I want to stop that kind of thinking. I mean, “live with”? I used to weigh 300 lbs and I’m not dead, so I’m guessing I could live with any weight. I don’t want to love myself conditionally.

And also, ungrateful much, Kate? I prayed so hard for the weight gain to stop. Begged and bargained with God. Just for it to stop! And here it has stopped, and I barely took time to be grateful that I didn’t gain weight. I barely even took time to be grateful that I lost weight! Within minutes, I started worrying about how and when I was going to lose even more weight.

I really thought that the weight gain stopping would be enough to satisfy me. At least for a while. And the truth is that my relationship to my body is now different than it had been since the weight gain started. When I stop to think about it, there had been an underlying heaviness and a fear that permeated my daily life since last July. And yet, already, I am used to the “new normal” of not being perpetually worried about indefinite weight gain. And I have already begun having expectations of weight loss. And not just expectations. Ultimatums for God. You better, or else. Good Lord, Kate. Or else what? Or else, nothing. That’s what…

So all I can do right now is stay in the moment. When I find myself worrying or projecting or wishing or daydreaming about how long it will take me to lose the weight I gained, I have to stop thinking that thought. I have to change my mind.

And I have decided that when I start having thoughts about how it would be ok if I only end up losing 15 or 10 or X number of lbs, I want to stop having those thoughts too. I want to stop focusing on my body.

I wanted that before too, of course. And tried not to focus on my body. But while I didn’t know what was going on, or how much weight I would gain, or how long it would go on for, that wasn’t really a practical option for a girl with food issues and body image disorders. But now that there has been a break in the trend, I have some room to breathe. And to shift my focus.

Because I have many things to focus on. Being madly in love. Making sure my meals are delicious and within my boundaries. Figuring out what of my stuff is worth keeping and what is not. Boxing up my life and shipping it to my new home. Planning my going away party. Tying up the loose ends of the past 14 years of my life. Preparing for my biggest life adventure yet. And generally figuring out how to be the best girlfriend in the whole world. Important things. More important than what size I am.

Here we go…

So it’s another short one this week. I’m with my boyfriend again. And this weekend was spent meeting each other’s parents. Which was great. But, you know…Thank God that part is over. Even though everybody was cool, and we’re obviously in love and happy together, it was stressful.

And now the next part is that I’m leaving New York to be with my boyfriend full-time. I’m going back to my Brooklyn apartment one last time to pack it up and ship it to his place. Before June, I will no longer be a resident of New York.

It might look fast from an outsider’s perspective. Although, maybe not…I’m actually surprised that we haven’t had more people question our choice. Basically everybody has been happy for us. My friends are all supportive. Go! We’ll miss you! But, go!

Of course, I am 35. Not 15. Or even 25. But also, I have so much clarity. And self-assurance. They know that I make good choices. That I have excellent judgment.

I talk about my clarity a lot in this blog. How it’s one of the gifts I got from quitting sugar and putting boundaries around my eating. But there is another gift that I talk about less. Maybe it’s because for me it’s about God, and I know that “God” is a loaded term.

The one thing I will say about God this week is that my relationship with God is about my life. God doesn’t talk to me about what other people should do or think or say or be. God talks to me about me.

And I know that God wants me to pick up my life and move. That He wants me to be with my boyfriend. There is not a doubt in my mind.

That “knowing” is what I mean by self-assurance. The answer is obvious. God wants me to keep boundaries around my food. God wants me to leave New York to go be with the man I love.

In September I wrote a post about how it was difficult to leave my own kitchen. That I was attached to sameness and routine when it came to food. Now, just 8 months later, I’ve been traveling like crazy. With a future life of moving every 2 months to a year. (My boyfriend moves around a lot for work.) And it’s suddenly easy. Peaceful. Obvious. I’m not afraid.

Because I know it’s what God wants for me. God wants me to keep my food boundaries. And He wants me to be with this man. How do I know? I have no idea. But I know both things like I know that the sun rises in the East. I know them like I know how to walk. I don’t question. And I don’t have to. And because I know these things, I know that as long as I am willing to keep boundaries around my food, God will make it possible. Even if we end up living in hotels with hot-plates for a month or two.

I am nervous. I’m an anxious person. The unknown always makes me nervous. That may never change. And I am about to leap into the unknown. But I am not afraid. Here we go…

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. Is it time for lunch?

There are 2 things I want to talk about this week.

The first is that I gained just under 2 lbs in the past 2 months. I weigh 162.2 lbs now. And I did freak out a little, like I thought I might. But like I also figured I would, I got over it pretty quickly. But there is a thought process that keeps getting clearer and clearer in my head. And maybe all the more clear because I’m not panicking. It’s an irrational thought. And I know that. But knowing doesn’t stop it from occurring as true. The thought is that the weight gain will never stop.

I do not eat compulsively. And I do not eat enough to get fat. But I am sure that I will keep gaining weight. Even eating the way that I eat, I do not trust that it will stop. I have a thought that is something like You got to be somewhere between thin and skinny for seven years. It was a good run. But now you have to go back to living in a fat body you hated. You always knew it would come back to that. You always knew you were broken.

This is sick thinking. It’s ridiculous. It’s also scientifically not sound. But what it shows me most clearly is that I do not trust that things are going the way they should. Which is fascinating if you consider that I just got a fairy tale love story out of the blue. Apparently, I can agree that God got the man exactly right, beyond my wildest dreams, yet I refuse to give Him any credit for knowing what to do about my body. Even while I’m doing my part! I do not eat compulsively and I keep boundaries around my food.

The other thing I want to talk about is how grateful I am that having boundaries around my food gives some stability to my life. I have had people say to me that they could never do what I do because it’s so inconvenient. And I can see how it can occur as inconvenient. And it has, on occasion occurred to me as inconvenient. But I’m going to tell you something. Right now, when a twister has just picked up the little Kansas farm-house that is my life and is spinning me around and kicking up dust on my way to wherever it is it’s taking me (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for someplace magical in full Technicolor), it’s pretty damn convenient to have some structures in place to remind me of who I am, and help me feel safe.

I have mentioned before that one of my rules (and I have many rules around food) is that I eat 3 meals a day. Always. And only. I don’t eat in between meals. I don’t have snacks. I don’t grab something quick to tide me over. And I don’t skip meals. 3 meals a day.

One thing that means is that I plan my life around that system. Not the other way around. Don’t get me wrong. I definitely have a life. (Or I could if I wanted one, anyway.) If I want to go to a party or a play or just meet up with friends, I can do that. I do not have rigid or non-negotiable times that I must eat. (Though there are times that I definitely prefer to eat.) But whatever is on my agenda, somehow, I need to figure out how I’m going to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each within all of the various rules and boundaries that go with eating for me. If I can’t make that work, I can’t do it. This is a powerful tool for me. I already have my first priority. That makes everything and everyone else on my priority list easier to place.

Another thing it means is that 3 times a day, every day, I stop what I’m doing. I stop thinking. I stop worrying. I stop planning. I stop acting. I stop everything. And I enjoy a meal. And I mean enjoy. I take my time. I savor. I talk to my food. I make “mmmm” and “oh my God” noises.

And at this time in my life I am so grateful to have a priority I hold as sacred. And three pauses built into my day. Because right now, my brain will not stop. And everything feels uncertain. My life is totally unfamiliar. I wasn’t prepared to have my belief system about myself, and to a certain extent, the way I identify myself, get thrown over. Basically over night.

Please understand, being in love is fan-freaking-tastic. I am not complaining. It is what I have always wanted. And it has turned out to be even more wonderful than I ever imagined it could be. But the whole thing is so new. For the second time in a year, I’m in emotional free-fall. And I am not calm. Or peaceful. I’m incredibly happy! So joyful! But my brain is in overdrive. And that can make me feel overwhelmed. And being overwhelmed can make me either shut down, or spin my wheels. And most often, alternate between the two.

So right now when I am walking in circles (sometimes literally, by the way) wondering what I should do or where I should go or what’s next and where to start, I can start with the food.

Did I eat breakfast? Do I know what I’m having for lunch and dinner? Do I have them on hand, or do I have to make or get them? Do I have a plan for getting them? Do I have everything I need in the house for tomorrow’s breakfast?

Having answers to the what, when, how, and how much questions about food has a special effect on me. (Sometimes anyway.) It can calm me down enough to figure out the next, non-food-related thing that needs to get done. Or when it doesn’t, it reminds me that eating three meals within my boundaries and not eating in between meals is enough. That it’s a hell of a lot better than whatever it was that I was doing when I was eating compulsively 7 ½ years ago. That not only do I not need to conquer the world, I don’t even need to conquer my breakfast dishes. Earth will not explode.

And there is a sense of safety to eating 3 meals a day. I can stop in the middle of something because it’s time for a meal. I can take a break from cleaning, crocheting, writing my blog, even cooking tomorrow’s meals. It turns out that whatever it is I’m in the middle of will be there when I return to it. And even better, I will be well fed. Everything looks different after a meal. Better. Clearer. More manageable. It reminds me that I can take my time and do things in baby steps. It makes me feel safe and stable. No matter what revolutionary changes are happening in my life, there will be 3 meals a day. And there is always another meal coming.

And my favorite is when it’s actually time to eat. When it’s time to eat, nothing matters but eating. All of the mistakes I have made and will make cease to exist. All of the things I have to do – the people I have to call back, the emails I have to respond to, life I have to deal with – disappear for the time that I am eating. For that time, it’s me and my food. Guilt free food! That’s heaven!

Look, I’m trying to stay out of my own way when it comes to this whole being-in-love-with-an-amazing-man thing. I’m trying to remember that he knows that I’m not perfect and he loves me anyway. And that I will make mistakes in our relationship, and that it will be ok. I’m trying to remember that my life is easier when I trust that everything is going the way that it should. That God wants me to be happy. And I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that I am happy. And well fed. And in love. I might be walking in circles, but I’ve sure got a smile on my face.

Now that I’m normal around food, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat…

I want to talk about my body dismorphia again this week. Because I don’t have it today. And it really seems gone. Like *poof*. Like magic.

The first of the month is just days away. That’s the day I weigh myself. And I will weigh myself April 1st. And I am not worried. I feel beautiful. I think I look great.

Sure I could freak a little if I gained more weight. But I’m pretty sure I would get over it pretty quickly. And I am not filled with anxiety anticipating getting on the scale. Knowing weigh day is coming is not eating away at me like it has for almost a year.

I’m in love. With a man who thinks my body is beautiful. Right now. Not skinny. And I’m happy. Stupid happy. If I were not-in-love Kate looking at me this happy, I would make myself gag. Seriously. It’s ridiculous how doe-eyed I am. How filled with benevolence toward all of mankind.

That is the thing about my eating and body image disorders. They are excellent at occurring like they have disappeared. Especially when I’m super-duper crazy happy. Like now. Don’t be fooled. I am not fooled.

It’s imperative that I remember that just because I am happy and in love, it does not follow that I am better. Or normal. Around food or my body. Being in a good mood does not make me cured. Love doesn’t take away my eating disorders. I am just as sick around food and my body as I have ever been. And this could even be even more dangerous. It’s not, but it could be. If I’m not careful.

I feel normal. Or more like super-human. Eat uncontrollably? When I’m so happy? When the world is all sparkles and tickley and pink? Why would I? How could I?

But I know. Of course I could. And I know I would kill this buzz by acting like I’m normal. I know I could hate myself in an instant by acting like I’m neutral around food all of a sudden. It wouldn’t take much. A chocolate easter egg. One of those little itty bitty ones. Wrapped in pretty, shiny gold foil. A little bite. A little extra. A little taste. And I’m royally and undeniably f***ed. Just so we’re clear.

Many times I have been told that I don’t look like I need to put boundaries around my food. Of course I don’t look like I’m sick with food. I look the way I do because I put boundaries around my food. My default setting is a 300 lb girl who can’t stop eating.

I don’t keep boundaries around my food when I’m fat, until I get thin. I don’t keep boundaries around my food while I’m unhappy, until I get happy. I don’t do it when things are not going my way, until circumstances are better. I do it always. Under any and all conditions. No matter what.

And here’s another thing. I have a brand new reason to maintain my boundaries. One that I haven’t had before. If I pick up sugar, grains, or starch, or start eating compulsively, a really important part of the woman who my boyfriend fell in love with goes away. And so does a part of the woman who was ready and able to fall in love with him. I don’t do what I do for him. God knows I did it for years as a single woman. For myself. But now there is someone else I want to take care of myself for. I want to like myself when I’m with him. I want to know that I have integrity when I talk to him. I want to know that I have been treating my body with respect when it is in his arms. I want to be present for him. I want to be available for our relationship. I want to make sure he stays as important to me as he is right now.

Because if I were eating compulsively, I would care about food first. More than myself. More than him. More than love. Cake would trump my relationship. And that is not hyperbole.

I am not telling you this because I feel like I’m in danger right now. I am not actually worried about crossing my boundaries. I’m telling you to keep myself out of danger. I’m telling you because I have to regularly remind myself that I have food and body issues. Every day, in fact. It’s a preemptive measure. And especially right now, when I “don’t seem like the kind of girl who needs to keep boundaries around her food”, it’s in my best interest to remember that this beautiful, happy, glowing, beaming, stunning, effervescent, specimen of radiant joy and serenity is a 300 lb, binge-eating, laxative-abusing, 14-miles-a-day-running, bulimic. Who hasn’t had to do that stuff for so long that she had time and space and peace enough to fall in love.

Wow am I ever glad I didn’t quit 5 minutes earlier…

About seven years ago, when I had just quit sugar and stopped eating compulsively, people who had gone before me would say that if I kept boundaries around my food, my life would get better. They would tell me to just keep moving ahead. Not to quit 5 minutes before the miracle.

I don’t remember what I thought of that at the time. I don’t think I had much imagination for what kind a miracles they could have been talking about. Just not eating a whole cake seemed like its own kind of miracle. I vaguely remember thinking that not eating compulsively would have to be better. That being thin would be better. But I don’t think I thought it meant that my whole life would get better. And yet that’s what they were telling me. And not just me.

It’s what they would tell the woman going through the ugly divorce and/or the heart-wrenching custody battle. The one getting evicted. The one who just lost a job. They were telling people who were going through difficult and scary situations that if they just kept their boundaries around their eating, their lives would get better. That there were miracles if they just didn’t give up. If they just didn’t eat compulsively.

Now I sometimes tell people who are just starting out the same thing. And so many of them get frustrated. Or incredulous. Or even angry.

How can putting boundaries around my eating make my life get better? What does eating have to do with anything?

And I have to be honest with you. There are things about it that just plain don’t make sense.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of it makes perfect sense. I can see that I face things head on when I have my eating under control. That my first instinct is to deal with people and situations with honesty and integrity. That I don’t manipulate. And let’s face it, honesty and integrity simplify everything.

And I mostly make good choices. I am clear-headed. I am thoughtful. I trust myself. And I remember that if I make a choice that doesn’t work out well, I can go back with honesty and good will and do my best to make it better.

I like myself too. So I make most choices from a positive outlook, not from a place of fear. I don’t choose to hide myself, or appear in some affected or manufactured form in order to please someone. Or keep them from disliking, or judging me. I can be who I am. Comfortably. Happily.

And I am open to life. To good and bad. Every day that I keep boundaries around my eating, I am better able to go with the flow and roll with the punches. I’m able to show up for life exactly as it is. And that’s cumulative. I’m better at that today than I was last year, or the year before. I was better in 2008 than I was when I started in January of 2006. I get better at it every day I don’t eat compulsively.

But there really is something more to it too. Something otherworldly. Just like they told me seven years ago. Magic or Miracles or Kismet. Whatever. I don’t know what else to call it. And I don’t know why it happens. And from straight out of the blue. But it does.

Like now.

I’m in love. And he is too.

It’s sudden. It’s intense. But it’s beautiful and exciting. And a little bit surreal. And I’m so clear. And so honored. And so ready.

And I wasn’t ready until now. I can see that. I spent the last seven years getting myself to a place where I really and truly liked myself. And I spent the last two years making myself the kind of woman I wanted to offer as a partner. I even started writing this blog because I wanted to heal my heart so I could fall in love.

And just about as soon as I was ready, there he was. And he was ready too.

And it’s so incredibly easy. And perfectly comfortable. It all makes perfect sense.

I can imagine that it might look impulsive or ridiculous to the outside world. But then again, maybe not. We are not 19-year-olds. We have both lived. We are adults. Well into our 30’s. With some scars and some wisdom. And that makes it all the more magical to me. That instead of ending up jaded, we have young, pure hearts.

I had spent over 30 years resigning myself to the fact that I was unlovable and destined for loneliness. And then I wondered for several years if I could find love if I fixed myself up spiritually. So I did that.

And then about two years ago I tried to have faith. To trust that love would come. In God’s time, and on Life’s terms. And faith and trust were hard. And I didn’t do the best job with them. But it turns out I didn’t have to do them perfectly. I did them just fine in the end.

But this is one thing I am clear on. What I did get perfectly right was my commitment to the food. Not that I never made an honest mistake. I have made a few. But I never crossed a boundary willfully or purposely.

I got love because I put boundaries around my food. And I kept them. And I continue to keep them. I got love because 3 meals a day, for over seven years, no matter what has gone on in my life, I have practiced deep self-love. Nourishing my body with real food, and nourishing my soul with boundaries around that food.

How can putting boundaries around my eating make my life get better? What does eating have to do with anything?
Everything. I don’t know how it works. Or why. I just know it has made me available for love. And miracles. I just know that I kept my boundaries and my life got better. I just know that I am incredibly grateful that I didn’t quit 5 minutes before the miracle.

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