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.