The “Morality” of Thin

I didn’t have a chance to eat much yesterday. When I woke up this morning, I felt light.

The first thing I did was commend myself for being good yesterday.

Then I caught myself. After all these years, do I still equate weight loss with “being good”. A low calorie day has moral value?

The fact is – two days ago, I did much more real good. I visited a friend in the hospital, volunteered at an animal shelter, and cleaned out all my closet ending with a trip to Goodwill.. And i had a big dinner. No commendation here, lol

Yesterday, I slept late, lounged around in bed, read all day, took a nap and then watched TV.

And yet it was yesterday that got the gold star.

This crap is really embedded. Time to get rid of it!!!

“Fat” Camp

When I was a fat kid, losing weight was my only goal. My mother drove me to diet doctors, Weight Watchers, Behavior Modification specialists, therapists. We attempted every diet – eating only protein or only fruit or only rice. We cut out sugar, carbs, eating after 5 pm, eating before dinner, white food, anything but grapefruit……..

My mother lost a lot of weight. I got fatter. We tried another diet.

Defeated and disgusted, I believed myself to be the ugliest, most unlovable girl in the world. I was teased mercilessly for my weight (and frizzy hair, coke-bottle glasses, braces, acne.)

At one point, my mother suggested “fat” camp, but my aversion to exercise and the label, “fat”, put an end to that idea. I cringed at the thought of being weighed and made to exercise and put on more diets. Imagine being judged all summer by your weight? Awful. The school year was bad enough.

Instead, Mom sent me to regular camp, where my lack of athletic prowess made life, well, miserable. An insomniac since birth, I couldn’t sleep. I was the only one in my bunk without a boyfriend. What did I do at camp? I ate.

And dreamed of a summer camp where I could be free. Free to read and rest and watch movies and lie in the sun and maybe participate in gentle non-competitive exercise like dog paddling around a pool or going for an easy walk through the fields.

No one would chastise me and my fellow campers for lack of weight loss or lack of coordination or lack of dates. We would be accepted and cherished for just being us.

I suppose no parent would send their kid to my camp, not in today’s world where skinny is synonymous with all things good. Such a shame

Beginning of Recovery

For most of my life, I was lonely and scared. Each night I’d use food to fill the emptiness and dull the fear. Then, terrified by all I’d eaten, I’d throw it all up until morning. Horrified by the night before, the next day, I’d starve until I was desperately hungry, and the compulsive eating would begin again. Life became an endless loop of starving, binging, purging, starving, binging, purging….

In this way,I passed the time and many years of my life. In this way, I tried not to feel anything at all, not misery nor even minor discomfort. Something as simple as boredom could lead me to food, to binging and purging.

Hurt, pain, loneliness, fear and sadness got buried deep inside. BUT they were still there, deep down within me, and I would use food to anesthetize them.
I had to be willing to let myself know the pain and face the fears, or I was doomed to repeat my endless cycle forever. But if I did face the truth of what troubled me, I could be free. I had to learn that it’s okay to be sad and afraid, and I can tolerate any discomfort, big or small. I can face anything life shows me and be just fine.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone who has an issue with her weight has an eating disorder or uses food to soothe herself. Some people love food and eating and end up weighing more than they’d like. Others, like my best friend, aren’t interested in food, forget to eat, have fast metabolisms and work to keep their weight up.
For these folks, dealing with the food IS the solution. If my foodie pals really want to weigh less, they can cut portions or limit desserts or burn more calories with a Zumba class or two. Or they can decide they love to eat and make peace with their weight. For my best friend, sometimes he drinks Ensure and sometimes he makes himself eat when he’s not hungry. Mostly, though, he accepts that he’s always going to be skinny and that’s just the way it goes.

But not me. My problem has nothing to do with the food. My problem was thinking that food solves ALL problem, when in fact, I need to deal with the actual problems. And then I can truly be free and food can solve the one problem it’s meant to – hunger.

More on this process and recovery in blogs to come.

You’ve Lost Weight!

Is it a compliment to tell someone they look like they’ve lost weight? Such a loaded question for me. I try so hard to remind myself constantly that weight doesn’t matter, but old habits die hard. “You lost weight!”, is still a knee jerk commit, and I always assume it’s a huge compliment. I’ve even said it when it didn’t look like the person had lost weight – I just thought it was a great thing to say!

Of course, who even knows why someone lost the weight. Are they ill? Are they going through an unhappy time?

And the ultimate question – why have I always thought that weight loss is such a great thing anyway?

Let the Journey Begin – Up the Scale

I have stopped dieting, really difficult for me. And I’ve gained 10 pounds, also difficult – BUT life is truly too short to spend tethered to a scale and restricting food.

I’ve loaded up on leggings (the old jeans aren’t willing to zip), but more than that, I’ve loaded up on determination – no scale is going to own me!

The fear is, where will it end – will my weight climb to old highs? While I hope not, I just don’t know. And I have to let go.

We’ll see where this goes…. To be continued

Why Skinny?

I was in Manhattan yesterday and everywhere I looked, I saw a super-skinny, exquisitely dressed, incredibly chic woman. And when I say “super-skinny”, I mean pretty literally toothpicky.

Now I’m sure there are exceptions, but REALLY – is anyone that thin naturally?

So the question becomes – why do a large group of women want to be that skinny? These women on the Upper Eastside, where I was visiting, have the means and often, time, to look anyway they like, and this is what so many choose.

I’m an average weight now, but once I weighed 40 pounds less, and I was STARVING all the time. I thought that was somehow virtuous. I called myself “good” if I didn’t eat. I called myself “fat fucking pig”,
The thinner I got, the better I thought I looked and I would do anything to stay skinny.
For breakfast, I ate the paper wrapping of a muffin. I’d head to Dunkin Donuts, order my black coffee then stand for a few minutes, pondering which flavor of muffin to order – kind of silly, considering I really did just eat the paper it came in. Lunch was iceberg lettuce and raw veggies with balsamic vinegar. For dinner, perhaps a coffee yogurt, preferably frozen so it would last longer, more veggies, and then my big reward – one oreo cookie.

I was dizzy and weak all the time but even more, I was angry. I hated everything and everyone, particularly anyone who seemed comfortable eating. If you offered me food not on my “plan”, I resented you even more. How dare you!

Finally, I couldn’t live that way anymore and I began to binge constantly. Terrified of weight gain, I discovered bulimia and purged as often and as violently as possible.

It was a horrible, miserable, sick existence, but I did it for years. To stay thin.

Desperate not to eat, I turned to alcohol, hoping I would drink and not eat. And stay thin. Finally, I discovered crack cocaine, which killed my desire for food and got be back to skinny . But then it wasn’t just weight that I lost.

I lost everything.

Of course, all those women I saw yesterday most likely do not struggle as I did or perhaps not even at all, but I still want to know why skinny is their ideal.

Or anyone’s.

Care and Feeding

I have a cold with a runny nose and a stuffy head,achy bones and tired body. Just home from work, I’m going to have hot soup with crackers, hot tea with lemon and a hot bath with bubbles. Then I’m off to bed.

This is not how I would have treated myself, when sick, back in the days of the eating order,

I remember suffering a raging stomach flu when I was anorexic. I also remember eating mass quantities of raw vegetables, because that’s all I ate. And I so looked forward to those veggies. It didn’t matter that my stomach revolted. Trust me, raw broccoli is of no help to a stomach virus. But eat it I did. In mass quantities.

When I was bulimic and had a root canal, I still made myself throw up all night. That’s what I did, no matter what. I binged until i couldn’t move, and then purged until I felt empty – root canal or no root canal.

What a miracle, and I don’t take it lightly, that I can take normal, nice care of myself.. I never thought it would be possible and easy. But it is.