Like bunches of people in this country, in highschool I began developing an obsession with food: I’d go through uber controlling phases of a few months where I’d be at least moderately hungry all of the time hyperaware of calorie intake convinced that certain things were going to make me fat if I put them inside of me and thus NONE of it was allowed inside of me… and then my body would eventually say SCREW YOU I’M HUNGRY JERK and I’d eat everything all of the time and feel always at least mildly uncomfortable… I rarely got ‘fat’ or ‘skinny’ but my weight would have 20lb mood swings on a pretty regular basis.
As with everything else, there were multiple culprits for this issue. Desire to be skinny was how it generally manifested in everyday life. I’d look at a tiny person then look at my own belly and because it wasn’t exactly the same I was all wrong. On a deeper level this was likely a need to control something in my life [I’ve actually recently learned that I can be somewhat of a control freak. weird.] since this stuff started developing around the time my mom and stepdad got divorced and while also starting to really think about the universe and junk was all like ‘whatever this stuff doesn’t affect me whatever.’ [ mosttimes when whatever is used aside from You can have whatever cupcake you’d like, it’s a copout. ]
Whatever. A few years back I went and dealt with most of that emotional junk I’d stashed away but the food obsession remained. After ten or so years, a habit tends to become its own beast regardless of the initial underlying cause. It wasn’t until I started dating Mike that I found myself comfortable enough to be entirely honest about the weird eating patterns I’d developed. Total honesty about how weird we think we are is always the first step in reclaiming that part of ourselves.
And guess what. I really wasn’t that weird. Unhealthy yes, but not a freak. A big part of having an ‘issue’ is ego over here wanting to be special. But the more we can say shhhhh ego you’re not the special part the thing that’s special about all this human stuff is our ability to completely relate to every other human and be utterly honest about all our inner workings so’s we might realize our inseparateness and if you keep on yacking about how important you are it’s awfully hard to hear what’s actually important.
I always knew how I wanted to relate to food, but it was always a case of : let me lose just this little belly fat and then I’ll start eating normally, or let me just finish eating everything and then I’ll start eating normally. And I never wanted to tell anybody about it because I didn’t want to be a silly little girl with an eating issue.
Then my good friend Chelsea gave me a book called ‘Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything’ which is fantastic and not about God in the almighty sense so don’t let that word give you the wrong impression if religion doesn’t happen to be your thing. [Here’s a nice little excerpt if you’re interested: http://www.oprah.com/health/An-Excerpt-from-Geneen-Roths-Women-Food-And-God ] The book talks about listening to what your body wants to eat and not being overly controlling or overly permitting and it all made PERFECT sense to me but I still couldn’t put it into effect. I’d try to listen to my body just end up hearing – be skinny don’t eat anything or I’m going to eat whatever the shit I want- instead. In fact after reading the book I experienced the most drastic weight swing to date. It was as though the truth scared me into revolting in the opposite direction.
BUT. After losing then gaining about 30lbs, things have settled out. I can honestly eat what my body wants but also not beat myself up when I choose to ignore it now and again by eating half a pizza or a pound of FroYo. And people call me skinny these days even though there’s a little fat around my midsection and I’m perfectly ok with all that.
Liberating is a word that doesn’t begin to do this new mindset justice. I no longer do things primarily as a means of burning time and calories until the next time I can eat. I do things because I love doing them. I can eat without worrying: am I eating the right amount of calories is this the appropriate amount to consume so that I can again consume in a few hours how am I going to burn off these calories I don’t deserve to eat any of this I deserve to eat ALL OF THIS AND NEVER STOP what if I eat a different amount than yesterday this current pattern of eating has made me skinny so if I deviate at all I’ll turn into a cow. All of that is gone [or at least turned down to an inaudible level] and has been for about a year now which hasn’t ceased to amaze me. I now feel sustainable.
I’ve finally figured out that things will work out much better if I don’t think I have to practically apply all of the knowledge all of the time. I’ve learned to take in information and allow it to slowly manifest in action. I’m aware of the fact that throughout my life I’ll be making subtle changes to the way I live so that the Julie 2043 will be have altered many of the patterns of Julie 2013 but it’s dang nifty to be Julie 2013. Though things will change, I’m not doing anything wrong.
Take home message: Eat like you love yourself. Have whatever cupcake you’d like.