Fat and Sassy

my views on being larger than life.

That’s gotta be a victory February 5, 2010


Heidi over at Hortus Deliciarum  wrote a great post called Intuitive eating vs. “calorie restriction” or dieting .  As i was posting, i realized my reply  had outgrown the “comments” realm and was morphing into its own blog post.   please check her post out as it is obviously thought provoking.

“Sometimes I need to swim back to my safety-log of overeating to make it through a day, because I’m not yet ready to swim all the way to the shore of recovery, but I never, ever calorie restrict. That way lies madness.”   

so very powerful and true.   It amazing….now that I honestly DONT CARE what I  eat…I end up bringing home food from resturants……hell I even order less because I didn’t starve myself all day…like today…at panera bread (it will always be St.Louis Bread Co to me) I USED to order a take 2 with a breadbowl, making myself eat their yummy salads….but yesterday all I craved was veggies,  and today all I wanted was bread and meat….so I had french onion soup in a bread bowl and it was ALL I wanted…..it was PERFECT and I was satisfied until 9p, when I ate with my man when he got off work on our date night.   I am eating LESS when I am not forcing myself to eat “right”  because what I crave is “right” for my body.  

…and I don’t feel like I have to “force” myself to eat in the mornings anymore (I have asthma and use birth control… so I get REALLY sick to my stomach in the morning.)  I always felt like I had to choke down breakfast, and then if I couldn’t I wouldn’t let myself eat till like 2 as “punishment” for not follow the right diet to “amp” my metabolism.     But now that I have given up on that notion and eat when my body says I tend to eat 2 meals with a light snack later….and no starving, no hiding food and scarfing it.   I enjoy it more….hell I cant even eat fast food anymore, it turns my stomach and I don’t crave it (i turned down fries tonight in favor of horseradish cole slaw) ….but boy has my wok enjoyed itself since i got it for christmas! 

Hell this whole happy movement thing too is amazing….my body LOVES me now!  My back needs the yoga daily to feel better….and I feel stronger without feeling so sore I cant walk up a stair.   I don’t shake now when I do downward-facing dog or warrior poses!   And I can hold them for longer!   and I havent given up or gotten bored (gogo ADHD).   It feels like all the baby steps with my relationships with food, exercise and self-esteem are starting to right themselves.

In fact I passed something of a “test” for myself personally.  My first trigger for bulimia…the big one that started it all… was homemade lemon bars…..I made (and then ate) a whole pan…and freaked out. (cue a binge/purge cycle that lasted, oh the rest of my life)  Well, I made some with my kids…and there are still 3 left, and its been 2 days…in fact I think I have to throw them away, because they are stale….WFT!   I let sweets…CAKES for crissake!…go STALE!  I dont care if I am losing weight, or gaining….I DO care that my relationship with food, for the first time since I was 10, is starting to feel normal, and right.   I dont have to count everything to be able to eat it.   I AM trying to eat veggies, not because I HAVE to but because I CRAVE them. 

That’s gotta be a victory.

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a voice in recovery January 28, 2010


As you probably know by now, i am a recovering bulimic, and am always looking for ways to support others in the recovery process, as well as looking for advice and insight on my own recovery.  I follow weightless (http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2010/01/qa-on-eating-disorder-recovery-with-kendra-a-voice-in-recovery-part-2/) which features thoughtful interviews with people in the recovery process.    

WARNING MAY BE TRIGGERING

A problem that eating disorders have in the media is their portrayal.   It, like dieting, is often seen as a “willpower”  issue, when it’s so much more than that (much like dieting)   “I do worry more about trash media articles, because often the articles sound cliché, and make it sound like eating disorders are a willpower issue and not a complicated biological, chemical, cultural, environmental disorder.”   Also, everyone sees the wasting waif that is the face of anorexia….but put me in a line up and you wouldn’t be able to go “HER…thats the bulimic”   That is one of the MANY pitfalls of judging a person by their weight.   Tell me to “lose weight fatty”  and not so long ago it would throw me into a crying tailspin where I would purge everything I ate for 3 months.   Hell I have even had relatives tell me to just be bulimic for 3 months so you lose 30 lbs so you can get out there and date after my husband left me (thanks insensitive bitch!)   If I am skinny and its after 1994, it’s NOT because of a successful diet….its because I throw up.  ITs when I get “fat” again that I am healthy, not living in a hell with my worth being defined as a number at the convergence of calories in, exercise, willpower, and hatred.. 

This particular article is with Kendra, the head of A voice of Recovery on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AVoiceinRecovery) and she had some awesome things to say about ed, recovery and advocacy.  First, she lashes out at the diet industry, which is the root of poor body image in oh so many women. ” I worry that because dieting is running rampant in this country by a multi-billion dollar industry, that parents will see dieting as a girl’s “right of passage.” I worry people will start dieting and end up with eating disorders. I believe the diet industry is a very damaging, powerful industry.”  that is why diet ads, ESPICALLY to those in recovery can be so toxic….it’s really hard to ignore all the “lose weight fatty or no one will love you” messages in the media…or worse yet “lose weight fatty or your gonna DIIIEEEEEEEE” (i think i want a t-shirt with that on it, as a caption for a picture of receipts for diet food) that is the new special hell in the media for ed folks.   Because EVERY diet becomes restriction, and for those with and ed, this can mean relapse.

She also talks about the lack of information for those RECOVERED….you hear all these stories about the bravery of women going into ED treatment, but you don’t see the reality out the other side…..IT can feel hopelessly long, and hard, and damn near impossible.   The media, ESPICALLY for bulimia, doesn’t really talk about the long term effects….for me, my ED is becoming VERY real as my teeth fall out one by one….before the of 40.   I also have digestion issues and acid reflux disease (from all my purging, my tummy ph is all messed up) and a horrid gag reflex.   She too talks on her issues (which the media never covers for bulimics, or if they do it’s an aside, cause we aren’t SKINNY so its ok) 

“I do have a LOT of dental issues. I was a kid who never had cavities, always had white teeth, and I now struggle with cavities, gum damage, etc. I also have a lot of digestive problems. Since I abused laxatives, I have a hard time processing foods. I also restricted and threw up so much food that I have acid reflux, and issues with eating certain types of foods.” 

They don’t tell you that you can never enjoy orange juice (bottled sunshine) again without pain.  Or red sauce (at least for me). 

Kendra also talks on how people can help loved ones with an ed.   Like with alcoholism, its really hard to help someone stop when they don’t WANT to stop.   You have to have that Aha! moment.  It’s important to remember, folks may NOT want help.  “Also – this disorder lies:  Often while you think a loved one may need help, the person struggling will not and sometimes cannot see this. Try not to lash out with frustration, and understand that it is a very complicated disorder, and it is normal for the person struggling to not want help, be unwilling to stop behaviors and may get very angry at any suggestion of help.”

It’s people like her that give me the courage to take it one day at a time, step by step into recovery.  Sometimes all you can say is “I will try again tomorrow”

 

Elle admits to exersize bulimia January 20, 2010


If I havent mentioned it yet, I LOVE stumble upon, an add-on for web browsers (get it www.stumpleupon.com).   It lets you pick your genres you like to look at (for me its humor, anthropology, video games, music, crafts, linguistics, history ect ect)  and then plugs you into a cloud using a thumbs up/thumbs down system like Pandora or digg.   Anyway it always gives me interesting fa articles from outside the fatosphere and this is no exception.  This time i stumbled into an article about exercise bulimia from Elle Magazine. 

As usual, these may be triggering, please read with care (and take in mind it IS coming from the Evil-Coprorations-Pushing-diets-On-us magazines aka one of THEM)

http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Health-Fitness/Exercise-Bulimia-How-Much-is-Too-Much

  I think its great that the author (a reality tv  winner from a show called stylista…the prize was an internship at elle)  was open about the whole thing, and how she realized she needed help.  The first article is her journey toward admitting she has a problem.  Her addiction started through a sport, having to cut 2-3 lbs to make the rowing team.   The old calorie in = caolrie out became the rule for her, the obession…she realized she had a problem when She was taping the show.   Her inability to exercise (their gym membership fell through, they didn’t get the contestants a treadmill, they couldn’t run because of the cameras..ect,ect.)  leads to a quiet breakdown, and she knew she needed help.  

  I think everyone has a triggerpoint….I remember being in middle school drinking slimfast and hiding in the library because I was embarassed…..runnning till I fell over to REM.   And, like the author of the Elle article, I hid my exercise, doing it late at night when no one would know.   Taking the bus to the pool to swim for 7 hours a day, swimming 50 laps or more without stopping.   Now, my exercise bulimia fell to pieces when I started purging, (it was oh so much less time consuming for one), but i can certainly understand where the author is coming from…and to a certain extent it’s what the media at large feeds us.  I find it problematic that in the same magazine as this article there is also THIS article http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Health-Fitness/ELLE-Make-Better-DVD-With-Brooklyn-Decker, but i suppose it IS a step in the right direction.

http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Health-Fitness/21-Day-Make-Better-Exercise-Diary

the second is the beginning of her recovery journey.  I sort of disagree with the slightly oversimplified idea that she could get “better” from an eating disorder in 21 days, but hey, it’s a start.  It’s about time that folks start seeing the compulsive exercise as pushed by the biggest loser and other weight loss shows.    It’s NOT ok to run 8 miles a day because you ate a muffin.   You are NOT supposed to exercise through injuries.    Holidays.   Birthdays.  The road to recovery is a long process full of pit falls.   The author speaks about gaining 3-4 lbs over the course of 21 days…but what if your body equilibrium is naturally 50 lbs heavier than that?   What happens when you STOP going 2-3 daily 6 days a week?   And where is the line?  Whats the difference between fasting because you know you are going to a buffet….or starving yourself so you can binge?  I think the line is, like all  addictions, does it affect your life?  are you ashamed of it?  do you obsess  about it?  do you do it in secret?

Anyway some food for thought.

 

Biggest Fear January 19, 2010


So I am driving my kids in the car to go out to eat for a birthday dinner with their grandparents.   And the youngest daughter, the one most like me, pops up with “I think I eat too much…I’m going to try to be less hungry”  and my heart just broke….my biggest fear is I will somehow “give” my eating disorder to my daughters.   Even though i am step mom (their mother passed   over 3 years ago now.)  I love them like my own.  (for those that belive in the supernatural, i have dreampt about them since i was 12, but i digress again as usual)  I try VERY hard to cook balanced meals, not talk about good food bad food and try to help them look at food as fuel for your body…we need various food groups like your car need fluids or it wont run right.  At the same time i teach them to cook, to bake, to love food and life.

We tried hard to explain that she needs to eat and drink so her body can grow big and strong….. but now I worry….I’ve know her since she was 3…..she has always LOVED seafood and veggies…in fact at buffets she often just eats sliced tomatoes, seeds, cheese, and strawberries, happy as a clam.   But with that comment i find myself worried more and more….is she restricting?  or just enjoying the foods she loves?  do i force her to eat the meat and such that is the “main course” with dinner?  (our usual rule is as many bites as your age of veggies, fruit and protein)  She also has a bad gag reflex and will start to choke and puke a little when she’s upset (smells and tastes will also set her off).     At what point is that bulimia?  She has the other “triggers” for and ED too….a need to be perfect….childhood trama…..a crushing need to feel accepted.  Already when she messes up, she will run away and call herself stupid.   I try to tell her we have to make mistakes to learn but i don’t know if she hears me.  

Kids being the curious buggers that they are have caught me in a few ED freakout moments, so I sat down and explained as best  as I could how some people are fat and some people are thin, and how the people that sell diet stuff try to make you feel bad to sell the diet stuff.   They are starting to read, so we look at the tiny print on the diet commercials.  “mommy it says average weight loss 5 lbs total, thats not as much as the girl in the ad.”  But how do you explain bulimia and EVERYTHING that comes with it to a 6 and a 7 yr old without making them question their body, their self-worth?  How do you armor a child that , due to her genetics (her mom was 200+ her dad is over 300 lb) has a pretty good chance of being overweight?  (and do it without damaging her self-worth)

I honestly stay up at night worrying about stuff like this, and cry for a world where i have to worry about getting a 6-year-old ready for a life of being fat, of loving yourself in the face of pressure to diet because you are never, ever good enough.