Goddamn it. God the fucking damn it. My NANCY SMASH! high has subsided (although I still greatly admire Madame Speaker of the House), and now, I am back to being frustrated with an issue that seems to plague me. Rather, a series of issues as they are all interrelated.
I thought I could do it this time. I thought I could have a sensible eating plan, incorporate a moderate amount of exercise, throw in some taiji, and take off the pounds slowly and sensibly. As the the latter, I was doing well for the first month. I lost ten pounds. Not bad. In the last month, it’s been a harder road. I’ve lost and then regained, and in the end, I’m down four more pounds. Not great. I know what my problem is, but that’s not the focus of this entry.
As longtime readers know, I have struggled with eating disorders (ED) since I was…well a child really. My mom put me on my first diet when I was seven (using the ‘you have such a beautiful face’ line as she did), and I have been yo-yo’ing ever since. Right now, I am near the heaviest I’ve ever been. It’s not a comfortable place to be at all. I have not been happy with my weight for some time. For the third time in my life, I am on a major attack on my weight.
Here’s the problem. I have no road map in losing weight in a healthy way. Furthermore, I have a plethora of issues relating to food itself, which makes it even more difficult for me to think rationally about the whole subject. It has been said that the biggest problem with eating issues is that you have to eat in order to live. If someone is a recovering alcoholic, she doesn’t have to drink another alcoholic drink for as long as she live. She will not die from not drinking. It’s the same with nearly every other addiction. One does not need to smoke in order to live. One can quit drugs, walk away, and never look back.
However. If I were to walk away from food, as it were, I would die. I cannot give up my addiction as a way of overcoming it. No, I have to fucking eat every day in order to live. That means I have to confront my eating issues every fucking time I eat. Or don’t eat. Or when I used to chew and spit. Or binge and purge.
I have never had a healthy relationship with food. I know it’s just food. It’s not inherently good or bad. Most food tastes really good when it’s properly cooked. It’s job is to sustain. It’s neutral, really, in its attributes. I know that in my mind. Once I start dieting, though, the sensible ideas in my head start morphing into more sinister characters.
A big problem is that many of the mainstays of dieting (counting calories, weighing oneself regularly, seeing how many calories are burned for each activity done) are actually triggers for OCD/ED behavior for me. I actually believe that much of our dieting industry is sanctified ED behavior and thinking, but that’s not the gist of this particular entry.
The inherent difficulty is that losing weight takes a lot of energy, thought, focus, and work–especially as I get older. It’s not something I can do lackadaisically and see encouraging results. In other words, I have to feed my ED thinking and patterns to some extent no matter how healthily I am dieting.
To complicate matters even further, I can’t eat without doing something else at the same time. For some reason, if I sit down to a plate of food and just eat, I start freaking the fuck out. I have to be on the computer, watching TV, reading, or talking to someone as I eat in order to be able to do it in a semi-rational matter. I have to trick myself into eating, in other words, because on some level, I don’t feel I should be eating. I will get to that in a second.
Now, to throw on top of all of that, I have developed dairy and gluten/wheat intolerance over the years. I don’t always heed these limitations, much to my detriment. Then, I get a queasy feeling in my stomach, which makes me want to throw up. Or, I get PAS (Prickly Anus Syndrome), and I spend way too much time on the toilet.
Toss in the fact that my mother is a push-pull of ‘lose weight, you giant elephant’, ‘eat this piece of chocolate cake which I offer as love to you’, and you have the recipe for a disaster in making. I have realized over the years that while my mother gives lip service in wanting me to lose weight (for health reasons, supposedly), she will subtly do things to sabotage my efforts if I actually start losing a lot of weight.
So. I started out this time by sensibly saying, “Ok, I’ll eat less food from the deli of my coop and start buying more raw veggies. That’ll help. I’ll try to eat only when I’m hungry (which is exceedingly difficult for me as I can’t tell when I’m hungry and when I’m not), and I’ll cut down on the sweets. In addition, I’ll get my 10,000 steps in per day (as recommended by someone, somewhere–I have been told many times this is the holy grail of numbers). I will do my taiji as well, and it’ll all be good.”
Sounds good, right? It’s a sound plan. However, true to my OCD issues and my perfectionist tendencies, I am starting to slip. I have added lifting to my repertoire again, which is not bad in and of itself. It’s only bad because I’ve gone from one hour of exercise a day to an hour and a quarter. If I expand my program as I plan, I’m going to be pushing the 1 1/2 to 2 hours mark again. Per day.
Then, the last three days, I haven’t felt up to doing the whole program, so I’ve done nothing. That makes me grumpy. I don’t like my all-or-nothing mentality, but I’m not quite sure how to fix it. I try the, “Do it for ten minutes” thing, but then I feel compelled to do the whole set. I have a really hard time saying, “OK, I did fifteen minutes. I can stop now.”
Still, with all my frustrations for the exercise aspect of my diet plan, it’s manageable. What isn’t is the food side. My thinking is becoming disordered again. I am starting to classify foods as good and bad. I feel like a horrible person if i eat something that is ‘bad’. And, yes, I mean that morally. If I eat, say, deep-fried fish and chips, I am a morally bad person. If I eat soy yogurt, grapes, and a spinach salad with fat-free dressing, I am a morally good person. Keep in mind that except when I go out with friends, I only eat food I buy from my two coops. It’s high-quality food. Still, the deli food usually has cheese and/or some kind of breading. Much of it is comfort food. Delicious, but not exactly lean. The fish and chips were from the last time I went out with Natasha. It lasted three extra meals, but I felt guilty each damn meal. I eat too much one day (way too much) and then overcompensate by eating too little the next. I know the folly in such thinking, but I am having a difficult time stopping my erratic behavior.
I am starting to think about using the tricks I used to use back in my ED days such as eating each bite a certain number of times. I am also toying with the idea of fasting–just because. It’s easier not to deal with food at all than have to navigate the minefields that surround the whole messy topic for me.
The other thing that happens when I diet is that I focus on how much I hate the way I look. Normally, I pretty much don’t think about it. I don’t look into mirrors, and I just ignore the fact that I have a face and a body. I have no idea why people are attracted to me, but that’s neither here nor there. The demons love it when I diet because I become even more susceptible to their steady streams of insults. “You’re fat and ugly and disgusting and grotesque.” I am more conscious of my gut hanging down, my thighs rubbing together, my boobs being pendulous, my shoulders being so goddamn broad, and how fucking thick my waist is.
I know I have to lose weight; I just would rather not get completely torn apart in the process. Hm. I never returned to the subject of why I don’t deserve to eat. Well, not gonna write about that today. Maybe later.
I love food. I adore food. Yet, I hate it, and I fear it, too. So much crap wrapped around what should be a simple subject. My therapist is urging me to check out an ED program because that’s not her specialty–ironically, motherhood is.
I am tired of this. Why the fuck do I have to deal with this right now? Like a three-year-old, I want to stamp my foot and whine that it’s not fair. The grownup me, however, knows that it’s part of the whole childhood abuse issue. It’s not going to go away if I simple ignore it. I have to deal with it in order to move on. I just fear it’s going to get worse before it gets better.