Category Archives: Food and Eating

Positively Losing It

My tap measure finally arrived*, and I took my measurements. It’s official. I’m the fattest I’ve ever been in my life–or at least any time I’ve measured my boobs, waist, and hips. I knew I was up there because my favorite pair of pants were getting tighter, and the number on the scale at the doctor’s a month ago confirmed my suspicions; this is just crossing the t and dotting the i. I’ve been slowly working on removing things from my diet as a way to eat more healthily, starting with chips and then adding baked goods, but I backtracked today and bought cookies for the holidays. No, i’m not going anywhere or seeing anyone–they’re all for me. It’s better than buying muffins or cookies every time I went to the store, however, and this will be the last batch I buy, at least for a while.

I have to be careful how I plan on losing weight because I’ve dealt with eating disorders all my life. I was an overeater as a kid, partly because of childhood traumas and partly because my mother put me on my first diet when I was seven. She’s obsessed with her weight as well, something I didn’t realize until I was an adult. She disguises it by claiming it’s about her health, but it’s not completely true. If so, she would just eat better and exercise and not care about the scale or that she’s wearing smaller-sized clothing. In addition, when I was anorexic (twice), my mom made catty comments about how now I was smaller than she was, and she wasn’t being complimentary. There was a competitiveness to her that wasn’t pleasant, especially as I was struggling with the eating disorder itself. And, when I was in Taiwan the last time, she had to comment on my weight to the point where later, I wrote her a letter saying that any mention of my weight was off-limits. She protested saying she was just concerned about my health, but I knew that was bullshit because it was always my weight she mentioned. And, when I was anorexic, she never mentioned my health at all.

Anyway, I’ve written ad nauseam about how I’m wary about dieting or focusing on what I eat at all because I slip so easily into ED (eating disorder) thinking, even when I think I’m being rational and healthy about my decisions. I can start out being relatively healthy and then quickly become disordered in my thinking. Next thing I know, I’m staring at pictures of dessert for hours a day and fainting on the dance floor at a First Ave. concert. Believe me, I did not intend to end up in that situation, but it was inevitable given how crazed I’d become about my dieting. That’s the thing that scares me. I don’t intend to become trapped in my eating disorder thinking when I start to diet, but it’s always hovering just underneath my consciousness. I don’t know where that line is or if I’m just deluding myself into thinking that I wasn’t being disordered in my thinking from the very start. I know that the first time I lost a large amount of weight, I did it in an unhealthy way. I cut my intake down to roughly a thousand calories a day and exercised up to seven hours a day.  This was the summer before I left for college, and I couldn’t keep up that exercise regime once I entered college. Instead, I cut down my intake even further. I ate a bowl of oyster crackers for lunch and another for dinner along with a piece of fruit (I didn’t eat breakfast and still don’t), and I’d be so starved by two in the morning, I’d binge on five or six packets of chips from the vending machine. Then, I’d feel guilty, so every few days, I’d throw up what I ate. That’s how my bulimia started, though I didn’t think of it in that way because I never did it more than twice a week. I know, I know. Bulimia is like pregnancy–you can’t be just a little bulimic any more than you can be a little pregnant. Granted, once or twice a week was better than every day or several times a day, but it’s the same mentality, which is not a healthy one in the least.

Continue Reading

Get Your Ideology Out of My Rigidity

it's for your own good
Or else

I want to continue with my thoughts from yesterday’s post about my eating disorders, but take this post in a slightly different direction. Several years ago, I became aware of the fat acceptance movement, and I was intrigued. As an aside, I didn’t know that it started back in 1967, and I would agree that a lack of continuity in a movement happens when the current participants are unaware of the history of said movement. If you were to ask me to define the movement, I would say that one of the main tenets is changing society’s bias against fat people while simultaneously becoming internally comfortable with the messages of the movement because it’s just as hard to change one’s own mind, especially when you’re bombarded with messages to the contrary on a daily basis. I would add that less formally, it’s being a cheerleader for fat people. In fact, I thought the name of the movement was the fat positive movement, which is very different than the actual name, which is the basis of this post.

At the time when I discovered this movement, roughly six or seven years ago, I stumbled on a blog that was dedicated to it. On this blog, commenters were not allowed to talk about diets or ways to lose weight at all. The reasoning being that oftentimes, women disguise their body hatred by talking about losing weight in terms of the health benefits. In addition, it’s so culturally acceptable to be constantly dieting, they may not even be aware that their desire to be healthy masks a deeper desire to be not fat. So, even people who talk about how much healthier they feel when they, say, are eating carrots all day long, probably harbor some anti-fat feelings underneath all their healthy talk. Banning all talk about dieting and losing weight circumvents that slippery slope, and I had no problem with it. As the proprietor pointed out, there are plenty of dieting websites if someone wants to brag about how she exists on three stalks of celery a day.

I started having a problem with the emerging rigidity of the blog herd mentality, which was that you should never talk about someone’s weight or looks. Ever. Also, that there are no risks associated with being overweight, no matter how obese the person is. The sizable medical evidence to the contrary was dismissed as just perpetuating the bias. Someone having weight loss surgery was seen as a traitor as, you can probably guess this, the blog didn’t consider any reason to have the surgery as valid.Anyone who tried to argue any of these points was told that she could find other blogs which supported her point of views, which usually caused the person to leave, making the inner circle more and more homogeneous. I became uncomfortable with the ‘think like us or get us’ mentality, so I stopped reading the blog because I felt it was stifling me.
Continue Reading

The World of My Weight

progress measured in inches
Measuring my worth

I started a post about the latest mass shooting, but then I stopped because I don’t have it in me to address it right now. So, instead, I want to revisit an old issue that is still something I deal with on a daily basis. It stems from the doctor’s visit I mentioned in my last post, and it’s something that contributes to my depression and anxieties.. As you probably know, every doctor’s visit starts with a weigh-in. I always stand with my back to the number because just seeing it elicits such a strong feeling of anxiety. I have a complicated relationship with the scale as do many women and increasingly more men. When I first descended into anorexia when I eighteen, I weighed myself every morning, and if the number went up at all, I’d obsess over it. If the number went down, that just made me want to make it go down more. And, yes, I’m aware that there are natural weight fluctuations during the day, but I didn’t care about that at the time. My whole life revolved around making that number go further down, and once I reached my initial goal, I simply decided to lose five more pounds. i can tell you right now that did not end well.

Back to the doctor’s visit. I didn’t look as the nurse weighed me, but she was holding the paper on which she wrote it in such a way that I could see the number. Me being me, I looked at the number, and while I knew it was going to be bad, I was shocked because it’s the highest it’s ever boon. Now, I know that muscle weighs more than fat*, but my pants have been getting tight, so I know not all that weight gain is muscle.

I also know that it’s better to be overweight than underweight. The same article points out that BMI is not a good measure of health because it doesn’t take muscle mass into consideration. I’ve long since been against using BMI as the sole arbiter of if someone is in good health or not because it was never meant to be a barometer of an individual’s fitness. It’s also 200 years old and devised by a mathematician, not a doctor or scientist. There are several reasons why using the BMI to measure fitness is bullshit.  I left my longtime doctor when she used the BMI to lecture me about my weight, even as she admitted that she knew it was bullshit. It wasn’t totally her fault because her insurance company was pressuring its doctors to use the BMI as a way to gauge their patients’ health. Still, I wasn’t comfortable staying with my doctor after she made that admission. My next doctor wasn’t any better, though. I was trying different SSRI for my depression, and it was my second round with each of them. SSRI work for me the first time around for roughly a year, and then the second time, they work adversely on me, including me making me suicidal. During this time, I wasn’t eating at all, and I lost nineteen pounds because of my negative reaction to the medication. When I told my doctor why I lost the weight, she jokingly said, “Who cares why you lost the weight as long as you did?”
Continue Reading

The Summer of My Discontent

You know all that shit I wrote earlier about making progress and whatnot?   Yeah, you can throw that shit right out the window.  I am constantly spiraling down my vortex of self-loathing, and I am pretty much going along for the ride.  Remember the sitting of the kids I did Friday night?  Yeah, well, I snapped on Saturday.

First, let me say that I only had one rule for my niece as she was growing up:  Do not break your head.  I figured anything else was fixable.  She got a kick out of that, but she was a really good kid.  High-energy and high-spirited, but not destructive or pushy.  As I’ve said, we sat for hours making up long, complicated stories about being fairies or wizards or other ethereal creatures.   Now that she is twelve (and looks twenty), she really has grown into a lovely young woman.

When the boys came along, I had to start making up rules on the fly.  Most of them included “No” or “Don’t” and some form of banishment from hitting me/throwing things at me.  As I’ve said before, for someone with PTSD, this is a recipe for disaster.  Until recently, I had to sit on the aisle seat in a theatre or the end seat at a restaurant in order to have easy access to the exit (I still prefer that seat, but it’s not imperative).    You can probably see where I am going with this.

Let me give you some background.  I was born in the Year of the Boar so I collect pigs.  Stuffed pigs, glass pigs, ceramic pigs, wooden pigs, piggy banks, jade pigs, etc.  I have had pig socks and pig slippers before, and I currently have a pair of boxers with grumpy pigs on them.   To that end, I have a giant stuffed pig (about three feet tall and two feet wide) that only has one eye because SOMEBODY who shall remain nameless (*cough, not Raven, cough*) likes to scratch his claws on it, and my nephews love this giant pig.  Of course they do!  It’s a giant pig.  Anyway, the time before last they were at my house, they decided it would be great fun to swing the pig around and throw it at me.  You can imagine that I, on the other hand, vehemently disagreed that this was a good idea.

Continue Reading

Big Gals Are Sexy, Too

lookatthatsmileImportant Note:  I would like to thank Rubo for the birthday box she sent me.  I am touched by how carefully she chose the items for me.  In one case, the bracelet, she made it herself.  She included writing journals (including a wicked awesome black one), calligraphy pens, newspapers she wrote/edited, and other thoughtful gifts.  To top it off, she included a treasure chest and a framed picture of Alan Rickman.  The last item made me laugh out loud in pleasure.  I had tears in my eyes as I opened the box.  I am grateful to have a friend like Rubo in my life–compassionate, funny, warm, tender-hearted, and true.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Rubo.  I so appreciate you.

Now, on to the entry.

As devoted readers of my blog know, I have major body/food issues.  It’s hard to say which came first, oh wait.  No, it’s not.  Body issues were first, followed quickly by food issues.  As I have written before, I got fat around age seven–coincidentally (and I mean that wryly), the same age (as best as I can pinpoint) the molestation started.  At least, it was happening at that time.  Before that, I was plump, but not fat.  After that, I blew up.

Wait.  Stop.  That’s not true, either.  I’ve seen pictures of myself at that time, and while I was overweight, yes, I wasn’t grotesquely hideously fat.  However, my mom put me on my first diet when I was seven, saying, “You would have such a beautiful face if you lost some weight.”  Seven.  Thirty-two years ago.  That dictum is still pounded in my head to this day.  “If, then.”  If I lose weight, then I would be beautiful.  In my mind, the two cannot coexist, but only for me.  Hearken back to this entry.  In it, I wax poetic about how hot I find other women with curves.

I get frustrated because I truly believe a woman’s worth is not based on how much she weighs–unless it’s me.  It’s not even that cut-and-dry, though.  I know that I am an intelligent, funny, witty, creative, loving, caring woman.  I accept that there are people who find me attractive.  I like my hair, my eyes, and my boobs to some extent (free drinks, yo!).  I have been told often enough that my smile lights up my face to accept that this is probably empirically true.  I actually like the fact that my legs are solid because then they can do a lot of work.

Continue Reading

Losing It

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.

Continue Reading

My 2010 Fantasy Wish List

I don’t make NY Resolutions, so this is not going to be about that.  Instead, this is going to be about…well, you’ll see.

As I was driving back from the airport to my house, I felt some relief to be getting away from my family and the pernicious insidiousness of Taiwanese beliefs about women, family, etc.  One thing my therapist commented on before I went on my trip was that the culture clash of family first v. independence was something I would have to deal with now.  She said it much more eloquently, but it’s what she meant.

Now, I am not saying that putting family first is an inherently-dysfunctional thing, any more than I am touting the superiority of rugged individuality.  I think both have their pluses and their minuses.   What I am saying is that when you skew crazily to either side, then there’s a problem.  In my case, in my family, the boundaries between each person are nonexistent.  What I want isn’t a factor at all.  It’s not that my parents don’t care what I want or think–they simply don’t realize that I could possibly think or want something other than what they think I want.

I have written in the past that my father is a narcissist, so the fact that he can’t fathom a me outside of him doesn’t surprise me.  However, the realization that my mother is just as much a narcissist in some ways is really bothersome to me.  I have spent much of my life grappling with issues with my mother (I gave up my father as a lost cause many years ago), and this new revelation throws things in a different light.  In addition, her ability at revisionist history is comparable to that of a current GOP congressperson, which is really disturbing.

Continue Reading

Losing My Body Parts One By One

breakfastI can’t feel my feet!  I wish I couldn’t feel my ankles, knees, or neck.

Today, my bro, my niece, and I started with a leisurely breakfast.   It’s cool when it’s just the three of us.  We can take our time and just talk about whatever.   There is no tension there.  Plus, I got to see the chefs let a fire get out of control.  That was cool.  I love fire.

Oh, and I have one goal for 2010:  I wish to lose 100 pounds this year.  It is ok to lose up to ten pounds a month, so this is a doable goal.  I hit the proverbial wall today.  My body just plain gave out on me.  My ankles and knees are swollen; my feet burn/hurt/are numb (depending on the time of day); I can’t turn my neck very quickly.  I am in such bad shape right now, it’s pathetic and pitiful.

My mom came to pick us up at ten.  We went to Yi-lan with my dad’s driver and his wife (who is my mom’s assistant) and my dad’s assistant.   We went through the longest tunnel in Taiwan (it took ten minutes), and I was fighting to stay awake the whole time.  I didn’t sleep very well last night (surprise, surprise), and I was exhausted all day long.  We walked through the arts and crafts store in Yi-lan, and my parents made my brother and I eat when we weren’t hungry.  This is a common theme in our family (and in many Taiwanese families).  They ask if we want to try something, and we say no.  We were both still full.  They ordered some for us, anyway, and it would have made them lose face in front of their coworkers if we had refused.  So, in our family, food is not just food, and it’s not exactly love.  It’s a duty.

Continue Reading

Flash Flickr Food Blogging

taiwanese bunHiya.  I have been informed that people who are not on FB cannot view the photo albums I have been posting with each entry.  I have been bugging my bro to upload the pics to Flickr, and he has finally done just that.  Today, I am linking to the food photo set.  It does not include ALL the pics of food (I don’t think), but you will certainly be totally jealous once you view the album, anyway.

Taiwanese Food Set on Flickr.

Just Like Old Times

PVH foodToday was a pretty damn good day for the most part.  Got up around six-thirty and had time to myself  until nine.  I’ve always been a solitary kind of person, but I didn’t fully realize how much I needed my alone time until I got so much of it taken away from me.  Now that I’ve had a healthy amount over the last two days, I can breathe again.  This morning, I got up around six-thirty and didn’t have to meet the family for breakfast until nine.  I hopped on the intertoobz and just chilled with an excellent cup of coffee.  Then, had a massive breakfast at our luxury hotel.  After, my mom and my dad wanted to take a walk around the hotel grounds before my mom, my bro, and my niece went swimming.  My mom described all the different pools and asked if I wanted to try on her swimsuit.  The big one.  I said no.  As I have mentioned, I feel like an elephant right now, and the last thing I want to do is appear in public in a bathing suit.  I mean, I knew I was fat before I went on this trip, but not this fat.  Pictures don’t lie, man.   I am greatly unhappy about how fat I am right now.  I reached the conclusion that I would not fuck me, so why should/would anyone else?

After breakfast, I went back to my room and surfed the web a bit more.  I also had another cup of truly excellent coffee.  My mom called to tell me the itinerary.  Lunch at noon, checkout at one, beach, then back to the hotel for tea at two-thirty.

Lunch was huge, too.  The food at the Park View Hotel was amazing and plentiful.  After lunch, we checked out, stowed our bags at the hotel, and went to the beach.  I saw two black dogs at the ocean–my animal familiars for the day.

Continue Reading