I ate mac and cheese and a cookie today, but it wasn’t a binge.

I’m reading “Overcoming Binge Eating,” and it’s kind of terrifying and awesome in the Old Testament sense.

It is extremely sobering to see yourself in the examples given in a scholarly text about eating disorders.

Like, I knew I had been diagnosed with an eating disorder.  Two actually.  The first therapist said “disordered eating” which is like general or not-otherwise-specified fucked up, and the second therapist said “binge eating disorder.”

But I thought I was kind of on the cusp. Like maybe I was just dipping my toe in the eating disorder waters.  I’m not that kind of eating disorder person, no, no.

Except I totally am.

I have not had a binge where I ate an entire bag of Oreos or chips or whatever since I was a teenager.  (Go me!) But my therapist and this book have pointed out, it’s not about the amount I eat, or the foods I eat, but the feeling of loss of control.

And I feel that  a lot.

So anyway, I’m reading this book and it’s pissing me off pretty royally.  And scaring me.  A lot.  (Who knew that showering in the dark was a symptom of a body image problem?? I thought it was just relaxing, but I’m now thinking it’s a symptom of something bigger.)

I discovered that Weight Watchers almost made me bulimic trying to get to my goal weight and then trying — desperately, flailingly — to stay within 3 pounds of that weight to continue to work there.  (You cannot even imagine the shame I felt when I got a letter from the regional supervisor that I was on probation for being 4.2 pounds over my goal weight.)

And I re-discovered the fact that diets are a big part of the problem for me.

*queue ENORMOUS sigh*

I am heavy right now. There’s just no two ways about it. I am 20 pounds over a weight I am OK with and 40 pounds over where Weight Watchers says I ought to be.

And I am really frustrated with the fact that the book tells me that I probably won’t lose any weight even if I successfully complete the self-help program and start to overcome my disorder.

Because — and this is like rubbing salt in the wound — people with binge eating disorder tend to binge on top of general overeating.

And I’m not supposed to diet or restrict because that can lead to a binge.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, BRAIN?  How did we get ourselves into this situation? I’m seriously angry about this and am considering filing a complaint with someone. Maybe God’s West Coast Rep.

I just… What am I supposed to do, then?  How am I supposed to FIX this? (Because God herself knows how much I need to fix things.)

OK, ok. I know what I’m “supposed” to do.  I’m supposed to follow the book. Concentrate on beating the binge demon. Create space for that first. Trust that the rest will follow.

I’m supposed to believe that once I am really and truly in recovery from my disorder, that the weight will come off by itself.

I’m supposed to believe that I can love myself thin.

I’m supposed to believe that magical fairies will come and suck the fat out of my stomach and thighs as I achieve enlightenment and no longer crave chocolate chip cookies or bread, but instead feel overwhelming urges to eat raw kale and lentils.

Wait. No lentils. They’re legumes and the devil’s food.

Or, no, wait. Legumes are a good source of lean protein.

But our paleolithic ancestors didn’t eat them. Probably because they were too busy being chased by saber toothed tigers to remember to soak their legumes overnight.

Because God knows, the only way to get nutrition out of legumes or grains or seeds or nuts is to soak them.

Wait, are we eating grains again?  Yes?  No?

Ok, but definitely not sugar, right?  Oh, honey is OK? And molasses?  It doesn’t matter that both of those are pure sugar?  OH I see. It’s only bad if it’s white.

And our flour is rancid. But wait, we’re not supposed to eat flour. So it doesn’t matter.

And don’t even get me started on butter. But lard is OK. Except, wait, doesn’t it contain saturated fats? What about trans fats?

I seem to have gone off on a tangent here…

The point is, I don’t see myself ever overcoming those thoughts. I don’t see myself ever loving myself thin. I don’t believe that will happen.  I DO NOT BELIEVE IT.

And I don’t know how to fix that part of me.

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I am healthy and that bums me out.

All my test results came back normal, and I am a little bummed out about that.

See, last year my mom was diagnosed with several serious autoimmune conditions, including Celiac disease. All the literature says that means I am 30 percent more likely to have Celiac, and her doctor suggested that due to my health history, I should be tested.

So I finally got the appointment, got the blood tests.

And they all came back negative.

I do not have antibodies for Celiac disease. My thyroid levels are normal. My liver function is normal. My a1c and cholesterol are normal.

All in all, I’m pretty healthy.

And I find that depressing.

I think I was looking for something to blame.  I think I was looking for a diagnosis to say, “It’s not your fault that you’re overweight. You have these extenuating circumstances.”

I think, once again, I was looking for the magic bullet, the one thing I could change and be “fixed.”

I’m not sick.  Not that way, anyway.

Just fat.

And I’ve got nothing to blame that on except myself.

Here’s the Deal

I haven’t posted here in a while because I thought I was doing OK.

I certainly wasn’t losing weight, but I wasn’t bingeing either.

I decided that maybe it was enough just to try to be normal for a while.

I think normal isn’t cutting it.

Because, here’s the thing I’ve realized: normal isn’t normal.

Here is some bullshit I believe about “normal”:

  • “Normal” people eat pizza and ice cream and burgers and fries and junk food.
  • “Normal” people do all that and stay skinny.
  • “Normal” people don’t have to give up food groups to be healthy or thin.
  • “Normal” people just move during their normal day, and maybe go hiking on the weekend or go to the gym a few times a week to stay fit.

Here’s the truth:

  • Normal people — as in average Americans — do eat all that crap. And the average American is fat.
  • The only person I know who can eat crap like that and stay skinny is my sister; and to be perfectly honest she eats tiny portions, is an incredibly picky eater, and has a thyroid problem.
  • People who are thin mostly don’t eat like that. They probably do avoid certain food groups.
  • And many people who are model/actor thin work out like crazy people all the time.

What brought all this on?  I ate half a bag of marshmallows today for no reason.  That in and of itself isn’t terrible, but yesterday I ate seven gluten-free chocolate chip cookies in one sitting — before going to a wine and cheese bar for dinner with my husband. And the day before that… Well, I don’t remember, but it hasn’t been a good week, OK?

And I was so pissed off at myself about those damned marshmallows.  I got up and took the dog on a three mile walk, and I asked myself what I thought my therapist would have asked me: “What does it say about you that you can’t give up junk food and sugar?”

It says I’m not in control. I’m a weak person. I’m a stupid person who makes poor choices even when she knows better.

And I asked myself: “What does it say about you if you give up some foods or go Paleo or whatever?”

It says I’m not in control — I have to choose a restrictive diet because I can’t control myself around food. It says I’m not a foodie.  It says I’m vain because I’m always dieting.

(And even saying those things out loud says to me that my brain is a pretty scary place to live.)

Anyway, I thought about it a lot, and I thought about doing another Whole30, and then I thought that was probably an overreaction to feeling crappy about my decisions. And then I thought about it some more.

I’ve been reveling in the idea that I can eat whatever I want.  But I’m not happy with the results that gets me for my health.

So now I’m going to eat Paleo. Most of the time. I’m going to make a few exceptions when it feels important, and I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I’m going to figure out how to make healthy my new normal.

Because “normal” just wasn’t cutting it.

Raw Vegan Militants Need Not Apply

I’m frankly a little afraid of hiring a nutritionist.

I think I know what she is going to say, and that’s pretty much what scares me.

See, I’m not dumb. I actually know quite a lot about nutrition. I’ve read a lot (A LOT) of books on the subject of diet and weight loss. I know my fats from my carbohydrates. I understand macronutrients and micronutrients. And I definitely logically understand the laws of thermodynamics — calories in versus calories out.

That doesn’t mean I apply any of that to myself, though.

I understand. I just don’t seem to be able to make it stick.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you keep getting what you always got.

I asked online for recommendations for nutritionists, because my therapist couldn’t find any around here that she liked. Note to self: ask what her criteria were.

In any case, I got a handful of recommendations and started visiting their websites.

I immediately crossed off the list the one who is a raw vegan with a shaved head. That just ain’t gonna fly.

Several people mentioned that I really need to connect with the practitioner, that that is the most important thing. I specified that I wanted someone with experience dealing with binge eating disorder and who relies on whole foods.

(Are there nutritionists out there who would tell me to drink protein shakes and eat packaged snacks? Maybe not… I don’t know.)

Several of the other options looked OK.  One is having a free webinar next week, so I signed up for that, because I figured it would give me a good idea of what she’s like.

Most of them are from Canada. Not sure what that’s about.

Also not sure why I’m feeling so resistant to this. I feel like it’s going to be a waste of money, like a nutritionist can’t help me. I feel like I already know this shit, and am already not applying it — so how is paying someone $350 to tell me what I already know (eat food, not too much, mostly plants) going to help me?

I know what to do. I just can’t seem to get myself to do it.

This is my issue, not the nutritionists’. But I don’t know how to bust through this block.

Headed Out

Emily, Matt and Grey

Emily, Matt and Grey

I’m about to head out to my sister’s new home in Jackson, MS to spend a week exploring her new city with her and meet my new nephew.

It’s a time of new beginnings for her, and it feels like it should be for me as well.  So, while I’m gone, I’ll be linking to stuff I’m thinking about, reading, loving, etc.

Fit in 30 Minutes a Day!

Getting and staying fit doesn’t require a huge time commitment.  You need to have a clear plan and be consistent.  Investing 30 minutes a day in yourself will not only improve your fitness level but I guarantee you will be more efficient through out the rest of your day.  Regular exercise makes you feel more energetic and focused.

Links this Week

From Already Pretty by Sally McGraw

A roundup of interesting stuff I saw this week:

Strong and Tough — I love Sally McGraw, and this post is a great reason why. It really inspired me to want to be more physical.

10 Easy Steps for Becoming a Radical Homemaker — I really liked the down-to-earth nature of her suggestions.

Bringing Your Practice Home — A great primer for starting a yoga practice at home.

Sunset’s Western Garden Book of Edibles Book Notes — This looks like a book I need to check out.

Rain Barrels: 15 DIY and Ready-To-Buy Options Roundup — I’m ready to take the plunge (so to speak) into having a rain barrel, and this seems like a good place to start.

Slinks

WebMD has a list of the 15 Best Diet Tips Ever. I thought they were right on the money.

Cate found this resource through the Ideal Bite Newsletter which reports on the safety of popular health and beauty items. I haven’t had a chance to peruse it yet, and frankly, I’m a little scared of what I might find! Yikes!

The Good Human talks about 10 tips to keep a healthy home. Also check out David’s series about spring cleaning the eco way.

And Treehugger has a good list of resources for growing your own food.

Speaking of which, our little garden is plugging along. We got a new digital camera this weekend, so I will post some photos soon!

Choices

There’s an interesting interview with money guru Suzie Orman on the Weight Watchers website (of all places) about the connection between poor money choices and poor food choices.

From the article:

But you’ve got to decide: Are you going to have potato chips or the orange, apple or carrot? Are you going to put the money in the savings account or are you going to spend it? They’re identical. So when you don’t have money in your life, you’re the reason why. When you have weight on your body—in most cases, not always if there’s medical reasons—you are not a victim of circumstances, you have chosen to do that to yourself. They are absolutely identical in nature. Identical.

It took me a long time to figure that out, and a lot of days, I’m still figuring it out. I never consciously realized that I was blaming my weight –– or anything else –– on anyone but me, but I was. I used to think up all the reasons I was fat, and a lot had to do with the way my family ate when I was a kid. But that was still my choice. I could have chosen to eat differently, even as a kid. It wasn’t that we didn’t have healthy options at my house, or that my parents wouldn’t have bought me just about anything I asked for; it was that I liked eating the high-fat, high-calorie foods and I chose to eat them.

I really think the parallels between being in debt and being overweight –– two major problems in American society –– are fascinating and teribly apt. We live in a society where taking responsibility (not blame) for our own actions is frequently the last thing on someone’s mind, and if we want to change the size of our waist lines and our wallets (hopefully in opposite directions), we have to learn to take personal responsibility for the problems we have created.

“The Fats”

Had my picture made today at work. And not just a simple passport-photo-type picture, either. No no. They told us to “get our sexy on” for the cute cube signs that everybody has.

Naturally, this led to a case of the fats.

Yup! Suddenly, nothing I own fit correctly or looked good on my body. Suddenly I had lumps where no lumps had previously been evident. Suddenly — I was staring in the mirror at the almost-200-pound girl I was eight years ago.

It’s so easy for me to slip back into that mindset. When I have a case of the fats, I can look into the mirror and see a twisted, distorted, exaggerated view of myself that would put a funhouse mirror to shame.

When I sit down and separate out the distortions from the true underlying feelings, I realize that, although I have made enormous progress toward never ever seeing that fat girl in the mirror for real again, I am still not entirely comfortable with the way I’m taking care of my body. I’ve regained some of the weight it took me so long to take off, and that’s not being fair to myself.

So, as of today, I have recommitted myself toward a mindfulness toward my body, my eating habits, and my physical activity that I have been sorely lacking of late. I have come to terms (mostly) with the fact that I will never be one of those girls who can eat whatever, whenever, and still be slim. To reach a balance with myself, I will have to pay attention every step of the way.

And really, is that such a bad thing?

little bits of green

Hi all – I’m Lacy’s friend, Cate, the minx who sent her a copy of The Omnivore’s Dilemma in order to have some company, raging at the world. A couple of weeks ago, Lacy and I had the following conversation:

Lacy: You should guest blog!
Cate: . . . about what?
Lacy: I dunno! . . . stuff!
Cate: . . . uh . . . .

And here I am!

Since I, like Lacy, am trying to go green(er) and to think more constructively about what I eat, I thought I’d keep a photo log of little things I’ve been doing to be more green:

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Green Thing #1: Supplies! I bought green supplies at the store this morning – washable dishcloths so that I can stop using paper towels, and clothes pegs so that I can hang my laundry outside. Today was the first warm day we’ve had in forever in my corner of the midwest, so I was crazy excited to hang laundry. I know, I know, the things that amuse . . .

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Green Thing #2: Biodegradable laundry detergent. Not only are there fewer bad chemicals in Method products, the detergent is concentrated, so this one bottle has lasted me three months. It’s still going strong. (Please ignore the fact that my washer is in the basement and apparently quite mucky when exposed to the light of my camera’s flash. *scrubs with all new dishcloth*)

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Green Thing #3: Air-dried laundry! As a kid I loved the smell of sheets dried in the open air, but then I grew up and discovered dryers and thought they were the greatest invention known to humankind. Now I’ve come full circle, with my washing line, my cooperative midwestern spring, and my brand new clothes pegs.

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Green Thing #4: Organic, unprocessed food, like this tasty pear and handful of walnuts . . .

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. . . eaten with plain, unsweetened yogurt. By eating organic I avoid supporting the pollution of the environment with fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and by eating unprocessed food, I avoid supporting industry that uses massive amounts of fossil fuel to make my snack food of choice.

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For the same reasons, I’ve taken to making a lot more of my own food. These are the raw ingredients for the muffin of the day – apple raisin. I’m slowly replacing my old groceries with organic versions, and I’m nearly all the way there – only the butter and raisins aren’t organic in this set up. Wanna see me make muffins?

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Here are all my ingredients, ready to be mixed up into:

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. . . this. Yeah, it looks a little suspect, huh? But! . . .

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. . . in the muffin cups it looks far tastier.

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And they’re tastier still when they come out of the oven. These whole twelve muffins only use 1 cup of sugar and 1 stick of butter. Compare that to how much fat and sugar you’ll find in the muffins at a chain coffeeshop – these are WAY better.

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And the last Green Thing of the Day: refilling water bottles. I used to buy water bottles by the crate (quite literally) but then realized I was being horrible wasteful, even when I recycled. So now, I refill one of my old bottles with water that’s gone through my Brita filter. Less wasteful, and a lot cheaper than buying bottles at the store.