It has been a while since my last post. And while I intend to write more often than this, hopefully once a week, I think I needed time to let everything I was preaching, and trying to practice, sink in for myself before I started writing again.
I started this whole Fuck It journey last January. It was my 24th birthday, I had been Paleo/part-GAPS for 4 months (that is ALL the time I did it for, feels like longer because it was an extension of a decade of disordered and dogmatic dieting), and I felt crazier than ever with food. I had just binged on disgusting squash pancakes for my birthday breakfast, and had a whole counter full of dry almond flour cupcakes with no icing that nobody wanted to eat, not even me, (even though I had eaten 6 already and would finish them all before the day was over). Because, It was my birthday, damn it! Yum! I couldn’t feel my hunger anymore, I wasn’t getting healthier, all I did was crave food, and I was starting to gain weight again.
And it just hit me like a ton of bricks: “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING!?!?…. AGAIN!?!?”.
So I began reading and eating. I began reading Matt Stone and re-reading Geneen Roth, and I began eating everything (slowly, I was very scared). (Both of them are not FULLY anti-diet to me, which is why I write about this, but they were a part of my journey).
I began writing about it on here in May, and have been consistently practicing it all until now.
I am happy to report that my fear of any specific food has pretty much vanished. My weight has been pretty consistent no matter how much I eat, and my health has improved since adding any and all amounts of macronutrients. So naturally, over time, my fears of having too much or too little of this and that, have dwindled. And thank God.
I still observe and believe in lots of “real food” principles: probiotics, saturated fat, try to avoid crap food and fake ingredients and industrial seed oils, but my view now is that they are simply guidelines. And my relationship to those guidelines is healthy and easy -instead of stressed and dogmatic.
So for almost a year I have been doing this, and it has been working. I wouldn’t go back for the world. And I still believe in every single “In Defense Of…” post that I wrote- and every other thing I wrote on here about trusting, and listening, and not exercising too much, and on and on. And I would urge anyone to face their food demons and try to do the same thing I did, which is why I write about all of this in the first place.
What About Body Image?
Well, that remains the trickier part. I think I have gotten better. I have definitely become more accepting. My stable weight is still 10 lbs over what I would have previously considered “slim” and “MAX WEIGHT ALLOWED” . I even caved in and ordered a new, 32-G-sized Bra seeing as nothing was shrinking or changing. And I have come to accept that it is “fine”. Life has gone on. I have had boys take me on dates. I have bought new clothes from Old Navy that are fun and nice, and not even always worrying about what is the most “flattering”, (which was always incredibly important before). And everything has been fine. Nobody has died. I haven’t died. Nobody has de-friended me, or wrinkled their nose in disgust at my humungous chest and my untoned arms.
It has been fine. Liberating, even.
This is all partly due to taking my break from theater. Nobody at the office cares how much I weigh. But it is also partly due to waking up, taking some responsibility for my happiness, realizing that I can choose to be stuck and miserable and needing to be whatever version of me I deem acceptable, or instead just accept whatever version of me there is at the moment. It is clear which one is actually more joyful.
A few weeks ago I tried on a beautiful, embroidered, cap sleeve, peplum shirt. I fell in LOVE with it on the hanger, it was structured enough that I figured it would look ok on me, and thought “this will be GREAT for my Thanksgiving High School Reunion party thing!” I had an open mind, I didn’t need to be skinny. I didn’t think I was skinny anyway. I walked into the dressing room, tried it on and…..
I looked awful. Really bad. Sorta bummed out the rest of my day.
So what did I do? I thought, calmy and rationally, “Well, I AM eating nearly a pint of ice cream every day or two. Maybe I am unnecessarily eating more than I need? Maybe I could become a teeny tiny bit slimmer, and more comfortable in beautiful clothing, in an easy healthy way, if I starting doing more actual intuitive and… slow eating. I should re-read French Women Don’t Get Fat.”
I had gotten to a point where I was just EATING to prove that EATING wasn’t going to ruin my life, and proving that I could eat without fear consistently. And I could! I just apparently couldn’t then look in the dressing room mirror without getting bummed out.
So I reread French Women Don’t Get Fat, because I loved that book when I read it a few years ago. It is not about dieting, it is not about weighing yourself, and it is not about villainizing food. It is not about anything other than looking at Food as Pleasure, and eating and revering it accordingly, with a sensible, long-term approach to “weight management” (I hate that term. What is a better term?). Logically, if I were to merge Matt Stone’s “Eat the Food” and Mireille Guiliano’s “Eat for Pleasure”- they both are probably quite good for the soul and for the metabolism. I read the book with all the new, sensible things I now believe about food and eating…. and it reminded me of a few food “reverence” tactics I had forgotten.
But I don’t want to talk about that right now. This is what I want to talk about:
Where do we draw the line between caring too much and caring enough, where body image is concerned? Where are we supposed to fall between wanting to look “amazing”, and accepting ourselves as we are?
It is hard. Because principally I am a supporter of Health at Every Size. I really am! I think that we should love and accept ourselves and each other unconditionally, and look for the beauty in all of our “imperfections”. I think we should be aware that all images that we are bombarded with by the media are extreme, and accept ourselves in all shapes and sizes and colors instead.
So, why am I still wanting to refine my eating habits, and look slimmer? And is that ok?
I haven’t written for a while because I was so sure about Food Fear being a problem. I knew it, and I knew how to explain to others why it doesn’t work. It was clear to me.
I was waiting for a similar clarity on Body Image, and I don’t have it yet.
So, instead it is going to be a learning journey. And I want your feedback. Because we can learn from each other.
I will write what I learn as I go- and I hope you do the same 🙂
But still…. Fuck It!