Today I interrupt my regularly scheduled blog programming to make a very exciting announcement.
One very special nerd has asked to be my own personal underwear model for life. I am very into the idea!
Next week I will return to blogging, but in the meantime, please enjoy this photo of the big question, at just the scariest moment of space mountain:
See you next week!
I have talked a lot about my most of the time food. My most of the time foods are vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, organic soy, nuts & nut butters, and a little oil. Coconut oil, namely, or olive oil on a salad (rarely. I would so much rather base my dressing in tahini!) This is commonly referred to as “clean eating” I suppose, but I think clean eating is a ridiculous term, designed to capitalize on guilt and shame around food choices. I don’t eat the healthy whole foods that I eat out of a desire to be “clean”, I eat them because they make me feel good.
My most of the time foods are fucking awesome in their simplicity. I live in gratitude to my freshly fluffed brown rice and steamed kale. These foods are the basis of my life, they support my every function and I love the way they taste. These foods aren’t chosen because of a moral issue around purity and it isn’t about restriction.
I love my most of the time foods, but I also want to make sure to talk about the foods that I eat that are not on that list. These foods include tortilla chips, chocolate, vegan versions of ice cream, pizza, milkshakes, baked goods or nachos, etc. I eat some variety of a not all the time food at least once a week, and I am as grateful and proud of my choices as ever when I do. Those foods allow me to be social in a non-controlled way. They allow me to celebrate. They allow me to live in the moment when out and about in the world. They are perfect foods to support my health, because they lend themselves to hanging the fuck out with my friends. They support my athletic endeavors too, because regularly incorporating them into my life allows me to truly see how my most of the time foods deeply serve me. I am not left feeling restricted dietarily, because I regularly have foods that are just for fun.
I’ve noticed it is popular to call meals like the ones I mentioned above a “cheat meal” and maybe my panties are just extra in a twist because of semantics today but eff that noise! A cheat meal implies that our most of the time foods are set in place by an outside governing body, and that eating something different is a slight to a code of ethics. When I eat a just for fun meal I keep it to a reasonable amount (not eating until my stomach feels bad is the criteria I use for that one) and I enjoy it. Just by nature of calling something a cheat, there is a message sent that it should somehow make one feel guilty or devious. As a person who has struggled with feeling guilty about eating at all in the past, I simply don’t accept that my meals have to fall into a perfect code in order to be integrous.
My ice cream has integrity.
My broccoli has integrity.
Both serve the greater goal, which is to have an incredible and joyful life.
If you’ve had an eating disorder in the past, its voice can always be waiting there, right there in the wings.
“You’re body is terribly flawed” it might say.
“You’ll never be good enough”
“I can’t believe you ate that”
“It’s time to count calories” it might suggest. “Or eat more. Or maybe starve.”
“Throw up” the voice might say. “Eat everything in the world and then throw it up.”
There are so many ways an eating disordered voice can manifest that it kind of blows my mind. Historically, my history with disordered eating has been very specifically restriction paired with compulsive exercise. But when that got better it morphed into bulimia and from there it morphed into general food freakiness. It became eating food really, really fast, like someone would catch me or like I hadn’t eaten in a long time. It became a general nasty voice in my head that told me I was unattractive and worthless.
My anorexia and bulimia mellowed into something quieter, but still painful. It became mean thoughts, and sadness when I ate anything at all. My eating disorder had made me feel very bad, but when it went away, I didn’t exactly feel better. Instead I felt quietly trapped in my body without my coping mechanism. There was enough food in my life to keep me at a stable weight, but there wasn’t enough food in the world to keep my brain feeling good.
I knew I had to find a different way.
When it turned out there wasn’t enough food in the world to make me feel happy or whole I started focusing instead on how I could be a better friend. My sickness had taken me entirely into my head, focused on my routine, my calories, my measuring cups, my exercise. I didn’t show up for my friends for years. I started showing up. The friends that forgave me for my selfishness showed up for me too. It felt perfect.
When it seemed there wasn’t enough food in the world to fill me, I asked myself a very logistical question: had I eaten enough that day? Had I gotten enough protein? Eventually I learned that I have sensitive blood sugar, and I need to eat every 2-3 hours. I made my eating schedule a habit, and then the only hungers I had to worry about were emotional.
I wrote. I wrote my fucking ass off, and I found people who liked my writing. Writing filled me up more than trying to control my body and when I finished a piece I had worked hard on, I felt like a champion.
When it seemed there wasn’t enough food in the world for me, I made a plan. My plan went like this:
“If I feel like puking, I will talk to Monica. If Monica is busy, I’ll take a shower. When the shower is over, I will think of things that make me feel good.” It was a really simple, three step plan, and once I put it in place, I stopped puking.Because I have consistently used this plan for any behavior I don’t accept (I don’t feel like puking anymore, but sometimes I do feel like mentally talking shit on my body) I am able to stay well. It’s simple, but not easy.
For the record, the things I thought of mostly when I needed a reason not to throw up were my students, young girls and how important I think they are, lifting weights, and my grandmother, mother, and sister. I stopped puking for the love of all women. I started to like myself as a result. These are specific to me, and you will probably have other excellent things to think about that will be specific to you.
What will you do when the voice of self-dissatisfaction comes up? How will you change your own mind?