Wednesday, August 12, 2015

When we will ever get over it?

I was scanning Facebook last night and saw this headline:

"Read this if You Don't Really Have an Eating Disorder, But Kind of Do."

Coincidentally, I had been thinking about my eating disorder years, when I was afraid of food and wondering if I was going down the same path, even subtly. I have green seedless grapes in my fridge. I had had some at a friend's house about a month ago and they tasted so good, I wanted more. And then I put them into myFitnessPal and saw how many carbs are in them. Even in a half serving. And there the grapes sit in my fridge.

I've always had a precarious relationship with food, with my body, with exercise. I think it's something that most women do, even if they have never been perceived to have a weight issue. It's how we're wired. It's how society talks to us.

I was out with a radio rep a few weeks ago and somehow got on the topic of food, dieting, exercise... and he told me his girlfriend once told him that she thought about food all the time. And the thought I had was, "wow, I'm not the only one."

I think about food. all. the. time. When I'm dieting. When I'm not.

So when I clicked on the above article and read it, I thought immediately, I could have written this.

We know what it feels like to be incapacitated by body obsession—by food thoughts. Because we’ve long been slaves to that apex of tall, thin, white, blond perfection. That apex we’ve been climbing to since we were old enough to look in the mirror and hate what we saw—since we were old enough to be consumed by our consumption. To jitter with paranoia that people are constantly critiquing our bodies—cheapening them. Fattening them. To fiercely hold the fucked up belief that our weight and our happiness are perfectly, inversely proportional. Even if we’ve never had an eating disorder, we grew up with them.

That’s why a violent surge of panic rushes through me when my boss suggests we order pizza for dinner. I had two slices of bread with my salad at lunch—that’s plenty of carbs for today.

Most think of eating disorders as simply anorexia or bulimia -- starving or binging and purging. There are so many facets, such a spectrum of what qualifies as an eating disorder. I think, in a way, unless a woman has a healthy relationship with food and exercise (can I meet her, please?), we all have a tendency for disorder.

At my worst, in my mid-30s, I was diagnosed as an exercise bulimic. I ate about 800-1,000 calories a day and worked out to the point of having a net negative amount of calories, typically two or three hours of cardio. And I was afraid of food. My nutritionist asked me to eat an ice cream cone as my homework assignment. Not just stop and get it somewhere, but to actually have the ice cream and cones in my house.

I bought a single, serving container of ice cream and a box of cones, and literally put one tablespoon of ice cream on the cone. I can see myself -- to this day -- standing at the counter, looking at the ridiculously small amount of ice cream on the cone and not being able to lick it. And at that moment, I realized that this could be an issue.

So last night, after reading the article, I had to have a heart to heart with myself. Yes, I am afraid of the grapes in my fridge, but that didn't stop me from sitting in Dr. Ben's office yesterday and eating eight Hershey miniatures. One could say that's just another symptom of a disorder. Possibly, but like I said, until or unless I have a perfectly healthy relationship with food, there will always be some disorder.

What I validated for myself last night was…I'm allowed a cheat. Where once those Hershey miniatures in the afternoon would have turned into a handful also in my bag for later and four days of cheating, I'm done with the chocolate for awhile. 

If I really wanted the grapes, I would eat them and fit them into my day. Bananas have nearly as many carbs and I have one in my smoothie most mornings.

I'm 10 years older than I was when I was working out to excess. I don't have the energy to do that, even if I was inspired to! I like my 10 p.m. bedtime too much, and am NOT an morning exerciser.

I run. I eat healthy. Do I obsess? Yes, sometimes. But can I let go and enjoy myself for a meal? Yes, sometimes.

That, I think, is the healthiest my mind is going to be with my relationship with food.

When we will ever get over our food issues? I think this is the closest I'm going to get.

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