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Thursday, September 2, 2010


Over the last 40 years I've been overeating, bulemic, dieting by every diet invented and quite literally starving myself. I've lost and gained back at least a ton over the years. Eating Disorders are tricky. Even the Pros will tell you that. Nobody has found a cure, and now I think maybe because it's got to come from the Disordered person. It may be one of those things that only you can do by yourself. There's no "way". If there was, maybe the US wouldn't be morbidly obese. And the diet/drug/bariatric surgery people would cease to make their billions per year. The bizarrity of a nation that's way too fat for its own good could only happen in the US. More than half the world is starving; we starve by choice, or eat like sharks.

Now, for the first time I can say I'm at peace about eating. I've found the thing that works for me; Eating To Live, I call it, after my HS math teacher. "You either live to eat, or eat to live," he said way back when. And he was right. So what "happened"? Well, I was in one of the starve modes, and my doc took a blood test that showed my electrolytes and pretty much anything else was dangerously low. Funny, I didn't think at all, until my PT had mentioned that I couldn't be getting enough nutrition with what I wasn't eating. For the first time in 40 years of dieting, and reading, and WW and protein fasts and calorie counting and nutrition books and being a professional cook- I thought of food as the fuel I need to be healthy and nothing else but that. Oh shit, I said to myself, I've been treating food as anything but what it is- nourishment. It's nice if you dress it up, but you don't wear your Sunday Best every day. You wear what you need to do what you're going to do. And one should eat with the same thought in mind. Good appropriate food makes a healthy body, period.

Also, my portion size was way outta hand. I was eating as they advertise- a bacon cheeseburger with almost an entire salad in it, with french fries, was normal. That's not normal. That's a huge amount of food. That's more than I eat in 2 meals now. The one thing I will eat in a large portion is veggies, and that's fine. As they say, nobody got fat eating carrots.

Since I'm eating so little (also part of it all) I have to make sure my food is worth eating. Otherwise, I'm taking up valuable stomach space with shit. With that primary directive, everything changed. It's not "what would go well with" whatever, it's, "where is the calcium, the vitamins, the fiber, the protein, etc." Then, within that context, it's "what do I like?" What my body needs is first, at last. And guess what? I happen to be losing weight without trying. In an effort to not screw with myself, I'm not weighing in again until January.

This, then, is my peace with food. It is my servant now, not my master. The horrifying shame and failure that goes with every friggin diet I've known aren't there. Nobody can tell me what I can or can't have- I eat what I want. It's what I want that's changed. Food isn't The Enemy anymore. I can coexist with ice cream living in my freezer and not be obsessed with its existence there. This probably all sounds mad to those who've never had ED. That's because It Is Madness.

That's why it's a Disorder, a dis-ease.

My priorities were fucked, I had tangled food into many issues in my life, as a junkie does with drugs. And nobody ever addresses what the path to sanity is for ED'd people. Why? Because there's no profit in cures. Shrinks will play their games and never tell you how to get sane. Diet coaches will cheer/lecture/exercise/create a codependent relationship with you for money- but most of them don't have an ED. So you do the meetings, tick off your daily colors, or squares, or calories. But food isn't something you can quit and bitch about forever after. One must eat to live. After a while a diet wears on you and the first stressor that hits, you go for the chocolate cake, or the meat loaf, or whatever your drug of choice is. And then the shame and failure come back with their wagging fingers and you say, "Fuck it, why bother?" But it isn't and shouldn't be about protracted responsibility to a coach or a group or a husband or anything. It's about you getting nutrition. That's all food is. It doesn't "love" you and you don't "love" it. It doesn't comfort, fill up loneliness, calm, cheer up, or help you sleep...and it's not meant to. It's Food. That's all. If you can get to that realization, I think your ED is over. It sure feels like mine is.


sdt said...

Congratulations, Darling.
Ya gotta love lifes little epiphanies.

Austan said...

Yes, and it just goes to show, you can teach an old dog new tricks...I could say something more about new tricks not being interested in old dogs, but this is a PG blog.