Monday, December 28, 2009


i'm not happy. my body tells me too. my stomach hurts, my heart races, i can't think straight

and boy does red wine look good. i have to tell you that -- someone needs to know.

i'm lonely. my only close friends in nj were eve and ted. eve moved to the mid-west and ted's been strangely distant. he's been my rock my whole life and now he's kind of drifted away. how can that be?

ted held me with him through everything. the death of my parents, my dangerous addictions, everything.

i guess i didn't realize how his absence is upsetting me. could i just ask him? i'll have to think about that. he wasn't well for a while. he's in a new relationship. i guess he's just human. i don't hear anything he's say. i guess he's just human.

i'm happi-less with myself. i haven't done shit with those applications. instead, i waste hours and hours of time and spend too much money. i'm not working until next week. all this wasted time trying to comfort myself in all the wrong ways.

this mood isn't like me, usually. i used to be like this and boy did i cry. now fucking lexapro won't let me cry.

i'm hopeful for the future but afraid it won't work. impractical, i am. unproductive. messy.

do you ever feel this too?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

When Size 4 is Too Big

"When Size 4 is too Big: A Curvy Model's Struggle to Fit In" -- is the title of an article about model Lara Stone in January's Vogue. It begins, "when you're a model, nobody calls you fat. 'What they're saying is curvy, but you know they mean fat'," so says "curvy" model Stone, who stands FIVE FEET TEN and wears a size FOUR. (capitals come courtesy of me.)

Stone's had a hard time being,as Vogue writer Rebecca Johnson says, " a good two sizes larger than the minnows currently walking the runway". According to Stone, stylists whisper about her behind her back, and she very often fears being "canceled" because of her size.

initially, she tried to lose weight, using diet and exercise and briefly, pills, but nothing worked and the pills gave her heart palpitations. eventually, she leaned heavily on alcohol until she'd wake up shaking and in a need of a drink simply to function. Stone checked herself into rehab is now eight months sober and modeling as a size four.

According to Rebecca Johnson, the size zero trend has been "rough on both the models, who find it nearly impossible to maintain that body type past the age of seventeeen, and the magazines that want to show clothes on models who aren't painfully thin." She adds that there is a health initiative to raise awareness about eating disorders, but "some girls remain worryingly underweight".

Johnson continues by saying that designers defend the trend, saying, says Johnson, that "clothes look better on a coat hanger". (i wasn't sure these last two paragraphs really fit into this post, but i HAD to include that quote.)

Johnson suggests that things may be changing in the modeling world, as Lara Stone is actually becoming an extremely popular model with some top designers, photographs and editors. Famed photographer Mario Testino says, "i have never thought of Lara as fat... It reminds me of when i started to work with Gisele, everyone used to think that she was too voluptuous. Look where she is now."

As I read the article, i realized it had no irony. Didn't anyone who read or edited this article before print think that 5'10 and a size four was actually really skinny? It seemed the reader was supposed to read along, feeling that Lara Stone, as Karl Lagerfeld says , has "a gorgeous woman's body" and Vogue editor Virginia Smith who says it's "refreshing" to see her on the runway. And to understand how people thought Gisele was too voluptous. Giselle?

The article ends with Stone saying, "People still tell me I'm fat, but when i look in the mirror, that's not what I see." WHO TELLS HER SHE'S FAT?

Yes, yes, yes, this article raises MANY QUESTIONS and MANY hairs on the back of my neck. Here's one question -- What is this article doing in Vogue, home of the skinniest models on earth? (and perhaps the skinniest editor-in-chief, anna wintour, as well)It almost seems like Vogue is giving lip service, "see we get the problem, and look how open-minded we are -- running an article about a size FOUR model," but then i think they think it absolves them and they can go back to what they really believe, skinny is better. Heck, just turn the page. do i see any "curvy" models in the rest of Vogue? what do you think?

somehow i feel like that size four model(although i'm a size 8) but i'm also Vogue. yes, i say i feel perfect at my good healthy weight. i used to diet and take pills and drink alcohol, hoping to stay skinny. i went to rehab and i'm nearly eight months sober. yes, i know that it's unrealistic and dangerously unhealthy to reach for unnaturally low body weights. look at me, i'm agreeing. but look closer, and see what i'm thinking.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


i'm supposed to be filling out grad school applications. as you can see, that's not what i'm doing. i've cleaned my apartment, flat-ironed my hair again AND paid some bills, BUT i have not looked at ONE application.

what's the procrastination? well, deep breath and a click of the mouse, and here i go.

...37 minute later. i haven't started. let's try again.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Niece's Body

if you've read earlier posts, you know that my niece,Jenny, is 14 and the apple of my eye. as she hit puberty, she gained some weight (normal, right?) until, according to my sister Molly, her mother, she was 5'4 and 137. Molly actually whispered this to me, because my niece was nearby (i think it's weird that we even know our weight so exactly. "137", not "around 135". but that's one of my pet peeves, particularly as that's the very same way i gauge my weight.)

my niece has begun a dance program at school and dances hours every day. evidently, she's toned up and slimmed down and is much happier with, as my sister said, "her taut stomach, real abs and toned butt." (Jenny's also wearing sexier clothes and asked for a belly button ring. weren't we better off when she had a few extra pounds and wore sweats? by the way, my sister nixed the belly button ring. we can all breathe a little easier about that!)

during the conversation, i tried to stay very neutral about the weight loss, saying that i was very happy that jenny was feeling better about herself and making new friends and enjoying school.

then, my sister said, "she really looks better." i didn't know what to say. i kind of spaced out for a minute. could i tell my sister that her remarks felt poisonous. did she think jenny was less beautiful with a few extra pounds and a few more jiggles?

i didn't say anything. molly's NOT a touchy-feely person. she's all about taking action. my words would only make her angry.

of course, if i did say anything, it would be more gentle than "your words are poisonous" still, i'm afraid. she wouldn't HEAR me. she'd think i was a pain in the ass. she'd know i was wrong. she'd tell me she's happy just because Jenny is happier. she'd really shut me down.

still, i'm angry with myself. i should have stood up for what i believe. how can we have healthy daughters if our mothers agree that we ARE less beautiful with extra pounds.

i'm sorry i shut my mouth. what do you guys think? is it worth bringing it up with her?


Friday, December 11, 2009


i am grumpy. life on the road is getting to moi! i'm disgruntled that i left in such good shape and some of it gets torn down while traveling with the family.

i'm sure others can appreciate regression around family. i've come so far, but you'd never know it if you saw me at dinner with the bro and his wife tonight. grrrrrrrr. who was that bitchy woman with the frown?

why do i engage with them? i never win.

sometimes, i look longingly at glasses of wine. i don't do that when i'm at home. or, i'll dream that i'm drinking wine.

that's when i know it's time to reach out, so here i am, reaching to you to help me re-ground myself AND stay nice and sober.

i don't usually make gratitude lists, but i thought this would be a nice time for one. (thanks Adventures in Wanting for your gratitude lists, which inspired me to write this one.)

FRIDAY GRATITUDE (friday on this west coast, 1 am saturday back home)

-i'm in a hotel room by myself writing and get ready to take a bath

- also, about to read Linda and her Twaddle and The Topiary Cow, both of which usually have me roaring out loud. and in between those laughs, there's all sorts of great topics.

-my fiance is adorable. he packs sweet notes and nice snacks into my suitcase when i'm not looking. he's learned to buy foods i like and to not push foods i don't. overall, he listens to what i say, thinks about it and shifts his behavior. i wonder if i do that much for him. i'm pretty single-minded.

-i may not really like my job, but i have one and lots of people don't

-i have four more good books still to read in my suitcase. how great is that?

-there are so many more books to read in the world. that makes me happy.

- i love my bestfriend, eve. even though she now lives far away from me, she really is as good as the very best sister could ever be.

- nieces, nephews and cousins. shout-out to all of them, even though only one is reading this blog (hi!!!!! i will call as soon as i'm in one place. miss you)

-tootsie roll lollipops on long plane rides

- i am going home. Yippee!

THERE, i feel better. thanks everyone. time for that bath

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

kate moss and me

when kate moss said, "nothing tastes as good as skinny looks", it pushed some deeply embedded buttons.

"ooooh, she's right. look how disciplined she is", swooned my ED. "if kate moss can starve, why can't i?," ED asked, eating his heart out.

here's the thing. isn't that a question i've kind of asked you all before? didn't i worry about my momentary lust for kelly ripa's body (to own it, not romance it, of course.)? havent i confessed my discreet purchases of Vogue while in airports. and don't you know i read those articles, "how to lose weight effortlessly"?

what about all the blogs wondering why i care so about my frizzy hair, my nail color, my slightly buck teeth and saggy boobs? and HOW much does it really mean to me? say, would i miss a wedding if my hair frizzed in the rain? probably not. would i go to the same wedding without a bra -- NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

and my body. WHY DO I WANT TO BE THIN? will i accept myself if i gain weight? why can't i eat intuitively -- eat when hungry, stop when full?

well, you know the funny thing i realized the other day -- i do. without realizing it, i've been eating when hungry and stopping when full. i'm realizing that food's lost so much of its power over me, other than to feed me and please me in the moment.

it's a wonderful feeling -- so joyous. i've been sober for 7 months. wow -- didn't think i'd ever get to say that. and i'm over 2 and a half years off substances. didn't think i'd make it to say that.

but still - freedom within and around food is unbelievable. it's been about 35 years of my life.

now i must go to bed. just back from charleston, sc last night. off to LA first thing tomorrow morning.

traveling stops on saturday for three weeks. can't wait to read more of your blogs and to respond to all of you wonderful comments on mine. thank you for all your support.

hope everyone's having a peaceful december

Monday, November 30, 2009

the Flu and my ED

anyone else feeling achey? aaargh, i have an all-day flight tomorrow. AND i am the worst sick person. i am sick; hear me whine.

feeling under the weather scares me. it's weird.

i think a part of the fear circles around my ED. it's hard to connect with hungry and full when i'm sick. when i'm well and my stomach gurgles or my head aches, it's often a sign that i'm hungry. when i'm ailing and the tummy churns or the head throb, i can't be sure, and i lose equilibrium around food.

do i want to eat for comfort when i'm sick OR am i hungry.

my ED sees an opportunity and remembers something about starving a fever and feeding a flu. or was it the reverse. ahhh, why not starve them both, he suggests, while he's gaining strength and mine is failing from fever?

my healthy brain kicks in and says NO, NO, NO, Ed. We have to nourish our achey body.

But readers, you know how much work this whole process is.

so, i'm off to rest my aching bones. and i will feed them. i can't stand the obsession. it's just sort habitual now.

but then again, there ARE other things bothering me. i fall back on the ED diversion.


Monday, November 23, 2009

I Need an Ear

i've been on the road for weeks and will be traveling until xmas. thank you everyone for your comments on the blog, and i'm sorry i haven't had much chance to respond. i've been reading everyone's blogs but again, i run out of time. can't wait for the xmas break!!!!

so, as i've said repeatedly, i'm a travelin' gal. some of it's good -- i've read gallons of wonderful books, journaled numerous pages, seen very pretty parts of the country and had some really good business meetings.

on the other hand, the travel can wear me down. right now, i have my period and my usual cramps and have two very long days of convention ahead of me. that means long hours on my feet, cheerily (how?) greeting and informing throngs of people.

my cramps can rule my life. (sorry if this gets a little graphic). nothing works (i have tried EVERYTHING but surgery for endometriosis and the IUD.) for the first time in a very long time something popped into my head (i was doubled over on the toilet. not much else to do but think.) when i didn't get my period for years, i didn't have to deal with cramps. that was wonderful. BUT, when i didn't get my period it was because i was way too thin to menstruate.

that's really dysfunctional thinking, and i won't starve myself like that again. but it was a thought and it lingered. and it still lingers. i have some mental work to do.

also, the time changes screw up my eating. we've been going to california (three hours earlier) almost every week, and we layover in denver (two hours earlier). wherever we are, my brother wants to eat. if it's noon somewhere, it's lunchtime. we land in california at 4pm, but it's 7 back home so, you guessed it, it's time to eat.

i don't always eat with my brother and sister-in-law, but i do have a hard time figuring out when i'm hungry. i'm jet-lagged and tired a lot, so it's challenging to be in touch with my body.

the schedule's different too. this morning we had to be at the convention center at 6:30 am for a day of exhibiting (i'm on a break now.) getting up at 5;30 throws my whole day off and again, i can't get into a comfortable eating mode.

if i'm traveling a little less, i can handle it, and i've got it fairly well covered at home -- i live my life and don't obsess about the whole food/weight thing too much.

BUT, BUT, BUT here on the road, i'm noticing a new (re-newed) interest in food, my body, restricting, etc. is it a distraction? is it that i'm not in control of my time or my own schedule, so i'm trying to control what i can? i bet that's it. right now, i'm on my brother's time. he and my sister-in-law are the bosses. and they have the car. my sister-in-law talks about her weight ALL THE TIME. she also complains constantly about my brother's weight and yells at him for everything he eats. they're both short-tempered. you never know when my brother's going to get nasty, so i'm on usually on edge. he's so rude to service people -- waiters, hotel clerks, starbucks baristas...

any ideas for keeping me mentally healthy? i'm resistant and cranky (hormones, anyone?)

traveling's hard on all my recovery. when i go to california, i get back into sleeping pills. i don't abuse them, but i do take ambien. i need to stop that, no matter the consequences. but i DESPISE the thought of not sleeping and being even more exhausted.

finally, a glass of wine would be nice (no, it wouldn't). we go to lovely restaurants, my sister-in-law drinks a lot, and i wish i were home with my fiance and my lemonade. i'd like to stay in my room sometimes, but rarely have that choice.

the alcohol i can handle. the sleeping pills are harder, but i want to be drug-free. i think i'll start that over xmas break. also some of our trips until then are more local, and i won't need (want) the ambien.

food. it always comes back to food and the body. i don't have answers right now. i just wanted to write this out, to "speak" to people who understand.

THANK YOU for listening. it's so important to have friends on the road!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ironic, Alanis?

so Alanis M. was anorexic and bulimic as a teenager while facing the pressures of the music business.

these days, she says she's feeling great. i so hope that's true but find myself so skeptical. my skepticism makes me feel guilty -- am i always seeing the negative.

anyway, back on topic, i have read a couple of things that make me wonder.

first, the singer is s participating in the Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon on Oct. 11 to raise money for the National Eating Disorders Association. to my mind, a marathon could be pretty excessive for someone with an ED. i still think it's weird that National ED Association connects with it. i did read that Alanis was sort of a jock growing up and this is just part of an extension of her love of sport.

second,Alanis turned to the vegan diet after gaining a few extra pounds and reading a book which covers the many health benefits of a vegan diet. after Alanis went vegan, she lost 20 pounds and, evidently, felt better than ever!!

The singer starts out with a spinach banana smoothie and then digs into a kale salad for lunch. she says she's practically addicted to those spinach smoothies. For a snack, she’ll have her "favorite" grapefruit. yes, i added the quotes, but still...

her comments and actions make me wonder -- with that super-healthy eating and lots and lots of exercise, how "healthy" is she. but if she really is feeling and doing great, what can i say? whatever makes her happy!

she's quite public about her eating and running, running, running, hoping to encourage those struggling with EDs. is this the best message? i say this with apologies to my vegan friends and exercise lovers. maybe you can educate me?

is this the best message? i really don't know. and don't know what i think. my first reaction is... well, no. but maybe that's me and and my anger. am i secretly pissed that she's figured it out? that she's exercising and apparently happy? like i said, i really don't know.

my own eating frequently stumps me. the best eating for me frequently stumps me. i still don't know how much i want to get into food and how much i'd rather just get more finesse with hungry and full and skip the bells and whistles. a work in progress.

on another note, there's a new Miss Seattle, 21-year-old McKinley Smith. McKinley's platform, "EveryBODY is Beautiful," deals with eating disorders. "For many years, negative body image defined my life," she writes. McKinley struggled with anorexia throughout high school and then bulimia in college.

I am assuming Ms. Smith would tell you she's recovered? wasn't she bulimic like -- last year or something?

Can you really be in a BEAUTY pageant and do well with a just recently cured (?) eating disorder. Aren't there lots of heavily dieting women around you? are some of them clearly disordered? is any of this triggering?

i know i'm awfully skeptical today. maybe i'm jealous. i think it's more that if i were Ms. Smith, i'd be still be major struggling, horribly triggered and certainly nowhere near recovery. if i were Ms. Morrissette and eating spinache smoothies and kale, hold the dairy and running marathons, it would be an extension of my ED.

but that's me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Walk the Walk

one morning last week, while on a business trip, i watched Live with Regis and Kelly (if you don't know, it's a typical morning chat show). Country music star Reba McIntyre was the first guest. I've met Reba McIntyre, and she's pretty tiny. But she was at least twice the size of the morning show's host, Kelly Ripa. In the last few years, Kelly (hope she doesn't mind the familiarity) has gotten thinner and thinner. She's full of energy and good cheer, so i assume she's healthy, but she looks really, really thin.

there i sat in my hotel room, wishing i were Kelly's size.

what is that about?

if Russian peasant stock me were Kelly Ripa's size, i'd seriously need hospitalization, as i wouldn't have been eating for months. She's a very pretty woman, but whenever my fiance sees her on TV, he says it's painful to look at her -- she's "scarey" skinny. (sorry kelly. this isn't about you.)

to summarize - for me to be her size, i'd have to be very, very sick AND my own fiance would think i looked scarey. (currently, he tells me i'm beautiful the minute i wake up. okay, so he must like smeared mascara and alfafa hair, but he's entitled to his opinion.)

after all the work i've done getting my mind and body healthy, why would i want to be painfully thin?

my teeny, weeny type A sister just got a colonoscopy. after the laxative part of the pre-op prep, she complained that she lost a few pounds she really didn't need to lose.

as i commiserated with her over her sad little weight loss, my little green ED monster bit it's tongue.

i've gained a few pounds, after a weekend of fun with family. it's fine. i know i'll go back to my usual eating and weigh whatever i usually weigh. i'm healthy at this weight. i have energy, i'm not weak or dizzy from hunger. i'm not stuffed from stuffing down feelings with food. when i go to the store, there's a nice assortment of clothes that fit well. no one tells me i look too thin; no one suggests i could stand to lose a few.

but in the secret dark recesses of my devilish brain, if i could, i'd switch for Kelly Ripa's body.

there. i've said it, but i won't accept that this is my final destination thinking. i'm trying to get my 14 year old niece to accept her thighs. i pray her friend will stop purging the little she eats (in search of kelly ripa's body?) i take my 20 year-old niece shopping at Lane Bryant and help her enjoy all the cute clothes in her size. we had such happy days finding a new wardrobe. each time she repeatedly dissed her body -- i told her she looked beautiful, and she did.

i believe i'm forgetting someone. me. how can i be my own aunt?

Monday, November 2, 2009

anxious about my weight?

i worried about my weight this morning - hadn't been on the scale since last Monday (you go, girl)AND had a big weekend of eating. but my period's over, and in my book, it's time to weigh in.

anxiety built all morning (i don't have a scale, so i wait until i get to my brother's around noon). oh, what if i've gained? why did i eat pizza and pretzels and chocolate, mindlessly? how should i eat today? could i settle for a higher weight, so i wouldn't have to worry so over pizza and pretzels and chocolate?

what a tizzy! all over the potential of small weight gain? hmmm.

so, i bounced on the scale and the number was around the same it is most mornings. but, lo and behold, i was still anxious. very anxious.

could it be that the problem wasn't my weight? what about the fact that i dread my job and find myself lazier and lazier at work. i goof off when i should be cold-calling,and i'm not setting up the appointments i need to. I HATE COLD-CALLING! my brother and his wife are going to notice!!!! ow, my head hurts. dizzy and nauseous. i hear my heart beating rapidly.

today, i made myself focus and get to work, but i was so anxious and nervous that i could barely speak when potential clients picked up their phones. i know i sounded nervous, but there wasn't much i could do. i just kept calling, and i'm proud of myself for that.

i dream about my job - i'm terrified that my brother will get his awful condescening tone and yell at me. ANXIOUS!

also, i'm planning to go back to school, but it's going to be expensive, and there aren't schools near me that offer what i want. if i want to fulfill a dream and change careers, it's likely i'll have a tremendously long commute or i'll have to move somewhere else. what about my fiance? he's in career transition too and isn't sure what he'll be doing. AHHHHHHH!

none of this is coming easily. sometimes, things fall into place, but i'm totally confused.

thru all this, i haven't thought about food,other to eat when i'm hungry. i have so much on my mind and none of it is my weight. how interesting.

unfortunately, obsessing about weight was actually easier than dealing with the real stuff. wow, i'm doing better. well, look at that.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I was present

i went to a big, fancy wedding last saturday.

i didn't drink. i didn't focus on food. i was present.

it was a pretty awful event - an interfaith marriage, and the only people in the room who seemed okay with it were the clergy, and even then i can't be sure.

the groom's mother wept all night, and they clearly weren't tears of joy. the grandchildren wouldn't be jewish. his father scowled hard all evening. the cocky brother picked a fight with my fiance.

the bride's grandparents wouldn't attend. her mother roamed around aimlessly mumbling, "i've never seen anything like this before."

the bride is a lovely 23 year old woman. she's got a great career, speaks many languages, is very beautiful and she's very, naturally, easily thin. but i wouldn't trade places with her -- not with those in-laws. (the groom seems nothing like his family. let's pray that's true.)

i sat next to d.'s brother and his wife. they did not speak one word during the whole dinner. not to each other. not to me. the music was so loud that i couldn't really hear what anyone else at the table was saying.

but no matter who they were, what they were feeling and which religious/cultural background they represented, EVERYONE drank. hard. really hard.

one person at the wedding didn't drink. me. i was present.

it was the first time since i stopped drinking that i wanted to be drunk. other times, i've looked at nice wineglasses filled with merlot and thought, "doesn't that look nice."

not saturday. i wanted to be all boozed up and not painfully aware of the tension, the anger, the stress, the sadness, the pain.

but i didn't drink. i didn't use food. it was the first wedding i've been to that i didn't get wildly drunk and then go home and binge and puke.

i sat with the discomfort. the incredible discomfort for seven hours. it sucked.

but i did it. i can't tell you how proud i am.

each step is a new step. some involve great experiences; some are mediocre; some suck.

i can handle them all.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

life change Part 1

the business travel season starts with a vengeance. leaving for the west coast at 5am tomorrow. and then it's pretty consistent through X-mas. i'm really tired of it. it's time for me to dig in and make some life changes.

i've never found a fulfilling career. for years, i put mad energy into finding my soul's work -- seminars, career counselors, job changes. i'd read everything about every job possible and i applied to grad school many, many, many times in many different fields. i never went, BUT i did get into one Ivy league law school. that was my best moment careerwise.

i've been a human resources manager, a casting assistant, an executive recruiter, an events coordinator and now, i'm a sales manager. NONE of these jobs fit me or fulfilled me.

as many of you know, a few years ago a while my parents were dying, my life detoured into drugs and alcohol.

coming back from that, i was just able to put one foot in front of the other and head to my therapist and groups. as i was started to function, my brother let me come and answer his phones. in time, i started making sales calls. i've never liked it, but it's kept me employed, and i am GRATEFUL.

now, i'm feeling...almost confident. i'm telling myself that i have the strength and ability to do whatever i want. it used to scare me. now, i'm a little excited.

so, i'll be a traveling gal. don't know how much time i'll have for blogging. i'm planning to check in as much as possible. food on the road is never easy. BUT, i do feel more confident. if i don't write, i'll be thinking of you all and wishing you peace.

i hope it's warm in california

Monday, October 12, 2009

Valerie Bertinelli and me

i've been reading Valerie Bertinelli's new book, Finding It: And Satisfying My Hunger for Life without Opening the Fridge. (before i go further, the book is rather unsatisfying. blah. i wouldn't waste the same amount of money i did on it.)

but i digress.

while boring, the book does rev up my usual questions and confusions. there's that assumption that -- life, natch, is much more that weight loss, but weight loss is still great. over-eating isn't just about food, it goes a whole lot deeper, but food is practically the kama sutra, but we really shouldn't eat it, unless, of course, it's a fruit or vegetable, in which case, we should eat it in unlimited quantities to squealth our bottomless hunger, which isn't really hunger for food, anyway, but isn't food great. ditto to weight loss? drum roll and/or linda blair head spin.

i ask you -- if we are thin because we healthfully follow weight watchers (as opposed to say, some of our less than zesty anorexic plans), is it then great to be thin? is it preferred to be thin? do most of us, really, want to be thin? what is thin?

i have more questions.

what is a foodie and is this an interesting thing or is it someone with a weird obsession? how much interest in food is healthy?

what's with the whole restaurant craze? who eats at these restaurants? are they thin? do they say, "i really shouldn't have", after tucking into creme brulee chocolat?

i love the show, top chef, (not sooo much since i stopped drinking. they drink an awful lot of fine vino out of gorgeous glasses, once one of my top three ways to spend my day. okay, top fave. i used to pop open some nice grape and pull up a chair.)

yet, i don't eat any of that stuff. here's y i watch. how does padma lakshmi stay so ridiculously thin? how do the other judges stay the normal, average weights they are? apparently, they eat all the time. sometimes, padma eats more in five minutes than i spread over a few day. what about the nights when they taste test TWO restaurants? even with little bites, that's a lot o' food. and wine is fattenting too.

i sound weight obsessed. maybe. i do wish i could figure out how to eat to maintain some nice medium weight without using 95% of my time and then... TO STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!!!

i was at a big anniversary dinner last saturday. i'll say i did great. no alcohol and that was fine. that's really the big coup. i ate healthfully and tasted small-ish amounts of anything i really wanted and had a little cake. then, d. and i hit the floor and danced the night away, which we both love. how great is that -- ate moderately AND thru in some exercise.

but geez, isn't that an awful lot of over-thinking for one little evening? how much work is it to settle on one little meal? and then what about joyfully dancing with your new fiance -- the whole time considering it...exercise? "calorie burning" kind of takes the romance out of it, no? (see also "sex".)

overall, the more i know, somehow the more confused i get. once, i KNEW for sure that it was best to be thin at all costs. arguing was futile. once, i KNEW i knew best for me and my savaged body.

now, i know a lot better. but often feel i know nothing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Heart Tied with String

i love this blog, A Heart Tied with String is a Pretty Thing,, I hope you all will check it out.

The author is an amazing artist. her pictures of women, struggling with body image, self-esteem and life in general, tell many stories -- some sad, some disturbing, and always evocative. i often feel she tells my story.

i love her last post, "uh, do these bones make my hips look wide?". hope you'll go see it.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

wuz up with my eating?

i've slowly been losing a little weight. i know this because i've been weighing myself every day.

my inner ED is leaping around. wheee. "good girl, there ya go. keep it up and we can get back to a nice little weight. just remember, give in, one little bit, and all is lost. weight loss is hard, but it's very, very important. above all -- stay vigilant and eat as little as possible."

scarey, isn't it, that the voice is just right there. for all the work, it's just right there.

i stare at my flat stomach, enjoying the lack of lumps. my jeans are tight nowhere.

i have to get past this. way too much attention's going into what i'm eating and weighing.

in pittsburgh with my family and fiance, i ate heartily and went on with activities. my niece and i fairly raced through dinner, so we could get back to her room to chat.

in a week or so, big events take over. we've got a big blow-out 50th anniversary party and a big wedding, back to back weekends. at both events, i'll be the only one who only speaks english and most likely, the only one who doesn't drink. AND OF COURSE, i anticipate loads of food. even if i eat nicely, it's still a lot of work.

then work's travel season starts galore. i'll be on the road with the my brother and sister-in-law for the best of five weeks. they both have pretty bad tempers. if you've read my blog for a while, you'll know that he's all about major food, and she's all about wine. if you've read my blog for a while, you know i'm two weeks shy of five months sober, and wine is my drink of choice.

the upside:

for now, i'll be okay. i ate a solid, real lunch today, we're going out for dinner tonight, and i'll eat more than i've been eating at home. besides, i'm losing patience with all this food and weight shit.

at the events, my fiance, D., will drink minimally as he is driving. he will speak english to me. he loves me.

this month's travel covers California and North Carolina. it will be warm. i'll have tons of time to read on the plane. i'm traveling back alone from california, which i usually enjoy. (i can't figure out an upside for their tempers. they fight with each other constantly and everyone else too -- barrista's at starbucks, hotel clerks, airport agents. very, very unpleasant.)

i'm going to the bookstore soon. the work day is almost over. my laundry's done.

anyone else wish it were a little easier just getting thru the moments?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Need Your Help

My friend,jane, just discovered that her daughter, liz, has begun starving and purging. jane learned this by reading liz's diary. to make matters worse, fourteen-year-old liz has begun dressing trampily to get attention from boys. her self-esteem has always been low.

jane doesn't want to tell liz she read the diary, and Jane's therapist agreed. i think Jane needs to tell liz she read her diary. She can say she read it because she's been very concerned and she loves liz so much, and now she's ready to help.

but jane's stuck on this privacy thing -- she and her therapist thing it will feel like too huge a betrayal to liz. so jane thinks she just really can't do much of anything at this point but watch and wait.

i say liz needs to go to a medical doctor now AND to an eating disorders specialist therapist. i sometimes find that the most wonderful regular therapists don't often understand our disease.

i'm really worried about liz. she was always a chubby kid. now she thinks the only way to get boys is to be really thin and dress promiscuously. will she submit in a sexual way to boys, so they'll like her and pay attention?

jane is distressed and loves her daughter, but i don't think she sees the big potentially awful picture.

some questions:

what can one do for a young teen who's developing an eating disorder?

should jane tell liz she's read the diary?

do you tell a teenager ALL the repercussions of anorexia and bulimia? do you try to sort of scare her by sharing the physical side effects?

do facts and information dissuade someone from developing an ED?

what can we do for out daughters?

do you have other thoughts and ideas on the topic?


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crystal Renn, The Hunger

i could not wait to read this book. i pre-ordered it on amazon and kept checking for its arrival.

it was a good book, but i was disappointed. Renn does a great job describing her youth and her starving days while modeling. the detail is clear; the story incisive. i felt i lived it with her. What a heart-wrenching, frightening experience. it's a cautionary tale and one that will help

but then she glosses over the part i wanted most -- the years of gaining weight. what was it like? how did she feel looking in the mirror as her face and body expanded. what her thoughts as those jean sizes went up? what did she eat? can it really have been as easy, breezy as she makes it sound? there's so much more there, and i want it.

i want to know how to accept and embrace natural weight gain. i want to know how to face the mirror as a new, larger size. how can i laugh at the scale? how to let go of the people who prefer me, and everyone, a size 6/8?

i wish she'd gone there.

on another, but not really dissimiliar, note, dr stacy of Every Woman Has an Eating Disorder
writes that some parents of pre-schoolers are being offered the opportunity to have their kid's school pictures airbrushed.

this freaks me out. where is our culture headed? are we going to end up in a futuristic society where perfect beauty (of the mainstream variety) is everything and the only thing? i worry it really can happen. now we condone telling pre-schooler they're just not good enough at all, just as they are? it's the saddest thing.

angelica huston sticks in my mind -- what a beautiful woman with the world's character on her face. she has an important nose and kind of lop-sided features, AND i've always loved her beauty.

but in today's world, symmetry's beating character nearly all the time. and now it's starting in pre-school.

my late mother was so proud of my kindergarten picture. i wore a navy jumper and had a big bow around my ponytail. there's one stray pump in the front of my hair, where obviously the comb missed the spot. kind of adorable, actually.

my fiance has that picture on his side of the bed. he named it "little Melissa". even i, who think nothing of my looks, think it's cute. imagine if it had been air-brushed. self-hatred could have started on that very day.

ah, do you think i feel strongly about this?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Out of Focus

I've really been off. i lose my keys, i've lost three pairs of sunglasses, i lost my cellphone. i'm driving badly - not focusing on the road. i'm not paying attention.

i've always been A LITTLE spacey, dreamy and distracted, but this is off the charts.

it scares me. where is my brain? is it busy wondering about the persistent stomach pain and headache?

i'm eating well. that's okay. pretty good, actually.

in posts past, i'd insist (practically scream) "I AM MY EATING DISORDER".

I'm not my eating disorder. my ED has ruled my life, it's decided my choices, it's encumbered most everything i do, but I AM NOT MY EATING DISORDER.

last night, we had friends over, and i had a great time. we talked and laughed and relaxed. the food was delicious, and i ate a nice amount. after dinner, even though i was full, i enjoyed a small slice of magnificently tasty carrot cheesecake. i wouldn't say it was intuitive eating, because i was already full, but in that moment i enjoyed my cake. and there was no freak-out after. so peaceful

all said, i see where i can be more confident, although i don't necessarily act on it. my friend Eve is on an amazing path -- she gets stronger and more directed. i watch her deal with her boyfriend in a centered, confident new way. here's something for me to gain and feel for myself. my communication skills lack something. and my self-confidence likes to cower.

if i can keep my shoulders back and honor myself (honor ME, who is not my eating disorder), things will get better.

ah, there's more work to do. it's all for good. it's all for good.

i wish i knew quite where to begin. i will figure it out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Eating in Pittsburgh

i had the best, best time visiting my family in pittsburgh. my sweetie and i relaxed, de-stressed and just had fun. soooo much fun. i laughed until i could barely breathe. what's better than pure, happy laughter?

and i ate. i hate heartily and with abandon. i ate a lot and didn't care. everything was too much fun to care about food and weight.

yes, i gained a couple of pounds (weighed myself when i got home. darn). that part's hard for me. i know, i know that my body wants to be free -- free to pick up the pounds it craves. but damn, that's not what i want right now. doesn't make things easy, does it?

has anyone read Hunger by Crystal Renn? i wasn't blown over by the book itself, but i love the concept of eating and being healthy AND reveling in a happy size 12.

i wish i could bottle the joy i had in pittsburgh. i was happy and engaged all the time. often, i check out and go far, far away from the given moment. in pitt, there were so many people to talk to, culture, coffee shops, bookstores, outdoor jazz, museums. at home, i'm way out in a nowhere of strip malls and fast food. sherlock holmes couldn't uncover a decent cup of coffee here.

pittsburgh has my family. my fantastic, amazing nephew, my great brother-in-law and my sister. she and i have always had a complicated relationship, but this time we really talked and connected and of course, laughed.

then there's my fourteen-year-old niece, Karen. we have such a bond and always have. her body image issues are starting. it kills me. she's the loveliest, most sensitive person. and she doesn't have kate moss's thighs. why, why, why, why, why is this considered important?

my niece asked me if i'd had bulimia or anorexia. no one had ever told her anything about my issues. she also asked me if i'd had problems with alcohol. then, gulp, she asked me if i'd done hard drugs.

i answered her questions as well as i could, focusing on how well i am AND trying with all my strength to help build her self-esteem.

we talked forever, and she opened up about what's going on with her and her friends. she's an amazing person. why, why, why, why, why does it matter that she doesn't have Gisele's hips?

as i lay in bed the night after our talk, i realized that no one in my family had ever asked me any of the questions Karen asked my issues/addictions-- not my mother, my father, my brother, my sister. friends. no one.

recently, i've shared my issues with my dear cousin, but prior to our discussions, no one seemed to care. or notice.

i guess the key for me is always communication. if someone talks to me and we can each be open, somehow, i allow myself to connect and don't give any special powers to food or weight.

i've know this before, but it was perfectly clear in pittsburg. where i had the best time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I haven't blogged much lately -- work and life have gotten in the way. That's not such a good thing. Blogging grounds me, for a lack of a better word, spiritually. When i'm not blogging, writing, and connecting, i start to get away from myself. Soon I'm sweating the small things and worrying about stuff that wraps me up in knots.

The next few days are going to be long and fairly unfulfilling -- work can get like that. But work pays the bills.

I've decided that i need to set some goals which will help bring some spiritual nourishment (if you will) back into my life. Starting next week, when things calm down, i'm going to blog every day. And, I'm going to apply for class, non-matriculated, in a field that interests me.

When i feel myself slipping, i'm going to honor those goals -- by doing them. And that's a great goal

Monday, August 31, 2009

Blogging in Time

oh, am i antsy today. thus -- i'm pick, pick, picking around food. i've been mainlining gum and hard candies. chomping and sucking really hard can take the edge off.

i'm home from work, earlier than usual -- i was supposed to go to a lecture with a friend. she canceled; i didn't feel like going alone, so here i am, not too far from a bag of pretzels.

the sad part is -- i'm not hungry and probably won't be again tonight, what with all the munch,munch, munching i did at work. if i do eat tonight, because i like to eat at night, it will be from mouth hunger not real hunger.

i've been working on eating when i'm hungry and stopping when full. i guess that's Intuitive Eating? mostly, i'm working on "full". i recognize "hungry", but i can rarely figure out when to stop eating -- what else could be expected of a lifelong anorexic, bulimic, compulsive eater?

with "full", i've been eating a smaller plate of food. usually, i bulk way up on salads and steamed vegetables (i looove them) and usually have a second helping. i have some protein and starch and then dessert. and i usually end up pretty full.

so, i've been having one helping of salad and veggies, a healthful portion of protein and starch and then seeing if i really still want dessert. mostly, i don't want the cake and ice cream my mouth wants. but i will have a little chocolate...

you know, i just realized how much i'm writing about food, and i'm getting bored. eating to full is not what's bothering me. i'm worried about other things -- money, work, life, and i'm at stalemate. i'm not finding answers. i pray, i dream, i talk, i write -- but guidance is not revealed.

my mind and body are disquiet. like i said, i'm antsy.

see how blogging helps? i got some answers -- it's not about the food, is it? it's about not feeling whole, peaceful, content, fulfilled. ahhh, a lot to think about, but it's good.

i feel better. about food

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kinder and Gentler

oh i pray to be kinder, non-judgemental, compassionate, humble, friendly and to have a thicker skin when others are none of these things.

it can be work. i look forward to the day it comes more naturally.

sure, i'm friendly to people who are friendly to me. i'm kind and compassionate when a loved one falls ill. i don't usually judge people -- we're all human, we all suffer, we all make mistakes. i have made many, many of my own.

but when it's not so easy, i'm a work in progress. i strive to be friendlier to folks who aren't the nicest. right now, i'm doing customer service at work. it's best to be upbeat and cheery from the get-go and sometimes i'm just not feeling it. i'm studying television anchors and game show hosts who come out beaming. maybe this part is just acting

when customers or my bosses are mean and condescending, i work to keep that upbeat, friendly, helpful and caring part of me around. EVERYONE'S happier if i'm nothing but nice.

if i'm nice, i find i don't get as angry inside. i'm building a boundary, so my own feelings and insecurities aren't triggered by everyone else's anger and derision. when things can role off my back, i am a MUCH happier person. i'm working, working, working on this-- lots more boundary building is needed.

kindness is new for me. i used to be miserable and insecure and angry and sad. to protect myself, i pushed others away by deciding i didn't like them. to make myself feel better about me, i'd note their perceived flaws and faults.

i also love gossip, but i think part of this is that people fascinate me. i always want to know how and what people think and what they're doing. when i need to watch is when i find what i'm doing is "talking behind someone's back."

this post seems disjointed. i'm just sort of writing whatever first comes to my head.

i haven't written much lately. life has been busy -- friends and family visiting from out of town, birthday celebrations, hectic work, et. al.

i find i've just been living. i'm not drinking or taking ambien or even drinking much coffee. instead, i'm more wrapped up in actual life, which is the goal, right? still, it's not easy and natural yet. i'm not used to living in the moment.

with food, i seem okay. i'm kind of anxious lately, which makes my stomach churn, which makes me think i'm always hungry. but i'm listening, listening -- what do i really need and want? when it's food, i give it food. still, nothing's perfect here.

like i said, a work in progress

Monday, August 17, 2009


In her blog Between Living and Existing (, Tiptoe writes about Medications -- not always wanting to take them and not always having the patience to keep taking them until they, potentially, work.

I have tons of my own frustrations with meds. My current issue -- not even the fanciest doctors seem to know what the meds do, why they work and what dosage is best. it's often just trial and error.

i take Lexapro, Trazedone, Neurontin and Antabuse.

Take, for example, Neurontin. i believe it's an anti-seizure medicine that seems to have the side effect of helping anxiety. No one knows why or how or how much to take. it's not addictive or harmful (i think) but you don't even know if it really works. it's not like klonopin which effects you quickly and clearly. instead, neurontin builds up in your system. with my doctors approval, i take a nice amount of it. i can't really tell if it helps, but i take it just in case it does. i know i'm less anxious but is it the neurontin?

Trazedone.. This was created as an anti-depressant, but i don't think it worked (that's what most people have told me, but one therapist told me did.) although it didn't make people happier, it did seem to have the side effect of making some people sleepy. when i ask my fancy upper east side manhattan psychiatrist why people get sleepy, she doesn't know, but if it helps and it doesn't hurt, why not? trazedone does make me sleepy but it also makes me nauseous. i don't know how people could take it during the day for depression!!!!

lexapro. please, who knows what, how, what dosage, although it does help my mood, and i'm glad i take it. when i first started taking it, i was crazy sick for nearly a week. i had a drug relapse because i was so miserable. i stayed with it, though -- i was only going to do this ONCE, and began to finally began to feel infinetely better. apparently, if i ever go off lexapro, it will be nasty. who really wants to take drugs that change your brain and make you really sick while entering and leaving the body? i guess is best for me for now.

antabuse. with this, i don't care why it works -- i'm taking, it works -- i'm sober and scared to drink. end of story.

those are my thoughts. i'm really jealous of the people in the future who will have better science. well, i guess i hope they all find great mental health, accompanied by truly peaceful and uninterrupted sleep. i'd like that for all of us too

Sunday, August 9, 2009


i binged. and i'm okay.

i binged yesterday during my next door neighbors big summer party. my last binge was in november. before that, it had been years. not sure why i binged. these are some thoughts;

1. i always watch what i eat. i eat lots of salads and vegetables with some lean meats and small amounts of carbs and fats and little desserts. it's healthy and keeps me at a good weight, and it keeps me comfortable. the party had TONS of amazing food that kept coming and coming for hours. i kept sampling everything and just decided to keep going as i haven't in a long time. EVERYTHING was delicious. and they had three kinds of brownies. everyone else was eating a lot.

2. we went over at 4 pm. as always, a very uncomfortable time for me to be faced with a large meal. at first, i took a "manageable" amount of food, but then i felt i'd eaten too much, too early and it was too overwhelming. i talked to myself and talked to myself and talked to myself,as i always do -- about alcohol and prescription drugs and food and the scale and.... i must have gotten tired of keeping myself on a healthy track. it's really not easy for me; i'm not a moderate gal. maybe, i just gave in.

3. i wanted to be able to drink alcohol, like everyone else there. it looked delicious and relaxing. instead of drinking, maybe i ate and ate. i've been in the mood for a drink lately but always remind myself -- i'm not a good drinker. it will be three months without a drink on wednesday. i want that marker and beyond. in AA, they say that 90 days is a time to watch for -- brain chemistry somehow makes us want to drink again.

4. could i have just been hungry? i really watch what i eat and have been practicing eating when i'm hungry and stopping when i'm full. maybe i'm stopping too soon? maybe i always feel deprived?

5. stress was in the air this week. i spent a lot of time with a dear friend who's life is in turmoil and who's having panic attacks. my boyfriend had a really stressful week and got really stressed out. and i had my own stuff.

whatever the reason, i binged. i talked about it with my boyfriend, who was great. he pointed it out that it was one day, at a party and today's a new day.

i woke up, out of practice with coping with the day after a binge.

we went to church. i thought that would be good. i'm jewish and not religious, but i enjoy praying and meditating beside my boyfriend.

today's priest has a lovely, warm way about him. he speaks often of love, compassion, forgiveness, spirituality. this morning,it seemed that he was speaking to me, saying what i needed to hear. when he said "live in love", i felt the warmth of the idea. when he spoke of compassion, forgivenss, mercy, it clicked.

i will pray for love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy. it's hard for self-hatred about binging to creep in with all that.

after church, my boyfriend likes to get something to eat. respecting my post-binge ultra-fullness (i stuffed myself until 1 am), he asked if he could make me tea?

later, i went to my apartment and did my laundry and read and meditated on forgiving myself.

then i got a manicure. now, i'm blogging.

i'd like to figure out why i binged to prevent another one. they sure take a toll, physically and mentally. don't they?

but i'm okay. kind of in a good place (except for my stomach which squeals a lot.) a good place is nice.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

that's the weigh it is

a heart tied with string is a pretty thing drew this picture, Measure Me. (i love her work -- so well done and so evocative.) unfortunately, i am having technical difficulties with my computer and am not able to transport that great picture. just go to her blog.

The picture reminds me of the one time I stopped weighing. I'd whip out that tape measure every morning and wrap it around all my offending body parts. i was binging then and gaining weight. Each day, i'd pull that tape tighter around my waist, sucking in my gut while squinting my eyes, praying to discover an acceptable number.

these days when i don't weigh, i find myself staring at my stomach, checking for any new bulginess. when i sit on the toilet, i gaze down to see if my belly's the same size as the last time i sat on the john. there is no peace.

Harriet didn't weigh herself with me on Tuesday. She wrote that when she weighed herself on Wednesday, she'd lost two pounds. That could mess a person up!

Eating Alone also stayed off the scale. He said that it calmed him to step on the scale again on Wednesday. I found that too -- what a relief to know what i weigh.

what have other people done when they've stopped weighing? did you initially eat less out of fear? did you "relapse"?

By the way, i weighed myself Wednesday, but not yesterday. i was at my brother's but actually FORGOT to weigh myself. wow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

i didn't weigh myself. do i weigh tomorrow???

i didn't weigh myself. again, it was harder than i thought. my dear boyfriend did something with the scale -- i have no idea what, which is great. thank you, dear.

but there's still the issue of my brother's scale. he lives next door to me and they leave their door open. i was home later than them this morning and the temptation was huge. at one point, i was going over there BUT

Harriet at (forgive me, can anyone tell me how to cut and paste a link?) agreed to stay scale-free with me today and knowing she's out there kept me off the scale. it's great having a buddy.

on another note, i have been so busy and my travels have kept me away from my computer most of the time. i miss having time. starting tomorrow, i will get to read all the blogs i love. yay!

today was a really long and stressful day. i'm almost too tired to write. i feel like i'm just rambling but i wanted to say, I DIDN'T WEIGH MYSELF TODAY.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

the scale: a tough time getting off

does anyone have any ideas how to help me stop weighing myself? does one day at a time help? did anyone go "cold turkey"?

each night, i tell myself i will not weigh the next day, but upon waking, i pee (of course) and pop off to the scale.

every day there's a new reason just to have a little peek. how can i put aside all my excuses and respect myself enough to start my day sans scale?

this weekend was busy with events -- my cousins wedding and my boyfriend's fathers birthday (a buffet.) my cousin's was easier, because the foods weren't my favorites. somehow, that took the "pressure" off. i ate enough to curb my hunger and then got busier re-connecting with family. the buffet was hard -- no matter how much i watched, i ate more than i like in a normal day. and it was at 4 -- a weird time for me to eat.

do i need more help with this? because i am a normal weight and don't binge, purge or starve, perhaps i think i'm doing better than i am.

it's getting really old. i am tired of having my days and nights ruled by food and weight. BUT AM I TIRED ENOUGH TO LET IT GO?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

my weight -- continued

i'm blown away by how addicted i am to the scale. it reminds me of when i gave up alcohol -- as much as i wanted that drink, i want to know that number. i REALLY didn't realize how hard this was going to be.

yes, i got on the scale today. twice. on my boyfriend's scale, i've lost two pounds. on my brother's, i've lost one. when i saw the two pound drop, i rejoiced. at my brother's, i had to convince myself that life would be okay.

this is not the way the rational part of me wants to live. SO,

TOMORROW I WILL NOT WEIGH MYSELF. it really is like alcoholism -- i have to take it one day at a time. do they have a Scales Anonymous?

of course, the big fear is all the weight i will gain if i'm not monitoring myself. i'm pretty convinced, i'll gain some. i long to eat more than i do.

unfortunately, i don't feel like i have the patience for mindful eating. i don't want to think about eating. i wonder why i'm so resistant. why does it scare me?

with all of this recent awareness that i'm feeling like a lunatic about my weight, i've been thinking more about food. perhaps my old compulsive eating tendencies are talking. perhaps, it's because i've let down some of my walls and my inner eater feels freer to express her desires.

when i talked to my therapist, i asked, what will i be if i'm not defined by watching my weight. she asked me what i liked about myself besides the fact that i've managed to maintain a decent weight? ...........Silence. but then i did think about a few things, and she suggested i repeat those things to myself when i start to worry about numbers, numbers, numbers.

i write all this and wonder if you, the reader, will think i'm having a meltdown. but i'm not -- this is the way i always think, but i just thought it was normal. i'm starting to seriously question it now -- it seems like progress.

well, enough of my meandering. wish me luck for tomorrow. i'll let you know. hope to make myself proud!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

me and my weight

today was the day i wasn't going to weigh myself. i had the whole thing planned -- deprogramming the scale. well, deprogramming me and getting off the scale.

what a miserable, out-of-sorts girl i was yesterday. why -- i've gained four pounds. yup, it ruined my day. i couldn't sit still. nothing felt good. i missed out on the sun, my good book, seeing friends.

it's been years, and i've worked on myself with care, but i still define myself by a number. it's crazy, destructive, a waste of time. if i weigh 127 or 128 it's a good day. 129 is an okay day. over that -- i fidget. it's great that i'm happy at 127, versus the 98 i used to love (a really low number for me. i look really skinny at 120)

what do all these numbers mean? 98, 120, 131? is the scale always accurate? why does it matter?

still, i actually thought i looked different with four more pounds. when i went into new york yesterday, i spent half an hour in front of the disgusting public bathroom mirror in the bus station trying to quantify the changes.

i hate living this way. it's too hard. i need to get off the scale AND allow myself to find a comfortable weight for my body and begin to accept who i am.

my first step - i told my boyfriend that i feared he wouldn't want me if i gain weight. he put his arms around me and said, i love YOU. i reminded him that i weighed ten pounds more when he met me -- would he be okay if i weighed that again? he said he couldn't tell that i'd weighed ten pounds more -- was i sure? (it was about 15 pounds more.) God bless him.

as ridiculous as this all sounds, the conversation helped a lot.

i'm being pretty honest here -- this isn't stuff i usually discuss, because i know it sounds certifiable.

i long to accept a heavier body -- it would make my life a lot easier. i look at happy woman who carry more weight than i and seem really comfortable.

this is a very old dream. i've always looked at plus-sized models and felt my body belonged there. i wrote about going to Lane Bryant and feeling more at home.

who knows. step 2. let me have a scale free day. maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

on the road and out of sorts

i'm in alaska. i'm out of touch with my body.

i don't know if i'm hungry or tired or would feel better if i had a drink (i'm not drinking!). i am taking ambien again (damn).

before i left on this crazy business trip from new jersey to texas to alaska in four days (and leaving for new jersey tonight. 12 more hours of travel, returning on the red eye), i was in the best place of my life: i slept without sleeping pills (!), bought and started riding my FIRST bicycle, ate well and was enjoying my ever better relationship with my boyfriend.

just a few days later, nothing's in place. all this flying and time zone switching (we're now four hours earlier than home) has frightened my comfort zone, particularly as i just can't tell if i'm hungry or full or just tired and nauseous.

i'll be home tomorrow morning. i may not feel great for a day or two, but i'll be back on that bike and ready to roll back into good health.

aside from all this crankiness, seeing new places is cool. Alaska is extraordinary --the air, the mountains. After our meeting, we'll have time to explore. It's a whole different world.

Hope everyone's well. Back soon.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

you don't have that kind of time.

"i remind myself i'm not lazy," said eve. "i'm on a spiritual path""

eve has taken a little time off from work. she's going through a HORRIBLE divorce. her ex is threatening. her last boss propositioned her. her finances are low.

but she doesn't want to work for now. instead, she's sleeping, hiking, meditating, reading Deepak Chopra, searching for grace.

it's working for her.

her words stopped me cold. i got goose bumps. i too am on a spiritual path, embracing calm and peace, becoming kinder, more patient, working to be non-judgmental, questioning old long-held beliefs. searching for grace.

a lot of things that used to drive me crazy about myself seem way less important. so what if i always lose the bathroom key at work, as my sister-in-law enjoys pointing out. yup, i lose the bathroom key.

so what if i'm terrible at washing dishes, quake at the sight of a spreadsheet, always spill food on my clothes?

i've always beat the shit out of myself for every little mistake and quirk. but they kind of get lost on the path to spiritual peace.

i've been reading my favorite Anne Lamott lately. Just because i love it, here's my absolute favorite Anne Lamott;

"I got obsessed with something my best friend had said right before she died, when she was in a wheelchair, wearing a wig to cover her baldness, weighing almost no pounds, but very serene, very alive. We were at Macy's. I was modeling a short dress for her that I thought my boyfriend would like. But then I asked whether it made me look big in the hips, and Pammy said, as clear and kind as a woman can be, "Annie? You really don't have that kind of time." I just got it. I got it deep in my being. And all of a sudden, two years ago, it began ringing through the chambers of my head again: You don't have that kind of time."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Do You Own a Scale?

Question for my readers -- do you own a scale? (i understand if some of you find that a question way too personal to answer.)

if you feel like it, can you answer any or all of these questions:

how often do you weigh yourself?

do you keep throwing scales out and then buying new ones? and throwing them out and ...

do you wish to live a life without a scale?

what role does the scale have in your life?

what do you imagine happening if you didn't have a scale?

If you have any other thoughts about THE SCALE (it looms large doesn't it? well, at least for me), please send them along.

Thanks, guys. well, actually i think you're pretty much all gals

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Freedom and the ED

As I move out of my addictions and into myself, there's evident change. I feel it in my body; i feel it in my brain.

i'm questioning my life-long belief systems in big and small ways;

for one thing, l'm not who i thought i was. for years, i scrunched myself into business suits, and headed off (way to early in the morning) to corporate America.

I binged, I purged, I starved, I drank and took drugs.

I bitterly informed myself that i had no other options or talents -- all i knew how to do, my only viable skill, was sales (eeeeekkkk).

I binged, I purged, I starved, I drank, I did drugs.

Believing i was naturally ugly, i broke the bank on hair straightening, blonde highlights, pedicures, make-up (i really spent here, sure that only high-quality expensive stuff could help the disaster that was me)

still, I was miserable. face-stuffing, toilet hugging, wine swigging and drugs.

i told myself i was a terrible writer and, therefore, did not deserve to write anything at all.

i broke my heart.

now, i don't binge, purge or starve. i'm clean and sober. the old beliefs quiver about their certainty.

corporate america? business suits? not unless Bill Gates decides to fund my project to build self-esteem in young girls. yeah, then i'd scrunch into that business suit. but only for Bill.

expensive make-up? can't afford it. this morning i said to my boyfriend, what if we scaled our lifes back as much as humanly possible and start enjoying our lifestyle instead of our things.

writing. i've been writing since i was little. when my mom died, i found notebooks filled with my childhood stories and ramblings. to deny my pleasure would deny myself. it doesn't matter what or how i write, it's something i love to do.

that goes to creativity. i've been saying for years i'm not creative. i love beautiful art and beautiful words but don't have a creative bone in my body.

why then y do i love the creative lifestyle -- inching through bookstores, book by book? losing hours in museums, in movies, in dreaming, in writing, in just observing?

why then do i design hair and make-up in my dreams, wishing i'd been a hair and make-up "artist"?

i'm letting that part of me out. it can live and breathe. i can breathe.

all those things i apologize for? i'm embracing them. my messy disorganized purse? it's charming. the stains on my shirt -- they're not going to stop, so i might as well laugh. it beats (for me) zipping up a business suit.

for years i was never late -- always early. i had to be "perfect", beyond reproache. now, i see my natural tendency -- it's to daydream, to lose track of time, to think of a million things i need to do before i leave. but it's disrespectful to be late. i work to be on time, but i want to shout it out;

"i'm naturally late, i'm naturally messy, i'm not mainstream, my hair is frizzy, i'm more liberal than i admit, i'm quirky, i'm super sensitive, i love my friends."

that's just the beginning.

one other thing i wanted to share. i've always believed that being beautiful is the best. if you're beautiful, you're set. people like pretty people. you have boyfriends and special treatment. people smile at you, studies say you get better jobs, and my mother would have liked you more.

i've believed this all my 45 years. until recently, i was thinking about Eve, my beautiful, wonderful friend. everyone agrees Eve is beautiful. she's always had boyfriends and special treatment. people smile at her. she lands every job. my mother would have loved her.

i'd start to notice that Eve flinches in her beauty. maybe, i wondered, she didn't want to get these things just because of her looks? nah. how could that be.

after too many flinches to ignore, i decided to have a conservation with her.

"Eve", I said. "you know, i always think that because you're beautiful, that's enough. as someone who never got boyfriends or special treatment or extra
smiles, i just assumed you have the best -- beauty. what better could there be"

"so, because I assumed that if you have great looks and a lovely warm personality, you don't need other things. i realize that in all our years of friendship, i've never told you how smart you are."

"Melissa" my 37 year-old friend answered softly, "no one's ever told me that i'm smart before."

in her voice i heard. beauty might not be the best. huh?

my heart is open. i'm more open. i think we're getting somewhere

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I Should Have Blogged. Instead of Eating

so, i was a little antsy today. i wanted to blog and read but had too many other things to do.

instead, i ate. i ate dinner eons before i was hungry and just a few hours after a good lunch. there was some bbq chicken. then a hot dog on a roll. then salad. some chips and salsa. i wasn't hungry, but my beloved was eating and it looked good and i was a little antsy. i wanted to blog about what was going on. but i didn't. and i could have.

i had a tootsie roll lollipop to stave off more eating. we watched a fairly dull movie. i got a little antsier. there were two or three pieces of chocolate involved. some water for closure. more movie. i was getting too lethargic to do anything else, anyway.

there was cake in the refrigerator. german chocolate cake with coconut icing. and a cherry on top. i had a nice piece of that.

oh so bloated, and the antsy-meter goes up. the dull movie ended. i put another one in.

"don't you want to blog?", asked my beloved. smart man.

well, i've been having a SOUL-feeding time for the last hour or so. haven't desired food since i tapped the first key. let this be a loving message to me.

i could have just blogged. now i know

Friday, July 3, 2009


i am not a morning person.

i have never been a morning person. as a child insomniac, i read all night with a flashlight, so my mother wouldn't catch me. when she did she'd take away the flashlight and tell me to go to sleep. instead, i'd lie, sleepless, in bed for a while. then i'd go raid the refrigeration.

fear was a big part of the problem. the night terrified me. i thought there was a man under my bed, Hitler hid in my closet, and some maniac lurked outside the window.

food comforted me, but not entirely.

i wouldn't fall asleep until the sun came up -- then i felt safe. needless to say,i was less than perky when it was time for school, and i'd get ready late, miss the bus and beg to stay home from school. (i hated school. with my chubby exterior, frizzy hair and braces AND very cruel classmates, school was hell.)

my sleep (or lack of sleep) habits stayed with me. in high school, my single mother dated strange men and stayed out all night. sometimes, she'd sleepover at her boyfriends several nights in a row.

those nights loomed long. i'd try not to move off the couch, so i could watch all around for attackers. the upstairs was off limits, god knows what waited up there.

i stayed up all night and ate. and ate. and ate.

in college, anorexia, then compulsive eating took over. i don't remember sleeping. although financially strapped, i paid for cable, just so i'd have company all night. by morning, i was vaguely comatose. a fat zombie.

sophomore year of college i gained 60 or so pounds, through eating and not sleeping. finally, i dropped out of college and kind of dropped out in general for a few years.

this pattern became my life. in my twenties and thirties, i starved myself down to nothing until bulimia hit me hard. binging and purging ruled my nights.

morning's became the major nemesis. after long nights of no sleep, i dreaded each and every daylight. going to work proved an excruciating experience. i had two major jobs during those years, each wanting me there by 8 am. day after day, i floated excuses for why i was late. or i'd drag in, barely able to talk, focus or think. day after day, i felt like shit.

i still fight this fight. i'm taking trazedone for sleep (or else i won't) and wake up (if you can call it that) in that old state of zombie-ness. it takes hours to feel semi-normal. my current job is fairly flexible and most of the time i can work from home. many of my clients are on the west coast, so it's useless to contact them before noon here in new jersey.

but we do travel a lot and have early meetings. what a struggle. each morning is frightening and unpleasant. my usual traveling companion, my brother, could run a marathon before my alarm even goes off. even when it's REALLY early.

my boyfriend also bounces out of bed, full of vim and vigor. morning's his favorite time for everything, from chores to long conversations about important topics. all before coffee.
on days off, he wants to get up with the sun and head to the beach. aargh. it's just painful. it hurts.

i long to be a morning person. someone who gets up, heads to the gym, eats a heathly breakfast, reads The New York Times and gets to work before nine, when i'm, in truth, still groggily trying to open my eyes.

it kind of cuts a life in half -- officially waking up at noon. and what if i get a "real" job again. and showing up for lunch doesn't cut it?

still, i'm not a morning person.

Monday, June 29, 2009


ouch. i can't believe i let someone stick needles in my stomach.

i haven't written lately, because my stomach hurts. (crumpy post alert.)

my stomach always has some issue, most of them eating disorder/stress-related-- too many years of starving, binging and purging.

last wednesday, i was walking down Main street, denville, new jersey, holding my ulcer and clutching my cramps.

i saw the sign "FREE ACUPUNCTURE CONSULTATION." really, i would have tried anything

for cramps, i've main-lined advil (ow, ulcer), tried tylenol with codeine (didn't work!), eaten bananas (potassium), burned through heating pads and lost a lot of sleep and days of work.

for my ulcer -- nexium, prilosec, xantac, rice, bread, no spices, deep breathing...


i prayed the acupuncture would help. everyone (particular new yorkers) recommends it.

although not a fan of needles, in i went, and i let a little lady dig holes into my stomach, near the ulcer pain. as i write this i wince. what was i thinking? what was i thinking?

IT HURT. i hurt. the site of the needles hurt and my stomach hurt, and i felt nauseous.

i seem to be feeling better, five days later, although my stomach is super sensitive and making symphonic sounds day and night, and i'm still kind of nauseous.

of course, it messes with my eating. my squealing belly only wants rice, bread, noodles and potatoes. it DOES not want broccoli, vinegar, salsa, mustard, spice, et. al. (it's gurgling at the mere mention. seriously.)

what's an eating disordered gal to do? Avoid apuncture.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Doing Well!

Wow. I'm doing really well. I'm eating well and comfortably, not drinking, no sedatives and no Ambien. Well, look at me.

And I'm coping, even tolerating stressful situations and sitting with discomfort. Is this really me?

I wouldn't say life is perfect. there are plenty of issues, but i find myself sticking up for myself, like someone who has some self-esteem.

There are moments, for sure, when i'm displeased or uncomfortable, and a second plate of food looks comforting. But I refuse, I refuse to stuff down my feelings and then feel crummy later. Uh. Uh. even if i'm not ready to communicate about what's going on (it often takes me a long time to figure out what's bothering me.) I've come to realize that a second helping won't help, and i don't want it (unless i'm still hungry, in which case, i'll eat more.) like i said, "wow".

with alcohol, i have 36 days sober. i've written that this time is easier. once in a while, i do have a craving. while i was in california last week, my nephew (also my colleague) and i went out for dinner after a long day of work and a delightful early evening of sight-seeing. we planned to go to a great, beautiful seafood place, right on the water.

as we were driving there, i thought, "ah, it's a beautiful evening, the view will spectucualar, i'm in a great, stress-free, mood. wouldn't it be wonderful to have a glass of delicious wine with the magnificent food?"

no, it wouldn't be wonderful. i don't NEED a glass of wine to have a good time. my nephew and i were having a lot of fun talking and laughing and enjoying the views. like me, he lives for bookstores. we must have visited ten (yes, that does include the bookstores at ALL the airports we sat in) during our three-day visit. if i drank, i would have felt crappy, physically and emotionally. no way. i refuse to let a bottle of wine take away my freedom. i refuse.

net, net my nephew and i had a perfect meal. yes, the food was terrific, but the views were better, and the company even more. i looked at all the menu of extraordinary food and thought about what i really like, what i was really in the mood for and what would make me comfortably satiated.

it was late (we'd sight-seed for hours), i was totally sleep deprived, and actually not very hungry. i ordered crab soup, artichoke salad and ate the great bread. exactly what i needed and wanted.

what i wanted more was great conversation. i find that if someone talks with me and listens to me, food takes it's proper place.

my nephew and i did movie trivia (he knows a lot more than I) throughout the meal and then we discussed our family at length.

re: Ambien. i haven't been taking. i dwindled from 10mg to 5mg to .25 mg and now nothing. sure, it puts me to sleep. but it also makes me dumb the next day and for some reason effects my personality quite negatively. once again, i refuse. i refuse to let some drug make me dumb and unhappy.

some situations aren't easy, and i do get angry and scared and anxious. i've been calling my great friends and getting A LOT of support. that's seems to be the key for me. i'm noticing what makes me anxious, dealing with the issues and feelings and staying okay.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

warped ideas

carrie arnold wrote a great post on her blog, ED Bites, about the assumption of the virtues of low-fat and "guilt-free" foods. advertising assumes it, parents assume it, i believe most people assume ti. it all makes our eating disorder seem normal. (for so many insights and great writing, read carrie's blog, if you don't already.)

back to those assumptions. isn't a turkey sandwich the best? aren't we being "good" when we skip the real mayonnaise, full-fat desserts, carbs, any kind of saladed meat (tuna, chicken, egg), half-and-half, salad dressing..... you know the list. are we being virtuous or anorexic?

i wrote something on carrie's blog that's been on my mind. her post spurred me to remember something i thought was odd. i took my niece to buy clothes at Lane Bryant. they have beautiful clothes and the sales people were lovely and helped us so much. my niece felt comfortable and pretty and important. that part was thrilling.

here was the weird thing -- the sales people (plus-size and beautifully turned out in Lane Bryant attire) kept steering her toward "slimming" clothes. and flattering items that hid her stomache, her hips, her large breasts. it was "harder" to do this because she doesn't have a "waistline". they steered away from anything white and, naturally, no horizontal stripes. not flattering at all!

i don't get it -- isn't my niece, particularly in Lane Bryant, supposed to be fine, better than fine, just the way she is?

Friday, June 5, 2009


things have been going well. i am clean and sober and eating fine.

it's great and it's terrifying. suddenly, i'm not covering up or hiding from the real world. when a bill comes, i have to pay it. and i can't drink some wine first to forget just how little money i actually have. and how much i tend to spend.

last weekend, d. and i hung out. there was a lot of gardening and housework to do. i don't much like either. usually, i'd grab a big glass of wine and drudgingly do what needed to be done (complaining the whole time, of course). or i'd drink too much wine and end up too tipsy to work. i'd feel physically and emotionally awful and ashamed and start nibbling food. then i'd be miserable that i was eating , so i'd take ambien and go to sleep.

uh well, none of that works anymore. last weekend, i got pretty overwhelmed.i really didn't feel like yard work or hard work or cleaning, i crawled into bed in the middle of the day. and slept for four hours. d. wondered what the heck was wrong with me.

i was hiding. i was anesthetizing (without subsances) fear, resentment and mostly, self-hatred that i'm naturally lazy.

still, i suppose that in that moment, it was the best option i had. i didn't eat out of emotion, i didn't plan to starve, i didn't drink alcohol or take a sleeping pill.

now, i'm working on dealing with the real world. my therapist has me listing absolutely everything i spend. next, we're going to work out a budget. i've NEVER budgeted and always ended up in scarey debt. i spend way too much. that's another hidden secret. like binging or drinking, in the end shopping just hurts me.

and i guess i need to talk to d. about all the stuff that needs to get done around the house. like everything else, i prefer to avoid discussing it and doing it. but since i'm not obsessing about food or my weight, and i'm not drinking or taking pills, i guess it's an excellent time to face reality.

it's all hard work. i didn't realize quite how much there is to cope with!!! but i am doing well. feeling much healthier. sleeping better. beginning to take responsibility for myself.

not bad, right?

i'm not crawling into bed this weekend. my sister-in-laws mom died, and we're going to a funeral in rhode island. they're will TONS of booze and food, so wish me luck. i have my own plans for staying cool, but it's good to know you're all here.

i wonder if the funeral will remind me of my mom and her death and all my regrets. i'm trying very hard to stay in the present. my boyfriend will be with me. and i did very much like my sister-in-laws mom, so i'm glad i'm going.

i'll be away this weekend, probably without internet access. as soon as i'm back, i'm heading to california for work. if you don't hear from me soon, it's just because i'm traveling a lot. hope i have the chance to check in. blogging friends are the great support and therapy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What's the Right Amount

okay, i'm kind of lost. i have no idea how much emphasis to put on food. should I have three pre-thought out meals a day? or pay attention to everything i put in my mouth? or be like all (the mostly-thin) foodies on tv and really be "in to" food? (just an aside, gail on Top Chef seems to be the only female foodie with a real body, particularly for someone who eats for a living. i think she looks great -- always smiling and self-assured. that's what i'm looking for -- my own real body and some joy.)

but like i said, i have no idea what or how to eat.

i'm getting more comfortable with myself. i weigh well into the 130s (a really shocking thing for me), and my weight continues to crawl up. i'm kind of interested to see where it goes on its own. i can't believe -- i'm not making myself crazy.

i put on one of my cute new dresses, and i'm off. i've been getting a lot of compliments lately, which is another shock (particularly at this weight!) maybe it is time to re-think what weight i think looks good on me.

but how to eat? usually, after gaining weight, i'd put myself right back on the old food plan -- a mini-muffin for breakfast, 1/2 slice pizza and small salad for lunch, a turkey sandwich with mustard and salad for dinner, followed by a weight watchers pop. and much wine.

(yay, i'm still sober and doing well!)

should i focus on eating when i'm hungry and stopping when i'm full? should i only eat what i REALLY want? should i make more of food and focus on delicious meals? (that last one still sounds scarey.)

pre-planning meals and sticking to them sounds kind of relaxing but also constricting. i'd like to put food in an easier, more relaxed place but I have no experience in this. i've been using weird diets and binging and purging for so long, i have no idea what to eat to just to "be".

i had a good moment tonight. my boyfriend and i nibbled all day. after a late sunday afternoon drive, we headed to the supermarket to buy dinner. by the time we got home, it was nearly nine. he was going to start the barbecue, i was going to figure out some sides.

it started to make me unhappy. i wasn't hungry. i didn't want to spend time preparing a meal (knowing me, nibbling along the way angrily and worriedly, knowing i wasn't really hungry) and then sitting down to a meal only my mouth wanted.

in the car, i (bravely, for me) said to my boyfriend, "how would you feel if we just did our own thing with dinner tonight? you take care of what you want, and i think i'll just have salad?"

"sounds good", he said.

i exhaled. why am i so afraid to just say what i need? rather than NOT saying what i need, getting confused and angry and resentful and wanting wine or food to stuff down all those feelings.

wow, it's so cool to be heard. he also suggested i go blog and do whatever i want. i've never loved him more.

during our ride, i also told my boyfriend that i REALLY need to stay away from places where the purpose of the whole event is basically to drink, have a few drinks, or get drunk. it's fine if he has a beer a night (which he doesn't often) or sip a little scotch before he goes to sleep (which he does only when his back pain is keeping him up.)

but when we go to neighbor's, where everyone's there to blow off some steam after a long week and down beers, it's not good for me. it might be okay in the moment, but later it starts to sink into my brain that it's okay to drink.

i've never been so specific with my boyfriend. other times, i think i didn't take better care of myself around drinking events, because i was leaving the door open to drink again. i want to close that door. and keep it shut.

i went to an open house for graduate school Thursday night. it's a lot of work. i couldn't finish that degree if i were drinking. by 8 pm, i'd be deep in the wine and homework and papers would be long forgotten.

but back to eating. what shall i do as i've given myself some poundage latitude? my new dresses are cute AND forgiving (whatever THAT means. my brain is so programmed for "thin"!)

time to get on with my life. communicate with my boyfriend. watch my spending and plan better for the future. go back to school and get a masters. and more.

but what to eat?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Parellel Universe

In my last post, i wrote about taking my niece shopping for plus-size clothes. i keep thinking about the post and what a fond memory i have of that shopping trip. i wrote,

just an aside. when i was in Lane Bryant, i really related to the women and the bodies and the looks. i felt more at home. i've always thought there was a plus-size woman inside of me who was being repressed by salads and small turkey sandwiches and diet soda.

in my response to Karen's comment about the post, i said that the place felt like a safe haven that i didn't want to leave. everyone was warm and nice and supportive. a larger body was the norm, and we all had a good time helping other customers pick great outfits. (p.s. - the place was packed. guess large-bodied women need clothes too!)

it was so comfortable. imagine a place where a larger body is the beautiful norm? i'd be right there, eating lunch, guilt-free. i know that if i let my body be where IT wanted, i'd be a bigger woman than the size 8-10 i am now. what a drag.

would anyone like to join me in that place?

maybe i should work for Lane Bryant

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Plus-size shopping

i'm uncomfortable writing this post for some reason. but here goes.

My brother asked me to take my niece, Karen, clothes shopping. she's just started working for him, and she's broke. she's nothing appropriate to wear when we visit schools.

i'm sorry that this is worthy mentioning, but my niece is 5'1 and 220 pounds. she feels very embarrassed and badly about her body. she covers herself with men's sweats and her (not very nice ) boyfriend's old tee-shirts.

i worried that shopping with her would take me back to that miserable time i lived in when i was 200 pounds, feeling so ashamed and so badly about my body. i refused to wear plus-size clothes, so i also lived in men's old sweats and shirts. (i was also eating compulsively around the clock, dropping out of school, dealing with major issues at home. very bad time.)

although i came to the shopping day with a lot of baggage, i so wanted to give my niece some self-esteem and have her feel good about the experience.

i vowed to stay away from any "fattism". i'm sure i have inner prejudices that still think thin is better, but i need to work on them and don't want them in any way to effect Karen.

i didn't want to pull her towards "slimming" clothes or to offer diet advice. why can't she be just fine the way she is?

"but what about health issues?", an inner voices stage whispers. "she can't be healthy at this point. shouldn't you give her some diet tips to help her trim to a healthier weight?"

i don't know how healthy she is. we don't spend much time together. and how healthy am i, anyway. i just stopped drinking, i still smoke a few cigarettes a day, i have a drug history, am way over-due for a mammagram, go to a tanning salon.

yes, i'm a good weight for me, and people think i look well, but i'm not that healthy. karen doesn't drink or smoke or tan. she's 22 years younger than i am. who am I to judge?

besides, who wants healthy eating tips from a recovering anorexic/bulimic/compulsive eater?

for shopping, my brother wanted me to try Marshall's and T.J. Maxx and J.C. Penny's. they're less expensive and where we all do most of our shopping.

Karen had no idea what size she was and i don't know anything about plus-size sizes (remember, when i was heavier i refused to buy the larger sizes.) she started with 14s and 16s, but they didn't get over her arms.

i started to worry that this would become demoralizing if she kept trying on the sizes she thought she was, but wasn't. but i didn't know where to steer her.

karen lamented that her late mother always took her to J.C. Penney and she was thin enough then to buy clothes there. she also started really missing her mom.

trying to save the situation, i made the executive decision -- we were going to Lane Bryant, where they'd know exactly where she fit. (my sister-in-law had warned me that Karen always refused to go there, but luckily she didn't have a problem this time. hallelujah!)

Lane Bryant gave us a wonderful experience. both of us had so much fun. all the saleswomen and customers gathered around and oohed and aahed over everything Karen tried on. and she looked fantastic in all the clothes that fit her perfectly. (i called my brother and asked if we could spend much more than originally planned. happily, he agreed. karen felt even more special.)

She was beaming. No one had ever paid attention to her. She glowed. after the shopping experience, i took her out of for a lovely lunch. then we went to my boyfriend's flower shop, and he gave her a huge bouquet of flowers.

i'd really wanted her to have a day of feeling special and cared for and care-free. we both ended up having a great time.

karen wears the new clothes every day. if you tell her how nice she looks, she beams and glows again.

just an aside. when i was in Lane Bryant, i really related to the women and the bodies and the looks. i felt more at home. i've always thought there was a plus-size woman inside of me who was being repressed by salads and small turkey sandwiches and diet soda.

i also thought i was a couple of pounds away from fitting into the clothes. rationally, i know that's not true, but i have a warped body image.

why is it important?

Friday, May 15, 2009


Yippee. Yay!!!!! i haven't had a drink since Monday, and i'm finally feeling together today. i am proud.

now, i need to work on staying sober. last time, i didn't really plan how to do that. this time, i'm figuring out ways to keep me on track.

the beginning is always easy for me. what a relief. my body thanks me. my head is clear.

and i'm in control of my eating again. mindful. that's almost the biggest relief! it feels like i'm truly taking care of myself.

my head is coming up with all sorts of ideas -- do i want to take a knitting class? do i want to go back to school? do i want to finally clean my apartment?

it's exciting. i haven't felt this hopeful in a while. i'm going to enjoy the moment. ahhhh

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Body/My Garbage Can

I have not been treating my body well -- not in any way.

I've been eating constantly -- lots of chips and cake. It's a long time since i've eaten this compulsively.

i've been drinking a lot of wine. i've been smoking. i've been tanning -- something i've never done before. it can't be good for me and my fair skin. i've taken the occasional sleeping pill.

it feels terrible. i feel terrible, physically and emotionally.

was it mother's day that got me? my boyfriend's a florist, and we spent the last week dedicated to preparing flowers for many, many, many mom's. everywhere i turned there were people buying flowers for their mothers, their wives, their grandmothers.

was it having his parents over unexpectedly and having to clean and shop and clean and shop. unexpectedly. and then they showed up TWO HOURS early, while i was vacuuming and my boyfriend was mowing the lawn (after a full day of working at the flower shop.) and on top of that, they'd already eaten, unexpectedly. i had enough food and beverage to feed everyone on the block. you could tell his parents just wanted to go home.

i haven't thought about my mom much, which is really, really unusual. until a couple of weeks ago, i dreamed about her every single night. maybe i'm letting go, which could make things easier. but it's so sad too. my mom is really gone. and it seems that everyone else has their mom or is a mom.

i talked to my sister today, who is a mom. it's my fabulous niece's 14th b'day. my sister tells me that all my niece thinks about is her weight. she gained 15 pounds and is no longer the skinny kid she always was.

my sister's looking for ways to help my niece lose weight without making my niece nuts about it. (remember, my sister is a sylph. muscular, disciplined, tiny.)

i told my sister to leave it alone. to tell my niece she's perfect and beautiful the way she is. right now. no matter what my niece says. my niece is very healthy. she loves to dance and takes lots of classes. she's 5'4 and 134 pounds. in a better world, EVERYONE would consider that perfect. i pray she stays healthy.

while i was talking to my sister, i thought of myself. i stepped on the scale this morning and weighed 135. all my reckless eating and drinking have put on about 8 pounds.

but if those eight pounds are soooo important to me, how can i be an example to my beloved niece? if i'm drinking a bottle of wine, how can i help her?

it's time for me to take care of myself. for me. for my niece. for my boyfriend. for me!!!!

first step -- i just emailed my therapist that i'm taking antabuse (the anti-alcohol drug) during my session tomorrow. not drinking makes everything better -- especially my now very-blotchy skin. oh yeah, and my self-esteem and all my decisions.

when i'm not drinking, i eat better. i sleep better. the whole thing works better.

and then i can get out to pittsburgh to visit my niece. and let her know she's perfect and wonderful JUST THE WAY SHE IS.