Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Living Little

okay, what's next?

i write a lot about how my weight consumed me my whole life. it was my relationship, my career, my hobby, my extra-curricular activities (binge, purge, starve, (in my thirties) drink tons of wine, binge, purge, high-powered, laxative, starve, inebriate.... you get the idea) -- my everything. at first it was just food and then, of course, i added drugs and alcohol.

that last paragraph was actually really easy to write. i know all about this stuff. yes, indeed, that's been my life.

the very hard part -- what do i do now. i'm not drinking or drunking and my weight's pretty healthy and generally stable. getting a full life is such a foreign idea. what on earth IS a full life?

i can get a little envious when i read about ED sufferers who have OTHER hobbies and interests. some people get into cooking (too terrifying for me), others have families and actually know how to parent, people take photographs, enjoy trips, publish books, etc.

i hold a job now, but that's been difficult too -- my resume has lots and lots of gaps. i've spent a lot of time in bed, weak from starving or puking all night.

i have a boyfriend, my first real one at 44 and a half, but am often not even sure what to do with him.

i've signed up for a writing class in manhattan, hoping to improve my writing and to meet some new people. that's a start.

still, i'm pretty flummoxed. but i do know that i don't want the next years to be anything much like the last. brave me!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reverse - the last 5 pounds

my weight is down (for me) again. i'm about 125 (at 5'6). sure, that sounds like a lot for us eating disordered gals, but, my body wants even more -- it loves weight. to weigh 125, i still have to restrict and note every morsel.

if i could only let myself gain the 5-10 pounds my body wants, i could live such an easier life, but i am having a really hard time. When the scale says 125 i'm happy and relaxed for the day, until after dinner when i start wondering what i'll weigh tomorrow. when the scale reads more than 127, an oppressive gloom shadows the day.

i like what i weigh now! but it's too hard and takes up too much of my life. generally, i restrict all day and eat most of my food at night. this has always been my way -- all day, i look forward to my late night meal. then i go right to bed, so i won't want to eat again.

lately, i've been eating even more at night -- i think it's because i'm not drinking. i'm looking for something to stick in my mouth and sedate my brain.

not eating during the day is not productive. i'm listless and unfocused at work in the morning until i get a giant headache and let myself eat something small around noon. then i wait until i'm starving and useless at about 6 pm and nibble a small snack again. when my boyfriend can't wait any more, we eat dinner around 9;30. if i'm alone, it's much later.

my therapist asks how she can help. she's a terrific substance abuse counselor but doesn't know much about the idiosyncracies of EDs. i don't think she gets the big deal about skipping breakfast, etc. she wants me to track everything i eat. i resist. it reminds me of the dreadful years of counting calories and it feels terribly private - "it's none of her business", spits my ED.

i'm not sure about the best approach. a big part of it is self-esteem and body image. if i didn't think i was ugly, a few more pounds wouldn't make me even more hideous. in school, i was ceaselessy teased about being fat, having braces, acne and frizzy hair. i believed everything i heard and can still clearly remember every put-down spewed my way.

no wonder i cling to my thinner self even though it seems silly to my rational self. what big difference does five pounds make? when i met my boyfriend, i was 15 pounds heavier. he told me i was his fantasy girl then; he tells me i'm his fantasy girl now. around thanksgiving i carried seven more pounds. the boyfriend rolled over in the morning and said, "how did i get lucky enough to get to sleep with you?" .

of course, i can't base my self-image on what my boyfriend thinks, but who else matters besides the two of us? at 130ish, i'm slim and healthy. why can't i know that?

what if i could make peace with a few more pounds? what would i do with myself if i'm not watching my weight? or drinking? or taking pills? i don't have many hobbies. i've really spent most of my life dieting.

i never made myself do much else. dieting fed my fears and my laziness. i'd have to build a life. scarey. part of me wants to do it; part of me says, "fuck that, fatty". this isn't going to be easy.

by the way, i just got a fountain soda at the pizza place. it tasted like regular, not diet coke. of course, i threw it out in terror. now, i have nothing to drink.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oprah - my controversial opinion

since Oprah wrote about her weight gain in her January magazine, i've been formulating what i think of her opinion of her "falling off the wagon", as she called it.

i've read a lot of commentary about her article and statements. most people seemed angry that she felt "embarrassed" by the weight gain. many wanted her to be comfortable in her current body, accept how she is now and be a role-model for large-size women. others complained that she talked about her weight in a time of war, economic crisis and poverty.

i feel differently. i respect oprah's honesty. if she doesn't like being 200 pounds, why should she say otherwise? this feels like one of the first times oprah's made herself vulnerable.

She says she's embarrassed. She'd thought she was "finished with the weight battle. i was done. i'd conquered it." she adds that she was "even cocky", telling friends how to lose weight by eating and exercising as she did.

who wouldn't be a little embarrassed? i think she's being humble.

i'm oprah's height and once weighed 200 pounds, and i hated it. i hated that my thighs slapped together when i walked, badly chafing my skin. i hated how my stomach rolled over my pants -- it was so uncomfortable. actually, just sitting was uncomfortable. when my breasts swelled to double Ds, it was hard to find a bra that supported me and ALL bra straps dug into my small shoulder, painfully leaving angry red marks. i also had reddish marks on my breasts and hips, from the stretch marks crawling all over me. stairs winded me. my stomach often hurt when i over ate. an on and on.

i can't imagine oprah feels her best. she says she's not exercising and she must be over-eating, which isn't healthy and doesn't feel good. why should she accept this?

and let's face it, it's not easy being really overweight in this society. fat is not as accepted as thin, and that sucks, but it's real. i wish it were different, but i can't pretend it's otherwise. i was at an oscar party last year and when oprah came on stage to present an award, someone in the room said, "wow, she's turned into a heifer." many others in the room commented on how heavy she'd gotten. who wants that? (of course, the guy who made the comment was an awful, heartless jerk, but i'm sure he's not alone in his thinking and remarks.) when i was heavy, i heard lots of rude remarks about my weight and my giant breasts. i don't hear them now, at 130. ever. it's better.

when i weighed 200 pounds. i really wanted to lose weight. if i weighed 200 pounds today, i'd really want to lose weight. i don't think oprah needs to embrace a weight that's uncomfortable and probably unhealthy for her.

as for talking about something like her weight when there are so many more important issues, Oprah, herself, says "i'm mad at myself. i'm embarrassed. i can't believe that after all these years, i'm still talking about my weight." i'm sure she'd rather be comfortable in her body and have time to put her energy elsewhere. first, she needs to feel good.

she also wrote that "my focus is no longer on weight. my focus this year will be on how to achieve optimum health get support when i need it, find ways to nurture myself, deepen my spiritual connection and have some fun."

these are great comments, but i have a sneaking suspicion, that like so many of us she WILL focus on her weight, even though she probably wishes she weren't.

am i off-base?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

dinner with my brother part 2

my brother, charles, and i are off to california and arizona for business. for anyone who hasn't followed the blog, my brother LOVES food and plans his life around his (huge) meals.

traveling with him is challenging for me and my ED, as we sit down to fancy breakfasts, lunches and dinners. we schedule our meetings, travel and lodgings around his (huge) meals.

i've been very comfortable with my eating since i had the flu last week. i've been super busy and food has been in it's proper place, for a big change.

i'm not bringing my laptop on the trip, as there really won't be time to write, but i will try to find a computer -- blogging keeps me sane. i'll miss everyone.

back on sunday. be well!

Monday, January 12, 2009

in which i feel really well

i can not believe it. i feel incredible! i didn't think it was possible.

this feeling better (emotionally, physically and intellectually) started late last week.

my brain is clearer. nothing seems too daunting.

i can breathe again, my screaming ulcer's subsided, and the headache's gone (knock wood, formica, marble - whatever's available)

on saturday, i sat down to speak with the boyfriend about issues in the relationship. i haven't really done this before. instead, when something bothered me, i'd pour a nice glass of vino and drink the problem down into my gut. and/or take a klonopin. and/or eat a second dinner. but i NEVER communicated with him about my (growing) concerns and unhappiness.

since we never addressed my issues, nothing changed. since nothing changed, i was less and less happy in the relationship. being around him added more stress.

while we spoke this weekedn, i didn't attack (which i feared because so much was pent up) but talked about how i felt and how things effected me. HE LISTENED. we talked. after the conversation, i felt a million times better and freer. i was shocked it went so well.

we had a great sunday together. he seems to feel better too. i've never been skilled at communicating my issues in relationships, because i was raised to fear anger and conflict. and i mean FEAR. this was such a pleasant surprise.

Work is really good today. My laundry is clean. What else could i want?

feeling good is kind of uncomfortable. i am working to enjoy this. AND TO NOT WAIT FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO DROP. "stay in the moment. stay in the moment. ...stay in the moment....stay in the moment."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Repercussion Rant

i think i had a stomach flu the last two days. whatever it was; it wasn't pretty.

on top of the fever, headache, diarrhea and throwing up, i also had to contend with the ulcer, which is excruciatingly painful during violent diarrhea and throwing up. it may also contribute to the nausea i still experience, but i won't know until i see my doctor, who can't see me until next tuesday, when i am supposed to be leaving for california. STRESS.

back to that ulcer, which snarls at me a lot lately. it hurts badly if i don't eat often whether i'm hungry or not (confusing for the eating disorder), it hurts when i eat the wrong things but i'm never quite sure what those are, it shrieks when I eat or drink all the things that comfort my eating disorder because they're low-cal and i really like them too-- spices, vinegar, pickles, mustard, coffee, diet soda, and all spicey food. my ulcer loves white bread and potatoes. ironic!

I threw up (sorry, reader) for hours monday night. (Ouch!!!) much of the time i thought about the sadness of what i've done to myself with years of throwing up, laxatives, diuretic, wine, coffee AND never listening to earlier warning signs of side "benefits"like the ulcer.

could we SEE the repercussions and stop where we are and start healing from right here. i want to start listening to those repecussions better, but i don't know if i will. i certainly wouldn't have just a short time ago. i doubt i would have listened to anyone's else's examples either. what a shame.

i hope to have many more years with this body, but have already done a good deal of damage. in years past, i've ignored it. maybe the body just isn't as resilient at 44. after all these years, it has FINALLY hit me how extraordinary it is to not shit without enemas! to have fillings or root canals in almost every tooth. and I was raised with good hygiene. the list goes on, but it's finally, thank goodness, all hitting me. I can't wallow in regret, but i must stop where i am and start taking gentler care of myself.

by the way, in the middle of a stressful stress-filled day, i got a call from the klonopin people to see if i wanted a discount on a refill. a part of me would, of course (cut to DUI warning), but i erased it. that won't help ANYTHING, particularly not me.

for all of it, I DO seem to feel stronger. I look forward to feeling better!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Feminism and the Eating Disorder

On a recent post, TwistedBarbie Weighs In discusses having an ED and being a feminist. can they live side-by-side.

ED Deception says, "Living a fulfilling life is not about my body's appearance."

I've always struggled with these concepts and still don't know where to put wanting freedom and equality and strength for women, while skipping breakfast every day until i'm too weak to put on eyeliner, let alone contribute to world peace.

it's always been this way. in my brain, i want a full rich life where i'm productive and smart and helpful. in reality, i've spent most of my life starving or over a toilet, staying home to avoid food or to purge.

i've never had many interests --- for years i only read books about eating disorders. i didn't like anything else -- theatre, ballet, ball games, sometimes i didn't even want to go to movies. I had many beliefs, but never did anything about them. i just wanted to stay home and have an eating disorder.

as a 200 pound teenager with braces, frizzy-hair and bad skin, i clung to feminist literature, hoping that if i believed i was more than my appearance, it would come true. all the time, i longed to be really thin and beautiful. i don't know that much has changed.

getting small and staying that way held a lot of importance. So many successful women are very small/thin-- i'm throwing out names here -- NBCs Andrea Mitchell, ABCS Leslie Stahl, Kelly Ripa, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric most of the women on the Today show, etc. these are tiny, powerful women making millions of dollars. their male counterparts do not have huge heads with scrawny bodies. do strong women have to get very small not to threaten men?

today at work, one of the kids who worked for my brother while in high school, came back to work here on a college break. Marie is terrific and very accomplished -- she's smart, a serious leader in school and she works with needy children in foreign countries every summer. Yet, the first thing i said after not seeing her for a year -- "you look great. did you lose weight?"

the dream to be "beautiful" is oppressive and expensive. i've spent way too much time and money on my looks. since childhood, i've believed i'm naturally ugly. the other kids teased me mercilessly about my looks, my mother kept me on diets and dragged me to dermatologists and hair dressers and bought me colorful clothes. i wanted to be beautiful like the cool kids-- to wear old grungy clothes and look like a gorgeous hippy. instead, i looked like a homeless person. or so i felt. who knows?

my sister-in-law found a photo from when i was 14. she kept it out specially so she could show me and say, "i can't believe you were ever that fat." ouch.

i still think i'm pretty ugly. my therapist didn't realize i really meant it when i said i didn't want to go to rehab, because they'd take my razor away. i don't want ANYONE, including me to see me without a tweezer. i most certainly would risk my health for my looks.

i've spent A LOT of money on my appearance and convinced myself fairly comfortably that it's a necessary expense. i get my hair straightened every three months (VERY expensive), i highlight my hair very often, i get my hair blown out a lot, spend excessive amounts on make-up, get manicures and pedicures. i shave everything every day, pluck extensively, and don't go anywhere without full make-up. otherwise, i don't want to be seen.

who has time or money for anything else? in fact, i dip into my inheritance from my mom to pay for some of these expensives. and i'm okay with it, because it keeps me calm for now. with all that work, i don't think i'm pretty, but i know i'm acceptable.

yet, I DON'T BELIEVE IN ANY OF THIS. i tell my darling thirteen year old niece to go to the library, go out without make-up, wear here curls naturally and forgo manicures. i want her to live life, and i know with that all she is, she'll have a full, satisfying life. and she'll have boyfriends.

i'm interested in this topic. i dream of being a natural woman who's not breaking the bank for her looks. is it possible?

Saturday, January 3, 2009


i took it last night. i haven't sorted out how i feel about that, and it amazes methat i'm sharing this here and will tell the therapist and group on tuesday. no alcohol. no klonopin.

back story. i called my local doctor, who knows nothing of my history but only prescribes ten a month, and asked for Ambien CR, so i could replace the four i took from my sister-in-law. AND HAVE SIX FOR ME. fyi, the CR version has fewer side effects for me than the regular Ambien. as usual when i take the regular, i am cranky and brain-free today.

i went to the drugstore to pick up the prescription and got worried that it wasn't CR, but i'm afraid to make an issue of it with the doctor, since i AM scamming. what would you guys do?

as i stepped to the counter, i got that old thrill -- ahhh, an illicit drug, come to me, sweetheart. i don't get that feeling when i pick up Lexapro!

When i got home, i was all happy, knowing i was guaranteed sleep, AND i wouldn't feel completely sedated in the morning. also, i knew i'd get a little of that dreamy, spacey thing before falling asleep. kind of druggie. when i took the Ambien, i went right to bed, unlike the old days when i'd stay awake to enjoy the effect. i also only took one (used to take two) and didn't wash it down with red wine.

what i didn't expect was that i'd wake up this morning having eaten a whole chicken sandwich that was in my refrigerator. that was the only thing i ate, but who knows if there had been more what i would have done.

i also left myself a note i can't decipher. i don't remember ANY of this. that's spooky. weird.

i used to love ambien, it felt like a god-send after years of not sleeping. i'd say that ambien was my lover -- my favorite thing to put in me in bed. when i stopped take it initially, i dreamt about it for days..

today, i feel icky. regular ambien does that. i'm going to try taking half tonight to see what happens. i wish i could sleep. i wish there was something that would help me sleep, not make me groggy and incoherent in the morning and had no other side effects. not likely.

i feel very guilty. like a dirty druggie, getting her fix. i don't like this. i am ashamed. although i do know i didn't do anything that many other people do. and legally. i didn't drink. i didn't take klonopin from the internet. but i don't want to get caught up in Ambien and sleep-eating and who knows what else. none of this is easy.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mouth Hunger

I still watch the scale, and when it's 127, i'm happy. at 128, i get nervous. anything more than that, i have to talk myself down. give myself the little speech, "you're more than a number. be comfortable in and grateful for the body you have, any woman can be beautiful at any size. you're only TWO pounds more than you want to be." blah blah. blah blah. blah blah.

At 127, i jump off the scale happy. no self-talk ensues. i'm good for the day. until mouth hunger hits.

i still battle mouth hunger, especially now that i'm not drinking. i went out with a friend to hang out at a bar tonight. i know this isn't the best place for me, but it's fun to be out on a friday, i like the conviviality of this specific place, people we know hang out there, BUT i'm not going for a while. all those beautiful wines in perfect wine glasses -- all the fancy-freeness HURT. i drank so much seltzer and juice and seltzer with juice and diet soda and coffee -- i spent far more time peeing than with my friend.

all the liquids i jugged replaced the wine that i sipped, so i wouldn't and didn't eat.

now that i'm not drinking, i'm awfully interested in food. i hate this. lots of mouth hunger.

what exactly IS mouth hunger? i'm coming from two places right now. one, i want food when i'm vaguely bored or uncomfortable or nervous, angry, tired (and when hungry too, by the way!) wine helped with the emotional issues. i'm currently in full control of all my faculties and very aware of everything i'm feeling, thinking, et. al. enough pie (yesterday at darius' parents) distracted me for a while.

yet, i was pretty happy at the parents -- i like them very much. at first it wasn't easy, but it never is in the first minutes. his parents speak minimal english (enter a cold chardonnay) and there is SO much food it can be a little threatening. also, it's usually all occurring around 5 pm, a time i'd rarely eat a (big) dinner. (enter a deep cabernet)

after we chat and relax enough, conversation gets easier-- we find some odd mix of ukranian and english that gets understandable, somehow. usually, his father tells me fascinating stories about Ukraine during the Nazis and then communism, and he shares his experiences of coming to the US with nothing but two babies and a young wife. i could listen forever.

this brings to me my second thoughts about the definition of mouth hunger - am i eating seconds on cheesecake and cookies out of emotion, habit or simply because they taste good?

if you've ever read Overcoming Overeating or been to a group lead by Carol Munter and Jane Hirschman, you know they talk about eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're full. i found their approach really helpful here -- sorting out real hunger from mouth hunger.

Munter and Hirshman disagree with that old belief that sugar begets sugar and carbs beget carbs -- maybe you can just eat one potato chip.

and maybe that's true, but find me the kid who doesn't overdue chocolate but eats celery sticks until he's sick. still looking?

sometimes, i think we overeat, because it tastes good. is that a problem? seriously, is it?

i've spent sooooo much time trying to get in touch with hungry and full and determining when i need food and when i just want it because i'm bored. now, i freak out if i eat extra anything, even lettuce, when i know i was already full.

it's all too complicated. there are cooking shows everywhere displaying eating for taste and with gusto. very confusing to me. i'm going back to bed with a big glass of seltzer. hope it doesn't make me pea all night.