Saturday, December 31, 2016


The number one New Year's resolution, apparently, is losing weight. Isn't that bizarre, when you think about it? Of all the things we could hope or dream to change and make better with the gift of a new year, most of want.......weight loss.

We sure don't dream big, do we?

For many, many years, my entire life's goal was to be thin. For me, that was as good as it got. I didn't pursue a meaningful career, a fulfilling relationship, and I certainly didn't reach out to help anyone else. 

Barely, a life.

So, this year, I resolve to pursue my true dreams. I have an interview next week for a volunteer spot with the National Eating Disorders Association, I am going to blog every day, and look for any other ways I can help those who suffered as I did.

I also resolve to be kinder, more considerate, less selfish, more patient, tolerant and loving to all. Now that's a REAL challenge. Losing weight's got NOTHING on kindness. (Or patience!)

That's a life.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Care and Feeding

I have a cold with a runny nose and a stuffy head,achy bones and tired body. Just home from work, I'm going to have hot soup with crackers, hot tea with lemon and a hot bath with bubbles.  Then I'm off to bed. 

This is not how I would have treated myself, when sick, back in the days of the eating order, 

I remember suffering a raging stomach flu when  I was anorexic. I also remember eating mass quantities of raw vegetables, because that's all I ate.  And I so looked forward to those veggies. It didn't matter that my stomach revolted. Trust me, raw broccoli is of  no help to a stomach virus. But eat it I did. In mass quantities.

When I was bulimic and had a root canal, I still made myself throw up all night. That's what I did, no matter what. I binged until i couldn't move, and then purged until I felt empty - root canal or no root canal.

What a miracle, and I don't take it lightly, that I can take normal, nice care of myself.. I never thought it  would be possible and easy. But it is.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Why Skinny?

I was in Manhattan yesterday and everywhere I looked, I saw a super-skinny, exquisitely dressed, incredibly chic woman.  And when I say “super-skinny”, I mean pretty literally toothpicky.

Now I’m sure there are exceptions, but REALLY – is anyone that thin naturally?

So the question becomes – why do a large group of women want to be that skinny? These women on the Upper Eastside, where I was visiting,  have the means and often, time, to look anyway they like, and this is what so many choose.

I’m an average weight now, but once I weighed 40 pounds less, and I was STARVING all the time.  I thought that was somehow virtuous. I called myself “good” if I didn’t eat.  I called myself “fat fucking pig”, 
The thinner I got, the better I thought I looked and I would do anything to stay skinny.
 For breakfast, I ate the paper wrapping of a muffin. I’d head to Dunkin Donuts, order my black coffee then stand for a few minutes, pondering which flavor of muffin to order – kind of silly, considering I really did just eat the paper it came in. Lunch was iceberg lettuce and raw veggies with balsamic vinegar.  For dinner, perhaps a coffee yogurt, preferably frozen so it would last longer, more veggies, and then my big reward – one oreo cookie.

I was dizzy and weak all the time but even more, I was angry. I hated everything and everyone, particularly anyone who seemed comfortable eating. If you offered me food not on my “plan”, I resented you even more. How dare you!

Finally, I couldn’t live that way anymore and I began to binge constantly. Terrified of weight gain, I discovered bulimia and purged as often and as violently as possible.

It was a horrible, miserable, sick existence, but I did it for years. To stay thin.

Desperate not to eat, I turned to alcohol, hoping I would drink and not eat. And stay thin. Finally, I discovered crack cocaine, which killed my desire for food and got be back to skinny . But  then it wasn’t just weight that I lost.

I lost everything.

Of course, all those women I saw yesterday most likely do not struggle as  I did or perhaps not even at all, but I still want to know why skinny is their ideal.

Or anyone’s.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Celebrity Skinny

I spoke at an AA meeting this morning. In the front row, I noticed a woman who looked incredibly familiar, I was sure I knew her from somewhere - did we go to high school together? Maybe I knew her from a different meeting? Was she a friend of a friend?

After a few minutes, I realized I recognized her because she was a celebrity, although I couldn't remember her name, so I kept shooting furtive glances her way. Looking more closely, I saw she was very, very pretty and very, very, very thin. "Ah," I thought, if she's that thin, she's definitely a celebrity. (Whenever I've seen celebrities, they are always startling thin.)

By the end of the meeting, it came to me who she was - indeed, a celebrity. But I also wondered the same thing I've always wondered - why do we want our stars so thin, particularly women?

I've never understood the super skinny ideal - it's so unnatural to most people, especially grown ups. And what about celebrities who have had babies and are then expected to be supermodel skinny immediately? It sounds excruciating.  And speaking of supermodels, why do they have to be so skinny?

Does a woman have to be starving to be famous? And if, why?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Does it end? Or not?

I'm okay with my new current weight.  I'm definitely bigger. My jeans are tight, but that's why God made leggings, of course. So, that's okay.

Trying on dresses at Marshall's today, the saleswoman recommended I buy spanx. I was okay. Of course, I'm never going to wear spanx (I'm all about comfort, thus the leggings), but I could deal with the fact that spanx might now improve the way i look in a dress.

So, right now, I'm okay. But the trend has been upward and onward in the weight department, and I promised myself I'd keep on this mission until my body found it's real comfortable place to rest. And so I worry a bit.

I'm still completely happy with the way I'm eating. My relationship to food is excellent - it's fuel and I like it to taste good.

But I can't deny the niggling concern that this upward trend won't stop and I'll gain and gain and gain until I'll be asked to purchase an extra seat for myself on an airplane.

Still, I won't stop this process. I have always, always related to larger women, knowing that I am meant to stand with them. I need to work on the confidence to go home to where my body wants to be, wherever that is.

The journey continues...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

An Untraditional Thanksgiving

I used to hate Thanksgiving. Loathe.  It terrified me, the compulsive eater, anorexic and bulimic. I'd go, eat wildly, hate myself, go home and keep bingeing, Then followed  a night over the toilet, forcing myself to puke.

Regardless of where I stood in my eating (disordered) career, I tended to ruin everyone else's Thanksgiving too. The last year of my mother's life was the height of my bulimia. It was clearly going to be my mom's last Thanksgiving, her very favorite holiday. I went (my sister would have killed me if i hadn't), but I was awful. I complained bitterly that they were forcing me to binge by serving such fattening food. Ahead of the dinner, I begged that they make only steamed vegetables and turkey and became infuriated when they didn't. I believe I thru a tantrum during dinner - my mother's last holiday.

Now, I can't tell you the last time I went to a Thanksgiving meal. Last year, I went to an AA meeting with a friend. Other years, I've worked, volunteered or stayed in. Delicious.

Free of the chains of food addiction, I could go and be just fine, if I chose to. If my best friend came home for the holiday, I would love to go to his family's. But he comes in for Christmas, and there's really nowhere else I'd rather be on this day.

Today, I slept until noon (!!!!). It doesn't get better than that - I could stop there. I drank coffee, read a good book, watched game shows (my absolute guiltiest pleasure) and then met with a sponsee, always rewarding.

Now, I'm home, heading to a bath and the aforementioned good book. A delightful day. Never thought I 'd say that about Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

To scale or Not to Scale?

I admit that I’m still weighing myself occasionally. I want to see what happens when I’m free with food, but perhaps that means I’m still tethered to a number.

The rule is that no matter the number, I can’t change how I’m eating.  And I must make peace with any number at all.

Right now, the number is staying about the same, but that's happened all along the way to my current weight. I'd hover around a number for a while, then go up a few pounds. My gut tells me there's more to come.

Perhaps, I am afraid. Mostly, I think I'm curious to see my what body does when it's allowed to do what it wants. 

I do LOVE the way I’ve been eating and realize that I used to eat less than was satisfying. Now, I’m completely content. There’s no desire to overeat or to eat when I’m not hungry, and I’m feeding myself more happily.

Should I put down the scale?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

New Thinking

I now need to get over caring so much about how I look. It’s too consuming. Growing up fat with frizzy hair and braces and acne, it was REGULARLY pointed out by my schoolmates that I was not attractive in any way. That was many decades ago, but it’s stuck in me somewhere.

Even today I’m overly concerned with how I look, and it’s more concerning with ten extra pounds, a REALLY bad and unmanageable haircut and many new lines on my aging face.
But I am determined to get to a new place.  I am fine. 

Yesterday, I spoke at an AA meeting in NYC. Although I’d live there for 15 years, I’ve been living in West New Jersey with woods as my backyard for the last 10. Walking through Times Square, I started doing what I’ve done my whole life – comparing myself to other people, even men! Who was thinner, more stylishly dressed (hello, everyone!), cooler, more sophisticated, who had better hair (with apologies to my hairdresser, everyone!)

And then I stopped myself. I haven’t been in NYC in many years – what was I doing?!!! I wasn’t seeing anything.   I looked up, and saw all the marquees for the great shows on Broadway – all the major hits, new and old. I saw the famous old restaurants and gaudy newer ones.  I listened and heard all different languages and accents and remembered that these people had come to this place because it’s amazing and exciting and extraordinary. What was I doing comparing my shoes to the lady standing next to me?

What am I doing with my life, who am I helping, how am I contributing if I’m spending so much time worrying about a bad haircut that will grow anyway?

That’s a good place to begin……………..

Monday, October 24, 2016

Let the Journey Begin - Bring on the Weight

I have stopped dieting, really difficult for me. And I've gained 10 pounds, also difficult - BUT life is truly too short to spend tethered to a scale and restricting food.

I’ve loaded up on leggings (the old jeans aren’t willing to zip), but more than that, I’ve loaded up on determination – no scale is going to own me!

The fear is, where will it end – will my weight climb to old highs? While I hope not, I just don’t know. And I have to let go.

We’ll see where this goes…. To be continued

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Making Peace

Who would have thought that I’d be more comfortable with FOOD than with my body? After a lifetime of constant food obsession, the idea of freedom would seem inconceivable, but blessedly, it happened. However, I was sure that if food wasn’t an issue, everything would fall into place and I’d be divinely (and I do mean that in the spiritual sense) and naturally thin.

But did I forget the peasant stock I descend from – healthy folks who were naturally hearty, not thin? Did I forget that I’d rather do just about ANYTHING other than exercise? Did I mention I’m in menopause?

And so the ten pounds have stuck.

Last night, I dreamt I ran into an old boyfriend and we talked, covering a lot of ground. But somewhere, in the middle of the rambling dream, I did of course have to mention that I had gained ten pounds.  How crazy.

Time to work on getting truly comfortable with my body AND time to start thinking about some truly important things like volunteer work,  career, friendships…

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Weight - I've Got a New Attitude!

Annoying, but my weight still influences my life. While I’m comfortable with food and certainly never binge or use food for emotional reasons, I’m still focused on the size of my body.

I’ve gained ten pounds this year and weigh the most I’ve weighed since losing 100 pounds 25 years ago. While not completely sure where the weight came from, I chalk it up to age (how did I get to be 52?!) and being a little looser with food.

I’m really enjoying my new, more relaxed approach to eating. I let myself eat a little more and more varied foods, and it’s nice; however, I’m less intrigued by the ten new pounds.
The ten pounds, themselves, are okay – I’d kept myself pretty thin for me, and I am in my 50s and heading into perimenopause, after all  – but I don’t want to gain more and more and more. Where will it stop?

Where is the healthy, sane place? Do I accept my new body and keep my happy new eating habits? What if I continue to gain weight, but don’t want to change my food intake?

My boyfriend doesn’t care and isn’t remotely less interested in me. (He’s less excited about my new and unflattering short haircut, but that will grow.) 

Yes, I’m less comfortable physically (belly roll, bra strap marks, etc.), but that doesn’t make cutting back calorically seem worth it. I’m happy in my life and just not interested in getting back into that consuming weight-watching lifestyle that weight loss would require.

Guess I’ll stay the course. Happily.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Smile, pretty

Last night, I went to pick up Chinese takeout. I heard the guy in front of me leeringly tell the girl behind the counter that she had a beautiful smile. She looked uncomfortable and said, “I guess the braces worked.” He didn’t want to leave. I kind of pushed him aside. The cashier looked relieved.

Let’s look at this interaction more closely. She is 18, tall, blonde and beautiful. He looked to be about 50, with bad skin, beady eyes and mild body odor.

And yet, like most men, he truly THOUGHT HE HAD A CHANCE!

After the guy left, the lovely young cashier told me she gets hit on all the time.  She said, “I wish, for once, guys would just come in and get their food”.

What is it with men? First of all, she’s pretty much a child.  Second, she’s really, really pretty – pretty much out of most guys league.

After I left the Chinese restaurant, I went to the drugstore. The pharmacy tech was young, very handsome and very sweet. He made me feel very old.  It didn’t occur to me to tell him he had a beautiful smile, nice hands, great hair………

What is it with men?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Residual Effects of Fat Shaming

In my last post, I talked about fat shaming. I sure got a lot of it when I weighed 80 pounds more than I do now. Everyone had an opinion on what I should or shouldn’t eat. No one seemed to have any inhibition about sharing those opinions either.

My life turned on shame and guilt about my body size and what I ate. Eventually, I stopped eating, hoping to get skinny and to get the great life I assumed would be mine. I’d have a terrific boyfriend, a wonderful career, great friendships and an easy life. Instead, I found anorexia, bulimia, alcoholism and drug addiction.

What if I’d been left alone about my weight? Who knows?

I’ve come a long, long way and consider myself pretty healthy today and very pleased with my relationship with food. I truly see it as fuel. The obsession is gone, and I get to live a full life.
There’s one niggling little issue tho. When I weighed more, I believed fully that I was unlovable. I was sure no man would want me -- I didn’t even go on my first date until I was 36 and finally thin.

I’ve been thin a long time now, but with age, I’ve been gaining some weight. I still have my free and easy relationship with food, and I’m not eating any differently – but my hormones sure are changing. Even my friends who have always been naturally thin have picked up weight in their 50s.  It’s normal, and I have decide whether to eat less and/or exercise more OR deal with the extra pounds. Not a big deal.

I know it’s fine. I know I’m fine BUT, that old, “will he still love me….?,” starts to creep in. Which is ridiculous, as the guy I date couldn’t care less about what I weigh. He doesn’t even notice AND my weight gain has certainly not dulled his passion!

Old beliefs die hard.  Yet, they’re worth losing, once and for all.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Okay to Fat Shame?

I was at a bridal shower where everyone got smashingly drunk. The bridal party arrived at noon and, by all accounts, left the restaurant at 9:30 or so.

Everyone laughed and giggled as nearly every woman in attendance got blastered. 

Not a peep of disapproval was heard, BUT when one of the bridesmaids – a very heavy woman – ate a cupcake, her cousin leaned over and said, “are you sure you really want that?”   Her mom nodded, adding, “have some fruit, Eva”.  Everyone nodded.

Why is it okay to be sloppy drunk , no matter who you are, but not okay to eat a cupcake if you’re not thin?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"You've Lost Weight!"

Is it a compliment to tell someone they look like they've lost weight? Such a loaded question for me. I try so hard to remind myself constantly that weight doesn't matter, but old habits die hard. "You lost weight!", is still a knee jerk commit, and I always assume it's a huge compliment. I've even said it when it didn't look like the person had lost weight - I just thought it was a great thing to say!

Of course, who even knows why someone lost the weight. Are they ill? Are they going through an unhappy time?

And the ultimate question - why have I always thought that weight loss is such a great thing anyway?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Does Weight Loss have Moral Value?

I didn't have a chance to eat much yesterday. When I woke up this morning, I felt light.

The first thing I did was commend myself for being good yesterday.

Then I caught myself. After all these years, do I still equate weight loss with "being good". A low calorie day has moral value?

The fact is - two days ago, I did much more real good. I went to church, worked with sponsees, spoke at an AA meeting, and spent the afternoon with  a friend who's having a tough time. And i had a big dinner. No commendation here, lol

Yesterday, i slept late, lounged around my brother's pool, read all day, took a nap and then watched TV. 

And yet it was yesterday that got the gold star.

This crap is really embedded. Time to get rid of it!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fat and Shame

“I don’t want to be the fat girl who doesn’t eat”, said my friend, Denise, who was about to attend a dessert party for her best friend’s b’day. Denise’s doctor had just told her she needed to lose 100 pounds and she needed to cut out sugar.

I’m not Denise. When I weighed 70 pounds more than I weigh now, I was the exact opposite. I didn’t want to be the fat girl seen eating cake! Most people would make some commenst, “Are you sure you want that?” “Do you think you really need that?”  (Funny, now that I’m thin and rarely eat cake, food is so often pushed on me!)

The shame of being fat and eating foods to keep me that way ran through me like DNA. Somehow I thought I had to apologize to the world for my weight, and in particular apologize to my normal-sized family. How embarrassed must my parents have been to introduce fat me as their daughter, I thought?

Here I stood with this family, my much older dad, so proudly the same weight as when drafted into World War 2. My mother, a dieting veteran, so vigilant about every mouthful and so disgusted by any weight gain of her own. And my two thin siblings, brother and sister, happily nerdy genius and popular cheerleader respectively.

And then me, the Fat Child.

I carried the shame of ‘fat” for many years. Running from fat became my reason for living. First came anorexia and then bulimia. I turned to alcohol, hoping that if I drank, I wouldn’t eat. Finally, my life became starving, drinking, binging and then throwing up all night. That was daily life, and I was so miserable that when someone offered me crack, I took it as the best form of relief I could imagine.

I did put them all down – first crack, then alcoholic, then sick food behaviors. I will say, though, that I was never actually ashamed of my alcoholism or drug addiction – I saw them as my acts of desperation. They made sense. I was never embarrassed by them, just very saddened by my wasted years and the pain I caused others.

But the food and the weight. Nothing BUT shame.



Monday, June 27, 2016

My Own Fat Prejudice - Ouch

There’s a picture of gorgeous plus-sized model Ashley Benson(she of the Sports Illustrated cover), wearing a very short dress and riding a bike.  She’s a beautiful women but (and?) her upper legs are covered with cellulite. Many applauded her for being comfortable looking like a “normal” woman and felt she looked great.

I am sad to say my first thought was, “why doesn’t she cover that ugly cellulite?”  And sort of nastily, I guess, “boy, those Sports Illustrated pictures must have been really retouched”, (note the italics!)

Also, I thought she looked too chunky to be wearing those bikinis, which I can hardly believe I’m confesssing. I don’t care if she wears them, actually, I just don’t think she looks very good.

Holy crap – would you listen to me!!! Where does my narrow, prejudiced fattist thinking come from?


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Accepting Weight Gain

Ugh. After all these years, I still hate gaining weight. It seeps into daily life (“my weight is up, my weight is up”.) Yes, it’s not like the old days when each pound brought tears, starvation, shame and terror, but it still niggles at the back of my mind.

Today, I left my house with my head up, make-up on, wearing a cute outfit – just like I always do. I remind myself constantly that no one notices 5 pounds, and if they did, they’d be weird.

I remind myself constantly that I’m not a number – I’m a woman with a heart and mind and many more important fish to fry (fry!)  Worrying about a few pounds is stupid, not productive and helping no one. Pretty much, it’s just selfish and self-centered.

And I’m the only one who cares. My boyfriend doesn’t notice my weight at all and tells me I’m beautiful no matter what I weigh, no matter what I’m wearing, make-up or no make-up… But I don’t believe I’m beautiful. I think I’m funny looking in a sort of appealing way. At least I don’t think I’m hideously ugly anymore!

But the reason I always knew myself to be hideously ugly was my weight – I was the fat kid, mercilessly teased and taunted. My peers called my names. Adults harangued that I desperately needed to lose weight to be acceptable or attractive.  When I finally did lose tons of weight, it felt like the world cheered.

No wonder I am where I am.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


In my mother’s house, prejudice was not allowed. Everyone was welcome, no matter your color, creed, gender, sexual preference, sexual identity, religion… Many, many took refuge and found haven and solace in our home’s open doors.

Well, actually, there remained one “small” area  where prejudice was accepted. My mother hated fat.  First and foremost, she hated fat on herself.  She was always on some kind of diet. Mom used to make my sister take food away from her and throw it out, so she wouldn’t eat it. When she was dying and wasting away, the doctor begged her to eat more, to eat sugar, to have salt to retain water, to try; my mother flatly refused – she loved being skinny.

Funny how much it meant to her, considering everything else she achieved. My mother was brilliant, graduating high school at 15. She was also a brilliant pianist who attended Juilliard, paying her own way by teaching piano lessons, beginning when she was 12. By the time we kids came along, Mom had a huge following of advanced students who traveled from all around the country to study with her.

Everyone loved her, men adored her and yet, my mother ferociously hated every extra ounce of flesh she carried.  She also hated extra weight on others, including me.  She dragged young me from diet doctors to Weight Watchers to behavior modification specialists to diet centers. Together, we tried every diet we could find. (She always lost weight. Somehow, I always gained.)

Mom didn’t like fat on anyone. She took umbrage with celebrities who weren’t skinny – why did anyone think Diane Sawyer was pretty when she had wide hips (according to Mom)? I remember seeing James Earl Jones as Othello on Broadway. Evidently, she’d read he was on the same diet as she – she was very annoyed that he was still so big.  Mom was a woman who didn’t have a bad word to say about anyone – unless they were overweight.

Fat-ism is crazy strong, I think. All her life, my mother purposely chose to be and do everything the exact opposite of her mother. My grandmother was cruel, viciously racist, a serious gossip, completely domestic, disinterested in education, subservient to her husband…..

My mother consciously became the total and complete opposite of each of those traits.

However, my grandmother hated fat and fat people. That, my mother never changed.

Monday, April 11, 2016

You and Food

In my last post, I wrote about my own relationship to food.  I think most woman have a story about their experience with food, weight and body image. I’d like to hear yours.

How do you relate to food? Has that changed over time? Do you follow a food plan or eat intuitively?

What about your body/size? Are you happy and comfortable? Do you weigh yourself?

I wonder how our mothers and grandmothers would have answered these questions.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Food and Me

Flipping the channels this morning, I saw skinny foodie Katie Lee eating a fried grill cheese sandwich on the Food Network.  She was oohing and aaaahing with delight.

I don't generally eat things like fried grilled cheese. And I never ooh and aahh over food. That's just not my relationship to food anymore. (Side bar - if I were at a business dinner or my boyfriend's mother's house and fried grilled cheese was served, I would eat it.)

Notice I said my relationship "to" food, not with it. I don't have a relationship with food - I have relationships with people these days. Food is just that - food. It fuels me, and I prefer if it tastes good.

For most of my life food served as my only relationship - it was my best friend, worst enemy, boyfriend, parent - my everything. I went to food for comfort, relief, escape, company, love.......everything.

But that backfired. I got fat and uncomfortable and felt ugly and unloveable. Then, I starved myself and denied my body the fuel it needed to survive. For a long time, I angrily berated myself that food was for other people, not me.

Starving - for food -  made food even more precious and important. I obsessed about everything I didn't allow myself to eat - I wrote lists of the forbidden - mint chip ice cream, cheese cake, bagels with butter - endless lists.

Finally, when I could resist no longer, I began eating compulsively again with new fervor, but learned to purge "successfully" and my life revolved around bingeing and purging, and that was about it.

I couldn't live like that and eventually I had to break up with my bad relationship with food. I new that I couldn't stay so connected and engaged in eating. So, I began a new way of dealing.

These days food is in a place that works for me. I live alone and don't spend much time on food prep. I prefer it that way. The less time spent around food, the happier I am, in general.

I eat when I'm hungry, I eat small portions to see if that fills me, I don't eat frequently (again, the less time focused on food and eating, the better.)

In general, I like to make healthy choices; I feel best when I've eaten well AND don't feel stuffed AND don't wonder if I "should have had all those French fries..."

So many women I know make less healthy choices then feel guilty and complain for the rest of the day about how much they ate and how fat they feel. I don't judge their choices; I just wish they didn't so often regret them.  I never deal with that.

Yes, I do eat everything and anything, if I happen to want it, particularly if i'm at a social event. I'm comfortable eating whatever is available at those times and don't give it a second thought.

My sister, who has never had a weight problem or food obsession, is a gourmet cook and baker. She loves, loves, loves to prepare food and to eat delicious foods as moderately as she has since the day she was born. Food is a great joy to her. But it's one of many, many joys in her life. For me, it was everything. I had to put it in what for me, is it's proper place.

If I can help it, I avoid things that would potentially make me feel uncomfortable.

It's just easier this way for me. Each person gets to figure out her way of eating and dealing with food. For some people, it just comes easily and naturally. Wasn't so for me. But these days it is easy and natural.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Jennifer Lawrence on Bodies

Actress Jennifer Lawrence says that we have become so used to overly skinny frames that perfectly healthy women are being made to feel overweight.

“I would like us to make a new normal body type,” Lawrence said. “Everybody says: ‘We love that there is somebody with a normal body!’ And I’m like: ‘I don’t feel like I have a normal body.’ I do Pilates every day. I eat, but I work out a lot more than a normal person."

Amen, Jennifer Lawrence.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

You Care about MY Weight?

(I realize I kind of just covered this topic. It must really get to me!)

Now I’d like to rant about an issue I’ve touched on before.  When I was heavy, friends, family, acquaintances and strangers alike felt free to tell me I needed to lose weight “for my health”.   I hear the same complaint from my “overweight” friends.

For myself, as I’ve written, I was perfectly healthy when I was fat.  My blood pressure, cholesterol, bone density, etc., were perfect. I had good energy, slept well and had no complaints.

Yet folks commented and lectured.  People I barely knew raised eyebrows when I ordered dessert. They didn’t know the state of my health AND many of them didn’t know me well enough to care about my health!

After years of teasing and lectures, self-hatred lead me to lose weight in earnest, eventually leading to anorexia and inevitably years of bulimia.

During those year, I smoked, grew into an alcoholic, became laxative dependent, and couldn’t sleep which lead to sleeping pill abuse/addiction.  

But I was thin and many people asked for guidance on weight loss and maintenance. No one lectured me in those years! No one “cared” about my health. The thinner I got, I more compliments I got.

All the while, my life was miserable. When a bartender introduced me to crack, I sank deeply into its instantaneous utter and complete relief. Boy did I sink! I lost everything – family, friends, money, job.

Obviously, I’ve turned everything around – have a happy and comfortable weight, don’t drink, and of course, don’t smoke crack! I have a job, friends and my family loves me again, THANK GOD. But -

What if I’d been left alone about weight to begin with?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Size Rant

Comedian Amy Schumer slammed Glamour magazine for including her in their “plus size” bonus issue sponsored by Lane Bryant, pointing out that plus size is considered size 16 in America, and she goes between a size 6 and an 8. When did a size 8 become plus size?!!!!

Schumer pointed out that young girls are going to see her body type and think that’s plus sized.  Agreed. Shame on Glamour.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Once the Fat Girl

For the first 26 years of my life, I was fat. For the second 26 years, I’ve been thin – not always through healthy means, but to the outside world, I’ve looked thin.

Even though it’s an even split and I am currently slim, I still identify myself as a fat woman. I am drawn to plus-sized models like Emme, Tess Holliday and Ashley Graham, because I think they represent me. If a magazine has a spread with larger models or a column by a plus-sized woman, that’s where I go; that’s where I identify.

Maybe it’s like my Judaism – no matter where I am spiritually, I will always be Jewish.

It’s not that I think my body is currently big; it’s more like my mind relates to the plus-sized world.

Being thin has always brought me praise and applause. As a fat girl, I faced teasing and taunting. Maybe it just stuck with me. I can still cringe, nearly 40 years later, about the cruel treatment from junior high school.

Or perhaps I am afraid to get comfortable and consider myself thin, for fear that I will let down my guard and the fat will creep back

Maybe I think that inevitably, genetically, I will end up heavy again, so I might as well learn to be okay about it.

I don’t know, but if you put a size 16 model on the cover of Sports Illustrated, I feel like my team is, finally, making progress.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Abortion Controversy

I admit I have a new little crush on Chris Matthews for getting Donald Trump to say that women who have abortions should be punished. Oops, Mr. Trump.

Of course, those of us who are pro-choice found the idea appalling. (And by the way, why just punish the mother?)  Shouldn’t the father take his punishment too? What was it Chris Matthews suggested – 10 days in jail?

There’s also backlash from the Anti-Choice movement (I can’t say, “Pro-life”. We’re all in favor of life.  Besides, so many of these people favor the death penalty – not exactly pro-life.)

The Anti-choice folks are all over Trump too, because they believe it is the doctor who should be punished, not the mother because she is the “victim.”

This infuriates me – it’s infantilizing to women. If I decide to have an abortion, you bet I’m making my own, very thought-through adult decision. I’m not a victim.

Therefore, if abortion is illegal and a punishable crime, than I, the mother should – by this thinking, indeed be punished. Perhaps the jails will be full of post-procedure women and, hopefully, their sperm donors too.

And by the way, don’t forget not to cover birth control on insurance plans!

Crazy stuff. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Weight Prejudice

I admit I wonder what other people eat and how they relate to food.  At Dunkin Donuts this morning, the woman ahead of me ordered hot chocolate and a bagel with butter. Were they both for her, does she exercise, what will she eat for lunch, does she eat lunch?

All these years removed from compulsive eating, anorexia and bulimia, I’m still curious how “normal” people eat and  wonder who is a normal eater and who isn’t and how that is defined, anyway.

In my last post, I talked about supermodel Tess Holliday, a plus-sized woman with seemingly fantastic self-confidence. I love her attitude and her message – love yourself at very size.

Holliday has gotten backlash for her weight and her message – some feel she’s a bad role model for women, particularly young women. They say she’s saying it’s fine to be fat, and that’s bad.

Most naysayers point to health-related issues that may occur with excess weight. I suppose that could be part of it, but woman’s intuition tells me that many people just don’t like fatness.

When I was 60 pounds heavier than I am now, I was in fine health. I wasn’t physically comfortable, but all my vitals were good and there was nothing wrong with me. But I can’t tell you how many people insisted I needed to lose weight. Near strangers raised eyebrows when I ordered dessert, asking if I “really need that”?  

When I weighed my current weight, but suffered from severe bulimia, puking frequently through the day and over-dosing on laxatives, the compliments flew because I was thin.  No one made any comments about how or what I ate. In fact, many sought my advice on how to lose and maintain a slim weight. But I was so sick and did permanent damage to my health.

So, you can’t really gauge someone’s health by her weight.

I am curious about someone like Ms. Holliday’s approach to eating. I don’t judge her – it’s her body (!), but just wonder if it is possible to have a healthy diet and healthy relationship with food and still weigh 280 pounds at 5’5? It seems it would take a lot of food and a lot of eating to maintain that weight.

My curiosity stems from my own lifetime of food and body issues. I always wonder…

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Keeping the Weight

I have a friend, Morgan, who is all by charts considered morbidly obese. She’s written about it successfully and continues to write and blog.

I met Morgan years ago after she had lost 190 pounds (half her weight) and had written a book about the weight loss. She was speaking at a workshop I attended, and we’ve been pen pals ever since. Morgan received some acclaim for her significant weight loss and book – she made television appearances and was interviewed by Oprah Magazine, etc.

Fast forward 10 years and Morgan has gained back all the weight. And she’s decided to live with it – this is who she is, and she’s not going to put off living just because she’s fat. For years, her life has been about trying to lose weight. She hasn’t lost weight, and she’s done fighting.

I respect that decision - She feels, though, that she has to mourn some things she may never know again – breathing easily up and down the stairs, male attention, easy, attractive, comfortable clothes, comfortable seating on busses and airplanes………..and so many other aspects of life which are simply more difficult to navigate with extra weight.

I also respect plus-size super model, Tess Holliday, who is 5’5 and weighs 280 pounds.  In fact, she probably weighs more now, as she’s pregnant. Holliday is everywhere, even gracing the cover of People magazine,  and is extraordinarily popular. If you follow her social media postings, she seems truly happy and comfortable and confident.

This is what she posted on social media today, “I would have only been so lucky being a teenage girl seeing women embrace their bodies of all shapes, of all sizes, and realizing I didn’t have to be ashamed of mine. It’s this message of saying, ‘This is our body and we’re not ashamed and it’s okay for you to love your body.’”

I agree a million percent and I love her message, yet I still wonder if she can truly be that comfortable and thrilled at her current weight.  I hope it doesn’t sound judgmental. I just know that when I, at 5’6, weighed 180 pounds, I was physically miserable. My stomach rolls hurt when I sat. My thighs chafed together and left deep red marks on my legs. Perhaps the worst were bras – I have big and very pendulous breasts even when thin. At 180, my huge saggy boobs dragged down every bra, which left deep deep deep and painful marks on my shoulders. Every time I start to gain weight these days my first thought, “nooooo, I can go back to excruciating bras”.

My period cramps, bad to begin with, were worse.  I couldn’t find comfortable clothes and basically wore mummus. I got purple stretch marks all over.

Being overweight just hurt physically. If I had weighed 100 pounds more than I did, as Tess Holiday does, I think it would be truly uncomfortable. God bless her for loving her body where it is.

I know this post wanders through different idea, but they were both on my mind and have been for a while.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Body Image

I never would have thought we’d see a plus-size model on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Much has been made of body size and body image lately.

Wish it were going on when I was a kid. For me, being fat brought shame and misery.  I was the only one in my family with a weight problem.

My pretty sister was a popular cheerleader with great friends and devoted boyfriends. My mother was newly single, pretty, smart and dating happily. I was fat with braces, acne and frizzy hair.  Suffice it to say, I did not date. Not for many, many years.

School meant teasing and loneliness. To comfort myself, I just ate more and continued to gain weight, outgrowing clothes on a regular basis.

Mom was a single mother who supported the family as a piano teacher. Often, she begged me to stop eating so much – she couldn’t afford to keep re-stocking the refrigerator or all the new clothes I’d need with each new size.

Being fat felt like the worst, most horrible thing to be. I hated myself and my body.

In my 20s, I starved myself down to skinny and that brought more misery. The severe deprivation brought weakness, anger and desperation. At 30, I found alcohol, which I’d never drunk before because I had food to fill my emptiness. I decided to drink instead of eat. Soon, I was doing both – binge drinking and binge eating.  Bulimia set in.

After several horrible years of getting drunk, binging and purging all night, I was introduced to crack cocaine, which seemed the answers to all my problems. I wasn’t interested in anything else – so I felt crack cured my alcoholism. I lost all interest in eating, so weight wasn’t interesting, nor was binging, purging nor starving. I was thrilled.

But, of course, crack, as it does, took me down very very badly, almost irreparably.

I was one of the lucky ones and 12 miraculous Steps resolved all for me and now at nearly 52, I walk free of all my addictions.

But, imagine what my life would have looked like if my weight and my looks hadn’t meant so damn much. Bring on the plus size models.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

How Intuitive Eating Helped

Intuitive eating was helpful in many ways and not in others.

The first idea that worked and stays with me today is eating small portions –if  I’m still hungry, I can eat more later.  I remember going to a workshop and someone saying that it’s startling to see how little they needed to feel satisfied. The woman said it was actually sad – she mourned large portions, but she didn’t need them.

I do this now. I eat small portions of anything I want and am still, to this day, surprised that a little bit is quite enough.

This leads me to idea of eating anything I want – no food is often limits, and I love that. For most of my life, I would deprive myself of most things tasty until I couldn’t take it, and I’d binge voraciously until I couldn’t breathe. There was no such thing as one cookie or one scoop of ice cream or one piece of bread.

Some people believe that some foods should be off-limits, that some of us have allergies to certain foods like sugar and wheat. I’m not sure what I believe, but I do know that I am able to eat everything in moderation these days, and don’t even want a lot of sugar or wheat. I’m surprised by how very little sugar interests me.

I do believe, though, that we each need to know our own bodies and honor them. If someone finds she can’t eat just one cookie or piece of bread, then she can refrain from eating them, if that seems to work best.

What didn’t work for me were a couple of tenets of intuitive eating. When I first began the process, I was deeply in the throes of binging and in six months, had gained 65 pounds. The idea of stockpiling my house with all my favorite foods (mint chocolate chip ice cream and brownies) proved too difficult to try for long. I loaded up on “binge” foods and ate and ate and ate. And ate. Freaked out, I stopped stocking ice cream and went back to my nearly empty refrigerator (diet coke & wine) – too scared was I to be around food. (I’m happy to say that my fridge currently brims with food – everything I need to eat. None of it calls to me when I’m not hungry.)

What also didn’t work was eating frequently throughout the day – every time I felt hunger, supposedly. For one thing, I wasn’t particularly attuned to hunger yet. Personally, I like to think less often about food, not more often. And I didn’t want to be eating all the time at work – it  seemed smelly and odd.

Also with intuitive eating, there’s the idea of eating only when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. So, if you’re not hungry, no matter where you are, don’t eat. This just didn’t work for me all the time. If I went to my boyfriend’s house and his mother made dinner, no matter my level of hunger, I was going to eat what she made. And I wasn’t going to nibble.

I can do this because I’m no longer afraid. I can face food fearlessly and comfortably and not think about it before or after I’m eating.

I learned this ability through Overeater’s Anonymous and the Twelve Steps. My next post will cover how this works.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Trying Intuitive Eating

All my life, the only way I knew how to “control” my weight was through dieting and starving and that always failed. Restricting lead, inevitably, to bingeing, each and every time.

When I began the journey of changing this cycle, I was bingeing and purging many times a day. Life was so miserable, I didn’t want to get out of bed most days.

Realizing that what I’d done up to that point didn’t work, I looked for a different approach to eating and discovered the idea of intuitive eating.
This approach involves legalizing food — carrot sticks are not any better or worse than carrot cake. No food is forbidden. In fact, we should stock up on all our favorite foods in quantities so large we couldn’t possibly eat them in one sitting.
If you love dark chocolate, don’t buy one chocolate bar, buy ten. If you love carrot cake, don’t buy one cake, buy three so you can keep two in the freezer.  If you like crusty bread, buy a few loaves.  If you want heavy cream in your coffee instead of skim milk, go for it! Cashews and almonds—buy the family sized packages.
The idea is this. We chronic dieters have spent our lives eating controlled, pre-determined portions of pre-planned food at specific times of the day. How much, what, and when we ate had nothing to do with how much or what we wanted or whether we were hungry. And then there were those times we ate from “mouth hunger” instead of “stomach hunger.”
We need to eat food on demand. Demand feeding requires learning to feel and respond to stomach hunger. This re-calibration of eating habits requires vigilance. In particular, it requires that we attend to emotional reasons for eating, since a lot of times we seek food for comfort (mouth hunger) even though what comfort it brings is fleeting.
How do we change our eating? Let yourself get hungry as much as possible during the day and eat just enough to satisfy that hunger each time.  Carry a food bag, filled with your favorite foods, so that you are never hungry and without something to satisfy that hunger.  Stop thinking in terms of meals or of food that is appropriate to specific times of day. If you wake up hungry and feel like eating a bowl of chili, eat it. If it’s “lunch time” and all you want is a piece of chocolate cake, have the cake.
Stop eating when you are satisfied — not stuffed.  Stick with this, learning to forgive yourself, keeping at it long enough to convince yourself that you can stop now because, in an hour when you are hungry again, it will be okay to eat.  The idea is that if you know you will have permission to eat later (unlike when you’re dieting), it’ll be easier to stop at a comfortable place.

I tried a lot of this approach. In my next blog, I will discuss what worked and what didn’t and how I incorporated some aspects into my current approach to food – and life!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How I lost 100 pounds and Keep it Off Peacefully

It's been a long road. I grew up a compulsive eater, weighing well into the 200s until around thirty when I got tired of being the "fat one". In my thirties, I stopped eating and starved myself down to a sickly and miserable 85 pounds. Then followed bulimia, years and years of binging and purging, day and night.

Then I turned 42, 10 years ago this June, and I couldn't live that way anymore. My entire life had run around food and weight. I had one friend, a miserable job, no boyfriend, as well as a burgeoning drinking problem. Something had to change.

Throughout my life of bingeing, bingeing and purging and starving, I'd read all the literature I could on the topic of eating disorders and found two approaches which made sense - Intuitive Eating and Overeaters Anonymous.

Many would say these two are divergent options, but I've been able to combine some of both to have a relatively easy and pretty darn free approach to food and my weight, which is exactly smack dab in the middle of those height and weight charts, without my even trying.

My next blogs will be about how I did it and how I still do it, every day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Height and Weight

I went to the doctor today and had a few questions/concerns. My eyes have been giving me trouble – sometimes they ache, and my vision gets blurry. Also, my perimenopausal PMS is out of control – just yesterday, I broke down at work, sobbing and wailing in front of my co-workers AND my boss. I can’t live like this every month.

While there, I learned that for the first time in my life, I have high blood pressure. Me?!!!! My doctor looked a little concerned and ordered a full set of blood work.

Did any of this bother me? Sure, a little. But I got a referral to a good eye doctor, a prescription for Lexapro and we’ll monitor my blood pressure -  nothing alarming.

You want to know what sticks out most from this visit? My height and weight. I jumped on the scale and weighed what I’ve weighed every year, for as long as I can remember. The exact number, in fact. And a number I am quite happy about.

BUT – I’VE SHRUNK AN INCH, SO THE HEIGHT/WEIGHT RATIO IS DIFFERENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am, therefore, heavier than I used to be by about five pounds. THIS is what alarmed me.

Weird thinking dies hard. Happily, I am not planning on losing weight. I am just fine.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Weight Gain

It's rare that I gain weight these days. I've been so comfortable with my eating, my weight and body. But suddenly -- "hello"  weight gain and "good bye" comfort.

Perhaps what's most uncomfortable is how - uncomfortable - i still am with weight gain. I can say i'm easy, breezy about food, weight and body when I'm at my desired weight, but not so much right now.

Old thoughts creep in -- I need to restrict, cut out treats, weight myself daily. I begin to worry that i'll keep gaining and gaining until I'm the 200 pounds I weighed as a teenager. I chastise myself for overindulgence...

New thoughts try to push out the old. I tell myself I'm fine, still a healthy weight, I'm more than a number on the scale, this is disordered, mean and oppressive thinking.......

Let's see which side wins.