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.