Saturday, March 15, 2008

one girl's trash is another girl's treasure.

bon appetit!

i remember reading somewhere that you have a "food issue" when you find yourself digging food out of your trash can and then eating it.

i've done this. a number of times. i am not ashamed to admit it. well, that's not completely true. of course i'm ashamed to admit it, but i'm admitting it because i know you all have done the same thing one time or another, or you've thought about it, and if you haven't at least thought about it, i'm not really sure why the hell you're reading this blog.

back when i used to deny deny deny myself, back when i was convinced it was the ice cream, the cookies, the chocolate bars that were The Problem, not some other deeply-rooted problem in my psyche like, oh... one dead parent, one absent-in-spirit, alcoholic parent and a codependent core so tightly wound around my colon that an aroma of steamed brussels sprouts followed me everywhere.

(seriously, ask The Urban Family).

i'd gorge myself on The Forbidden Foods, and then in a redemptive tizzy, toss what was left into the trash. i'd bury it underneath piles of garbage, convinced that if i couldn't see these foods, i wouldn't want them, and that i would then lose the weight (or keep the weight off, whatever it was that day), and presto change-o all my problems would be solved.

moments later, i'd be back at the trash can, or at least hovering near,


a silent debate raging in my head between Prudence and Sloth, about whether to dive in and retrieve the sugary corpses at the bottom of the can, or not; by mentally ramshackling myself to the couch.


Sloth usually won. i'd find myself digging through the fortress of sticky styrofoam to-go containers, rank tuna fish cans and days-old beer bottles to the bottom of the can to rescue the melty, leftover 1/2 cup of Haagan-Dazs i'd so ceremoniously discarded just a few minutes before. i'd shove the remaining melty mess into my mouth as quickly as possible, not even noticing it go down. as if the faster i swallowed, the less it would mean i actually ate it, and the less it would mean i actually had a problem.

and boy oh boy, did i have a problem.

i don't do that anymore. not in the same way anyway. i don't binge, throw all the food in the house away, and then return moments later to "rescue" it and devour it as if my entire life depended upon it. i do however, on occasion, still eat food out of the trash can. on principle, i know this seems a little strange, and i know that if my Aunt Charlene is reading this she's going to gasp as loudly as she did when i told her that i sometimes go commando, and she'll either send me 1) a check because she thinks i'm too broke to buy food and underwear or 2) a care package with food and underwear or 3) a check for therapy because i'm eating food out of the trash can and not wearing underwear. i am none of the above.

so, last night, i tossed some food because i thought i was done with it, and then i thought:

wait. i'm not done. i'm still hungry. i want another dumpling. but wait, the dumplings are in the trash. if i take the dumplings out of the trash and eat one, does this mean i have a problem? it certainly meant i had a problem before.

no, silly. it means you're still hungry, and it's not as if they've been sitting there for days. they've been sitting there for a few minutes. you're only problem now is that you don't trust yourself.

so i ate one, and then threw the rest of them away. for good. because i was done.

what a lovely word DONE.

i've spent so much of my life stopping eating before i was done, satiated, full. i'm not gonna do that anymore. i'm allowed to change my mind, order a second serving, eat what's in the to-go container on the subway ride home. now, i admit, taking food out of your trash seems a bit extreme, i guess, but it works for me, and i'm convinced the main reason i've stopped binging and reached a healthy weight is because i've learned to eat according to my body's needs. this has given me the freedom to eat ALL foods ANYTIME with no qualms (most of the time, anyway, and provided it's not covered in blue fur. use your noggin.).

there is no such thing as a forbidden food, a bad food, an evil food. food does not come equipped with angel wings or devil's horns. food does not have moral qualities. this even means the food ya just tossed into the trash can.

retrieving food from the trash can doesn't mean you have a problem. it might just mean you're a little bit thrifty. and have ya ever sampled a room temperature dumpling? tasty. just be sure to scavenge for a bit of the scallion sauce too.


Sara said...

It's entries like this that can change lives! I know from personal experience. THANK YOU.

haith said...

great post, margaux.

Anonymous said...

I can relate. And, in *theory* I like the idea that I can eat all foods anytime: that I, and I alone decide what I wish to eat. It's a great idea, but it, too, can be taken to extremes. I *can't* have anything sugary in the house and *not* binge on it at some point. I just can't! No matter how many times I try, sugary treats just "glitter" away at me (despite Overcoming Overeating's tenets of the more you eat/accept this stuff, the less it will glitter. *NOT* true - at least not for me). OO is alot better than OA, as far as I'm concerned, but I still have to know my limits. Cupcakes will ALWAYS be binged upon! So - one in the house, not more than that. I can't help it. I love them like life itself, so I must use some care. Because, yes, throwing them away, does not really help. Soaking them in gasoline might. Or, modestly indulging in them, a few (did I just say a FEW! hahaha! I meant ONE) at a time.;)

Anonymous said...

I am so excited to have found your blog. I'm bookmarking you! :)

Emily said...

I discovered your blog and sizeate last month, and I am so grateful that I did. I was having a 'headcase' kind of day - the kind where all the stuff you know slams into the coping patterns you've learned and it makes a mess out of, well...everything. I just want to thank you for being so REAL about who and what and how we should be. Not just as eating disorder survivors, but as women. Oh, and your blog cracks my shit up daily.

margrocks said...

well goodness, sara. thanks. i hope it helps. The Giving Tree is a fave of mine too. ( :

thanks, haithie. looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks!

oh, fauve. i know it seems impossible, but it's really not, i swear. it's a process, and it doesn't happen overnight, but it really IS possible to have cabinets full of cupcakes only to find that what you really want is broccoli instead. i'm still astonished i have a unfinished carton of ice cream in my fridge from weeks ago; and it's not unfinished because the freezer door is bolted shut. but hey, it's not for everybody, babe.

and thank you for finding me juliafaye! happy you're here!

emily - thank you, and i am so proud to be cracking your shit up daily. that belongs on a t-shirt somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Margrocks, I'm fairly certain (Quite Certain, in fact) that I can want broccoli over cupcakes. I happen to love broccoli. But the cupcakes will come a-callin' at some point, and there's no getting around that. At least not for me. To pretend that these lusciously sweet, toxic treats might, someday, not "glitter" is absurd. As absolutist, in fact, as when OA maintains that an "addict" must abstain. I guess I just Don't Like Rules, including the rule that I must freely eat cupcakes until I'm over them (after much work and, um, additional poundage. Somehow, though, I'm not supposed to admit that the increased poundage + the increased illness of eating too many cupcakes won't make me binge even More). Okay, this won't happen. I don't get over cupcakes, I get temporarily distracted from them Only. I think it has something to do with how my body handles sugar. And no, I don't want to pile on more pounds on an already obese body, struggling as it is. I am fully aware of the OO process but it, like every single path I think of, is just not right - or Completely right - for everyone (although I do find some of their procedures quite useful). Let's face it: certain foods have addictive qualities and I'm not talking broccoli here. Broccoli does not get me "high"; cupcakes do. I try to contain the damage, but I'm not so foolish as to pretend that cupcakes = broccoli. They jolly well do not. But, hey, understanding this is not for everyone.

margrocks said...

fauve - i understand sugar addiction, and i think it is a real issue to be taken very seriously for some people - particularly those with alcoholism running in their family. but, i feel very strongly that it's not the actual root of the problem for many people with food issues... because for years i thought that was MY problem, and it turns out that it wasn't the problem at all; i was fighting a foe that didn't even exist. of course, the bitch of it is, those usually turn out the be the scariest, and the hardest to overcome.

i'm not here to convince you, or tell you you're wrong. keep on doing what's right for you. if anything, that's what size ate's about.

cggirl said...

Wow I really really identify with this, especially the whole thing about how when u know you can have whatever you want when u really want it, then the urgency to stuff yourself with it NOW NOW NOW goes away.

For me, i've had certain foods that I thought were "addictive" to me but it turns out they aren't. But, fauve, i know for someone else it might not be the same.

Now this is neither here nor there but I wonder if problems with handling sugar can be helped by not eating something sugary on an empty stomach. For me, I think that if I eat somthing sweet (including fruit) on an empty stomach, my blood sugar spikes and a couple of hours later I get a headache because the blood sugar has dropped back down. I'm pretty sure that's how my body works. So for me, I simply make sure to eat something that doesn't have much sugar before, or together with the fruit/candy/whatever, something to slow down the digestion of the sugary thing and that way the blood sugar doesn't spike.

Anyway, fauve, you probably know much more about all this than me, and I don't know if that would help address what you experience and how your body handles sugar, but i just thought i'd throw it out there in case it helps anyone...

Anonymous said...

I apologize if I seem too strident. I get so crazy over all this - it's truly anguish that I feel. Please factor that in. I would also never Never deny that sugary desserts, alone, are the source of my problems. But, when I go to binge, broccoli never seems to present istself as a "good" binge food.;) That said, I truly hate the "just say no" mindset. I feel desert definitely has a place in life. It's very hard for me to achieve balance on this issue - and I know that each person must find the choices that are right for him or her. I love OO's approach to self-acceptance and tolerance. When I binge, I should not hate myself. Easy to write, extremely hard to put into practice. A person who hates who they are - even if they eat *perfectly* (whatever that is) will still have many problems. This, I know.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Weird. Thanks =? Digging through trash is psychotic. Stop that. You are all good girls. Don't put the wrong message out there. This isn't about you "throwing it away" , this is about you rummaging through filth to get it. That is the pleasure. I will not even sit here and listen any longer. Good luck in your affairs.