Thursday, October 23, 2008

the thin line between self-preservation and self-destruction

ladies and gentleman, this is r.

r, these are the ladies and gentlemen who read my blog.

i'd been talking about wanting to invite folks to serve as contributors on my blog from time to time (navel-gazing gets old, wouldn't you agree?), and r volunteered.

"perfect!" i thought. "she's a helluva good writer AND was a screwy eater for years!"

r and i have been friends since her freshman year and my junior year in college. we were roommates for one year during which i think i can go so far as to say that r subsisted on Baked Lays, Diet Coke, and midnight runs, while i subsisted on Hamburger Helper (with extra cheese), regular Coke, and as an avid devotee of the Couch PotaTaoism Anti-Movement. r has struggled with her fair share of ED and body image issues, and she, after years of work and ups and downs, has finally come to a place of peace about it all. doesn't mean she still doesn't get pissed however when she sees unhealthy diet advice in the media.

I told Jillian that some of my habits--flushing rice down the toilet so I won't eat it, bringing my own high-fiber bread to brunch--stirred some controversy on the blog. "Why?" she asked. "Why should we apologize for the practices that help us manage the symptoms while we deal with the real reasons we eat? I pour candle wax on my food at restaurants," Jillian admitted. "Not wanting to 'waste food' is a poor excuse for ending up far worse off later on, dealing with all the health problems that come with obesity."
I just stumbled on this blog by Margarita Bertsos called "Margarita Shapes Up," though most of the posts seem pretty fixated on weight loss only. It's for Glamour magazine, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at the weight-obsession.

This particular blog post centered on her meeting Jillian Michaels, one of the trainers from the reality show, "The Biggest Loser." If you don't know the show, it follows two teams of overweight "contestants" as they, as far as I can tell, go to extreme measures to lose enormous amounts of weight in an effort to be healthier and, of course, win a bunch of money. I confess I am both fascinated and repelled by the show- it's like what I imagine a "fat camp" to be like, yet I can't help but beam along with them each week as they (humiliatingly) step on this ginormous scale and find out they've lost 10 pounds in a week. Right. Healthy.

Anyway, this first tip shocked me. This is the kind of behavior, and justification of such, I used not only when I was in the thick of my "recovery" from anorexia, but also numerous times in my life when my disordered eating patterns were slithering back into place. Actually, I remember reading an article about some celebrity who said she dumped the contents of the salt shaker (servers LOVE her) on a dessert after a couple of bites so she wouldn't be tempted to eat more, and a lightbulb went off in my head- "why have I never thought of that?!?!" Of course, the magazine praised her discipline and ingenuity, much as Ms. Michaels does to Ms. Bertsos.

I love the seemingly sound reasoning here: "manage the symptoms while dealing with the real reasons we eat." While Ms. Michaels might be self-evolved enough to be dealing with the reasons she eats, the truth is most of us are not interested in why we binge, or starve, or purge. That's too hard, too painful, too intensive. No, we want someone to tell us how to get and stay skinny, and flushing food or pouring candle wax on our food in order to stop eating before we are truly satiated sounds like a pretty thorough way to do so. Much more final than say, throwing it in the garbage where it can be retrieved because YOU WEREN'T FINISHED, but felt guilty/ashamed/embarrassed for eating whatever it was. Yes, I have.

This is preservation, all right. It's maintaining the same sort of state of mind that focuses on what it looks like when you eat all the fries, order your own damn dessert, choose a salad when you really want the fish and chips. Cause if you say, "screw it, I'm eating what I really want this meal," you just might find yourself not worrying about exactly when to tip that candle over your plate. Might just find yourself not obsessing about your food AT ALL. That's a state worth preserving.

what do you think of jillian's advice?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

and thank goodness for that.

i was thinking about the trials and tribulations one goes through throughout one's life, and how, as you heal, you can usually find yourself laughing at circumstances (at some aspect at least) that were awful, horrible and miserable at the time. this riff on a popular adage came to mind:

that which does not kill us makes us stronger; and that which does not kill us will eventually make us laugh.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Patient Voices: Eating Disorders

Barney Taxel for The New York Times, Darren Hauck/New York Times, Jeremy M. Lange for The New York Times, Ruth Fremson/The New York Times, Stuart Isett for The New York Times, Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

haven't had a chance to read this yet, but a co-worker pointed it out to me, and i immediately wanted to share it with you. a multimedia package on The New York Times website called Patient Voices: Eating Disorders featuring "eight men, women and children (who) tell of their struggles with anorexia, bulimia and other forms of eating disorders." there's also a discussion board if you wanna get in on the conversation.

click here to check it out.

i'd be interested to hear your thoughts. i'll let you know mine once i listen and read.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

parlez-vous fat talk?

this week, october 13-17 is Fat Talk Free Week. that's right! NO FAT TALK. can you do it?

NO "oh my god, i'm so fat."

NO "oh my god, she's so fat."

NO "oh my god, what size are you?"

NO "oh my god, i'm doing The Zone/Atkins/Master Cleanse this week."

NO "oh my god, i haven't worked out this week. I feel HUGE."

you get the picture.

in junior high, if we'd tried this, my group of friends would have sat in silence for a full week. what else to discuss?

it's the sorority Tri-Delta that is responsible for introducing FTFW as well as for co-creating a wonderful body image intervention program called Reflections. i'm going to resist making a sorority girl joke because these women have done wonderful thing.

(what's a sorority girl's mating call? oh my god, i am SO DRUNK!)

turns out i couldn't resist. sorry.

check out this video, sign the pledge to abstain from Fat Talk and then forward the video to your friends. you can also sign up to receive a Daily Challenge every day this week. they also have this bold T-shirt for sale. i think i need it.

here's Monday's challenge:
Your Daily Challenge for October 13: The next time someone gives you a compliment, rather than objecting ("No, I'm so fat!"), practice taking a deep breath and saying, "Thank you."
i still struggle with that one. just ask The Cute. luckily, he gives me plenty of opportunities to practice.

( :

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bomb Locamotive Palin - that's me!

and just for fun:

computer (and me) meltdown

me, tyler, ethan and maddie

hi, gorgeous people!!!

i'll be back shortly. i went to michigan to visit my 'rents and my brother and his family all last week only to return to work yesterday to find that my hard drive has been almost completely wiped out in my absence.

what fucking FUN!!!

my point is, i am busy trying to rebuild my work life (what did we do before computers?), but i shall return once things get back to wee bit normal. forgive moi.

here's a silly question to ponder... if you were to die, and they were going to cast your most "you" body part in bronze to memorialize you, what would it be?

me? my nose. unmistakably me. or my calves. terrifyingly muscular and sinewy. genetics.