Tuesday, December 22, 2009

size ate is baaaaack! & merry, mindful holiday eating




i just wanted to check in to let you all know that i'm performing SIZE ATE (i'm playing with it in all caps. what do you think?) in NYC again, january 14-16. it's open to the public. please do come! more details and ticket info here. i hope to see you all there! 

wouldn't a pair of tickets to the show be a great last-minute holiday gift? ( ;

lord knows i've been a stranger, and i'm sorry, but my life is filled to the brim these days, and it's just not leaving a lot of room for regular blogging. i hope you are all enjoying your holidays: staying sane and soulful and sweet. as i write this, gingerbread is baking in the oven and an apple cinnamon candle flickers on the coffee table. le sigh... i love Christmas.

speaking of sanity and the holidays, my dear friend and co-inspirator, Susan Weiss Berry, was kind enough to write up some tips on Merry, Mindful Eating during the Holidays. read them and be like a sponge: absorb. have a wonderful holiday, happies. enjoy every blessed morsel of it. and i don't just mean the food.






1. Eat between the extremes. This year, instead of restricting what you eat, try this: regardless of what you weigh, how much weight you think you need to lose, or what you ate yesterday, each time you are physically hungry (sensations in your stomach) eat the foods you truly want and work towards stopping when you are just comfortable (before full). Become aware (mindfulness=no judgements) of when you are physically hungry vs. when you just want to eat (appetite =emotions, stress). Instead of criticizing say: "Isn't that interesting? I'm not really hungry right now, I just want to eat because...", or "Here's what I'm hoping the food will do for me." When you do eat, pay attention to the food as it enters your mouth. Chew slowly; put your fork down between bites. Close your eyes and tune into the tastes, textures and sensual pleasures of the food. "Do I like this?  Do I want more? Have I had just enough?"

2. Do you want peace or a piece of pie? Holiday parties can overwhelm with a variety and abundance of food. Before you eat, place your hand on your belly and ask:  "Am I hungry? Physically? Or do I want to eat because… it’s time; I’m stressed, I’ll never, ever get to have any of this food again," or "Aunt Agatha is giving me agita?" Survey the spread and choose only the foods that really “hum” to you by asking, “Do I want something hot or cold? Salty or sweet? Crunchy or smooth?” Don’t over think this— go with your gut. Remember, foods are not good or bad and you are not good or bad for wanting them.

3. Avoid the Virtue Trap:  The Voice of Virtue (perfection) is Fear Mind. It carries on, yapping in your head, "if you eat this one cookie, this one slice of pumpkin pie, it’s all over, it’s ruined."  BIG FAT LIE! Truthfully, challenging our conditioning around food takes time and courage, but in the long run, it’s so much simpler to respond to Hunger and Satiation in the moment, than to carry around a Weight Watcher’s scale and a tally sheet. And being perfect, by the way is totally, and completely impossible!

4. Trust your brilliant body- If you feel like you’ve eaten too much—like you end a meal too full, instead of getting into a panic, reacting by bingeing or starving to punish yourself for being too full, just stay busy while the food is digesting. Say, "oh well, no big deal," and turn your attention to something enjoyable. It’s amazing but after a couple of hours, you will no longer be full, and maybe you will have made a gorgeous beaded bracelet, watched a fascinating movie, or finished an amazing book.

5. Assess the stress:  Notice the more nerved out you get, the bigger the knot in your stomach gets, the more shallow your breathing becomes and the more you want to eat/restrict? It’s challenging to know what the body truly needs when it’s anxious/stressed. To create the calm you crave, try this: Leave the group. Go to the bathroom, wash your hands slowly with warm water, or just close your eyes and take a deep breath. Listen to the tightness in your stomach, chest, throat or shoulders. Sit down, exhale through your mouth then inhale through your nose. Feel your shoulders drop, your stomach relax. Now breathe slowly and gently through your nose for 1-2 minutes. Your body will relax even more. Allow yourself as much time away from the group as you need. Take good care of you. Repeat as needed.

6. Stay in the Moment: Fear Mind enjoys rewinding to Christmas 1980 or fast-forwarding to Hanukkah 2020. It enjoys rehashing negativity and predicting dire futures. I say "Bah-humbug." The present moment is a safe haven from Fear Mind who loses all power in this tick of the clock. When you hear words like should, have to or what if, you know a Fear Mind fable is on the way. Try this: Label troubling thoughts as Thinking and redirect your attention through your five senses: sparkly candles, sweet Christmas Carols, smell of pine, spicy cinnamon eggnog, cold snow on your skin. This is what’s real and true right now. This is the present moment. All is well.

7. Bring Your Toolbox:  Instead of using food, we can create portable, lightweight tools that distract and comfort us when we feel stressed, anxious or uncomfortable. It might be a pile of People Magazines, music, knitting, books, puzzles, nail polish, crayons, games, naps, walking, or calling a friend. Pack whatever works for you. Befriend yourself.

8. Set limits:  Know how much time you can comfortably spend at holiday gatherings.  Let hosts know in advance when you’ll need to be leaving. Take breaks often to assess the stress and decide, do I need to leave the dinner table? The room? The house? Be Mindful of information your body’s sending to you and let yourself have a break whenever needed to get your balance back. Ask: What is the most loving thing I can do for myself right now? Use your tool box; create exit strategies.

9. Make a list:  Holidays are a great time to review the year. Instead of focusing on what you did not like, ignore the critic and pay attention to what you are grateful for. Include the smallest details: I can see, hear, walk. List the things you are proud of (include the smallest things:  I walk my dog in the rain, I get up and go to work regardless). Comfort and joy, acceptance and compassion are the perfect gifts to give to yourself and others. Keep giving all year. As Pema Chodrun says, ''Mindfulness practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already.''

10. Start A New Year This Year- Winter holidays can be a source of solace or stress. It all depends on your point of view.  It’s easy to become over-focused on piles of potatoes and pumpkin pie not as a source of pleasure but as a way of medicating uncomfortable feelings. This year, instead of adopting the Fear Mind philosophy--"who gives a crap, I’ll diet Jan 1st," try this: Pretend the New Year begins 12/22, the day after the Solstice, when Light returns and the days grow longer. A time of hope and renewal. Light a candle. All is well.

11. Let go. Overeating/undereating is not a crime and does not make you a bad person. As a gift, give yourself a break. Name the thoughts and feelings that come up like, "oh, this is anger, this is how it feels in my belly, my throat." After naming feelings, let them go. Live in the present moment—in what is true and real NOW! Let go of worrying about what you ate an hour ago, or last night. Don’t punish yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. See the humor in all situations and respect where you are right now. Take good care of yourself in all circumstances. 'Tis the season to be jolly.  Keep learning, breathing, laughing.


Susan Weiss Berry, MS, CNS is the owner/director of Evolved Eating in NYC and an expert in the fields of Eating Disorders, Emotional Eating and Mindfulness (www.evolvedeating.com).

how do you cope with the holidays and food? 

holidays are so much more enjoyable for me now that i have full permission to eat anything i want. what's weird and beautiful is that i'm far less likely to overeat. i've also learned a lot about my limits as well as my tastes. i don't like feeling super full, and it turns out i don't even like apple or pumpkin pie. now i save that precious belly-space for chocolate items!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

what does recovery mean to you?



last week, i performed size ate at Dominican College in Orangeburg, NY. after the show, a young woman came up to me and after a few initial pleasantries, asked, "so... there is no clinical definition of recovery out there. what does recovery mean to you?"

hm.

good question.

of course, my recovery is all i can discuss because the path to recovery is varied and many, and my recovery is the only recovery i'm an expert on (and even that is debatable on certain days).

what does my recovery look like? 

not scheduling my meals, but eating intuitively, like a toddler. when i'm hungry and with passion, enjoyment and curiosity. sitting down to a meal, ordering and enjoying(!) whatever my body wants and needs - a cheeseburger with bacon and fries, or brown rice with chickpeas and broccoli raab, or a 2nd piece of birthday cake - eating until i'm full, then stopping because satiated, not stuffed. all of this happening without too much handwringing or having to give it too much thought. then coming back and doing it again when my belly starts to gently rumble.

exercising when my body and mind craves movement - enjoyful movement - not because i am trying to tone or lose or tighten. not scheduling 5 daily workouts/week because the exercise magazine says so. moving because it brings me joy and because it helps me live my life with less anxiety and fewer migraines.

knowing how to recognize the self-destructive thoughts as just that, thoughts, not instructions. not truth, just thoughts. thoughts that i have the choice to listen to or not. then, when these thoughts beckon, knowing how to take care of myself, mother myself. metaphorically, letting that little girl throw her temper tantrum, or picking up that scared little lonely girl into my arms and letting her cry and shushing her to sleep with kind words, a warm bath and hot tea.

that's pretty much it.

simply put, recovery for me, is freedom. freedom to eat, to move and to feel whatever it is i need and want and not being bound by what others tell me how i should eat, how i should move, how i should feel.

in my case, recovery has yielded me a life populated by coulds as opposed to shoulds.

what does your recovery mean to you? struggling? if you could ask a Genie to grant you recovery, what would it look like to you? no limits.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

finally! bodyPeacebyPiece



begins this saturday 10/17! for more info and to sign up, click here.

Friday, September 04, 2009

anyway

bought this birthday card yesterday for my absolutely wonderful, amazing, illuminate acting teacher, Elizabeth Browning. the words on the front are inscribed on the wall of Shishu Bhivan, a children's home in Calcutta, and i wanted to share them with you. if i can, i'd like to live my life this way.

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway.


If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.


If you succeed, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.


Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.


People really need your help, but may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway.


Give the world the best you've got and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you've got anyway.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

grateful x 1000


i'm going to be MIA for a few weeks until things settle down a bit. The Cute had a bit of a health scare last week, so i spent the bulk of my time at the hospital (definitely not one of my favorite places). it was very scary for a few days there, but i am exceedingly happy to report that he is 100% on the mend, but i'm just now catching up with emails, upcoming show details and um, sleep.

precious, precious, precious, glorious, glorious, glorious, unworried, uninterrupted sleep.

i was also supposed to move in with that adorable man this past weekend, but that got postponed seeing as how he was shackled to an IV stand he affectionately dubbed "Twiggy" for the past 6 days.

'til my return, a few things i'm grateful for:

happy, functioning kidneys.

our hospital theme song. The Cute's theme song.

snoring (because that means he's sleeping next to me, alive and well).

new sheets kissed by The Polka Dot Fairy.

home-cooked meals by The Cute's momma.

raspberry sherbert that brings you to tears. chili that makes your eyes roll to the back of your head.

a happy and healthy life is a daily commitment and, like all things worth doing, is hard work but, my oh my... the benefits make my eyes water, my heart swell and my throat lump.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

la-la-la linkage



serve yourself some delicious, nourishing food on these stunning dishes.

wonderful, inspiring images you can embed on your site.

in october 2009 - i'm going to see PINK at Madison Square Garden and it's breast cancer awareness month - i'm getting one of these in my hair.

love shack! stay in an Airstream trailer!

quite possibly the only marc jacobs anything i will ever own.

i get so thirsty in the middle of the night. this is perfect for my bedside table.

pink lentils with roasted beets. yes, please!

a really wonderful book about breast health. discusses body image and teasing. encourages girls to start one of these. brilliant! i bought it for my niece for her birthday. now i want my own copy. nobody ever told me about Montgomery glands.

blessed, blissful weekends to all of you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

new directions


i'm thrilled to read that so many folks are interested in being a part of the bodyPeacebyPiece workfunshop! i'll keep posting details here as Susan and i suss them out.

in the meantime, do any of you guys have questions for us? we're gonna do a little video interview with the 2 of us (that i'll post here) to talk about our histories, why we're doing the class, what we think someone might get out of it, anything really. consider it an an opportunity for folks to get to know fabulous, fun Us.

so... questions? we'll be sure to answer them when we conduct our interview next weekend.

also... a thought or 2 on this site:

if you haven't noticed, i'm trying to move into a more positive direction these days. i'm far less interested in focusing on how screwed up our culture is in terms of eating disorders and body image. i've done my fair share of kvetching, and i still reserve the right to occasionally stomp my feet and pout, but there are already so many blogs out there doing that (and doing it much better, i might add). i'm not calling a moratorium on bitching, because we all know how FANTASTIC that can feel sometimes, and to get to the good you sometimes have to crawl eyebrow-deep through the muck, screaming the entire time, but where i am now is:

WE KNOW THIS, WE'VE KNOWN THIS. NOW WHAT?

education is important. awareness is important, but i want to LIVE, and i'm interested in exploring that journey and sharing it with you. the bumpy journey i've had and continue to have, that we all have, after we've decided TO LIVE.

TO LIVE FULLY AND WITHOUT LIMITS.

how do i do it?

how do you do it?

how do we do it?

exactly.

i'm not totally sure what this means in terms of the content of this site and the trajectory of my show, but i'm figuring it out, and ya know what? i'm having FUN.

so going forward, i vow to keep the bitching to a minimum and the living to the maximum.

and more puppies.

happy tuesday, gorgeousnesses.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

luminous linkage


i spent many years hating my belly. i love how this site celebrates The Belly.

this should be the only umbrella allowed in NYC.

cupcake porn.

wouldn't you like to pass this every morning?

you can peel the delicate, thin skin of a red pepper with this wonder gadget. you and i both need one. i promise.

are you serious?

defy your parents.

great dorm food ideas. beats the microwaved baked potato with ranch dressing i ate every night for 4 years.

i'd like this little bag in which to carry my snacks in my purse. SNACKS. great word, isn't it?

in the l.a. area? interested in taking part in a body image project?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

happy links

this dreamy dress reminds me of the dress i get to wear this weekend in my friend amy's wedding. in this color. it makes me want to do the flamenco!

a size ate theme song.

the real beauty of a post-pregnancy belly.

a gorgeous "vintage" swimsuit for those of us who want a little more coverage, but no less glamour. some va-va-voom ones here too.

this is great. i wonder if i have a low-set tail? and wow. the skinny cow freaks me out.

awesomeness.

um... yum!

bought this excellent T-shirt for my niece Maddie's birthday. saddens me that it only comes in girls' sizes.

happy early weekend folks!

look up through a filigree of trees and breathe deeply. you are enough.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

BODYpeace by piece: a workshop


i'm 'cited. tingly toes and butterfly belly 'cited.

know why?

this fall, i'll be putting together a workshop with the wise and wonderful Susan Weiss-Berry of Evolved Eating. if you haven't checked out her website and her work, you really should. she's of the "listen to your body, eat what you want, when you're hungry, stop when you're full" school of nourishment, plus she incorporates mindfulness and meditation into her approach.

HER PROCESS REALLY WORKS.

doesn't matter whether you've struggled with anorexia, bulimia, overeating or if you're just OVER DIETING and plain tuckered out from worrying every moment about your weight and what you ate for lunch, and when you'll be able to eat again, and what you ate for dinner 4 days ago, and if it was high in fiber or high in fat, or low-carb or high-carb, and "oh, my god, do my kankles look fat in these gladiator sandals?" and "holy shit, my knees are SO FAT," and "i have like, FIVE chins!" and did you walk enough just running errands around the city to burn off that ice cream bar you ate last night while watching that silly 1930s musical or if you should make a point of going to the gym and bouncing up and down on the elliptical machine for an hour even though your sports bra is shot and your boobs are threatening to give you 2 very big black eyes and your thighs are beginning to chafe and it's kinda hard on your knees.

so, yeah. it doesn't matter. if you're over any of the above, and you're looking for some one-on-one support, give her a call. i also know she has all sorts of exciting things up her sleeve - mindful eating workshops, cooking classes, etcetera, so keep an eye on her website.

but seriously, back to Me. ( ;

the tentative title of the workshop we're putting together (although personally, i'd prefer to call it a "funshop") is:

BODYPeace by Piece
multimedia story telling as a path to recovery
from eating disorders and body image issues


quite a mouthful, i know, so we're still tinkering with the subtitle. we're planning on approximately six 3-hour classes, two Saturdays a month, during the months of October, November and January in midtown-NYC. over the course of 4 months, we'll guide each member of the class through the process of developing a piece of art - a one-person show, a blog, a series of podcasts, an EP of songs, a video blog, an illustrated book, a short film, or some combination thereof - that tells her or his story of struggle and recovery surrounding eating disorders and body image. all of this will happen in a very safe and supportive environment. because that's how we roll.

fun, right? potentially a little terrifying too? of course! most things worth doing are!

why am i doing this? my escape from disordered eating took one giant leap forward when i started developing my one-woman show and writing my blog. not only did it provide me with a means to express myself in a creative, fun and cathartic way, it also gave me a reason to wake up every morning that wasn't my weight and food. i'm hoping we'll be able to give this experience to every member of the class and potentially provide a jumpstart to their own recovery.

recovery needn't always be a forehead bent to a brick wall in desperate prayer. sometimes it's a dance, a song, a monologue, a thick streak of red paint across a blank, white canvas that says IF YOU SEE ME, I AM NOT ALONE.

i want to know your thoughts on any and all. is this the sort of thing you'd be interested in attending? why or why not?

if not, would it help if i told you we'll be spending the entire class in tiaras and tutus? (that's not true, but we would not object)

i'll be discussing this more on this blog as Susan and i suss out the details. we have not worked out a price yet, but once we get the space secured, we'll be able to do so. please feel free to email or Facebook message me with any questions or comments you'd rather not post in the comments section.

Friday, July 24, 2009

happiness is always an option.

from a Happy Days blogpost by Pico Iyer at The New York Times


Not long ago, I was traveling with the Dalai Lama across Japan and another journalist came into our bullet-train compartment for an interview. “Your Holiness,” he said, “you have seen so much sorrow and loss in your life. Your people have been killed and your country has been occupied. You have had to worry about the welfare of Tibet every day since you were four years old. How can you always remain so happy and smiling?”

”My profession,” said the Dalai Lama instantly, as if he hardly had to think about it. His answer could mean many things, but one of the better things it meant to me was that that kind of happiness is within the reach of almost anyone. We can work on it as we work on our backhands, our souffl├ęs or our muscles in the gym. True happiness, in that sense, doesn’t mean trying to acquire things, so much as letting go of things (our illusions and attachments). It’s only the clouds of short-sightedness or ignorance, the teachers from the Dalai Lama’s tradition suggest, that prevent us from seeing that our essential nature, whether we’re Buddhist or not, is blue sky.

happy friday, beautiful people. have a blue-sky weekend. if it rains, look skyward and catch some raindrops, and look closely. there's always blue behind the clouds.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

happy links to get you over hump day


just a few things from around the web that are making me happy today.

i relate, don't you?

corsages!

thank you, martha. i think i'll add cheese.

real woman paper dolls.

i love this woman and her art.

101. particularly 28 and 29.

pretty, even when your local weather ain't so much.

this t-shirt, this one too and this super-sweet thingamabob.

Monday, July 20, 2009

limping is not an option

it occurred to me yesterday, as i sat in Bryant Park watching many a lovely woman teeter by on heels, that one way we can take care of ourselves, one way we can help ensure that we'll live a full, brimming life is by wearing comfortable shoes.

there's something incredibly soothing about those two words, isn't there?

COMFORTABLE SHOES.

sigh. i think my shoulders just dropped 2 inches.

at the very least, we should carry a pair of comfy shoes in our bag that we can change into for when the 3 ring circuses we're wearing on our feet become too much.

our shoes should never be the reason we don't go, see or do... or dance.

i bought a pair of sequined, black ballet slippers with a tread that are my comfy option. they roll up into a little ball that i can toss into my purse. they also make me unbelievably happy, but i suppose that's pretty much true of anything that sparkles. sunlit lakes... my niece's eyes... pavement.

it may seem like an oversimplification, but don't you go more, see more, do more, dance more when you're wearing comfortable shoes?

Friday, July 17, 2009

happy friday, loves.



this is exactly how The Cute and I met and fell in love. not really, but it's such a sweet little story, isn't it? i definitely need more Post-Its.

have a wonderful weekend, folks. rest and indulge.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

gee, i wish i had more regrets.


you've heard the cautionary adage, "nobody ever said on their deathbed, i wish i'd spent more time at the office," right?

on the train ride home last night, i was thinking about that little maxim (probably inspired by this heartbreaking Times piece) and how applicable it is to so many things we do in the name of being "responsible" or "practical" or "healthy" or "wise" or "frugal"or "safe" that maybe we shouldn't do so much of because really, in the end, when we're laying there gasping our last breaths, hopefully surrounded by our beloved, beautiful progeny, those things that seemed so f-ing important ain't gonna matter much, if at all.

for example, here's a few i thought of:

nobody ever said on their deathbed, i wish i'd eaten more salads.

nobody ever said on their deathbed, i wish i'd held more grudges.

nobody ever said on their deathbed, i wish i'd spent more time at the gym.


nobody ever said on their deathbed, i wish i'd worried more about what people thought of me.

nobody ever said on their deathbed, i wish i'd spent more time looking into the mirror and picking apart my "flaws."

nobody ever said on their deathbed, i wish i'd doubted myself more.

nobody ever said on their deathbed, i wish i'd worn more black.


what's your version?


now, take heed. our time here is unbearably short.

today, i am having a sandwich for lunch... with extra cheese.

Monday, July 13, 2009

therapy salsa

the picture's fuzzy, not the salsa.


when i'm anxious (and i have been quite a bit lately) there's something about chopping vegetables that brings me peace. not quite sure what it's all about. maybe it's the satisfaction that comes with lining them up like little French aristocrats and guillotining them all at once.

THWACK!

oh, the power. i am SICK with the power.

whatever it is, it helps.

last night, The Cute came home from a long weekend away bachelor-partying (my anxiety having nothing to do with him, i should note). he sat on the couch recovering while i had a little therapy session in the kitchen, beheading and de-limbing wee legumes for my favorite salsa -

Juliet's Confetti Salsa

or, what i also affectionately refer to as Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Salsa

but what i will henceforth refer to as Therapy Salsa.

not only is it cheaper than therapy, it has a lot more fiber.

my friend Juliet Hicks first made this for me back in the summer of 1997 when we were both working together at Diamond Circle Melodrama in Durango, Colorado. i’ve made it every summer since. i like it with Tostitos Hint of Lime tortilla chips, but it’s also divine with pita chips, grilled fish, chicken, pork, burgers, baked potatoes, polenta, etc. i like it best in a bowl, with a spoon, on a porch, in a rocking chair, with an icy, lime-laced Corona nestled between my knees.

happy summer, y'all.

Therapy Salsa

keep in mind that the amounts are estimates. you should add or subtract according to your very own tastebuds.

5-6 ripe, but firm tomatoes; seeded (scoop all the goo out) and cut into ½-inch size pieces

1½ cups fresh, raw corn, cut from the cob this is the best, but if you don’t have fresh, substitute thawed, frozen corn. don’t thaw it in the microwave. just let it thaw in the sink in a colander. you can run some cold water over it, but you don’t want it mushy. in a pinch, you can use canned, rinsed corn.

1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped or pineapple or papaya or peaches or nectarines or apricots; the ripeness is what matters

1 red onion, peeled and chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 bunch of scallions i like the dark green parts too, but if you don’t, just use up to the light green

1 generous handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped if you like it spicy, and i do, leave a few seeds in

1 can black beans, rinsed

the juice of 1-2 limes

1 packet of original taco seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

toss everything (except the taco seasoning) into a large bowl. mix to combine, then season to taste with the taco seasoning. i usually only need ¼-½ a packet because this stuff is super-salty and flavorful. season with salt and pepper to taste.

i like to let the salsa “rest” for a little while (20 minutes or so at room temp) covered with plastic wrap so the flavors can marry. this also allows the salt to release some juice from the tomatoes. at this point, stir it up, and if the salsa is a little dry, you can add more lime juice.

weep and enjoy.

is there a particular dish you like to make when you're feeling crabby? or blue?

Friday, July 10, 2009

food as art, art as food.

Pies Pies Pies, 1961 via ArtChive

Bakery Counter, 1962 via ArtChive

Cakes, 1963 via ArtChive

i love the work of Wayne Thiebaud, don't you? he does some incredibly beautiful landscapes, but not surprisingly, my favorites are his renderings of 1960s diner-style desserts. so delightful, so pretty, so sweet. they just make me happy, happy, happy! i'm moving in with The Cute in a couple of months, and i'm dreaming of getting my paws on a few Thiebaud prints to decorate a kitchen wall. if he knows it will inspire me to make a weekly Chocolate Puddin' Pie, he'll be all for it. right?

oh, boy. food photography and art. i love it. when i go on trips, some folks complain that i take too many pictures of food (Paree, par example). so what!? i think a person's meals tell a very interesting story! i also think it makes total and complete sense. i've spent years fearing food, avoiding it, abhorring it, devouring it with almost no regard for its taste or texture. i am now in the courting phase, developing and nurturing what i hope will be a lifelong love and appreciation of the taste, the smell, the texture and the glorious appearance of food. taking pictures of a meal, or a cup of creamy coffee, or a perfectly-frosted cupcake helps me really pay attention to all those parts, like one would to the composition and the brushstrokes in a work of fine art. i've learned to see food as many things, not just physical sustenance, but spiritual and creative sustenance as well.

surrounding myself with images of beautifully-prepared, wholesome food reminds me how very lucky i am to be back in The World of the Eating. in the old days, i might have spent hours flipping through cookbooks and back issues of Gourmet magazine, salivating over meals i knew i would never let myself have. now i bake my cake, photograph it, and i eat it too. there was a time i never thought this would be possible. so glad i was wrong.

what food is most visually beautiful to you? i love a platter of halved figs and shelled walnuts scattered on a plain, white plate. then there's french fries. monochromatic maybe, but blissful.

what if you looked at every meal as a work of art? do you think it would change how you prepared it? as well as how you eat it (faster, slower, with more attention and intention)? try it. maybe even take a picture of it or draw it before you eat it. and?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

a delicate reminder

from anongrrl via etsy

i came across these tags today on etsy. aren't they wonderful? i'm always drawn to jewelry that uses inspirational words and phrases. it combines my love of the delicate, artistic object with the need for a reminder, a talisman of what i'm striving for in my day-to-day life. not that different from a Christian wearing a cross, or a Jew wearing a cross of David, i guess. i once made a bracelet for myself out of wire and a Shrinky-Dink type substance that said "breathe." it wasn't super-elegant (and i seem to recall it digging into my wrist), but it really did help, in the middle of an overwhelming day, to look down at my wrist for a reminder to do just that.

BREATHE.

oh!!! riiiiiiiiight.

seeing these tags got me thinking about what phrases and words i'd like to put on my own jewelry:

i (heart) butter.

this too shall pass

i am a size (infinity symbol).

sometimes, the most empowering thing a girl can do is eat
(from a N.O.W. t-shirt)

wear life like a loose garment (Ghandi)

now, please.

what would your talisman say?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

let her eat steak.


how annoyed do i get when i'm having dinner with The Cute, the waiter brings our meals and places the salad in front of me, assuming that because i'm The Girl it must be mine?

quite.

how much pleasure do i get in looking up at him through my fluttering lashes and saying, "oh, no, no, no. the BURGER is mine. might i also have a side of mayo for the fries?"

tons.

does this ever happen to you? how does it make you feel? do you feel guilty for ordering the "bad" food? or do you revel in ordering the food that makes your body hum? what are some witty (though kind) ways of handling it?

Friday, July 03, 2009

when i grow up, i want to be a supermarket cashier.

there's this cashier at the A & P in Jersey City where The Cute and i shop. for the past two years, we've always made an effort to go to her when we're there because she's the sweetest, friendliest lady ever. she almost makes my heart melt with gratitude. the first time she rung us up, i was so touched by her kindness (she's an aberration amongst Jersey City grocery store employees, i hate to say), i think i said to The Cute:

oh my god. i love her. i want to take her home.

she's very serene and soft-spoken. always patient, always helpful. i imagined she must live a pretty quiet (read: lonely) life. a single spinster who goes to church every Sunday, sings in the choir, knits, collects canned food labels for the local elementary school, eats tuna fish salad on melba toasts every day for lunch.

you can imagine my surprise when i saw her in a preview for America's Got Talent. first, i freaked out. second, i assumed she was going to sing a church hymn, "How Great Thou Art" or some such ditty. third, i was pretty certain she was going to be bad. really, really bad. my heart hurt for her. a sweet, little, unassumming lady was going to be humiliated on national television!

i missed the show, but i was digging around on hulu.com last night, and i found this clip of her performance.



i've never been so happy to be so terribly and completely wrong.

Carol Lugo is my hero.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

you pretty young things.



you're assignment today is to stand in front of a full-length mirror as nude as you can muster, put this tune on full-blast, and sing this song to yourself... just like i did when i was 9. my self-confidence was soaring at that age. coincidence? i think not.

what is your favorite M.J. song?

Friday, June 26, 2009

my stomach: gurgle, gurgle, pop, splat.

ever eaten a "nutrition bar" on an empty stomach?

don't.

i had one stashed in my desk at work from some "wellness seminar." i was starving, so i had a few bites. never again. those things aren't food, they're mortar.

anyway...

have a happy, happy friday, y'all.

do something you love this weekend: sleep in, rub a leaf of fresh basil between your fingertips and inhale deeply, buy yourself a coloring book and a Crayola 64, make a batch of homemade ketchup, take a walk in the sunshine (or in the rain, in flip-flops!).

i'm gonna pay someone to wash my hair with yumscious shampoo and blow it dry. i'm gonna make mojitos with the fresh mint from our herb garden and, well... that might be just about all i can handle this weekend. as lillian hellman once said, "productivity is not the only proof of a serious life."

amen.

what will you do?

Friday, June 19, 2009

and so am i.

from Yellowgoat's Feel Good series via Etsy

if i were wealthy, i'd buy all you ladies this necklace. wouldn't it feel great walking around with this on? just think about how many smiles you'd elicit!

3 awesome things about me?

i can make popovers from scratch.

i can still do a toe-touch (on a trampoline).

i am fiercely loyal and loving, usually brave, and very forgiving.

quick! tell me 3 awesome things about yourself!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

don't forget to take your vitamins.

i tossed my vitamins onto the kitchen counter last night, and they scattered in such a way that i saw a little wonky face staring back at me. a few adjustments, and the reflection of the overhead light gave her earrings. it felt absolutely necessary to take a picture.

see what amazing things you can accomplish when you don't have a television?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

southern comfort

5 years ago, i wore a lifejacket like a diaper and floated around the center of this lake while sipping on a margarita. i highly recommend it.

i'm headed to the mountains of north Georgia tonight to meet up with a gaggle of girls that i've known since i moved to Valdosta, Georgia in 1985. we were 10. i haven't seen most of them in 5+ years because they've been so busy breeding and feeding and raising their little aliens, they just haven't had the time or money to come up to NYC and visit with little old me.

sniff.

i'm kidding. no bitterness here. i don't think i'm meant to live in Georgia ever again, but it's always nice to visit. sweet tea, cheese grits, air-conditioning in every store, a Wal-Mart on every corner. i step back into the southern way of life like a Southern Belle steps into her hoop skirt. suddenly y'all becomes second nature again, and i am no longer a simple "fine" when someone asks me how i'm doing, i am a multi-syllabic and honey-sweet faaaaaayyyyyhhhhhhhnnnnnn.

we're spending our weekend at a cabin in the woods. there's a hammock, and a boat, a lake full of glistening water, (hopefully) lots of sunshine, not a little beer and a helluva lot of laughter. can't wait. i feel so stripped down, so bare, so essentially me when i'm there. sunkissed and windblown and tired from so much gut-wrenching laughter and from taking running leaps off the dock into the dark, cool water.

down, down, down to the mucky, fertile lake bottom, then up, up, up to the sparkling twilight and laughter.

i'm so looking forward to this trip. more than my other trips to the lakehouse over the years. i'm different now. most days, i'm in my body. truly in it, and most days, loving it. this time, i'm going to wear a swimsuit; and i'm going to let the sun hit my winter-white body; and i'm going to swim; and i'm going to let the rope hammock make little waffle patterns on my bare, barely-shaven legs; and i'm going to wear a bikini, and i'm going to let my belly be my belly, which is soft and slightly rounded like a belly should be; and even though i'm wearing a swimsuit (and still occasionally inclined to reduce my food intake in such attire), i'm going to feed myself, nourish myself, i am going to enjoy my food, revel in it, not nibble and sip on celery and water because that, my dears, is not of what vacations are made.

all of this, of course, unless it rains. in which case, i will spend 4 days sitting on a comfy sofa rehashing the old days over margaritas and Ro-Tel dip, but still, different than before. underneath that hooded sweatshirt, i am a different girl, a woman. in my body, loving it most days. sunshower or rainshine.

see y'all on wednesday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the life philosophy of a baker


from Studio Mela via Etsy

these prints make me happy. don't they you? the top one definitely belongs in my kitchen.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

setting the table for sanity.

i love this. can you imagine someone bringing you lunch like this? the ultimate exercise in creating a sacred space for eating.

it might be taking things to the extreme - why the hell not, i say - but it made me think about how important surroundings are when it comes to creating a nourishing meal for ourselves. it's not just about what's on my plate, but about the china plate that my meal is on; the shiny stainless steel fork; the chocolate brown cotton cloth napkin that rests in my lap; the candlelight dancing off the edge of my green glass water goblet that reminds me of the ones i drank out of as a child; the soft, soothing music in the background; the company of a loved one that makes me laugh between delicious bites - my surroundings are a big part of what has made my return to the World of the Eating so very marvelous and wonderful and fulfilling.

not to say i never eat a meal when i'm distracted oh, say... in front of the television watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey, but even when The Cute and I do that, we still set our places with cloth napkins, we still bring out the salt and pepper, we still pour ourselves cool, clear glasses of water. we (try to) pay attention to our surroundings. we try to stand on ceremony. in this day and age, i think it's important for all of us to do, but particularly important to someone who's recovering from disordered eating. eating and food and all the emotions that go with it can still be scary for me sometimes, so anything i can do to make my eating experience more pleasurable, more nourishing, more safe, more sane, more mindful, more celebratory. i think i should. consider it a welcome home party that never ends.

what are your surroundings like when you eat? how can you make your surroundings more safe, sacred and welcoming? do you have any mealtime rituals? are there any you'd like to adopt?

what's your favorite thing to eat in front of the TV?
me? easy. vanilla ice cream with this caramel sauce. oh! and these Doritos. something wonderfully therapeutic about munching on crunchies and staring at moving pictures.

Friday, May 22, 2009

happy long weekend.

from captivate me via oh, hello friend.

this is what i would like my weekend to look like. it won't, but i'm going to carry the feeling of this image into my weekend... everyday magic, sunshine, bare feet, sweet cotton dresses. i'll eat more at breakfast than these 3 wispy girls combined, but let's focus on the positive, shall we? i'll bet their armpits smell like Sweet Tarts.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamps.

and... SCENE.

but The Cute did make me this coffee this morning.


just what a girl needs on the first day of Aunt Flo's visit when she's certainly feeling so not very H-O-T.

today, i'm going to drink lots of water, feed myself healthy, warm, comfort food, take a quick walk out of the office in the sunshine, and maybe buy myself a curling iron. (yeah, that last one's a little weird, but i've been wanting one for a while. to many childhood productions of The Nutcracker, i guess. i miss ringlets.)

what sort of things do you do to take care of yourself when Aunt Flo visits? how could you better care for yourself during those times?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

happy mama's day.

mom and me.

eat your vegetables and don't run with scissors.

Friday, May 08, 2009

how about a no-diet LIFE?

reason #17 not to diet: BAKED GOODS!

not sure how i missed this (oh, wait, yes i do, i was organizing a bake sale!), but may 6 was International NO-DIET DAY. i say we celebrate this all year long!

not that i need any other reasons - dieting makes me a miserable, hungry, self-centered bitch, and i think that's reason enough - but here are 16 reasons not to diet.

Friday, May 01, 2009

3 of the best things about recovering from an eating disorder


cheese, bread, and chocolate.

the holy trinity.

amen.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

my favorite kind of invite



click the images to get a much better view
from Keetra Dean Dixon via Oh Joy!

Monday, April 27, 2009

tangy, cold + tasty tubers.

yesterday was a glorious day. glorious, i tell you! actually, the whole weekend was downright divine. warm, sunshiney, breezy. FINALLY. winter in NYC this year has been a long, brutal and tricky one, teasing us with warm weather and then plunging us back into the icy depths of winter. needless to say, this past weekend was quite a treat.

honestly, i felt like i was starring in my very own feminine hygiene product commercial.


i even got to wear my flip-flops!

there's something about this weather that makes me crave cold potato salad. is there anything better than tucking into a hearty helping of chilled potato salad on a warm day? preferably having to balance a practically soggy paper plate of it on your knee as you sit on a lawn chair, bottle of beer held between your knees, bare feet in cool grass?

can i get an AMEN?

so yesterday i made some, and wowza was it ever tasty. i riffed on what i could remember from a Domino magazine recipe that my friend J introduced me to last year (note: that mag and site are now defunct, so i couldn't locate the original recipe online). no mayo, but i didn't miss it cuz i threw in a couple of chopped hard-boiled eggs for creaminess. it's tart and tangy and just a wee bit more sophisticated than what you might get at the supermarket deli (although i wouldn't turn my nose up at a vat of that glorious stuff). it's also super-simple, super-cheap and super-filling. recession-proof, you might say.

excellent alongside some grilled shrimp + vegetables, and a spinach-avocado salad (sadly not very photogenic, but very tasty! props to The Cute for manning the grill)

better than flip-flops potato salad
adapted from Domino magazine

5-6 medium-sized redskin potatoes (about 3-4 inches in diameter)
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (spring for organic if you've already paid the rent)
1/3 cup, sweet gherkins, sliced into teensy little circles
salt and black pepper to taste

cut potatoes into 1 1/2 inch-2 1/2 inch pieces depending on how chunky you like your salad. put them in a pot and fill with cold water it just covers the potatoes.

bring to a boil. add a teaspoon of salt. boil until the potatoes are easily punctured with a fork, but not mush. you want them to maintain their firmness in the salad.

drain the potatoes in a colander. rinse with cold water.

dump into a large bowl. add mustard, white wine vinegar, chopped eggs and gherkins. toss gently until evenly distributed. the potatoes should be coated in a creamy sauce-like substance courtesy of the mustard, vinegar and egg yolks. sample it. if it's a bit dry for you, add a touch more mustard or a touch more vinegar. salt and pepper to taste. (this stuff deserves a hearty crank of the pepper mill, and if you can get your hands on five-color peppercorns, do so. your tastebuds will thank you.)

what sort of foods does the warmer weather make you crave? what are some of your favorite "summer foods" from your childhood? s'mores? lemonade? barbecue chicken? popsicles? get your hands on at least one of your favorite summer foods (make it? buy it? who cares!) and savor it.

---

this is the start of a weekly blog post entitled size ate eats: love the belly, feed the belly. i've wanted to make it a regular part of the site for a while now, and i figure... why not start now? not only do i love cooking (and eating), i also think my learning to cook and nourish myself has been a huge part of my recovery, and it continues to be a huge part of my self-care. i also find it to be a hell of a lot of fun. so stick around. i promise to never speak of calories, fat grams or "good" or "bad" foods. i love spinach and butter equally. paula deen and i do share the same birthday after all.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

love is better than exercise.

our morning routine. (not really)

i went to my yoga studio's website today to see what classes they're offering.

Restorative Yoga.

perfect.

i scan the rest of the page just for giggles.

Yoga Fight Club.

what?

the idea of it makes me cringe. Yoga and Fight aren't 2 words that should ever go together, are they? i live in NYC, just walking down the street feels like a battle, and it's free!

i haven't really been to the gym in any real way in almost 2 years. i could blame The Cute. he lives in Jersey, i live in Queens, with all the time spent commuting back and forth, no time to go to the gym! blah blah blah blah... but i'm actually going to thank The Cute for giving me a break from the gym. turns out i don't like the gym. turns out i kinda hate it. turns out my body wasn't very happy there either.

here's the thing: it's been almost 2 years since i've gone to the gym in any real way and i feel physically better than i have in years. yes, i feel better about my body, but i also just feel better. my joints are looser. i'm more flexible. i feel more relaxed (i know what you're thinking, and yes, the sex helps.). movement i'm beginning to miss, and i'm working on getting more of that back into my life via yoga, swimming and dancing, but not WORKING OUT.

doesn't the term WORKING OUT just sound like so much, well, WORK? who needs more of that word?

for me, working out was always about burning calories, tightening the abs, carving out the triceps. even when i tried to convince myself it wasn't, even after a few years of writing this blog and doing my show, and waving my "love my body as is, or else" banner, it was. and good lord was it ever about COMPETITION! either with the girl next to me or the girl in the mirror. never enough. never satisfied. push, push, push.

ouch.

sure, i loved the endorphin rush of a 30-minute dash on the elliptical machine followed by crunches, and arm curls, and push ups, and, and and... but after the initial glow wore off, i'd feel sore and tired and beat. i'd fall into bed, wake up even more sore, tired and beat, just in time to do the whole thing all over again.

gerbil. wheel.

what's the point of all of this again?

i frequently ponder what aliens might think if they came to earth and the first thing they saw was a gym. loads of people on treadmills and stationery bikes and rowing machines, sweating profusely, working incredibly hard, but going ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE. intelligent life? i think not.

i've decided i want to incorporate more joyful movement into my life, but this time, it's a fear of developing a hunchback like my Great Grandma Ida that's pushing me to get more active not fat thighs. there's also this guy, and i fancy him, and he loves me the way that i am and the way that i will be. i'd like to hang out with him as long as i can making designs in our coffee and swinging in the hammock and making up songs about how much we love brushing our teeth. and movement, they say, helps you live longer. i suppose i should listen.

my ass may be flabbier than it was in april 2007, but i could give two shits. the past 2 years have made me stronger in ways that going to the gym never could. no, i haven't spent a ton of time building my ab muscles, but oh, how my heart muscle has grown. i ain't gonna lie, it's been painful at times , because wow, here's a part of my heart i never thought i'd have to use, and there he is taking up residence in it. burping and snoring and being downright beautiful. stretched. big, red beating heart of mine. stronger than ever, and there's absolutely no competition. it's all his.

do you like going to the gym? if not, what are some fun, joyful movement alternatives that you might try this summer? what physical activities you enjoyed as a kid usually offers an excellent clue. me? swimming!

also, is there someone in your life who loves you unconditionally? regardless of what your body looks like?

Monday, April 20, 2009

voluntary torture


keep this in mind, the next time you, or someone you love, thinks about going on Jenny Craig... or Weight Watchers... or Slim-Fast... or Opti-Fast... or Nutri-System...

Bush Torture Memos: Commercial Diets Used as Justification

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

oh, the irony...

bleaching the family 'stache

that so many of the things we do to ourselves in the name of "pretty" make us look pretty damn ugly.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

this ain't no yankee candle.


i walked in to Dean and Deluca this morning to purchase my overpriced mocha (mortgage payment, anyone?), and was welcomed into the loving arms of an old friend.

BACON.

i love her. she comforts me and calls me "pet."

i thought to myself:

why not a bacon-scented candle? we have cinnamon bun-scented candles. sugar cookie-scented. apple pie-scented.

i posited this question on my Facebook page, and my friend Y shot back with this link.

BLT candles.

after a little "bacon-scented" google, i found this. i don't think i'm looking to catch myself a bear, but always good to know.

you can also buy yourself a bacon scarf, underdrawers, or floss.

finally, this.

so. wrong.

but then, if you're looking to catch yourself a man, this just might work.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

better than smoking the pipe.


i discovered Zitner's Butter Krak eggs at a convenience store right outside Drew University's campus. i was there performing size ate (at the college, not the convenience store. altho, i would actually love to do my show at a convenience store smack in the middle of the snack cake aisle! Kandy Kakes for everyone!). at first, i was drawn to it mainly for the name, but holy moly it's tasty too. like a Mounds bar on, well, crack.

computer update: it's getting operated on today. fingers crossed it's back in its mama's arms by this evening.

Monday, April 06, 2009

lost little girl grown up too fast

by michael cavayero

i came across these paintings of lindsay lohan in a window on the corner of 10th street and broadway in manhattan. i found myself staring at these images. struck and saddened and angry by the juxtaposition of these two images.

Friday, March 27, 2009

tip # duh.


if you don't like the make-up on the woman at the make-up counter, it's highly unlikely you're going to like the make-up she puts on you.

and no one EVER needs 3 kinds of concealer.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

and her cheeks.


Fat Is Not a Fairy Tale
by Jane Yolen

I am thinking of a fairy tale,
Cinder Elephant,
Sleeping Tubby,
Snow Weight,
where the princess is not
anorexic, wasp-waisted,
flinging herself down the stairs.

I am thinking of a fairy tale,
Hansel and Great,
Repoundsel,
Bounty and the Beast,
where the beauty
has a pillowed breast,
and fingers plump as sausage.

I am thinking of a fairy tale
that is not yet written,
for a teller not yet born,
for a listener not yet conceived,
for a world not yet won,
where everything round is good:
the sun, wheels, cookies, and the princess.

from Such a Pretty Face, May 2000