we all pretty much grew up seeing that little food pyramid thing that schools had up in the cafeteria i grew up going to weight watchers meetings from the time i was 5. i’ll never forget the time they asked everyone what was something you could do to reward yourself, and, being the complete ham i was and desperate for the room’s attention, i smartly raised my hand, and when recognized said proudly, “A COOKIE!” to which i was met with laughter, and then felt shame and then embarrassment. because i so thought i was right.
that’s the first time i can really recall being confused about food and feeling some sort of way about it other than it was yummy and i liked it. i went on to grow up in a household where every meal was a battlefield. i was either being made fun of for drinking milk, harangued for drinking too much diet soda, teased for hiding in my room with food so that i could eat in peace, or scolded for wanting to try slimfast in a desperate attempt to please a parent who wanted nothing other for me to impress everyone with what a good job he’d done at raising me.
oh god. am i really talking about this … on the internet?
now, i must confess, i’ve got a kernel of terror that quickly snowballs into full on panic when i think about him reading this blog post. i know he is out there and occasionally figures out how to get onto the internet. and when he does, he googles me because i don’t care to speak to him too often, and when he does call me these days he leaves me terrible messages where i imagine him wearing a cape that he flings around while being dramatic about what a terrible daughter i turned out to be. if you’re out there dude, just stop reading now because you’re not going to like anything else i have to say.
disordered eating was inevitable
so it’s no wonder that i find myself more than overwhelmed every time food is involved. it’s no real wonder that i’ve been diagnosed with an eating disorder before. i mean my whole life has been a long series of disordered eating, obsession over that disordered eating, and then punishment for having been so foolish as to have been disordered in the first place.
this is what we do to our children.
thankfully i have another parent who, even though i’m not sure she understands my food battle as well as someone who has been on the same warpath, cares a great deal about me and has supported my efforts at therapy in the best way she could.
food “therapy” … um, what?
add on top of that magnificently screwed up treatment of food for as long as i can remember a constant onslaught of different messages from documentaries that i watch, doctors, nutritionists that i’ve encountered, etc. (i’ve been taken to hypnotists, diagnosed with endocrine disorders, taken to programs for fat kids – shapedown, anyone?, put on the duke rice diet program at 15, pressured to have weight loss surgery, we previously discussed the weight watchers and slimfast, and also berated consistently by a dance teacher who shall remain unnamed but who further complicated my relationship with my body … ) i’ve tangoed with just about every facet of weight loss out there and still, i remain unhappy and confused. and i remain paranoid that every person i meet in public is constantly thinking about how much of a slob and how lazy i am for being overweight and not taking “responsibility” for it and not being able to shove myself down into anything other than wanting to constantly apologize for taking up space.
i know there are many of you out there reading this thinking … why, yes, netta. i have experienced many of these things and feelings.
weight watchers? vegan? raw? no carb? no sugar? paleo? juicing?
and i’m trying to sort it out. do i go back to weight watchers? a program that i abhor because it requires me to track every waking hour of my life when sometimes i just don’t want to think about it anymore for the love of god.
do i go vegan and raw and convince myself that meat rotting my gut is the worst thing i could possibly do as a human being?
do i go 4-hour body, as i did one time and ended up gaining 20 lbs. only to watch others around me lose it like it was their job.
do i do nothing but juice and remain light headed but feeling skinny?
is it all about the protein and no carbs and sugar? what do you mean i can’t eat fruit? and why can’t someone just tell me definitively what i, netta, am supposed to be doing here to get things right?
and i also tried intuitive eating and found that my intuition was telling me to gain more weight. stupid intuition. did i just not trust you long enough? well … my knees and feet and i don’t have the best relationship right now, and until i have relieved at least a little bit of pressure on them, i’m not sure i’m ready to be leaning on you yet intuition.
i probably just eat too much
all i do know is that even though, at this point, i really should be an expert on nutrition given everything i’ve been through, all the programs i’ve experienced, all the documentaries i’ve watched and all the literature i’ve read, i’m even more confused than ever. and i feel even less like i can just take it easy and do everything in moderation. lord knows i’m not very good at being moderate. and that whole just “listening to my body” thing has gotten me into more trouble. probably because my brain is a lot louder than my physical body most of the time.
so what’s a girl to do? and how does one figure out which program to go gung-ho on when you’re terrified that every one of them is going to land you with a new wardrobe that doesn’t fit and knees that hurt worse than ever?
why is this so much WORK?
well … i guess i should stick with what has worked in the past even though it’s felt just like that the whole way – work. weight watchers hasn’t been easy for me, and i don’t lose weight like i used to because i don’t isolate myself the way i used to and i’m coming from a place of love this time. all i ever wanted was for me and food to just be normal together or to never have to encounter it again.
well that makes me feel like a loser
but i guess those people that i met at overeaters anonymous at one point in my life were right about a few things – food holds this power over my life that it really shouldn’t, in many ways. but how do you just put it up on a shelf like you would alcohol or a drug? the only way i’ve been able to figure out to do that is to resolve yourself to do it. but resolving to do things usually ends up in negative self talk about what a terrible person i am for having not been able to control myself. and that never ends pleasantly. mostly just in panic and drastic measures.
food: single, in a relationship, or it’s complicated?
and after all this puzzling, i’m still not sure of the right answer. but that’s just something i wanted to put out there and talk about. if y’all are out there. what’s working for you? does anyone else hate food and hate having to think about having a relationship with something that you just want to break up with but can’t figure out how to?